Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

State Legislature

State Legislature

  • 3 maj leader asc

    A nearly-empty State Senate Chamber as business is conducted amid coronavirus outbreak (photo: NY Senate)


    If New Yorkers take Governor Andrew Cuomo’s word for it, the new $177 billion budget approved last week will “deliver results” for the people of the state and was a far cry from a “bare minimum” spending plan at a time when the state’s finances are racked by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. But within his own Democratic Party, which controls both houses of the Legislature where the plan was passed, the budget is a highly unpopular document that to

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  • 1 jessica ramos senwbai

    (photo: NY Senate Media Services)


    April 08, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Senator Jessica Ramos on Coronavirus in Queens & the New State Budget

    jessica ramos wbaiState Senator Jessica Ramos represents a Queens district hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic; she joined the show to discuss its impact on her constituents, how the city and state have responded, and the

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  • 1 mbd rides cityhall

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Two months after Mayor Bill de Blasio made his nominations for two empty seats on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board, Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to send those nominations to the State Senate for its approval. The inaction continues to leave half of de Blasio’s four seats empty as the Board makes major decisions impacting virtually everyone who lives or works in New York City.

    The MTA Board is composed of 17 voting members, whose decisions have broad impacts on the

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  • 2 a 30

    Gov. Cuomo & legislative leaders (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    Amid the unprecedented public health crisis presented by the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature managed to cobble together a $177 billion state budget, though slightly past its deadline, which contains a raft of legislation on criminal justice, environmental protection, public health regulation, campaign finance reform, women’s reproductive rights, election administration, gun control, and more.

    But the budget session became particularly harried, and focused in

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  • 3 albany ltgov duffy grad

    State lawmakers wrongly bowed to law enforcement pressure on bail reform, the author writes (photo: governor's office)


    Predictably, and disappointingly, the New York State Legislature rolled back last year’s historic and hard fought bail reforms at the eleventh hour. It was an act of cruelty after providing our communities the briefest of reprieves following the historic enactment of bail reform just three months ago, on January 1.

    Less than two minutes of floor debate allowed racists and prison profiteers to win in their crusade to

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  • Cuomo Heastie Stewart-Cousins

    State government leaders Stewart-Cousins, Cuomo, Heastie (photo: The Governor's Office)


    A new state campaign finance system, with public matching money for candidates who choose to participate and lower individual contribution limits, will be enshrined in law through inclusion in the new state budget. It is accompanied by new and highly-controversial ballot-threshold requirements for political parties.

    Using a modified system due to the coronavirus outbreak, the state Legislature voted through various budget bills on Tuesday and

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  • voting

    Coronavirus complicates voter registration efforts & voting itself (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    A bill before the state Legislature expanding online voter registration in New York City has taken on particular urgency amid the coronavirus pandemic, its sponsors say, as in-person voter registration drives become impossible and New Yorkers are told to avoid leaving their homes but for essentials and emergencies.

    The New York City Board of Elections currently only allows an individual to register to vote online through the Department of

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  • Robert Carroll State Assembly

    Assemblymember Carroll, the author (photo: New York State Assembly)


    In a few days the New York State Legislature will pass a new state budget. In a normal year, this is the most consequential task the Legislature does. In a crisis year, it may be the last thing we do.

    What we do now could help New Yorkers weather the storm. Unfortunately the discussions we are having, which are few, are emphasizing the wrong issues.

    To understand New York’s politics, one must understand that New York’s budget is not just dollars and cents, but also a

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  • gov cuomo moynihan

    Construction workers, and many others, can benefit from prevailing wage expansion (photo: governor's office)


    Massive unemployment following a period of slow recovery left 19 percent of Americans out of work. That was in 1938, when New York officially wrote the prevailing wage into the State Constitution, requiring projects that receive taxpayer funds to pay fair wages to their workers. Still deep into the Great Depression, New Yorkers understood that blue collar workers were the foundation of the economy and key to sustained economic growth.

    Fast

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  • num limited senate

    A near-empty chamber conducts Senate business (photo: NY Senate Media Services)


    As New York has become the country’s epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo has stepped onto the national stage as New York's (and the region's) captain, coordinating the state's response to the outbreak with a profusion of executive orders and fireside chats from the State Capitol, streamed daily and with PowerPoint.

    The governor has signed 11 executive orders, suspending dozens of laws, as he, his top aides, and public health officials

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  • ebike leg

    The push for legalizing e-bikes continues (photo: @nily)


    Right now, our colleagues in Albany can deliver immediate justice and help keep New York fed and moving during a time of crisis. They must legalize electric-bikes in the state budget being finalized right now.

    As part of the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the de Blasio and Cuomo administrations announced this week that restaurants, bars, and cafes would close for dine-in customers, but that take-out and delivery would remain available. This move made it clear that New York City’s food delivery workers,

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  • rafael sala holds

    A push for a new state homelessness-housing voucher continues (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    As a doctor in the hospital, I bear witness to some of the most severe downstream effects of health inequity in our community. In my field, I care for any person who presents to the emergency room and is then deemed too sick to be discharged. Through years of clinical service, I have come to appreciate housing as the most vital component of a person’s ability to stay well.

    More recently, research surrounding individuals experiencing homelessness has

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  • 4 mbdb holds

    Wrestling with government during a pandemic (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo suspended aspects of the state's Open Meetings Law with an executive order Friday, as officials grapple with how to keep government running during a pandemic without jeopardizing public health or sacrificing accountability.

    As state and city officials continue to prepare for the long haul of coronavirus (COVID-19) management, and as most public events are postponed to limit the virus’ reach, one emerging question is how government agencies will continue to hold

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  • new york state capitol

    Big decisions to be made in the state capitol (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    A State Supreme Court judge in Niagara County struck down the state’s new campaign finance law which was based on the recommendations of a controversial state-created commission that took effect in December. The state Legislature could not give the commission the authority to make binding changes to state law, the judge

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  • nys senate chamber

    State Legislators have an important decision to make (photo: NY Senate)


    In New York State, money doesn’t only talk, it decides who does the talking, who makes the laws, whose voices matter, and who gets left out. After years of grassroots activism, New York State is a big step closer to shifting the balance of power in Albany through a new public campaign financing program, moving away from big-monied interests and toward regular New

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  • gov li senators

    Gov. Cuomo and Long Island Democrats (photo: Governor's Office)


    Long Island residents are finding out the hard way, once again, why it was so important to keep a balance of power in New York State via a Republican-controlled Senate and Democrat-controlled Assembly.

    When Democrats took over the Senate after the 2008 election, it led to the horrendous MTA tax, which forced schools, nonprofits, and businesses throughout Long Island to pay a huge payroll tax to foot the bill for the city transit system. The bill was put over the top by two Democratic senators

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  • gov cuomo rally

    There are competing proposals to legalize surrogacy in NY (photo: Governor's Office)


    Imagine having a baby but then being told you have to wait eight days before securing custody of your child. It’s bizarre and cruel, yet it’s an idea that’s actually being floated in Albany right now as a “compromise” to finally end New York State’s outdated ban on gestational surrogacy.

    As a three-time cancer survivor in my thirties who went through three rounds of fertility preservation before treatment, this is heartbreaking. I choose to live in New York for many

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  • state senator krueger during alb

    State Senator Liz Krueger, the author (photo: NY Senate)


    Advances in assisted reproductive technology (ART), including intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg and sperm donation, and surrogacy, have created remarkable new family-building options in the last several decades. As someone who is unable to have my own biological children, I support New Yorkers being able to use ART, including surrogacy, to build the families they want.

    Yet these relatively new technologies bring with them complex

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  • equityorg cityhall

    Rally to call for legalization of adult marijuana use (photo: @equityorg)


    Governor Cuomo's rollout of a reworked Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act means this may finally be the year New Yorkers get access to legal weed. And while a similar legalization push floundered in the statehouse last year, many are optimistic about its odds during the 2020 legislative session. Not only are the vast ...

  • reacc rosw

    (photo: Governor's Office)


    A New Yorker who suffers a heart attack is typically rushed to the nearest hospital for treatment. In a life-threatening emergency minutes matter, so the practice is sound public policy. Yet, if it turns out the hospital is not in the patient’s insurance network, the sigh of relief is short-lived. The bill for the care can top $100,000. Surprise!

    Unaffordable medical bills are the top financial concern of two-thirds of Americans. The crazy system we have created of public and private health insurers, in-and-out of network providers, and

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  • regis voter cha

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In response to several trends, including low voter turnout and civic knowledge, the past few years have seen a sporadic push for stronger civics education in New York and beyond.

    In the spring of 2018, New York City launched a ”Civics For All” Initiative, which “provides resources, programming, and professional learning to all NYC schools. The initiative focuses on education models

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  • doctors health care

    (photo: Governor's Office)


    When it comes to determining the proper course of care for a serious health issue, decisions should be made by a patient and their health care provider. But too often, health insurers have been undermining providers’ decisions in efforts to cut costs — forcing them to navigate burdensome bureaucratic roadblocks before agreeing to cover prescribed treatments and services. That can result in patients facing delays in care or going untreated altogether.

    To address this problem, New York lawmakers recently worked to

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  • salazar census rally

    State Senator Julia Salazar at a Census rally


    The U.S. Census Bureau will soon kick off the 2020 Census count by sending mail to households to inform them about filling out a questionnaire that lists their names, where they live and how many people live with them, their race and ethnicity, and other information. Self-response to the Census yields the most accurate information about households and given that New Yorkers speak more than 200 languages, Brooklyn State Senator Julia Salazar wants to take steps to ensure that as many people are guided toward participation in

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  • bill online voter

    State Senator Myrie, middle, is pushing his online voter registration bill (photo: @SenatorMyrie)


    Last year, the New York City Board of Elections hobbled a City Council effort to create an online voter registration portal for city residents, claiming it conflicted with state law. But the state Legislature may take steps to correct that situation this year by clarifying the law and allowing an online portal that would act as a test case for a statewide system slated to launch next year.

    The New York City Council passed ...

  • budget hearing jfc

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio made his annual trip to Albany on Monday to testify before the state Legislature on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget proposal, which is $178 billion for the 2021 fiscal year, and urged lawmakers to help prevent what he called nearly $1.4 billion in potential funding “cuts” to the city that could result largely from a proposed overhaul of the state Medicaid program.

    Testifying before the joint fiscal committees of the State Senate and Assembly over the course of

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