Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

State Legislature

State Legislature

  • new york city summer night pink clouds

    Summer heat has arrived (photo: governor's office)


    The sudden spread of COVID-19 caught governments around the world off-guard, setting off one of the deadliest public health crises in generations. We are learning many lessons from this pandemic, including the importance of preparing for emergencies early and taking decisive action when they strike, especially in New York State, the epicenter of the crisis, where there are over 380,000 confirmed cases and more than 24,000 deaths.

    With summer officially beginning on June 20, another

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    Assemblymember Jeff Aubry (photo: State Assembly )


    This story was first published by the Queens Daily Eagle 

    Eleven years have passed since Queens Assemblymember Jeff Aubry led the successful effort to repeal the state’s Rockefeller drug laws and address the brutal impact of the War on Drugs on communities of color. Since

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  • Cathy Nolan Assembly

    Assemblymember Cathy Nolan at the Amazon 'HQ2' announcement (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Long-time Queens Assemblymember Catherine Nolan faces two challengers in this month’s Democratic primary in her first reelection campaign since coming out in support of the controversial deal that would have brought a massive Amazon campus to Long Island City.

    Nolan has represented the 37th Assembly District, which includes Long Island City and parts of Astoria, Sunnyside, Maspeth, and Ridgewood, since 1985. The district is 39% white, 36%

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  • mnn sidebysideb

    Yuh-Line Niou, left, and Grace Lee during their debate


    Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou and her Democratic primary challenger, Grace Lee, met for a debate on Monday, June 15, hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network and moderated by Gotham Gazette's Ben Max. The primary for this Lower Manhattan State Assembly seat is happening this month, with early voting ongoing through June 21; primary day on June 23; and all eligible voters allowed to vote by absentee ballot. Watch the debate:

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  • grace lee yuh line niou

    Challenger Grace Lee, left, and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou


    An intense Democratic primary is unfolding in Lower Manhattan, where incumbent Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, a staunch progressive, is facing a challenge from business owner and activist Grace Lee, who is partially self-funding her campaign.

    While the two candidates don’t appear to disagree on much politically, the race looks like a test of whether a well-financed challenger seizing on hyper-local issues can motivate enough voters to overcome a broadly popular incumbent. Meanwhile, the

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  • Assembly candidates 

    The two Democratic candidates in Brooklyn's 56th Assembly District


    With incumbent Assemblymember Tremaine Wright of Brooklyn seeking a promotion to the State Senate, the 56th Assembly District is an “open” seat for the 2020 election. The two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in this month’s primary, Justin Cohen and Stefani Zinerman, represent differing policy approaches, campaign styles, and backgrounds. As no other candidates have filed to run in the deep blue district, the winner of the Democratic primary will be unopposed in the general election and

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  • 2 prog comm

    Assemblymember Joe Lentol (photo: @assemblymanjoe)


    Emily Gallagher, a local community board member, is the first person in a decade to challenge New York State Assemblymember Joe Lentol, who has represented North Brooklyn’s 50th Assembly District for 48 years. Her rallying cry has been less to change the policy priorities of the district’s representative, and more to inject new blood into the Assembly, despite Lentol’s progressive track record.

    While Gallagher has been amassing more support than is often typical of a primary challenger to a well-liked incumbent,

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  • race left western

    Assemblymember Simotas, right (photo: @AravellaSimotas)


    Since Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s historic campaign to win her 2018 primary against incumbent Democrat Joe Crowley, many progressive challengers have tried to use her playbook: a grassroots campaign with an uber-progressive platform where a candidate makes up for what they lack in political experience with robust canvassing and a promise of change.

    And in Queens’ 36th Assembly District, which includes most of Astoria and all of Ditmars Steinway and overlaps somewhat with

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  • ny25

    Left to right: Tremaine Wright, Jason Salmon, Jabari Brisport


    Brooklyn State Senator Velmanette Montgomery’s January retirement announcement created an opening for a coveted seat in the upper house of the State Legislature, leading to a fierce Democratic primary that is set to be decided this month.

    Given the overwhelming Democratic enrollment advantage in the 25th State Senate District, where Montgomery has been the senator since 1985, the primary

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  • Mayor de Blasio property tax reform dead

    Mayor de Blasio's slow-play on property tax reform has now been compounded (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayor's Offie)


    The start of the year 2020 offered what many believed to be the most promising steps in decades to revamping New York's confusing and unfair property tax system. In January, an advisory commission established by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council, which was tasked with comprehensively assessing and reevaluating the property tax system, released a set of recommendations. While coming much later than many had

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  • tbny slate 2020 cropped

    Endorsed candidates (image via True Blue NY)


    A coalition of progressive activists from across the state, which formed as a response to Donald Trump’s election and helped tip the balance of the state Legislature towards Democrats in 2018, is backing a slate of Democratic candidates in the June primary election to propel movement on issues of social, economic, and racial justice that they feel have been ignored by the current state government.

    The True Blue NY coalition scored a progressive coup in the last state election cycle by helping elect several progressive

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  • state senator brian benjammin

    State Senator Brian Benjamin (photo: New York Senate)


    May 27, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Brian Benjamin on Rescuing New York's Finances & More

    State Senator Brian BenjaminState Senator Brian Benjamin joined the show to discuss the New York State and City fiscal crises brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak and its fallout. Benjamin, who

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  • state senator gustavo rivera

    State Senator Gustavo Rivera (photo: New York Senate)


    May 27, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Gustavo Rivera on New York's Health Care Response to COVID-19

    State Senator Gustavo RiveraState Senator Gustavo Rivera returned to the show to discuss how New York is responding to the coronavirus crisis, and the status of the New York Health Act, a bill he

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  • gov cuomo outlinesfy

    Gov. Cuomo delivers a budget address (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)


    Despite pleas from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and state and local government leaders across the nation for major new federal help for budgets devastated by the COVID-19 recession, there is still no clear path to Washington acting quickly to provide financial relief. 

    Although on May 15 the House of Representatives, with its Democratic majority, passed a $3 trillion aid bill for the country that included $1 trillion for state and local governments, President

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  • mt kitso pre

    New York has made some adjustments to voting amid COVID-19 (photo: governor's office)


    This guest column is part of Citizens Union Speakers, a regular series of op-eds written by members of the Citizens Union Foundation community in Gotham Gazette, CUF's flagship public education program. The opinions expressed in these Citizens Union Speakers columns are those of the authors alone, not Citizens Union Foundation, Gotham Gazette, or any other entity.

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  • nurses hospital

    Nurses at the frontlines of the coronavirus battle (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Nine weeks after Governor Andrew Cuomo closed all but essential businesses and services, many of the state’s essential workers are now finding themselves struggling with their employers and insurance companies for injury benefits related to COVID-19, and for those who die, their survivors are left to pick up the mantle.

    Infected front-line staff, from health-care workers to grocery store clerks, are being asked to prove they contracted the virus on the job in order to

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  • parollee restor oped

    Questioning which New Yorkers can go to the polls (photo: Gotham Gazette)


    Practicing social distancing is by no means easy, but the guidelines are simple: maintain six feet of distance from others, avoid crowded environments, public bathrooms, and shared dining facilities, and to blow off steam, go outside. Stick to the guidelines, health officials assure us, and we can all help protect each other, especially the vulnerable. 

    But many of the most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis are those whom most of us will never see and for whom social

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  • dcc jponte rikers

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Rikers Island jail complex, a notorious and decrepit institution sitting on 413 acres in the East River, was slated for closure well before New York City became the country’s epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, during which the complex has emerged as a hotspot for infections that have led to the deaths of several detainees and corrections officers.

    But the timeline for shutting down the jail complex and building local jails in four boroughs has been thrust into uncertainty by countervailing

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  • gov cuomo census

    Gov. Cuomo at the NY Census Conference (photo: governor's office)


    According to plans, New York state government would have spent the equivalent of $70 million this year on its effort to ensure that all New Yorkers are counted in the 2020 Census. But as the state has experienced a devastating coronavirus outbreak, that effort has, for all appearances, never gotten off the ground, and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration has done little to inform residents that it is in their best interest and that of the entire state to fill out the Census.

    The

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  • divest ny fos

    A protest to push for New York pension system divestment from fossil fuel stocks (photo: @350)


    The oil and gas industries are experiencing significant upheaval as the coronavirus pandemic decimates economies across the globe. The price of crude oil in the United States temporarily fell below $0 per barrel for the first time ever last month, prompting renewed energy among activists and elected officials in New York who want to rid the state pension fund of all investments in the fossil fuel industry.

    But the one person they must convince, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli,

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  • state senators

    Senators Ramos and Gounardes (photo: NY Senate)


    A group of Democratic state senators, mostly from New York City, gathered in a digital forum Wednesday night to discuss the government’s COVID-19 response. The virtual event, held in partnership with the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI), a nonprofit liberal think tank, covered topics including the state budget, impending cuts and proposals to raise revenue, and legislation to address ramifications of the virus.

    Eight senators, or a fifth of the Democratic majority in the 63-seat chamber, participated in

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  • greene corr fac gov cuomo

    Gov. Cuomo at a correctional facility (photo: governor's office)


    On April 3, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rammed through a budget that will be devastating to New Yorkers and then on April 4 declared that the legislative session was “effectively over” for the year. Several legislators immediately pushed back.

    Comments from legislators on social media ranged from “Hell no” to “...

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    State Senator Michael Gianaris (photo: Senator Michael Gianaris/flickr)


    April 15, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Senator Michael Gianaris on 'Canceling Rent' & State Senate Priorities

    michael gian senate 150

    State Senator Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat who is the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, joined the show to discuss his push to

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  • Cuomo coronavirus briefing power Albany

    Gov. Cuomo at one of his coronavirus briefings (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    The consequences of poor social distancing, inadequate supply chains, and nearly every other facet of our COVID-19 calamity are nothing short of life and death. But as New York endures a disaster unlike any in our lifetimes, as we see our morgues filled and our store shelves stripped bare, this teeming tidal wave of death might upend most fundamental assumptions about our way of life.

    We are about to face a deeply dangerous moment, not

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  • Cuomo political rally winking

    Gov. Cuomo appears interested in seeing the demise of New York's smaller political parties (photo: New York Democratic Party)


    Included in the bills to approve a state budget for the new fiscal year beginning April 1 was the creation of a new campaign finance system with a public-matching program, lower individual contribution limits, and various other changes to campaign finance law. But the controversial inclusion of changes to ballot thresholds could prove to be a poison pill, not for the law but for the several minor political parties

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