Gotham Gazette

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State Legislature

State Legislature

  • City Council Progressive Caucus Urges Cuomo to Sign Bill Creating Prosecutorial Misconduct Commission

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    City Council Progressive Caucus (photo via Progressive Caucus website)


    The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to sign a bill, passed at the end of the legislative session in June, which would create a new state commission on prosecutorial misconduct. The caucus, which includes 21 of the Council’s 51 members, referred to the bill as “the most substantive criminal justice reform passed

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  • Pointing to Deficiencies, Victims Call for Changes to State’s New Sexual Harassment Policies

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    (photo via the Governor's Office)


    The problem of sexual harassment in New York state politics is systemic and plaguing young women beginning their careers, according to a group fighting to change the culture and the laws around the issue. And, they argue that recently adopted state measures to fight the scourge are insufficient, despite being touted by Governor Andrew Cuomo as “the best in the nation.”

    The seven women of The Sexual Harassment Working Group -- all of whom have been personally affected by sexual harassment

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  • Democratic Campaign Chief: Even a ‘Blue Trickle’ Will Flip State Senate

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    Senator Gianaris and colleagues (photo via Gianaris Facebook)


    Predictions of a nationwide “blue wave” of anti-Trump sentiment resulting in major Democratic gains have been tempered as the president maintains strong support among Republicans and the economy, broadly speaking, is going strong.

    But even if the blue wave ends up being more like a trickle, that would be good news to state Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens, who chairs the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) and needs to net just one seat this fall to take control of the

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  • What Did and Did Not Move at End of State Legislative Session

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    Gov. Cuomo holds a press conference (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    A particularly dysfunctional, even for New York, state legislative session came to a halt on Wednesday with little movement on most of the major issues animating state government. The reunification of the Independent Democratic Conference and the mainline Senate Democrats led to business slowing to a drip in the Senate after the passage of the state budget; things became particularly impaired after one Republican senator, Tom Croci, was recalled to active military

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  • Passed by Senate, Bill Would Allow Public to Call State Agency Hearings

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    Senator Gianaris (photo: @sengianaris)


    New Yorkers may soon have a new tool to influence their government. A bill in the state Legislature would allow members of the public, given enough support, to compel state agencies to hold public hearings on proposed rules.

    The bill (S2397), sponsored in the state Senate by Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens, would establish a three-year pilot program ordering seven regulatory agencies — the Workers' Compensation Board and the Departments of Education, Environmental Conservation, Health, Financial Services, Labor, and Family Assistance

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  • Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Democratic Unity and the ‘Value’ of Primaries

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    Andrea Stewart-Cousins at the state party convention (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    While policies to prevent and punish sexual harassment were being decided in Albany during state budget negotiations earlier this year, four men led the closed-door talks: Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and the leader of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference Jeff Klein. Even as female aides had some level of participation, there was a great deal of scrutiny of the absence

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 18

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The final three scheduled days of this year’s legislative session in Albany are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week. Will there be the annual “big ugly” mash-up of compromise policy passed on the final night of session? Stay tuned.

    There are not very many issues that appear close to a compromise among Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, the Democrat-led Assembly, and the Republican-led Senate. But, most

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  • Created in Budget, State Pay Commission Off to Slow, Rocky Start

    Carl McCall Cuomo

    Carl McCall (photo: Governor's Office)


    The pay commission tasked with proposing salary adjustments of New York State legislators, statewide elected officials, and top executive branch employees, created in this year’s enacted budget, appears to be in a state of disarray.

    The appointed chair of the commission, New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, announced in May that she could not serve on the commission, citing what she believed to be the unconstitutionality of a judge determining matters that could end up before her in court. She has not been

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  • Attention Shifts to Assembly Hesitation on Accountability Bills Opposed by Cuomo

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    Speaker Heastie, left, and Governor Cuomo (photo via the Governor's Office)


    Amid open conflict with Governor Andrew Cuomo, a second-term Democrat, the Republican-controlled state Senate recently passed a package of bills aimed at shedding light on taxpayer-funded economic development projects, among other reform measures. The move helped reignite attention on the legislation and put pressure on the Democrat-led Assembly to pass bills it has previously supported.

    The legislation includes the Procurement Integrity Act, which would restore

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  • Little Appetite in Albany to Address State Budget Flaws Identified by Comptroller

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    Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (photo via the Comptroller's office)


    In March, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature once again passed a budget in the middle of the night with little public review. Keeping form with past years, elected members of the Assembly and Senate voted through major budget and policy decisions that they did not know the details of, while there was also no time for feedback from outside watchdogs. The State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, did release a budget ...

  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

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    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    June 1, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

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    State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins is the leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate, but has high hopes that come January, after this fall's elections, she will be the first woman and

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 29

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    We're less than a month from New York's congressional primaries, to be held Tuesday, June 26. This Friday, June 1, is the deadline to register to vote to be able to vote in those primaries.

    As those congressional primary races hit the home stretch, we're also now fully into campaign season for the state-level primaries that will be voted on September 13. Most party nominee designations are set for governor,

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 14

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    On Friday, state legislative leaders released the list of candidates who applied to be named Attorney General through a process that will include public hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The list of candidates includes current Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who took over upon Eric Schneiderman’s resignation:

    Thomas J. Abinanti; Lloyd Constantine; Michael D. Diederich, Jr; Jose W. Fernandez;

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  • Furthering Split from Cuomo, Senate Passes Reform Bills

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    Senate Majority Leader Flanagan and colleagues (photo: @nysenate)


    The Republican-led New York State Senate, which for years had a collaborative working relationship with Governor Andrew Cuomo, passed a slew of government transparency and accountability bills on Wednesday that further highlighted the GOP majority’s recent split with the governor.

    The package of 11 bills, covering everything from campaign contributions to state contracting processes, made its way through the chamber and was sent for approval to the Assembly, which is controlled

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  • Special Election Results for 11 State Legislative Seats

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    Shelley Mayer (photo: @Shelley4Senate)


    The Democratic conference in the New York State Senate will soon be one seat shy of a majority. After special election wins Tuesday night to fill two vacant Senate seats, both previously held by Democrats, the party will soon have 31 members in the 63-seat chamber. Shelley Mayer has won in Senate District 37, in Westchester, and Luis Sepulveda has won in Senate District 32, in the Bronx. Both are currently members of the Assembly, seats they will vacate to move to the Senate.

    Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 16

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The week begins with the New York political world fixated on the race for Governor after the Working Families Party endorsed Cynthia Nixon on Saturday. The WFP also endorsed City Council Member Jumaane Williams for Lieutenant Governor. Both Nixon and Williams are also running in their respective Democratic primaries, hoping to unseat Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

    The WFP

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  • Cuomo and Legislature Reach Agreement on $168 Billion State Budget

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    Gov. Cuomo and top aides announce a budget deal (photo: Mike Groll/The Governor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo and his top aides held a press conference late Friday night to announce a deal with the Legislature on a new $168.3 billion state budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins April 1. The announcement came several hours before the final budget bills were voted through both the Senate and Assembly, despite reservations from some lawmakers and another flawed process wherein legislators did not know the full details of what they were voting on and the

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  • 3 Ways New York Must Advance Reproductive Rights This Year

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    Senator Krueger, the author, with doctors (photo: @jmumfordmd)


    Note: this column was written and published in March, 2018, several months before Democrats won control of the state Senate through the November elections; they will take the majority in January

    On March 13, the New York State Assembly passed three critical bills regarding reproductive health and rights: the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), the “Boss Bill,” and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA). Unfortunately, the majority coalition in the State Senate continues to

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  • Bridge Programs Get Big Results, But Little Support

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    (Photo: Office of the Governor - Kevin P. Coughlin)


    Governor Cuomo’s $175 million workforce development proposal, announced earlier this year, promises major new investments in the skills-building programs that New York needs. With industries like healthcare, tech, and construction facing shortages of skilled workers, the governor’s plan can help expand access to opportunity while boosting

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 19

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    It’s crunch time for a new state budget, which is due by the April 1 start of the new fiscal year. While a new budget won’t necessarily be done by then -- many years the budget has been late by days, weeks, or months (though under Governor Andrew Cuomo they have been on time or close to it) -- negotiations are due to heat up this week and there are promises that the budget will be done by March 30, before the Passover

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: A Journalist Runs for State Senate

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    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    March 13, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: A Journalist Runs for State Senate, with Ross Barkan

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    Ross Barkan announced late last year that he was making the leap from journalism to running for elected office and entered the race in the 22nd State Senate District, a Brooklyn seat currently held

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  • Adding to the Menu at the Coming Museum of Political Corruption in Albany

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    (image: Museum of Political Corruption)


    The New York State legislature is often cited as the most corrupt in the nation and Bruce Roter, founder and president of the board of trustees of Albany’s upcoming Museum of Political Corruption, wants to tell the story of how we got there and help the

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 12

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week we're awaiting gubernatorial campaign announcements from Republican Marc Molinaro and Democrat Cynthia Nixon.

    As those election year moves happen, or don't, government is happening in Albany, where the Legislature will be in session four days this week as we enter crunch time for a new state budget, which is due by the April 1 start to the new fiscal year. One-house budgets are expected this week from

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 5

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will see the beginning of preliminary budget hearings at the City Council, where Council members will hear from representatives of the de Blasio administration about the mayor's proposed budget for next fiscal year, which begins July 1, and ask questions about how money is being allocated, savings, and more.

    Key details of the city budget that is agreed upon later this year by Mayor de Blasio and the

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  • Senate Candidates Outline Primary Campaigns Against ‘Trump Democrats’

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    Jessica Ramos and Robert Jackson


    The eight-member Independent Democratic Conference of the New York State Senate has drawn increasing ire from Democrats around the state, especially in New York City. Democratic senators who have broken away from their colleagues in the regular Democratic conference, IDC senators form a power-sharing agreement with Senate Republicans, helping the GOP enhance its razor thin majority. The Senate is the only current Republican stronghold in state government.

    Several factors, including the election of

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