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Gotham Gazette

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State Senate

State Senate

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    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    August 15, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Central Brooklyn Senate Primary Tests IDC Awareness with Zellnor Myrie and Senator Jesse Hamilton

    myrie hamilton 277State Senator Jesse Hamilton is a member of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference, a group of Democrats who caucused with Republicans for seven years and,

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    Senator Martin Dilan (Photo: Sen. Dilan's Office)


    A campaign fundraising committee set up to bankroll the state Senators from the erstwhile Independent Democratic Conference was recently ruled to have been illegal by a state Supreme Court judge. Campaign finance records show that Brooklyn Senator Martin Dilan, who was never part of the IDC but is facing a tough primary challenge this year, was also a beneficiary of thousands of dollars spent by that committee for his last reelection campaign, a fact opponents are using as fodder to criticize his commitment to the Democratic

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    Senator Jesse Hamilton with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, center (photo: @BPEricAdams)


    Amid a heated Democratic primary race in central Brooklyn’s state Senate District 20, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is making $1 million of government money available for spending in the district through a process run by Senator Jesse Hamilton, his handpicked, newly-embattled successor in the state Legislature.

    Hamilton is a former member of the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of eight Democratic state senators who formed a coalition with the Senate

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    Senator Gianaris and colleagues (photo via Gianaris Facebook)


    Predictions of a nationwide “blue wave” of anti-Trump sentiment resulting in major Democratic gains have been tempered as the president maintains strong support among Republicans and the economy, broadly speaking, is going strong.

    But even if the blue wave ends up being more like a trickle, that would be good news to state Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens, who chairs the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) and needs to net just one seat this fall to take control of the

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  • sengianaris press

    Senator Gianaris (photo: @sengianaris)


    New Yorkers may soon have a new tool to influence their government. A bill in the state Legislature would allow members of the public, given enough support, to compel state agencies to hold public hearings on proposed rules.

    The bill (S2397), sponsored in the state Senate by Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens, would establish a three-year pilot program ordering seven regulatory agencies — the Workers' Compensation Board and the Departments of Education, Environmental Conservation, Health, Financial Services, Labor, and Family Assistance

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    Andrea Stewart-Cousins at the state party convention (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    While policies to prevent and punish sexual harassment were being decided in Albany during state budget negotiations earlier this year, four men led the closed-door talks: Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and the leader of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference Jeff Klein. Even as female aides had some level of participation, there was a great deal of scrutiny of the absence

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  • Cuomo ABNY speech

    Cuomo at ABNY (photo: Don Pollard/Governor's Office)


    With the specter of a competitive Democratic primary squarely in front of him, Governor Andrew Cuomo, the two-term incumbent, announced on Wednesday, April 4 that he had brokered a unity deal between two groups of Democrats in the state Senate, setting the stage for the possibility of capturing the majority in the chamber, which is the only Republican stronghold in state government. Cuomo brought together the mainline Senate Democrats and the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, a group

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    Shelley Mayor, center (photo: @Shelley4Senate)


    A coalition of progressive community organizations representing thousands of members across New York State will support Shelley Mayer, the Democratic Assemblymember who is running for an open state Senate seat in Westchester that could decide which party leads the legislative chamber.

    Mayer is running against Republican Julie Killian for the 37th Senate District seat, in a special election scheduled for April 24. The seat has been vacant since January after its previous occupant, George Latimer,

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  • Cuomo Sheldon Silver Skelos Albany

    Gov. Cuomo, Sheldon Silver & Dean Skelos in 2012 (photo via The Governor's Office)


    As allegations of sexual harassment and assault against disgraced movie producer and major Democratic political donor Harvey Weinstein piled up earlier this month, women around the world took to social media to share stories of abusive behavior using the hashtag #MeToo.

    The light being shone on the predatory behavior of Weinstein and

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    Katherine Brezler (photo via Facebook)


    A teacher and grassroots organizer is scoping out the Westchester Democratic Party nod in a potential special election for state Senator George Latimer’s seat, which would be triggered if the Democratic senator wins the race for Westchester county executive this fall.

    On July 24, Katherine Brezler, a 35-year-old from White Plains who campaigned for Senator Bernie Sanders' presidential bid, became the first to register a campaign committee for the 37th Senate District seat currently held by Latimer, according to the New York State Board of

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  • ellia at a school nysednews

    (photo via @NYSEDNews)


    The silence from D.C. is deafening.

    As The Washington Post recently reported, “the Trump administration is reducing the role of the federal government in fighting discrimination and protecting minorities by cutting budgets, dissolving programs and appointing officials

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  • protest alcantara IDC

    (photos: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    “No fake Democrats! Take the New York Senate back!,” yelled the crowd of protestors huddled on the sidewalk outside 5030 Broadway in Inwood, near the northern tip of Manhattan. The demonstrators -- a cohort of about three dozen older New Yorkers, millennials, and one as young as 10 years old -- were one of a number of groups that had gathered at locations across the city on a recent Wednesday to protest at the offices of Democratic state Senators who the protesters believe have betrayed them. These senators are

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    Ruben Diaz Sr. (photo: @NYPD43Pct)


    While Democrats technically reclaimed a majority of state Senate seats through a special election Tuesday, a deeply fractured party picture remains. As different factions point fingers and call for unity, it seems likely that the headcount will drop down again by the end of the year.

    Two mainline Democratic senators have announced that they are running for other offices this year. Senator George Latimer, of Westchester County’s 37th District, is eying the county executive seat,

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    State Sen. Rob Ortt (photo: @SenatorOrtt)


    Corruption charges brought against a member of the state Senate Republican majority Wednesday have provided an opportunity for Democrats to jumpstart the seemingly dormant conversation on government ethics as state budget negotiations enter their final week.

    Senator Rob Ortt, of Niagara County, pleaded not guilty in Albany County Court Thursday morning, following his indictment on three felony counts of filing a false instrument, ...

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    Sen. Jamaal Bailey (photo via @jamaaltbailey)


    State Senator Jamaal Bailey knows his way around Albany. A University of Albany graduate, Bailey launched his legislative career as an intern for Assemblymember Carl Heastie, who is now Speaker of the Assembly and one of most powerful people in the state. Working for Heastie, Bailey was instrumental in pushing legislation to enact more stringent safety measures on

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  • Rivera

    Senator Gustavo Rivera (photo: Senate Democrats)


    A state Senator from the Bronx is calling on the state Board of Elections to investigate a former opponent’s campaign finances for violations.

    Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat, alleges that the Senate campaign of Fernando Cabrera, a New York City Council Member, committed multiple violations in the Democratic primary for the District 33 Senate seat last year. In a Feb. 28 letter to the state Board of Elections, Rivera’s campaign attorney, Sarah Steiner, noted the alleged violations and asked for updates on

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  • Speaker Carl Heastie

     Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (photo: The Governor's Office)


    Higher taxes on New York’s wealthy are on the table in three places for this year’s budget negotiations. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget for 2018 includes an extension of the so-called "millionaire’s tax”. The state Assembly has decided to see the governor

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    Assembly Speaker Heastie (photo: @CarlHeastie) 


    The New York State Assembly passed a slew of bills on Monday aimed at protecting immigrant New Yorkers in the wake of the federal government’s anti-immigrant crackdown which sparked protests at airports around the country last week.

    The legislative package, called the New York State Liberty

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  • plastic bag rally

    Elected officials and advocates rally outside City Hall (photo: @bradlander)


    New York City is trying to do something about plastic bags, but my state Assemblymember is attempting to undermine the city’s ability to do so. He, along with many of his NYC-based colleagues, are acting against their own constituents’ interests. This is a normal New York State versus City story, but in a moment where the stakes of politics are high because the federal government’s threats are real, this battle between city and state feels more offensive and disheartening than

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  • gianaris state senate site

    Sen. Gianaris (photo: State Senate)


    New York state government has had no shortage of ethics scandals, but has had a deficiency in active, effective bodies to prevent, punish, and root out bad behavior among elected and appointed officials.

    When the new legislative session began in Albany earlier this month, there was an immediate shake-up of the long-dormant state Senate ethics committee, throwing the always-simmering chamber to a quick boil.

    The Senate ethics committee, as well as a parallel

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  • Trump election night 2

    President-Elect Donald Trump


    On a huge Election Day for Republicans, Donald Trump won the presidential election, the GOP kept control of both houses of Congress, and, here in New York, Republicans have increased their margin in the state Senate, the party’s last stronghold of statewide power.

    With a stunning show of support across the country, Trump and his vice presidential running mate Mike Pence won more states than expected and Trump will become the 45th President of the United States. Reports came in around 2:40 a.m. that Hillary

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    (photo: Mayor's Office on Flickr)


    Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. When we know which of the two New Yorkers will be number 45 depends on how the vote unfolds. Both candidates will be in New York City on election night: Clinton holding her event at the Javits Center, Trump holding his at the New York Hilton.

    The potential historic significance of the Presidential vote should not be overlooked: Hillary Clinton could become the first woman elected President of the

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    Cuomo & de Blasio in Chelsea (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    In typical fashion, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio are saying a lot of the same things, but doing so nowhere near each other and without mentioning the other.

    In a role reversal from 2014, during the current election season Cuomo is actively pushing for Democrats to win key swing seats and take control of the State Senate, Republicans’ last bastion of power in statewide government, while de Blasio is on the sideline.

    But if you listen closely,

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  • Klein and co

    State Sen. Jeff Klein, center-right & other Bronx electeds (@RepEliotEngle)


    In January 2011, State Senator Jeff Klein declared himself leader of a group of four breakaway Democrats who were united in their dissatisfaction with the recent dysfunction of their conference’s leadership. They created the Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC, despite the fact that Klein had been deputy leader of the Senate Democrats and was in control of the New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee during the 2010 elections, all through the now legendary strife

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  • Flanagan and co

    Senate Leader Flanagan & other GOP Senators (photo via NYS Senate)


    Whether it’s at the state or federal level, recent history has demonstrated that when one party controls government, checks and balances go out the window. Recent history has some important lessons as we approach this year’s crucial elections.

    In 2008 Democrats took control of Congress and along with the election of President Barack Obama, controlled the executive and legislative branches in Washington. In Albany, for the first time since 1964, Democrats gained a

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