Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

State Legislature

State Legislature

  • outline justice agenda

    (photo: governor's office)


    New York State is set to adopt a new electoral campaign finance system, with voluntary participation, lower individual contribution limits, and a new public matching system to amplify small donations. It is based on the recommendations of a state commission, which also raised the threshold for political party ballot access, that will become law unless the state Legislature acts to amend them by Sunday, December 22, which legislative leaders have given no indication they will attempt.

    But while many reform-minded elected

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  • cuomo gov e14

    (photo: governor's office)


    This spring, thanks to the tireless work of grassroots organizers, New York State took the first step towards tackling the climate crisis. The Legislature passed, and the governor signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which sets binding mandates to get New York off of fossil fuels and directs much-needed support to communities hit first and worst by the climate crisis. 

    The CLCPA is a landmark piece of legislation. It’s been called “...

  • elec state college

    (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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  • ocean bayside apt

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    It is taking more time than promised for the city’s property tax reform commission to come out with its initial and final reports with recommendations for changes to the antiquated and unfair system, a delay that threatens to undermine the de Blasio administration’s footing in Albany, where many of the changes would need to be made.

    The Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform, created by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson in 2018, was expected to issue a preliminary report with

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  • bay ridge vnb

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    “To be the fairest big city, you need a fair tax system. For too long, New York City taxpayers have had to grapple with a property tax system that is too opaque, too complex, and just feels unfair,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in May 2018 after announcing the creation of a commission to examine the issue. “New Yorkers need property tax reform, and this advisory commission will put us on the road to achieve it,” he said.

    When the New York City Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform releases its

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  • sen br be3

    Wednesday's Senate roundtable (photo: @NYSenBenjamin)


    A roomful of top experts on New York’s property tax system -- an opaque topic that nonetheless touches every New Yorker, property-owner or not -- gathered for a roundtable discussion convened by state lawmakers Wednesday in downtown Manhattan. They were assembled at the hearing by State Senator Brian Benjamin, a Manhattan Democrat and chair of the Senate’s budget and revenues committee, to discuss solutions to the antiquated and unequal levy system that many want to see tackled in 2020, however overdue the action would

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  • bdb chancellor comm

    Mayor and Chancellor testify in May (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photo Office)


    Just six months after the state Legislature approved a three-year extension of mayoral control of the New York City school system, stretching well past the end of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s term, the state Assembly is holding a hearing later this month on whether the mayor’s stewardship has been effective.  

    The hearing will be held in New York City on December 16 by the Assembly’s education committee and will be, according to a ...

  • nycpba wbai 600

    SI DA McMahon at a press conference (photo: @NYCPBA)


    November 27, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Debating Major Criminal Justice Reforms Set to Take Effect in January

    da mcmahon marie nidaye 150Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon and Marie Ndiaye of Legal Aid Society joined the show to discuss their respective concerns about and support for major criminal justice reforms passed

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  • state legislators hearing

    (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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  • pubic hearing 1

    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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  • gov protecting womens

    (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    When your medical career is bookended by two of the worst public health emergencies in modern American history – the heroin epidemic of the 1970s and our country’s current crisis of overdose and addiction – it gives you a unique perspective on the problem and the solutions.  

    To overcome this deadly crisis we must begin by viewing addiction for what it is – a treatable disease – and then bring to scale evidence-based medical strategies that we know give patients the best chance for a positive

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  • new york start capitol

    (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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  • control board bdb

    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photo Office)


    With voter approval of a city charter amendment to pursue the creation of a budgetary “rainy day fund” in New York City, de Blasio administration officials are now looking to change state laws so that the city can actually start one.

    “We’re going to have to work together to make this happen,” said First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan at a breakfast event hosted by the Citizens Budget Commission Wednesday morning, just a few hours after polls closed on Tuesday night.

    Voters had overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the

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  • gov cuomo casts

    (photo: the governor's office)


    Few New York elections go by without controversy, and this year’s relatively quiet slate has been no exception. As voters head to the polls during the inaugural early voting period and heading into Election Day, one major question that came up during the June primary continues to hang over the general election.

    A bill that could change the way provisional affidavit ballots are counted as soon as this year is languishing in Albany, having passed both houses of the state Legislature in June. The bill would make it harder to disqualify

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  • senate bill complement

    Senator Benjamin at Thursday's press conference (photo: @BrianKavanaghNY)


    New York State Senator Brian Benjamin, a Manhattan Democrat who is exploring a possible 2021 run for city comptroller, introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow New York City to create a “rainy day fund” to weather fiscal emergencies.

    Currently, the city lacks the authority to set aside revenue in such a dedicated pot, one result of the city’s fiscal crisis of the 1970s. But a question on this year’s general election ballot in the city could change the City Charter to

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  • children toys

    (Dreamstime: Photo 3882847 © Jose Manuel Gelpi Diaz - Dreamstime.com)


    Perhaps few items in society hold the same universal delight as children’s products. They are an important part of children’s wellbeing and development and can remind all of us of simple joys of childhood. We expect products designed specifically for children to be safe and free from chemicals that could cause harm.

    Nobody wants their child to play with a toy containing alarmingly high levels of lead, cadmium, or mercury. However, there are many toys and products on the market today that do

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  • mmv president attends

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    A state commission charged with creating a plan for ensuring a complete count of New York residents in the 2020 Census has finally released its report, nine months after it was due and with continued ambiguity over how state census funding will be distributed.

    The New York State Complete Count Commission, made up of executive and legislative branch appointees, spent months holding hearings across the state to solicit input on the challenges posed by the decennial census and how the state should respond. The

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  • gov cuomo legislation 200 million

    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    Like the rest of America, New York State is ensnared in the stranglehold of our byzantine healthcare system, which today is best known for skyrocketing pharmaceutical drug prices and a rapid decline in quality of care. One of the most vicious, insidious, and disingenuous tentacles of that system choking the life out of us is the group of corporations known as Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). 

    While just three Fortune 25 companies – CVS, Express Scripts, and OptumRx – control

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  • fusion voting 600

    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    September 25, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The Future of Fusion Voting in New York

    stan fritz wbaiA commission established by Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature is designing a system of public campaign financing for New York, and also considering whether to try to end the practice of fusion voting. Its binding recommendations are due

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  • dannemora cuomo

    (photo: the governor's office)


    Where is Assembly Bill 6980? It updates New York’s Charitable Bail Fund Act to allow approved organizations to bond more people out of jail. The bill passed the Assembly on June 17 and the Senate on June 19, but it hasn’t been sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo, or requested by the governor for his signature, and it’s not clear why.

    Bail reform activists finally had their day this year when the New York Legislature passed a comprehensive law

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  • mayor bdb voting

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    This is part two of a two-part series. Read part one: New York's Election Administration Accountability Vacuum: ‘Bad Choices at Every Step'

    New York City’s Board of Elections, the maligned ten-member commission responsible for overseeing the administration of voting in the five boroughs, has been the subject of criticism for decades owing to inefficiency and

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  • gov andcuomo doc

    (photo: the governor's office)


    At the end of August, NBC New York ran a story about a young woman who was raped after going out to a Manhattan bar. Despite the fact that she came forward, wanting justice to be done, the Manhattan District Attorney refused to prosecute the case.

    When a reporter questioned his decision not to pursue charges, DA Cyrus Vance’s staff shared a letter he wrote

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  • New York City opioid treatment

    (photo: Edwin Torres/Mayor's Office)


    New York City is showing modest progress in the fight to curb the explosion in drug overdoses, with the health department reporting 38 fewer deaths last year compared to 2017, after a concerted $60-million effort focused on substance abuse prevention, treatment, and education, especially with regard to opioids.

    One aspect of that fight has been the expansion of access to medication-assisted treatment, which experts and activists

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  • gianaris sen mda wbai px

    Senator Gianaris with activists (photo: @SenGianaris)


    August 7, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris on Gun Control, Queens Politics & More

    mike gianaris wbai inset pxState Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris of Queens joined the show to discuss gun control laws that have been passed in New York, what is ahead for state

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  • gov and may deb pro

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Rob Bennett/Mayor Bill de Blasio


    This is the third and final part of a three-part series on New York City's antiquated and unfair property tax system, its complications and inequities, the underway task of reforming it, and prospects for the future.

    Read part one - Taking on the Difficult Task - here.

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