Gotham Gazette

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Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Andrea Stewart-Cousins

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    Brooklynites celebrate Biden's win, Trump's loss (photo: Ethan Geringer-Sameth/Gotham Gazette)


    It was a great day for the Doppler effect Saturday in Brooklyn as a near constant stream of car horns trumpeted elation after it became clear Joe Biden had won Pennsylvania and clinched the 2020 presidential election. Throngs of New Yorkers took to the streets, plazas, and parks to breathe a collective, mostly masked, sigh of relief.

    In New York, that sigh took the form of spontaneous dancing on sidewalks and in streets, clanging pots and pans, and uncorking

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    The New York State Senate chambers (photo: NY Senate)


    Though hundreds of thousands of votes across New York are still to be counted and many races are not yet called, it appears certain that Democrats will retain the majority in the State Senate that they won two years ago, and by a fairly wide margin. But, Republicans seem poised to regain several seats in the chamber to narrow what has been an exceptionally wide 40-23 seat margin and keep Democrats from expanding it to ...

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    Mayor de Blasio after voting (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In April 2016, just after party primary elections featuring a major error by the New York City Board of Elections, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would push for legislation in Albany to professionalize the day-to-day operations of the Board, among other bills that could improve the city's perennially bungled election administration and create more access to the ballot box for New Yorkers. Over four years and several poorly-run elections later, de Blasio made a similar announcement

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    Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (photo: NY Senate)


    Two years ago, Democrats won a majority in the New York State Senate for the first time in eight years, winning full control of the state Legislature and the governor’s office and allowing them to pursue a raft of progressive legislation that had stalled under Republican obstruction. As the New York GOP has continued to diminish since that election, including another wave of retirements among state senators, and as President Donald Trump remains unpopular in the state, Democrats now see an opportunity to

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to insist that New York City needs authorization from the state to borrow billions of dollars in operating funds to balance its budget, at least in the absence of federal aid to cover some of the massive loss in revenue from the pandemic fallout. The drastically-slashed new city budget for this fiscal year passed July 1 included $1 billion in undefined labor savings, which de Blasio said could be covered by federal aid or borrowing, or, if neither of those come through,

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    The Financial Control Board meets (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio has until the end of September to present a state fiscal oversight body with a plan to find $1 billion in savings that will help balance the city budget for the current fiscal year. In lieu of a federal aid package to help replace lost tax revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, the mayor and labor union leaders are pushing the Legislature and Governor Cuomo to allow the city to borrow billions of dollars to cover operating expenses, a proposal that many city and state

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    Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, at a recent press conference (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    New York, and the nation, was teetering on the edge when it was suddenly and violently pushed over it on May 25, as George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota by police officer Derek Chauvin. It was an incident as shocking as it was familiar, an unarmed Black man dying at the hands of a police officer with the episode caught on video and broadcast to millions of people.

    “I can’t breathe,” Floyd cried out, as Chauvin knelt on his

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    A nearly-empty State Senate Chamber as business is conducted amid coronavirus outbreak (photo: NY Senate)


    If New Yorkers take Governor Andrew Cuomo’s word for it, the new $177 billion budget approved last week will “deliver results” for the people of the state and was a far cry from a “bare minimum” spending plan at a time when the state’s finances are racked by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. But within his own Democratic Party, which controls both houses of the Legislature where the plan was passed, the budget is a highly unpopular document that to

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    Gov. Cuomo and other state leaders (photo: Darren McGee, Governor's Office)


    In the opening days of the 2020 state legislative session, debate continues to rage over whether to revisit major changes to the bail system made last year and key Albany policy-makers have been staking out initial positions in a reignited conversation that could lead to revising the reforms.

    The three top decision-makers -- Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, all Democrats -- have each taken a

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    (photo: governor's office)


    The 2019 legislative session in Albany was, as Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins described it, “[T]he most historic and productive legislative session in New York State history, period.” The Democratic-controlled Legislature notched up a long list of victories, including many progressive bills that had languished under prior Republican leadership in the state Senate. But there remained unfinished business, imperfect new laws, and pressing concerns that have carried forward and will define the legislative calendar in 2020, which

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    (photo: @FairElectionsNY)


    A state commission charged with creating a system of public financing for state elections has prompted harsh rebukes from several state legislators for proposing what they say is watered down campaign finance reform and for ostensibly advancing a political agenda that targets longtime critics of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    The New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission was appointed by Cuomo and state legislative leaders after a failure of consensus on overhauling the state’s campaign finance system. It was tasked in

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    the state campaign finance commission at its final meeting


    The New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission held its final meeting on Monday, voting to institute the creation of a new system for public funding of campaigns for statewide and state legislative offices, with lower contribution limits intended to reduce the effect of money in elections. Though the commission did not act to eliminate fusion voting, as minor political parties and their allies feared, it did move to increase the threshold for parties to obtain a position on the ballot, creating uncertainty

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    (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    New York State government leaders are fond of appointing commissions, but those bodies are not known for meeting their deadlines. With those facts in mind, an advocacy group released a public letter Tuesday with an important message about governmental machinations that will significantly impact the state’s future.

    With the 2020 Census around the corner, the League of Women Voters of New York State is urging the state Legislature to keep its eye on a key deadline that falls ahead of the all-important population

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    Mayor de Blasio on line to vote (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Hours-long lines for early voting in New York City have become the latest fodder for New York’s highest elected officials to renew calls to overhaul the New York City Board of Elections. The general request comes from some government leaders every election cycle but has never been followed with action by those in power and there is little indication that this time will be different.

    Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, three of the

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    The State Capitol (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    The New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission, tasked with devising a voluntary system of public funding for state elections, held its first meeting Wednesday at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan. The commission has inspired a measure of optimism among government reformers that it will limit the influence of money in state elections and reduce pay-to-play politics that have long defined

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    Heastie, Stewart-Cousins, Cuomo, Hochul (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    Following a historically productive legislative session in Albany, a broad coalition of progressive advocates has scored the performance of state lawmakers on a range of topics, pointing to major victories and unfinished tasks for reformers as political dust continues to settle from last year’s elections and this year’s governing.

    True Blue NY, a grassroots coalition formed

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    (photo: the governor's office)


    Just after it ended, Governor Andrew Cuomo deemed 2019’s “the most productive legislative session in modern history” at a news conference on Friday in Albany.

    The Democrat in the first year of his third term went through only a partial list of the many laws and investments he and state legislators had made between January and June, in what was the first period of full and functional Demcratic control of state government in decades.

    Though the session included a good deal of sparring between Cuomo and legislators,

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    With 11 days of state legislative session left, including Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio headed to Albany to confab with Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to push for several legislative priorities.

    Among the major items on his agenda, according to mayoral spokesperson Freddi Goldstein, are reforming rent regulations, legalizing marijuana, eliminating the Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT), authorizing design-build contracting at several city

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    Senator Parker, left, with Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins (photo: @SenatorParker)


    The newly-seated Democratic majority in the state Senate does not seem inclined to take any formal action against one of its members, Senator Kevin Parker of Brooklyn, for an inappropriate Twitter outburst last month, directed at a Republican Senate staffer, or his apparent misuse of his official parking placard.

    In tweets on December 18, GOP spokesperson Candice Giove had highlighted what seemed to be Parker’s inappropriate use of his parking placard. Parker responded with a

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


    December 26, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Top Stories of 2018 & What to Watch in 2019

    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series

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    (Photo via Wiki Commons)


    Statewide elected officials, legislators and agency heads are slated to get pay raises next year following recommendations issued Thursday by a four-member panel that was created in this year’s state budget.

    The New York State Compensation Committee voted on Thursday to raise the salaries of legislators for the first time in nearly twenty years, as well as for the four statewide offices and for executive agency commissioners. The committee will publicly release a report and deliver it to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature on Monday

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    Andrea Stewart-Cousins (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    After the election results from earlier this month, Andrea Stewart-Cousins is set to become majority

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


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    November 14, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

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    Cuomo health care

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


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    Though Governor Andrew Cuomo has not expressed support for instituting a single-payer health care system in New York, his fellow Democrats campaigned on the issue as they flipped control of the state Senate, landing all of state government into Democratic hands and providing a significant boost of optimism

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    Byron Brown, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Andrew Cuomo (photo: NY Democratic State Party)


    This is the opening story in a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project: AGENDA 2019
    Find the rest of the series here

    The voting machines are back in storage, the “Vote Here” signs are gone, and politics in New York have entered the interregnum between Election Day and the start of the new term in Albany, when a newly-Democratic State Senate and a

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