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State Legislature

State Legislature

  • 11 Special Elections Set for April 24

    cuomo voting grimace

    Gov. Cuomo voting (photo via The Governor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo has officially called a special election to fill 11 vacant seats in the Legislature — two in the Senate and nine in the Assembly — for April 24. Of these, four vacancies are located within the five boroughs of New York City. The short races are quickly heating up to replace three former city-based state legislators who have joined the City Council -- former Assembly members Francisco Moya and Mark Gjonaj and former Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. -- and another lawmaker, Brian Kavanagh,

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  • Three Voting Reforms New York Must Pass This Year

    op ed carlucci

    State Senator David Carlucci, the author


    New York’s voting laws are woefully outdated and lag behind much of the rest of our country. Too many New Yorkers experience unfair and unnecessary restrictions when they wish to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Unsurprisingly, New York consistently ranks near the bottom in voter turnout when compared to other states.

    According to 24/7 Wall St., an average of only 59.2% of eligible New York voters voted in the presidential elections from 2000 through 2012. That makes New York 42nd among the 50

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 12

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio will give his 2018 State of the City address this week, on Tuesday evening. The first of his second term, de Blasio is expected to talk more about his newly branded quest to make New York City “the fairest big city in America.”

    Budget hearings continue in Albany this week, and the Legislature will also hold session days to introduce and pass legislation on Monday and Tuesday, before taking

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  • State Senate’s New Sexual Harassment Policy Draws Criticism

    John Flanagan Senate

    Senate Leader John Flanagan (photo: State Senate)


    The New York State Senate leadership’s attempt to revamp its sexual harassment policy is drawing criticism from advocates and lawmakers.

    Ordered by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Republican from Long Island, the rewrite enhances protections but also adds a seemingly gratuitous line warning that falsely accusing someone is a “serious

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  • This Must Be The Year For The New York Dream Act, A Game-Changer For Immigrant Youth Like Me

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    The author at a press conference in Albany for the Dream Act


    On Monday the New York State Assembly passed the New York Dream Act. For immigrant youth like me, this legislation would be a game-changer.

    I am a Dreamer. I came to this country at the age of two from Mexico. I am an American through and through. I have worked hard to get ahead. I’ve excelled in school. Without state tuition assistance, I worked throughout college to be able to pay tuition and other costs. Finally, last year, I graduated from City College. It was harder than it

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  • Transit Advocates to Storm Albany for MTA Action

    riders fix the subway sign

    (photo: @RidersNY)


    With the “summer of hell” in the past and sustained heat on Governor Andrew Cuomo to fix the long-neglected subway system, one of New York City’s most prominent straphanger advocacy groups will travel to Albany to demand action from Cuomo and the state Legislature.

    Riders Alliance members will go to the state capital on Monday, February 12, to rally, garner media attention, and meet with lawmakers, hoping to push Cuomo and the Legislature to pass a new long-term funding mechanism for repairing, maintaining, and

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 5

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will start off with a bang as Mayor Bill de Blasio makes his annual journey to Albany to testify at a legislative budget hearing. De Blasio has several issues with the executive budget proposal put forth in January by Governor Andrew Cuomo, his fellow Democrat and frequent sparring partner. De Blasio will make clear his state legislative and budget priorities for the year, and answers questions from members

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  • Flanagan Provides Few Answers to Big Questions

    John Flanagan State Senate

    John Flanagan at Crain's breakfast (Ben Max/Gotham Gazette)


    State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan spoke publicly for nearly an hour Thursday morning in Manhattan, but said little on a variety of pressing topics. The Long Island Republican and key player in negotiations of the state budget and a variety of other legislative matters of great significance to New York City provided some indication of where he stands, but repeatedly gave evasive and unclear statements on issues related to housing, construction, economic development, and congestion

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  • 2018 Will Be a Busy, Contentious Election Year in New York

    election polling place Brooklyn

    a polling place (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    This year will be another busy, contentious election year for New Yorkers. While 2017 saw the majority of elections confined to local government, 2018 will see three election days and races for state-level offices, including five of six statewide positions and all of the state Legislature, and all of the state’s delegation to the House of Representatives.

    A fourth election day may occur in some districts if Governor Andrew Cuomo calls a special election to fill 11 currently

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 22

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week, all eyes are on Washington D.C. as the federal government shut down Saturday after Democrats and Republicans failed to come to an agreement over government spending. The key issue in the shutdown fight is immigration reform and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to avoid deportation and to receive work permits.

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 15

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week begins with celebrations and rememberances of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tuesday will see Governor Andrew Cuomo present his Executive Budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year that begins April 1. We'll be not only watching the presentation and the details of the budget, but how Mayor Bill de Blasio and others in the city react to Cuomo's fiscal plan, which is a starting point of hearings and negotiations with

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  • Troubles Ahead as 2018 Legislative Session Kicks Off in Albany

    Cuomo legislative leaders Albany

    Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)


    Since the 2018 session began last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have outlined their agendas for the year, and addressed or hinted at some of the significant challenges facing state lawmakers.

    In particular, threats from the federal government were acknowledged by Cuomo during his state of the State address and in remarks from legislative leaders in the Assembly and Senate, from the potentially harmful environmental policy of

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  • De Blasio Lays Out Initial 2018 Albany Priorities

    de Blasio Albany agenda

    Mayor de Blasio in the snow (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The state Legislature is back in session, beginning the months-long process of deliberating on its $160-billion budget and legislation for the coming fiscal year that starts April 1. For New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a second-term Democrat, it poses the annual opportunity to lobby for the city’s priorities, including small and large policy changes and additional funding for city agencies.

    De Blasio had mixed successes in the state capitol, where he has few

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 8

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week we'e continuing to examine Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2018 State of the State speech and policy book, which were delivered last week. Cuomo's 2018 agenda includes fighting the new federal tax code, a variety of proposals that affect New York City, and a 'reform' agenda that ...

  • Reform Groups Launch 'Restore Public Trust' Campaign

    Cuomo Long Island flag

    (photo: The Governor's Office)


    New York’s leading government reform groups reacted to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State agenda on Thursday in Albany, holding a press conference to urge the governor and legislative leaders to adopt a package of reforms to help restore public confidence in state government.

    Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that Cuomo failed to pass any of the reforms he promised in the wake of the alleged bid-rigging schemes associated with his signature economic development programs, government ethics

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  • Cuomo's 2018 State of the State 'Reform' Agenda Largely Repeats Past Proposals

    Cuomo State of the State reforms

    Gov. Cuomo at his 2018 State of the State (photo: Philip Kamrass/Governor's Office)


    During his 2018 State of the State speech on Wednesday in Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo spent little time on government ethics reform, but did address at somewhat greater length his proposals to increase access to the ballot box and change state campaign finance law.

    In sum, the “reform” portion of Cuomo’s remarks were relatively brief, though the governor did expand more on his proposals to change voting, campaign financing,

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  • Cuomo Criticized for Failing to Call Special Election January 1

    Cuomo Flanagan Long Island

    Gov. Cuomo and John Flanagan, right (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    As the legislative session kicks off this week, there are a slew of open state Senate and Assembly seats, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has not indicated when or whether he will call a special election to fill the vacancies.

    January 1 was the earliest the second-term governor could have called the election day to fill all 11 vacancies, and a growing number of critics are pressuring Cuomo to make the pronouncement as soon as possible. The election

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 11

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week starts a two-week sprint to what amounts to the end of the political year: Friday, December 22. Though there will be some political business Christmas week, and a deal to crown the next Speaker of the City Council could be announced any time before the January 3 vote, most of the rest of the political activity for the year (and thus the four-year city term) will take place this week and next. That includes a

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 4

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will start with Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD celebrating low crime in New York City, especially the incredibly low number of murders and shootings in the city thus far this year, looking at data through November.

    For his part, Governor Andrew Cuomo took a quick trip to Puerto Rico on Saturday to recognize New Yorkers who have been on the ground there, many helping to restore power on the island, and

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  • After Hacking Revelations, Assembly Examines New York Election Security

    Cuomo voting election integrity

    Gov. Cuomo votes (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Is New York ready for an election cyber-attack? Are the state’s voting systems vulnerable to hacking?

    The New York State Assembly’s Election Law Committee heard testimony on Tuesday from state and local election board officials and cybersecurity experts on the systems in place to protect the state’s election processes from the types of coordinated cyberattacks that were carried out by Russian actors who sought to influence the 2016 presidential

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  • Assembly Takes Stock of State Economic Development Programs Ahead of Next Negotiations

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    Howard Zemsky in Buffalo (via Governor's Office)


    Ahead of the 2018 legislative session, the New York State Assembly’s Economic Development Committee held a hearing Monday in Albany to evaluate the progress of the state’s multitude of economic development programs and hear testimony from companies and organizations that have benefited from state grants.

    Taking center stage was Howard Zemsky, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s economic development czar as president and CEO of Empire State Development, who defended the state’s jobs programs and was

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  • As New York Votes, a Push to Allow 17-Year-Olds the Ballot Next

    bobbt carroll presser

    Assemblymember Robert Carroll at Monday's rally


    On the eve of Election Day 2017, a state Assembly member from Brooklyn held a press conference focused on voter engagement and turnout, but it wasn’t in support of his own candidacy -- he’s not up for reelection until next year -- or anyone else’s. Instead, Assemblymember Robert Carroll was talking about his push to allow 17-year-olds to vote.

    In the state capital of Albany, Carroll recently introduced a bill, the Young Voter Act, that would

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  • Amid Larger Moment, Will Albany Face Another Sexual Misconduct Reckoning?

    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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  • Meet The Three State Legislators Likely Heading To The City Council

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    Mark Gjonaj & Bronx Democratic leadership (photo: @MarkGjonajNY)


    With the New York City primary election behind us, it appears that at least three state legislators are likely to be leaving behind the trips to Albany for plush City Council seats.

    Following the path of former State Senator Bill Perkins, who was elected to the City Council in a special election earlier this year, two Assembly members and one state senator are likely to be making the same jump come January: State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr, Assemblymember Mark

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  • ‘Zombie’ Charter School Agreement Rests on Interpretation of Ambiguous Law

    de blasio law interpretation

    (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    A much talked-about provision of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 13th-hour deal to have his control over city schools extended was the agreement that 22 revoked or surrendered charter school charters could be reissued without counting towards the predetermined state cap on the number of charter schools.

    In exchange for a two-year extension of mayoral control of city

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