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State Legislature

State Legislature

  • As Hochul Promises ‘Bold’ Agenda, Many Housing Policies on the Table for 2023 in Albany

    Gov. Hochul at a housing event (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)

    New York faces an acute housing crisis: rents are sky high, not enough housing is being built, homeownership is increasingly out of reach, and there is a looming eviction crisis coming out of the covid pandemic. But while the issues contributing to the problem have long been simmering, solutions from state and city leaders have been halting and piecemeal, far from meeting the need wherein 53% of New York City tenants are...

  • Don't Believe the Hype; Bail Reform is Good Policy and Good Politics

    Speaker Heastie & Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins (photo: State Senate)

    In 2019, Democrats in New York were feeling pretty good. New York City had its first two-term Democratic mayor since the 1980s. Democrats controlled the Governor’s mansion in Albany and every other statewide office. We controlled the State Assembly and the State Senate – both with commanding majorities.

    Washington, of course, was a mess. One party was in the thrall of a former game show host, and they were too afraid of upsetting him to get

  • Max Politics Podcast: Ron Kim on How Democrats Can Win Back Asian Voters

    Assemblymember Ron Kim (photo: @rontkim)

    November 30, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Ron Kim on How Democrats Can Win Back Asian Voters

    Queens Assemblymember Ron Kim, fresh off a narrow reelection win, joined the show to discuss how Democrats can win back Asian voters who have been moving toward Republicans in recent election cycles, what's wrong with the Democratic Party in New York, and more.

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

  • 'I knew the vote would be close, but I didn't think that close': Iwen Chu's History-Making Win in Brooklyn's New 17th State Senate District

    A rally for Iwen Chu, center (photo: @Iwen4NY)

    This month, Iwen Chu became the first Asian-American woman elected to the New York State Senate, clinching an unexpectedly tight victory over Republican Vito LaBella. Starting in January, Chu will represent the 17th Senate District, a newly-created Asian-plurality district in Southern Brooklyn, redrawn in the recent redistricting process based on demographic trends in the 2020 Census, which saw Asian Americans as the fastest growing group in New York in the last ten years.

    Chu’s victory was hard fought, with a margin of just 215 votes as of November 21, and

  • Reason to be Thankful This Holiday Season: New Law Empowers Sexual Assault Survivors

    Gov. Hochul signs the Adult Survivors Act (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)

    On Thanksgiving, survivors of sexual abuse in New York had something to be truly thankful for. November 24 marked the opening of a one-year period when, under a new law, survivors can file a civil claim against the person who abused them and any institutions that enabled the abuse, no matter how long ago the abuse happened.

    This law,...

  • There's a Lot of Finger-Pointing Around New York Redistricting; What Actually Happened?

    Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders, 2013 (photo: Governor's Office)

    Democrats in New York are stinging from a rough 2022 election showing in which they lost several congressional seats to Republicans, potentially costing the party control of the U.S. House of Representatives. As they assign blame, many have pointed to a tumultuous redistricting precipitated by a broken state process, state legislative leaders who overreached in trying to draw overly partisan lines, a Court of Appeals that ruled in favor of Republicans, and former Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose

  • Leading Immigrant Advocacy Group Releases 'Respect and Dignity' 2023 State Policy Agenda

    A Make the Road rally (photo: Make the Road NY)

    Make the Road New York, the state’s largest member organization of immigrant advocates, will release its 2023-24 state policy platform on Wednesday and kick off a series of town halls to push for legislation that includes expanded unemployment protections, greater health care access, instituting ‘good cause’ eviction, ending racially-biased school discipline, decriminalizing sex work, raising taxes on the wealthy, and more. 

    With 25,000 members statewide, Make the Road New York (MRNY)

  • Democrats Keep Wide State Senate Majority, with Two Races Undecided

    Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins & Deputy Leader Gianaris (photo: NYS Senate Photography)

    New York Democrats are poised to retain a comfortable majority in the State Senate but could lose the supermajority they have held since the 2020 elections.

    Senate Democrats headed into the general election with 42 members in the 63-seat legislative chamber, and needed to hold on to that number to keep their supermajority. Republicans held 20 seats, while one that was most recently held by a Democrat was vacant.

    On Wednesday, with most votes tallied, Democrats were victorious in at least 40

  • Bail Reform Remains at Center of New York Political Debate But State Legislature has Never Held a Hearing On It

    Outside Rikers Island (photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)

    New York State’s sweeping bail reform law first went into effect in January 2020 and has been subsequently amended twice since then in response to widespread opposition from law enforcement, Republican officials, and some moderate and conservative Democrats. Since its first passage -- through three consecutive legislative sessions and into this statewide election year -- bail reform has been a highly contentious issue, with heated political rhetoric often outpacing facts.

    It is now among the top issues Republicans are focused on in

  • After This Year’s Debacle, What’s Next for New York State Redistricting?

    In the State Legislature (photo: NYS Senate Media Services)

    Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders did not intend to hand map-drawing power to the courts when, in 2012, they hashed out a state constitutional amendment that recast the decennial redistricting process. Nor did they envision, after months of contentious public debate and closed-door negotiations, that the first pass at the new system would result in a hastily-organized, bifurcated election season with two major primaries taking place separately in a single summer.


  • Max Politics Podcast: Kristen Gonzalez is Heading Toward the New York State Senate

    Kristen Gonzalez (photo: Gonzalez campaign)

    September 7, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Kristen Gonzalez is Likely Heading to the New York State Senate

    Kristen Gonzalez, a democratic socialist, won her August Democratic primary election for a new State Senate seat (district 59) covering parts of western Queens and Brooklyn as well as a slice of the East Side of Manhattan, and is all but certain to win the general election and become a State Senator in January. She joined the show to discuss her winning campaign, policy priorities, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and

  • Max Politics Podcast: State Senator Gustavo Rivera on Surviving a Major Primary Challenge

    Senator Gustavo Rivera, right, with Rep. Adriano Espaillat (photo: Rivera campaign website)

    September 2, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: State Senator Gustavo Rivera on Surviving a Major Primary Challenge

    State Senator Gustavo Rivera of the Bronx joined the show to discuss winning his August 2022 Democratic primary despite a well-organized, well-funded attempt to unseat him.

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

  • Latinos and the August 2022 New York State Senate Primary

    (l-r) Nathalia Fernandez, Gustavo Rivera, Kristen Gonzalez

    Last week’s primary elections for New York State Senate and U.S. House of Representatives seats included a number of competitive races, some of them in Latino-majority districts. As in any election, the implications of this primary are varied and significant.

    Here are several key takeaways from State Senate races in the five boroughs.

    Latino Turnout, Where Art Thou?
    Voter turnout at

  • New York’s New State Government Ethics and Lobbying Oversight Body Takes Shape

    The Capitol in Albany (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)

    New York’s newest state government ethics commission, set to replace the infamously dysfunctional Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), will soon take its first steps when its members are approved by a committee of law school deans. That could take place beginning as soon as this month.

    Nine out of 11 nominees to the new Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (CELG) have been formally named by New York's statewide elected officials and legislative

  • After Push by Hochul and Adams, an Increase in Court-Ordered Mental Health Treatment

    Gov. Hochul and Mayor Adams make an announcement (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    According to state data, the number of people placed under court-ordered mental health treatment since April, when lawmakers expanded the court's power to make such determinations, has increased 60% from the same period a year before.

    The data, provided by the state Office of Court Administration (OCA) to Gotham Gazette after an inquiry, shows that during the four-month period from April through July, 462 people in New York were ordered by a judge to

  • What Does the Supreme Court EPA Ruling Mean for New York Climate Efforts?

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

    Elected and appointed officials, candidates for office, and environmental activists in New York  were reenergized to fight against climate change locally in the wake of a June Supreme Court ruling that limits the power of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

    The decision in West

  • 'State Government is More Important Than It's Ever Been': Senator Gianaris on Upheaval at New York's Top Court, Redistricting, Bail Reform, & More

    State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (photo: NYS Senate Photography)

    New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris has been a key figure in the Democratic takeover of the State Senate, and thus all of state government as of 2019, and in negotiating budget and legislative decisions on a wide variety of issues. That has included state action to counteract recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court on abortion rights and New York’s gun laws.

    Gianaris, a Queens Democrat who represents the 12th State Senate District, has also been taking on New York’s highest court, the Court of

  • New York Prisons Cut Crucial Lifeline to Incarcerated Individuals and Families Through Arbitrary Package Policy

    Clinton Correctional (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

    Starting July 18, 2022, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community  Supervision (DOCCS) has implemented a new statewide policy restricting the rights of  incarcerated individuals to receive packages from loved ones. The revised policy – Directive  #4911A – requires that all packages be shipped directly from vendors, and in-person visitors will  no longer be allowed to ship or bring packages from home. This measure will further isolate  incarcerated individuals from loved ones and curtail their access to fresh foods,

  • State Yet to Meet Mandate to Publish Registry of Construction Worker Fatalities

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

    UPDATE, 8/1/22: After this article was published, the Department of Labor website was updated with a

  • ‘You Come Back a Year Later and Fight for More’: Retiring Dick Gottfried Reflects on 52 Years in the State Assembly

    Assemblymember Dick Gottfried (photo: @cannaparade)

    After 52 years as a member of the New York State Assembly, Richard “Dick” Gottfried is retiring. His half-century career makes him the longest-serving Assembly member in New York State history, a journey that began in 1970. A Democrat representing the 75th Assembly District, which includes parts of Manhattan’s West Side, Gottfried will also be leaving his post as chair of the Assembly Health Committee, which he has held for a mere 35 years, since 1987.

    Gottfried announced his

  • Max Politics Podcast: Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris on the Court of Appeals, Gun Control, & More

    Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (photo: NYS Senate Photography)

    July 12, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris on the Court of Appeals, Gun Control, & More

    State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat, joined the show to discuss upheaval at the New York Court of Appeals, redistricting, bail reform, gun control, the upcoming State Senate elections, and more.

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

  • ‘We Did a Lot of Really Good Things Over the Years’: Diane Savino on the Independent Democratic Conference and 18 Years in the State Senate

    Diane Savino with Eric Adams (photo: @ericadamsfornyc)

    In her ninth term serving as the New York State Senator for the 23rd district, spanning parts of Staten Island and southern Brooklyn, Diane Savino decided to not seek reelection this year. Savino, a moderate Democrat from Staten Island, is leaving the Senate after 18 years and passing 144 bills, which have heavily focused on labor issues. That focus made sense given Savino was elected to the Senate after having been a political operative for a large labor union.

    Savino ...

  • With the Stroke of a Pen, Governor Hochul Can Bring Smaller Classes to New York City Schools

    Gov. Hochul's signature (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)

    The families in my district need – and deserve – smaller classes for their children. The Legislature has overwhelmingly approved a measure that will set new class size limits in New York City public schools. It is now up to Governor Hochul to ensure that the city brings these benefits to our kids.

    For years New York City’s children have had to deal with class sizes among the largest in the state, and my district in Queens is no

  • Passed by Legislature, Uncertain Future for Bill to Ensure Access to Public Housing for Formerly Incarcerated New Yorkers

    NYCHA Eastchester Garden Houses, The Bronx (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    A bill that lawmakers say could ensure more people leaving incarceration have access to public housing passed the State Legislature earlier this year and is awaiting the governor's signature. But housing and criminal justice advocates say the legislation, while "well-intentioned," may contain a language loophole that could render it meaningless and expose it to legal challenges.

    The legislation is intended to remove most of the New York

  • New York Searches for New ‘Concealed Carry’ Policy 111 Years After Its First

    Gov. Hochul signs gun control legislation (photo: Don Pollard/Governor's Office)

    The U.S. Supreme Court, in the June 23 decision inNew York State Rifle and Pistol Association et al v.  Bruen, Superintendent of the New York State Police et al, invalidated New York’s historic “concealed carry” law, sometimes called the “Sullivan Law” after its lead sponsor, State Senator Timothy Sullivan.

    1911: Rising public concern with gun violence