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State Legislature

State Legislature

  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 27

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Buckle up, it’s the final week before a new state budget is due by midnight Friday -- the start of the new fiscal year is April 1. As always, negotiations are expected to come down to the wire, and it’s likely that the bargains reached at the last minute will be budget and policy decided and voted through with almost no review by rank-and-file legislators or the public. Albany!

    There’s a great deal at stake in

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  • Will Latest Indictment Give New Life to Ethics Reform in Albany? Don’t Bet On It

    rob ortt

    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, ...

  • In Albany, De Blasio and Democrats Push ‘Mansion Tax’

    bdb albany mansion tax rally rachel 

    De Blasio in Albany (photo: Rachel Silberstein/Gotham Gazette)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio journeyed to Albany Wednesday to rally with Democratic legislators and activists for the extension of the “millionaires’ tax,” set to expire this year, as well as the “mansion tax,” a proposal the mayor has been pushing since 2015. De Blasio and his allies called for both to be part of the new state budget due by April 1.

    Citing the threats of deep federal budget cuts from President Donald Trump’s administration and a

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  • Adjusting to Albany: Senator Jamaal Bailey

    jamaal bailey

    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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  • Adjusting to Albany: Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou

    yuhlineniou2

    Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (photo via @yuhline)


    Yuh-Line Niou, Assemblymember for the 65th District in Lower Manhattan, has a tough task. The new Assembly member takes the seat held by disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for 40 years. Niou won the September 2016 Democratic primary -- backed by the Working Families Party -- and November general election after losing a prior special election to Alice Cancel, who had been the choice of the Silver machine.

    Now, she must navigate growing into her role as an elected official, managing constituent

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  • Adjusting to Albany: Assemblymember Robert Carroll

    robert carroll

    Assemblymember Bobby Carroll (photo via @Bobby4Brooklyn)


    A lifelong resident of Windsor Terrace, Robert “Bobby” Carroll hails from something of a Brooklyn political dynasty. His grandfather co-founded the influential Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID) club, and, until he assumed his state Assembly seat, Bobby Carroll served as the club’s youngest president. Carroll previously worked as an attorney alongside his father, John Carroll, who has also served as CBID’s president, and in 2001 ran unsuccessfully against Mayor Bill de Blasio in a Democratic

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  • Adjusting to Albany: Meet NYC’s New Class of State Legislators

    nyscapitolbuilding2

    photo via @NYSCapitolTours


    While the ethics trainings and orientation for new state legislators may have evolved over the years, one thing has remained constant: the daunting task of navigating the Capitol’s maze-like corridors during one’s first weeks of work in Albany.

    Orientation provides some roadmap to Albany’s byzantine legislative processes, including workshops in drafting bills, organizing a press conference, and conducting research, and legislative staffers are provided for support, but it can take a few

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 20

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The New York political world is still reeling from and reacting to the news that Mayor Bill de Blasio and his aides will not be charged in either of two investigations into their behavior. Comptroller Scott Stringer has said definitively he is running for reelection, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said it’s time to move on to

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  • Since State of the State, Cuomo Silent on Ethics Reform

    Cuomo policy book Albany

    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office, flickr)


    For the second year in a row, in his January State of the State, Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out an ambitious ethics reform agenda that touched on a variety of issues and aimed at restoring public trust in New York State’s scandal-plagued government. But, also for a second year in a row, Cuomo has not followed up with any discernible public push to rally support for that

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  • One-House Budgets Show Little Indication Ethics, Voting & Campaign Finance Reforms Will Advance in Albany

    heastie cuomo flanagan

    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    In one-house budgets passed this week, the state Legislature showed little evidence that new government ethics, voting, and campaign finance reform measures will be passed in Albany any time soon. This, despite persistent issues with public corruption, antiquated election laws, and the ongoing ability for wealthy interests to donate virtually unlimited sums to politicians.

    Through his January State of the State tour, 2017 policy book, and executive budget, Governor

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  • With One-House Budgets Due, Key Points of Contention in Albany

    cuomo flanagan heastie budget

    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (photo: Governor's Office/Kevin P. Coughlin)


    With a new state budget due by the end of the month, the Senate and Assembly are finalizing their one-house budget resolutions. The one-house statements of priorities in the Democrat-controlled Assembly and Republican-controlled Senate will be passed this week, and their passage signals the official start to the negotiations that will yield a state spending plan for the new fiscal year, which begins April 1.

    The one-house budgets are shaped, in part, by a

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 13

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The week starts with many eyes on Preet Bharara, who was fired Saturday from his position as United State Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara refused to resign when asked to along with the country's 45 other U.S. attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama, as is common practice when a new federal administration omes into power. Bharara's lone refusal, though, came under special circumstances: in

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 6

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As the week begins, Governor Andrew Cuomo is in Israel on an "economic development and unity trip." Cuomo left Saturday and is due back on Monday.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio has also been traveling -- the mayor was in Chicago on Friday for a fundraiser, a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and a speech at the City Club of Chicago; he then traveled over the weekend holding fundraisers in Florida and California. De Blasio is due back in New York City on

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 27

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    After a somewhat slow Presidents Day week in which both the City Council and State Legislature were out of session, this week is a busy one, with the Legislature meeting in Albany and a variety of City Council hearings, including the start of preliminary budget hearings.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio is back in town after a trip to Atlanta where he was whipping votes for Keith Ellison for Democratic National Committee

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 20

    640px New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As usual, the Presidents' Day week will be a slow one as both the New York City Council and the state Legislature will be on break. Over the weekend, however, elected officials were busy in Albany, as the Legislature's Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus held its annual Caucus Weekend celebration and conference. The event had a distinctly anti-Donald Trump flavor to it, with dozens of speeches critical of the

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 13

    Gotham Gazette:

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver his State of the City speech on Monday evening at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, likely touting the accomplishments of his first three years in office as he gets ready to face reelection later this year. In announcements last Friday and over the weekend, the mayor revealed a few of the major initiatives he will include in his speech -- a $1.9 billion investment to increase affordability at 10,000 units of

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 6

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    One of the big stories this week is what is happening in the fight over the city’s fee on plastic and paper carryout bags that is supposed to go into effect February 15 but state lawmakers are moving to block. Both houses of the state Legislature are set to pass legislation stopping the implementation of the nickel-per-bag fee, much to the disappointment of environmentalists, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and City Council

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  • On Your November Ballot: Stripping Pensions from Corrupt Politicians

    silver skelos cuomo sampson

    Sheldon Silver & others in 2011 (photo: The Governor's Office)


    This November, New York voters will get to decide whether state officials who are convicted of public corruption can be stripped of their pensions.

    A government ethics reform bill, jointly passed by the state Legislature Monday for a second time, amends the state constitution and allows the state to reduce or revoke the pension of a public officer that has been convicted of a crime related to his or her official duties.

    Under the measure, a public officer convicted of a crime

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  • In Albany, De Blasio Evaluates Cuomo’s Budget, Faces Legislators’ Questions

    de Blasio albany budget testimony 2017

    Mayor de Blasio in Albany (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio visited Albany Monday for his annual budget testimony in front of the joint budget committee of the state Senate and Assembly. In opening remarks, de Blasio touted some of his accomplishments and gave his on-the-record response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recently-released executive budget plan in terms of what it means for New York City and his own agenda. The mayor then fielded hours of questions from state legislators that often veered far from strict

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 30

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The week begins after many New Yorkers spent portions of the weekend protesting President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration, which seek to bar for a period of time refugees from Syria and immigrants from several Muslim-majority countries, and increase deportations of certain classifications of immigrants. After a major impromptu protest at Kennedy Airport on Saturday, there was a rally at Battery Park on

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  • With Trump in Office, New York Democrats Show Urgency, and Infighting, on Women's Rights

    cuomo women's equality act

    Cuomo in 2013, via The Governor's Office on flickr


    With President Donald Trump taking office and Congressional Republicans chipping away at the Affordable Care Act, including a provision that guarantees cost-free birth control, New York’s Democratic lawmakers are scrambling to fortify protections for women on the state level.

    Citing the threat of Trump’s administration, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that he has instructed the Department of Financial Services -- which regulates insurance companies -- to require commercial insurance

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 23

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As the week begins, President Donald Trump administration continues to take shape, with key cabinet nominees in limbo as the Senate considers them. Trump has promised a wave of early executive orders to rescind orders President Obama issued. He began this effort soon after being sworn in on Friday, but is expected to increase the volume significantly early this week. Over the weekend, Trump and his spokespeople

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  • Early in Albany Session, Plastic Bag Fee Sparks Home Rule Debate

    felder bag fee city hall via scott reif

    Senator Felder & opponents of the bag fee (photo: Scott Reif)


    An attempt by lawmakers in Albany to prevent the New York City Council from imposing a fee on plastic and paper bags at retail stores has reignited a debate over home rule and the state government’s interference in the work of a democratically elected local legislative body.  

    The New York State Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that prohibits “the

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  • Cuomo Unveils $152 Billion Executive Budget Plan

    Cuomo budget presentation

    Gov. Cuomo presents his budget (photo: Governor's Office on flickr)


    Just before 8 p.m. Tuesday evening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented to the public his Executive Budget for fiscal year 2017-2018. Speaking from the Executive Mansion, Cuomo briefed a room full of journalists and his aides in remarks that were live-streamed on the internet and carried by NY1 on television.

    As Cuomo explained, the $152.3 billion budget plan followed his State of the

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  • Largely Inactive Senate Ethics Committee Restructures

    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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