Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

State Legislature

State Legislature

  • To Build Back Better, New York Should Build Public Renewables

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    (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    A state with the nation’s most ambitious climate justice goals and a White House and Congress promising historic investment in green infrastructure should be a match made in heaven. If we act quickly and pass the New York Build Public Renewables Act, we can make the most of this historic opportunity to rebuild our energy system and economy, and ensure the historic targets we set in 2019 on eradicating carbon emissions and environmental racism become reality.

    The New York Build Public

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  • NYCHA’s Latest Rescue Plan Needs State Approval But That Won't Be Coming Anytime Soon

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    NYCHA Chair Greg Russ (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    *This story was published in partnership with New York Focus.*

    With a week left in the legislative session, New York lawmakers shelved a city-backed plan that aimed to revamp 25,000 NYCHA apartments.

    On May 21, with just ten working days to go in this year’s session, New York lawmakers added a major item to their docket: a ...

  • As Latest Reforms Head to Voters for Approval, Advocates Celebrate Passage of Extensive Election Package

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    Voting (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The New York State Assembly on Tuesday approved two bills that would amend the state constitution to make significant changes to voting laws, and the proposals will now go to voters on this fall’s ballot.

    One would allow voters to request “no excuse” absentee ballots, opening up voting by mail to all. The other would allow voters to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day. The bills had been previously approved by the Senate, and passed by both houses of the State Legislature

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  • A Year Later, Few Essential Workers Have Received Restitution for Getting Covid on the Job

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    Workers at work (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    When state and city health officials closed down non-essential activities last spring to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, they acknowledged the heroics of people who had to continue to report to work, to operate the hospitals, food counters, and buses that kept New York vital. Yet while the vast majority of the likely hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who contracted COVID-19 on the job are eligible for workers' compensation, most have not applied and only a

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  • New York’s Congressional Redistricting Could Be Tipping Point in Midterm Battle for Control of the House

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    State Senate chambers (photo: Philip Kamrass/Governor's Office)


    The Census Bureau released its population counts for the nation and the states on April 26, including changes for the states in the apportionment of 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives. New York State will drop one House seat, going from 27 seats to 26, even though it actually gained more than 800,000 people, from 19.4 to 20.2 million, since 2010. Extraordinarily, the Census reported that New York would have held its 27th seat if  89

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  • As Cuomo Says He's Not Stepping Down, Legislative Leaders Point Him Toward Resignation

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    Gov. Cuomo, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins & Speaker Heastie (photo: June 2020/Governor's Office)


    Shortly after Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday gave a defiant press briefing in which he reiterated he has no plans to resign from his position, two major shoes dropped in the scandals engulfing the third-term Democratic governor: State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins called on Cuomo to resign and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he supports Stewart-Cousins' questions about Cuomo's ability to govern and that the governor

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Jessica Ramos Calls for Governor Cuomo's Resignation

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    State Senator Jessica Ramos (photo: NY Senate)


    March 3, 2021 - Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Jessica Ramos Call s for Governor Cuomo's Resignation

    State Senator Jessica Ramos of Queens joined the show to discuss her call for Governor Cuomo's resignation over a series of sexual harassment allegations, how the Legislature is

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  • New York’s Next Shot to Strengthen Our Democracy

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    The State Senate chamber (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayoral Photo Office)


    American democracy is suffering a crisis of confidence. In too many states, the very mechanics of elections has become a partisan and polarizing issue, with deeply damaging results. This year New York has the chance to model a path forward, with a bipartisan commitment to strengthening democracy and providing the best possible systems for our citizens to be heard. 

    As appointees to the state’s new Public Campaign Finance Board, that commitment is

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  • State Legislators Eye Revenue from Inheritances and Gifts with New ‘Heirs Tax’

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    The State Capitol in Albany (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    As New York State faces a severe budget shortfall and awaits federal aid, some lawmakers and activists are advocating for a package of legislation that would increase taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents to avoid cuts to services for the most vulnerable. Among those proposals is a bill that would tax inheritances for multi-millionaires and raise as much as $8 billion for the state every year, according to supporters’ calculations. 

    State Senator Jabari

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  • Legislators and CUNY Chancellor Discuss University Funding, Recovery Plans Amid Massive Covid Disruption

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    Queens College (photo: CUNY)


    At the State Legislature’s recent budget hearing on higher education, held virtually on February 4, City University of New York (CUNY) Chancellor Félix Matos Rodriguez discussed his asks for CUNY funding and answered questions about the university’s spending, programs, and operational plans.

    The hearing was the sixth in a series of 13 on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fiscal year 2021-2022

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  • De Blasio Pledges Last Gasp Property Tax Reform Effort

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    New York City (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    After getting "derailed" by the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio is reviving one of his earliest and most delayed mayoral commitments: to reform an out-of-date and unequal property tax system. The city's Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform will begin holding public hearings, originally scheduled for last March, on its preliminary recommendations and will produce a final report by the time de Blasio leaves office at the end of the year, he said Thursday

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  • De Blasio Warns of Cuomo Budget Moves, Outlines Albany Agenda in Final State Legislative Hearing

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    Mayor de Blasio testifying remotely (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio pleaded to state legislators on Thursday to protect New York City from hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts and cost shifts in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget for the next fiscal year, warning that the damage could be worse if federal stimulus aid is not delivered on time.  

    In his annual, and final, appearance before the state Legislature to testify about the governor’s budget plan and the

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  • Democratic Mayoral Candidates Offer Albany Agendas, Strategies for Accomplishing Them

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    The Governor & Legislative leaders (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)


    Eight of the top Democratic mayoral candidates appeared at a virtual forum on Monday to outline their legislative and budget priorities at the state level, and their strategies for achieving those goals. To varying degrees, they laid out tactics for partnering with, even opposing, Governor Andrew Cuomo and corralling the state Legislature to their side. But there were clear differences among the candidates, informed by their own background and experiences,

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  • WATCH: Democratic Mayoral Candidates Outline Their Albany Agendas

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     l-r (top): Kathryn Garcia, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley, Carlos Menchaca; bottom: Shaun Donovan, Dianne Morales, Loree Sutton, Eric Adams


    Eight leading Democratic mayoral candidates appeared in two sessions at the "Albany Agenda" forum hosted by Empire State Indivisible and moderated by Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max. The candidates — Kathryn Garcia, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley, Carlos Menchaca, Shaun Donovan, Eric Adams, Dianne Morales, and Loree Sutton — discussed their state policy agendas and how they would navigate the processes, politics, and

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  • State Legislators, Advocacy Coalition Launch Push for ‘New Deal for CUNY’

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    CUNY graduates (photo: CUNY)


    Brooklyn State Senator Andrew Gounardes, Bronx Assemblymember Karines Reyes, the CUNY Rising Alliance, and others are holding a virtual press conference Friday to promote the proposed “New Deal for CUNY.”

    The New Deal for CUNY includes three main goals that deal with the university’s funding, spending, staffing, and campuses, would be implemented over the course of five years, and would make CUNY tuition- and fee-free for New

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  • It's Time to Stop Tolerating Wrongful Convictions and How They Undermine Our Legal System

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    State Senator Myrie, a co-author, with other electeds and advocates


    2020 was a year of tragedy and despair, hope and resilience. In 2021 we must take long overdue steps to address the myriad injustices laid bare by the pandemic, and others plainly evident well before COVID-19.

    We must shore up our medical system and our schools. We must rebuild our social safety net. And we must once and for all, decidedly and without hesitation, address the long-standing harms perpetrated by the criminal legal system against

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Liz Krueger on New York’s Finances

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    Senator Liz Krueger (photo: NY Senate)


    January 20, 2021 - Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Liz Krueger on New York’s Finances

    State Senator Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat who chairs the Senate's finance committee, joined the show to discuss the state's fiscal picture, the governor's new executive budget plan, aid from Washginton, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand @JarrettMurphy. You

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  • New York and the Veto–Proof Legislature

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    Governors Andrew and Mario Cuomo (photo: governor's office)


    Early in 1984 I visited Governor Mario Cuomo’s office in Albany at his invitation. He wanted to discuss a talk I’d given at the New School about his first year as governor. I found myself going on about the growing dominance of the governor in New York’s legislative process. Governor Cuomo loved to debate. I knew from earlier experience that trouble was ahead when he started a sentence by addressing me as “professor.”

    “Don’t you realize, professor,” he said, “that when it comes to making law, they can act

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Senator Jamaal Bailey on the Albany Agenda and Leading the Bronx Democrats

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    State Senator Jamaal Bailey (photo: NY Senate)


    December 16, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Jamaal Bailey on the Albany Agenda and Leading the Bronx Democrats

    State Senator Jamaal Bailey of the Bronx joined the show to discuss his agenda, where the state may be headed in terms of solving its fiscal issues and helping struggling New Yorkers, and his leadership of the Bronx Democratic Party.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter ...

  • What Covid and the 2020 Elections Taught Us: It’s Time to Do Right by New Yorkers on Health Care

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    Health care remains the top issue for voters (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The Biden-Harris victory is great news and a huge relief. Our country has suffered under Trump.

    But we have a problem. A record number of voters rejected a national campaign that stood for greater economic fairness, science-based policies on COVID-19 and the environment, protecting health care coverage, and racial justice.

    In New York state legislative races, moderate and progressive candidates did well, achieving strong legislative majorities for Democrats in both houses. But several

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  • Mass New York Voter Enfranchisement Awaits a Stroke of the Governor’s Pen

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    Voters would have less hassle registering under AVR (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Following the widespread problems in the execution of this year’s elections, it’s clear we need to transform New York’s voting systems from top to bottom. From restoring confidence in the Board of Elections to reducing long lines and wait times counting ballots, lawmakers must take action now to prevent another disaster the next time New Yorkers vote. Thankfully, there is one important fix that can be done immediately: enacting the Automatic Voter Registration legislation that passed the

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  • The Covid Crisis Made the New York Health Act More Urgent, More Unlikely, or Both

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    New Yorkers at a hospital, pre-pandemic (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    When Mariana Pineda was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April, she spent several days in the hospital being treated for pneumonia and sepsis after not being able to see a primary care doctor due to a recent change in insurance plans.

    Pineda, an asthmatic, is one of an untold number of New Yorkers who put off seeking treatment for the coronavirus due to complications with insurance plans or not having health care coverage at all.

    “The third day of feeling very sick at home

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  • Democrats Hold Senate Majority, All of State Government; Here's What's on Their Agenda

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    Gov. Cuomo, Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins (photo: Governor's Office)


    Despite facing tough battles in districts that they narrowly won two years ago and being on the verge of defeat in some places, Democrats also flipped a few seats and will grow their large majority in the State Senate, retaining control of both chambers of the Legislature by wide margins. Along with the ongoing tenure of third-term Governor Andrew Cuomo, Democrats will keep full control of New York state government through 2022, the next state election

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Liz Krueger on Next Steps in the Covid Fight

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    Senator Liz Krueger (photo: NY Senate)


    November 18, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Liz Krueger on Next Steps in the Covid Fight

    State Senator Liz Krueger joined the show to discuss the next steps in New York's fight against the coronavirus.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand @JarrettMurphy. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the

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  • Concerns Over Budget Cuts to State Court System Amid Massive Case Backlog

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    Gov. Cuomo and Chief Judge Difiore (photo: governor's office)


    Members of the New York State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee held a virtual hearing on Thursday to examine the impacts of a proposed $300 million cut to the state judiciary’s budget. The reduction, which represents a 10% cut to the court system’s $3 billion budget for the current fiscal year, was announced by the Office of Court Administration (OAC) in September in response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s directive that all state entities reduce their budgets by 10% to mitigate the budgetary effects of economic

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