Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

State Legislature

State Legislature

  • 2 democracy registers people

    Voter registration (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Voting rights advocates are beginning to wonder if the gusto to transform New York's elections embraced by state lawmakers last year -- changes many considered necessary adjustments, if still a work in progress -- will extend into the pandemic's second election cycle and the decisive New York City primaries in June.

    There are already signs it has waned with the completion of the presidential election, the availability of vaccines, and new sights set on

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    Climate March (photo: Paige Polk/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Over the last year, New York has moved heaven and earth to combat the pandemic ravaging our nation. Despite the heroic efforts of so many New Yorkers, years of apathy and systemic injustice left communities of color and low-income families vulnerable. But this experience is simply a preview of the wide-scale devastation that will be caused by our greatest challenge yet, climate change –– and the environmental injustice currently faced by those same communities across our state.


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    State Senator Gustavo Rivera (photo: New York Senate)

    April 7, 2021 - Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Gustavo Rivera on the New State Budget

    State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat, joined the show to discuss the new state budget, key highlights from the massive spending plan, and what's next.

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

  • maj leader andrea

    Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins & Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature approved a $212 billion state budget this week, an immense spending plan bolstered by new state tax increases on the wealthy and massive federal aid, with major investments in education, infrastructure, the green economy, rent relief, benefits for undocumented immigrants, child care, and more. The budget includes direct and indirect support for New York City, aimed at reviving its economy and aiding its

  • Legislature on Verge of Passing Legislation to Restore Voting Rights for Parolees

    Voters (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    A bill to restore the voting rights of people on parole is moving through the New York State Legislature and could land on Governor Andrew Cuomo's desk this spring, according to the bill's Assembly sponsor. Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell told Gotham Gazette the legislation, which was passed in the State Senate in February, is likely to pass the Assembly "soon" after the state budget is finalized. 

    "I expect our

  • cuny fvm cha

    CUNY amid COVID (photo: Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez)

    On the second Thursday of March in 2020, all City University of New York campuses closed their doors to students indefinitely, following an announcement the previous day from CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodriguez that the university would transition to a remote format due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    This Thursday — April 1, 2021 — is the first day of New York State’s 2021-2022 fiscal

  • isit highbridge rec

    Covid care training (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Just over 110 years ago, on March 25,1911, workers at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Manhattan’s Garment District began their day just like any other.

    For 146 of them, it ended in tragedy when a fire engulfed the factory, leading to their deaths. When the fire started many of them were unable to leave the factory because there were no fire escapes and the building exits were locked. Some died jumping from the building in an attempt to escape. The youngest

  • 2 votes president

    Examining ballots (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)

    Over 8,000 New Yorkers across the state who voted by mail in last fall’s election were able to save their ballots from being thrown out, according to the New York State Board of Elections, thanks to a new ‘ballot curing’ law that gave them a chance to fix certain technical defects on their ballot envelope.

    While curable rejects accounted for only a fraction of the total number of invalidated absentee ballots, overall far fewer mail-in votes were thrown out in the 2020 general

  • Sex Education Mandates

    Students (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    Like many states, New York’s sex education laws are dizzyingly complicated. Sex education itself is not mandated in New York public schools (though many school districts choose to teach it), but HIV/AIDs education is — though parents can opt their children out with the promise that they will teach the content at home. If sex education does take place, New York state law requires that it stresses abstinence, but makes no legal requirement concerning its medical ...

  • Gotham Gazette:

    State Senator Michael Gianaris (photo: Senator Michael Gianaris/flickr)

    A proposal to convert financially strapped hotels and other commercial properties into permanently affordable housing has been included in the State Senate's one-house budget proposal and is garnering support from a broad group of interested parties while new federal stimulus money is being eyed to fund the proposal.

    The "Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act," or HONDA, would create a program

  • Gotham Gazette:

    Speaker Heastie & Governor Cuomo (photo: the governor's office)

    The New York State Assembly’s judiciary committee convened a virtual hearing Tuesday morning to outline the wide-ranging scope of its impeachment investigation into Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is embroiled in a series of compounding scandals related to allegations of sexual misconduct, abuse of executive authority, and orders related to COVID-19 and nursing homes, the death toll among nursing home residents, and handling of data around nursing home resident fatalities due to COVID-19.


  • Cuomo Heastie Stewart Cousins masks covid

    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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    State Senator Jessica Ramos (photo: NY Senate)

    March 3, 2021 - Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Jessica Ramos Calls 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 reasserting itself on the pandemic response, and her budget priorities.

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

  • may participates electoral

    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

  • state legis tax

    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

  • 3 quad cutting rib

    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

  • 2 daily imagery exercising

    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

  • 1 budget hearing governments

    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

  • stateofstateadd gov legis

    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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     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

  • CUNY students

    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

  • edit width despair hope resillence

    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

  • Gotham Gazette:

    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

  • sotsad gov

    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

  • state jamaal bailey

    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 ...