Gotham Gazette

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State Legislature

State Legislature

  • State Budget Roundup: Ethics, Transparency, Spending Accountability, Campaign Finance, and Voting

    Gov. Hochul signs orders (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    Good government groups and reform-minded officials have for years called for New York State’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) to be scrapped and replaced with more independence from the elected officials it is meant to regulate. But since the details of a deal to replace the troubled commission began to emerge last month, reformers have raised alarms that the new body would hardly be better than the old.

    A new state ethics commission is one of several measures related to government ethics and

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  • What Adams Did and Didn't Get in His First State Budget as Mayor

    Mayor Adams in Albany (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Governor Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature delivered a $220 billion state budget over the weekend, nine days late and packed with last-minute additions that proved controversial, including changes to state bail laws and a massive state subsidy for a new Buffalo Bills stadium upstate. For Mayor Eric Adams, it contained funding and policy decisions to meet some of the new mayor’s major priorities, while not fulfilling other aspects of his state agenda. 

    State Budget Includes Big Boost for CUNY

    City University of New York (photo: CUNY)


    The $220 billion state budget passed by Governor Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature over the weekend included a significant increase in operational and capital funding for CUNY, the City University of New York that educates roughly 275,000 students across 25 schools.

    The new funding will help cover student tuition assistance, faculty hiring, child care programs, fringe benefits for staffers and more. But while significant, the increase of roughly $240 million in CUNY

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  • NYS Public Service Commission: Do the Right Thing for Frontline Communities

    New York City from above (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    It doesn't often happen that New York State has an opportunity to take decisive and meaningful action to address deep-rooted issues that have plagued the Bronx, New York City, and our state for way too long — environmental injustice and climate change.

    This month, the seven members of the New York State Public Service Commission hold our fate in their hands as they vote on the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE), a permitted and shovel-ready

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Senators Julia Salazar & Jabari Brisport on the New State Budget

    State Senators Julia Salazar, left, & Jabari Brisport


    April 13, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Senators Julia Salazar & Jabari Brisport on the New State Budget

    State Senators Julia Salazar and Jabari Brisport, both Brooklyn Democrats and members of the Democratic Socialists of America, joined the show to discuss major recent events -- the Brooklyn subway shooting and resignation of Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin -- as well as the recently-passed state budget and upcoming legislative session.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter ...

  • Expansion of Kendra's Law, Funding for Psychiatric Beds Among State Budget Decisions on Mental Illness Policy

    Gov. Hochul speaks to health care providers (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)


    Embedded in the $220 billion state budget lawmakers adopted this past weekend is a controversial expansion of Kendra's Law, which allows judges to mandate mental health treatment, including inpatient commitment, to people with mental illness deemed a danger to themselves or others.

    The change to the state's mental hygiene law, one of a handful of contentious final proposals pushed by Governor Kathy Hochul,

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Senator John Liu on Final State Budget Negotiations

    Senator John Liu (photo: NY Senate)


    April 6, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Senator John Liu on State Budget Negotiations

    State Senator John Liu, a Queens Democrat, joined the show to discuss final state budget negotiations, hitting on a wide range of key topics being decided among the State Senate, Assembly, and Governor.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get

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  • Bills Stadium Deal Tests Hochul's Ethics Promises and Legislature's Oversight Role

    Gov. Hochul at a Bills game (photo: @GovKathyHochul)


    Last week Governor Kathy Hochul announced a deal to build a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills with hundreds of millions of dollars in state subsidies, and that she was planning to push it through the state budget with little time for scrutiny by the Legislature or public. It was the exact type of Albany politics many feared of the secretive negotiations with Hochul’s hometown team – and the type she promised to leave behind when she took office last year.

    The new stadium deal is also the first major test of a non-binding ...

  • In This Moment, New York Needs The AAPI Equity Budget

    Gov. Hochul at a rally (photo: Don Pollard/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)


    Over the past two years, Asian Americans have learned to look over our shoulders on the subway platform and keep one earbud out as we walk down the street. An onslaught of anti-Asian hate incidents has instilled fear in our community, from our children to our elders, influencing how we go about our daily lives.

    Seniors

    What to Watch For as a New York State Budget Deal is Reached

    Gov. Hochul addresses the Legislature (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)


    New York officials are in the final stages of negotiating what is likely to be a roughly $220 billion state budget for the next fiscal year, which begins Friday, April 1. While the Legislature will not pass the budget bills by the start of the fiscal year, a deal between Governor Kathy Hochul and the two houses of the Legislature is expected within a few days.

    The budget contains hundreds of funding and policy priorities that will impact government

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Senator Gustavo Rivera on Crunch-Time State Budget Negotiations

    State Senator Gustavo Rivera (photo: NYS Senate Media Services)


    March 30, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Senator Gustavo Rivera on State Budget Negotiations

    State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat and chair of the Senate health committee, joined the show to discuss final state budget negotiations, touching on a variety of key issues, as well as the overarching process, Mayor Adams' Albany agenda, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt on State Budget Priorities

    Senate GOP Leader Rob Ortt at a rally (photo: NY Senate GOP)


    March 29, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt on State Budget Priorities

    Rob Ortt, the State Senate Republican Minority Leader, joined the show to discuss state budget negotiations and top priorities for the GOP conference, including bail reform and more, as well as the potential Buffalo Bills stadium deal.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the show through the

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  • A Critical Opportunity for New York to Increase Care Not Coercion for Those Living with Serious Mental Illness

    Health care at the hospital (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    Far too many New Yorkers living with serious mental illnesses have been left to languish in our streets, hospitals, jails, and prisons without adequate access to the health care, housing, employment, and other rehabilitative and supportive services they need to survive and thrive.

    Thankfully, help is on the way this year. In the next week, the Governor and State Legislature will work to pass a budget launching an unprecedented number of initiatives to help New

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  • Saving Lives from New York City to Rochester and Beyond

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


    The city of Rochester is not immune to our country’s overdose crisis. In 2020, the most recent year we have data from, we lost over 230 people to preventable overdoses in our city, and preliminary data points to that only increasing in 2021. Each person we are losing sends a shockwave through our communities and families, and we cannot give in to the idea that this epidemic is normal or unpreventable.

    The reality is, every overdose death is preventable.

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  • Max Politics Podcast: What to Know as State Budget Negotiations Enter the Home Stretch

    Governor Hochul speaks to the Legislature (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)


    March 23, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: What to Know as State Budget Negotiations Enter the Home Stretch

    With a new New York state budget due by the April 1 start of the next fiscal year, two top Albany journalists -- Susan Arbetter of Spectrum News and Luis Ferré-Sadurní of the New York Times -- joined the show to break down the key issues being negotiated among Governor Kathy Hochul and the State Legislarture in the home stretch.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know

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  • An Inclusive Economic Recovery Will Prevent Crime

    On the job (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Roughly a decade has passed since New York City experiencedcrime rates and

    'Database of Deals' for State Business Subsidy Accountability Backed by Both Houses of Legislature

    Gov. Hochul talks economic development (photo: Darren McGee/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)


    In their separate one-house budget resolutions passed this week both houses of the State Legislature included a "database of deals," a public register of state business subsidies that would shed light on billions of dollars in government incentives to corporations.

    The legislation, which has been around for years but not passed, would require the state to publish a searchable database of state subsidies for economic development projects that would document the corporate recipient, the state benefits received,

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  • Legislature MIA on Oversight of Covid in State Psychiatric Hospitals

    The New York State Senate (photo: NYS Senate Media Services)


    As with every wave, the Omicron variant stirred a swell of infections and death in New York State's psychiatric hospitals, where some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers are living in congregate settings that heighten the risk of COVID-19.

    The state's 24 facilities, run by the Office of Mental Health (OMH), house roughly 4,400 patients. At least 55 patients and 12 employees have died of COVID-19 since the virus was first detected in New York, a relatively high patient covid fatality rate. ...

  • The Climate Crisis Requires Bold Action: $15 Billion and Build Public Renewables Now

    (photo: Philip Kamrass/ New York Power Authority)

    Gov. Hochul at a solar farm event (photo: Philip Kamrass/New York Power Authority)


    In 2019, I took a vote in Albany that I remain proud of to this day: after supporting the bill for many years, I voted to finally pass the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). I thought we were on track. The CLCPA made New York a true leader on climate, committing our state to a rapid decarbonization of our economy and ensuring that we invest in frontline communities most impacted by pollution and climate

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  • New Yorkers Deserve a Breath of Fresh Air

    Kids at rest (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    While New Yorkers have been battling the COVID-19 pandemic, another public health epidemic is on the horizon that similarly affects their capacity to breathe freely: asthma. In 2019,over 1.4 million New Yorkers were living with asthma, and this number has likely grown since then. Over...

  • Legislators Introduce Bill to Extend and Expand NYC Freelancer Protections Across New York State

    freelance photography photo dca

    Freelance photography (photo: NYC Department of Consumer & Worker Protection)


    In 2017, New York City’s “Freelance Isn’t Free” legislation took effect, giving gig workers crucial protections against exploitation and wage theft. State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Harry Bronson are now attempting to replicate the law state-wide with a new bill they introduced on Thursday that would expand state labor law protections to freelancers.

    The bill from Gounardes, a Brooklyn Democrat, and Bronson, a Rochester Democrat,

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  • State Aims to Reinstate Hundreds of Psychiatric Beds Shifted During Pandemic

    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

    Medical evaluation (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    New York State is looking to reinstate all of the roughly 400 beds in the state's inpatient psychiatric system that were converted to medical beds at the start of the pandemic two years ago. But there is a long road to restore them despite mounting pressure from elected officials, representatives of the state Office of Mental Health (OMH) told lawmakers at a joint state legislative budget hearing Monday.

    "Across the state there have been

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  • After Subway Shoving, Officials Look to Expand State Laws on Mandatory Treatment for Mental Illness

    dem seek expand

    Subway outreach (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In January 1999, Kendra Webdale, a 32-year-old writer, was pushed to her death into the path of an oncoming N train by a schizophrenic man. Webdale’s death prompted the passage of the eponymously named Kendra’s Law, which allows courts to order a person to receive supervised mental health treatment, also known as assisted outpatient treatment, failing which they can be temporarily committed to a hospital.

    Twenty-three years later, the killing of 40-year-old Michelle Go in eerily

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  • Construction Deaths in New York Increased During First Year of Pandemic, Report Shows

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The construction industry was more deadly to workers in New York in the first year of the pandemic than in the two years prior, reversing a multiyear decline in the statewide fatality rate, a new report shows.

    Forty-one workers were killed on construction sites in New York in 2020, including 13 in New York City, according to a report published Thursday

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  • Adams Testifies Before State Legislature with Focus on Criminal Justice Reforms, Mayoral Control of Schools, and Social Safety Net

    adams testifies leg

    Mayor Adams (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday appeared before the State Legislature to testify on Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget for the 2023 fiscal year and his own Albany agenda, as well as take questions from legislators. Adams, a former state senator making his first appearance before the Legislature as mayor, reiterated his calls for changes to state criminal justice laws, pushed for changes in state law to enhance child care and tax credits for working New Yorkers, asked for more state

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