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De Blasio Testifies in Albany; State Sexual Harassment Hearing & More: The Week Ahead in New York Politics, Feb. 11


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week looks like it will be dominated by several storylines:

-Controversy over comments made by City Council Member Reverend Ruben Diaz, Sr. that the City Council is "controlled by the homosexual community," as reported by NY1's Juan Manual Benitez. Diaz Sr.'s comments, the latest in a long line of controversial and bigoted statements, have been met with condemnation by many, and calls to resign from some, including many of his Council colleagues. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson -- who sought Diaz Sr.'s support for his speakership bid and rewarded him with the creation of a new committee for him to chair -- said Sunday that the Council is looking into its options for consequences for Diaz Sr., who said he has no plans to resign and refused to apologize for his comments.

-Monday will see Mayor Bill de Blasio and other local officials testify at a legislative budget hearing in Albany. It is de Blasio's yearly trip to the capital to discuss the governor's executive budget plan, the city's top state government priorities and funding needs, and to take questions from legislators.

-Wednesday will see a joint legislative hearing on sexual harassment in New York, both the public and private sectors. The hearing will also include discussion of how to improve upon the anti-sexual harassment laws passed last year without public hearings. Victims and alleged victims of harassment are expected to testify, including about how sexual misconduct has been part of a culture in state government in Albany and the systemic failures to address it that persisted for a long time, and may still have remnants even as awareness has been heightened and new laws have been passed.

-Tuesday will mark just two weeks until the February 26 special election for Public Advocate. Candidates are raising money, getting their messages out, working to secure endorsements, and trying to make sure they qualify for the second televised debate, which will be on NY1 on February 20.

It will also be a very busy week of hearings at the City Council, including a Stated Meeting of the full Council, at which new bills are introduced and those that have passed committee are voted on by the full body. That's not it, though. As always, there are a variety of events to be aware of - see our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
The New York State Legislature will be in session on Monday.

At 10:30 a.m. Monday, State Senator James Sanders will hold a press at the State Capitol to discuss new legislation for a “Green New Deal for New York.” [Read about Sanders’ proposal here: State Senate Bill Would Advance Framework for More Aggressive Green New Deal in New York]

Also at 10:30 a.m. Monday in Albany, “dozens of Mayors and village officials from across New York State” will hold a press conference “to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to restore over $60 million in funding to municipal governments across the State,” according to a press release from Village of Freeport Mayor Robert T. Kennedy.

At 11 a.m. Monday, the State Legislature will hold a joint budget hearing on “local government officials/general government.” Mayor Bill de Blasio will be the first to testify at the hearing. After the mayor, Comptroller Scott Stringer and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will each testify, as will leaders from other cities around the state.

The New York State Board of Regents will meet on Monday and Tuesday in Albany.

At the City Council on Monday:
--The Committee on Justice System will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots (MARCH), as well as to discuss a proposed law requiring the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to issue quarterly reports on MARCH.
--The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws requiring landlords to take steps to eradicate “indoor asthma allergen hazards” and to establish a “demonstration program” for legal basement apartments in East New York.
--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “the Astoria transformer explosion and the transition to a green grid,” as well as to discuss a proposed law requiring the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to study and issue a report on the feasibility of replacing gas power plants with renewables.
--The Committee on Civil Service and Labor will meet at noon to discuss the DCAS provisional employee reduction plan.
--The Committee on Immigration will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding IDNYC.
--The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will meet at 1 p.m.

At 1:15 p.m. Monday, Assemblymember Harvey Epstein, CUNY Interim Vice Chancellor Christopher Rosa, other elected officials, and student leaders will rally at the State Capitol to demand greater funding for students with disabilities in New York colleges.

At 5 p.m. Monday, there will be a meeting of the Queens Borough Board, chaired by Borough President Melinda Katz.

Tuesday
The New York State Legislature will be in session on Tuesday.

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, the Senate Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation will meet in Albany for a public hearing to discuss the Climate and Community Protection Act.

On Tuesday, the State Legislature will hold joint budget hearings on:
--Economic development at 9:30 a.m.
--Taxes at 1 p.m.

At the City Council on Tuesday:
--The Committee on Finance and Subcommittee on the Capital Budget will meet jointly at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws requiring city agencies to electronically notify elected officials and community board members of delays in capital projects and requiring the city to create a publicly searchable database on all pending capital projects.
--The Committees on Juvenile Justice and Youth Services will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “runaway and homeless youth (RHY) and the juvenile justice system.”
--The Committee on Technology will meet at 1:30 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the “Commission on Public Information and Communication’s collaboration in developing city information policies and promoting governmental transparency.”

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the New York City Board of Correction will hold a public meeting at 125 Worth Street.

At noon Tuesday, Council Member Brad Lander, Families for Safe Streets, TransAlt, and the Red Hook Community Justice Center will rally at the City Hall steps to demand passage of the Reckless Driver Accountability Act.

Starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday, faculty unions and student activists from SUNY and CUNY will hold a lobbying day in Albany to press lawmakers for full funding of public higher education.

Wednesday
The City Council will hold a stated meeting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. It will be prefaced by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s pre-stated press conference.

Also at the City Council on Wednesday: the Committee on Immigration will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss a resolution calling on the State Legislature to pass a law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the Senate Standing Committees on Investigations, Ethics, and Women’s Issues, the Assembly Standing Committees on Governmental Operations and Labor, and the Task Force on Women’s Issues will hold a public hearing in Albany to discuss sexual harassment in the workplace.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway.

At 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Civilian Complaint Review Board will hold a board meeting.

Thursday
At the City Council on Thursday:
--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.
--The Committees on General Welfare and Higher Education will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “food insecurity in New York City.”
--The Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss proposed laws prohibiting and establishing penalties for cashless businesses, and requiring cash-only businesses to post signage indicating that they only accept cash.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, the New York City Campaign Finance Board will hold a board meeting at 100 Church Street.

At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, the Senate Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation will meet at 250 Broadway in Manhattan for a public hearing to discuss the Climate and Community Protection Act.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Mayor de Blasio will join CNN commentator Symone Sanders for a discussion at Harvard’s Institute of Politics.

Friday and the weekend
At 10 a.m. Friday, the Senate Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation will meet at the Nassau County Legislature in Mineola for a public hearing to discuss the Climate and Community Protection Act.

Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m. Friday.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, U.S. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will deliver her inaugural address at Herbert H. Lehman High School in the Bronx.

***
Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max
@GothamGazette



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