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City Council Oversight Hearings, State Legislature Back in Session, & More: The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 29


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This has to be the week that Mayor Bill de Blasio announces whether he's running for president -- right?

De Blasio begins the week leading a rally to call on the city Board of Elections (which he does not control) to put in place a robust plan to implement early voting later this year, and the mayor will also be on NY1 in his usual Monday evening slot.

Also on municipal matters, we'll continue this week to dissect de Blasio's recently-released $92.5 billion executive budget plan, which frustrated leaders at the City Council. And it's a busy week at the Council -- see the rundown of committee hearings below. Of particular note are hearings on implementation by the NYPD of the Right to Know Act; school segregation; and possible disciplinary measures against Council Member Barry Grodenchik of Queens for sexual harassment.

The state Legislature is back in session this week after a two-week break. Including the three this week there are 25 state legislative session days scheduled before the scheduled end of the session June 19. A lot of policy is on the table, but it is unclear which items other than rent regulations are certain to be dealt with.  

As always, there's a lot happening this week -- 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 in Albany.

At noon Monday, Governor Cuomo will make an announcement at Jones Beach Theater.

At 12:15 p.m., "Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul Delivers Remarks at the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society's Conference on Women Leaders" at University at Albany. At 1 p.m., "Hochul Announces Thruway Authority Skilled Trades Scholarship for New York Students Pursuing a Career in Trades."

At 2: 30 p.m. Monday the Pelham-Fritz Recreation Center in Manhattan, "Mayor de Blasio will host a rally to urge the Board of Elections to implement a robust early voting plan...In the evening, the Mayor will appear live on NY1’s Inside City Hall with Errol Louis."

At the City Council on Monday:
--The Committees on General Welfare and Housing & Buildings will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “three-quarter housing,” as well as to discuss the proposed creation of a “three-quarter housing task force,” tasked with inspecting suspected three-quarter housing units, issue violations, offer assistance in finding permanent housing to those living in three-quarter units, and publish its findings in a quarterly report.
--The Committee on Small Business will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss the proposed creation of a “small business disaster recovery and resiliency advisory board.”
--The Committee on Cultural Affairs will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the Cultural After School Adventures Program.
--The Committees on Transportation, Finance, and Governmental Operations will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “the Department of Finance’s Parking Violations Bureau,” as well as to discuss proposed laws including increasing the threshold for towing vehicles with outstanding parking fines from $350 to $500, and disallowing city agencies from reducing fines in exchange for waiving someone’s right to contest parking violations.
--The Committee on Public Safety will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing on the implementation of the Right to Know Act, as well as to discuss proposed laws requiring the CCRB to report on violations of the Right to Know Act and for the NYPD to report on instances when an individual denied an officer’s consent to be searched. Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will attend the hearing.
--The Committee on Standards and Ethics will meet at 3 p.m. for a hearing regarding disciplinary procedures and action against Council Member Barry Grodenchik.

At 9 a.m. Monday outside City Hall, ahead of the Council committee hearing on the subject, “legislators, three-quarter housing tenants, community organizations, and advocates will gather to demand  government action on three-quarter housing conditions.” Participants will include City Council Member Stephen Levin, members of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, Three-Quarter House Tenant Organizing Project, VOCAL-NY, and Neighbors Together.

At noon on Monday outside City Hall, ahead of the Council committee hearing on the subject, “members of Communities United for Police Reform and New York City Council Members [including Council Member Antonio Reynoso] will hold a press conference to condemn the NYPD for violating key provisions of the Right to Know Act, a package of two police reform laws that went into effect in October 2018. The Right to Know Act is designed to reduce unnecessary interactions with police and reduce harm in the most common police interactions that take place...Speakers will discuss recent instances of NYPD officers violating the Right to Know Act. Those violations include: failing to identify themselves to New Yorkers and explain the reason for an interaction; refusing to provide a business card, offering business cards with blank or missing information; and responding with threatening or intimidating responses when asked for identification.”

At 9:30 a.m. Monday at New York Law School, “Solving New York’s Digital Divide,” featuring remarks from the school’s dean, Anthony Crowell, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York City Deputy Chief Technology Officer Josh Breitbart, and Karim Camara, Executive Director and Deputy Commissioner, Governor Cuomo’s Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services. There will also be a panel discussion including Mignon Clyburn, Open Society Foundations & FCC Commissioner Emeritus; Tom Kamber, Older Adults Technology Services; Nicol Turner Lee, Brookings Institution; Michael Santorelli (moderator), ACLP at New York Law School; and Justin Vélez-Hagan, National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce.

At 10 a.m. Monday, the Community Service Society will host a panel discussion on New York’s “health care affordability crisis,” discussing in particular the mayor’s new NYC Care program and community level solutions. Panelists will include Health + Hospitals CEO Mitchell Katz, Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine, Rodrigo Sanchez-Camus of the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, and Elisabeth Benjamin of the CSS.

At 10:30 a.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer will host a press conference with the Asian American Federation, at the Asian American Federation in Manhattan.

At noon Monday, the New York State Board of Elections will hold a commissioners’ meeting in Albany.

At 4:30 p.m. Monday at NYU, “Chancellor Carranza will participate in Pursuing Equity in NYC Schools, a panel discussion hosted by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools.”

At 6 p.m. Monday, the New York Public Interest Research Group will host “Beyond Plastic” at Pace University, discussing the movement against plastic in New York City and plastic’s role in climate change. Speakers will include City Council Member Brad Lander, former EPA Regional Administrator and Beyond Plastics founder Judith Enck, NYPIRG Civic Engagement Coordinator Tousif Ahsan, and Brooklyn non-profit Cafeteria Culture.

At 7 p.m. Monday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will speak at the 'Talking About Mary Jane' Community Engagement Forum, joining "Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, Dr. Kirk A. James, Mandia Glover and Noah Potter, Esq. for a conversation about marijuana legalization in New York State."

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

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Senate Standing Committee on Finance will meet in Albany to discuss the potential divestment of the state’s pension fund from fossil fuels.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics will meet in Albany.

On Tuesday, Gotham Gazette and Citizens Budget Commission will publish the latest episode of the What’s The [Data] Point? podcast, discussing Mayor de Blasio’s recently-released $92.5 billion executive budget plan and what comes next. The episode will include guest Yoav Gonen, a reporter for THE CITY whose areas of expertise include the city budget. Look for the episode in podcast streams and at the GG and CBC websites on Tuesday afternoon.

At the City Council on Tuesday:
--The Committee on Sanitation will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the implementation of Local Law 145 of 2013, which requires waste haulers to operate fuel efficient, reduced-emissions trucks by 2020.
--The Committee on Governmental Operations will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “early voting implementation and poll site interpretation,” as well as a proposed law requiring the city to provide interpreters at poll sites “in the designated citywide languages, where appropriate.”
--The Committees on Higher Education, Women, and Education will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding Title IX, as well as to discuss a proposed law requiring the Commission on Gender Equity to include Title IX compliance in its annual report. The committees will also discuss resolutions calling on DOE to maintain “at least seven” Title IX coordinator positions and requiring “inclusion of Employee Protection Provisions in all current and future school bus contracts” in the city.

At 8 a.m. Tuesday, the Urban Land Institute will host “Affordable Housing: NIMBY or YIMBY” at K&L Gates in Midtown, discussing the conflict between the two approaches and the impacts of both. Panelists will include City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, City Planning Commissioner Michelle de la Uz, Rafael Cestero of the Community Preservation Corporation, and Jeffrey Levine of the Douglaston Companies.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday in Queens, the 2019 Charter Revision Commission will hold the first of its five (one in each borough) public hearings wherein New Yorkers can give the commission feedback on its recently-released preliminary staff report, which outlines areas for the commission to focus as it moves toward crafting its proposals to change city governance that will go before voters in November. This hearing will be at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.

At 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, APA VOICE will host a forum for candidates for Queens District Attorney at Bellozino in Jackson Heights. The candidates in attendance will include Melinda Katz, Rory Lancman, Tiffany Caban, Mina Malik, Gregory Lasak, Jose Nieves, and Betty Lugo.

Wednesday
The New York State Legislature will be in session on Wednesday in Albany.

At the City Council on Wednesday:
--The Committee on Criminal Justice will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “the experience of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in New York City jails,” as well as to discuss proposed laws requiring all correctional facilities to provide trans, gender non-conforming, and intersex people with comprehensive mental health care and substance abuse treatment. The committee will also discuss proposed resolutions calling on the state to pass the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act and to reform presumptive release, parole, conditional release, and post-release supervision.
--The Committees on Civil & Human Rights and Education will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding segregation in New York City schools, as well as to discuss several proposed laws. These include laws creating a task force charged with recommending new admissions procedures for specialized high schools, expanding school demographics reporting, establishing “district diversity working groups” in each school district, codifying the mayoral school diversity advisory group, and creating a “school diversity monitor” charged with monitoring segregation in the school system. The committees will also discuss resolutions calling on the state to change admissions criteria for the specialized high schools and for DOE to create more Gifted and Talented programs.
--The Committee on Justice System will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the implementation of state bail, speedy trial, and discovery reform.

Wednesday is International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day. Several advocacy groups and labor unions will host actions in recognition of worker solidarity:
--#blacklivesmatter, People Power Assemblies NYC, the Laundry Workers Center, and other groups will hold an action in support of TYS Laundromat in Harlem. The groups will rally at the Trump Building on Wall Street at 2 p.m. and will march at 5 p.m.
--The New York Immigration Coalition, NYCLU, DC37, 32BJ SEIU, PSC CUNY, and other groups will rally at Columbus Circle at 5:30 p.m., followed by a march to Trump Tower.

This week’s Max & Murphy show on WBAI radio, listen at 99.5FM or wbai.org, will air at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Thursday
At the City Council on Thursday:
--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.
--The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will meet at 1 p.m.

At 8 a.m. Thursday, State Senator Julia Salazar will join the Workmen’s Circle in the Garment District for a breakfast discussion regarding ‘driver’s licenses for all’ and her work on housing.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation will meet in Albany for a public hearing regarding “limo and bus safety.”

At 11 a.m. Thursday, the Assembly Standing Committee on Housing will meet at 250 Broadway in Manhattan for a public hearing on rent-regulated housing and potential reforms of state rent laws.

At 1 p.m. Thursday, the Senate Standing Committees on Agriculture and Labor will meet jointly at SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake, Sullivan County to discuss the proposed Farmworkers Fair Labor Act.

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

***
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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