Gotham Gazette

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State Legislature

State Legislature

  • Could 2023 Finally See Movement on New York City Property Tax Reform?

    Housing (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photography Office)


    It’s been well over a year since Mayor Eric Adams promised, on the campaign trail, to “immediately” form a committee to "come up with real solutions" to make New York's property tax system more fair and equitable. But Adams never formed the committee and he has not made property tax reform a priority in his first 13 months as mayor.

    After 40 years of lawsuits, commissions, and half-hearted efforts at property tax reform, there is limited optimism for wholesale change,

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  • Governor Hochul Presents $227 Billion Executive Budget for Next Fiscal Year

    Gov. Hochul presents budget details (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)


    Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday released a $227 billion Executive Budget, her proposal for the 2024 fiscal year, which begins April 1, including major initiatives on mental health, affordable housing, public safety, and investments in “the New York Dream” to support seniors, young adults, parents, veterans, entrepreneurs, and others.

    “It's a thoughtful plan that furthers our progressive values and our priorities as New Yorkers, but also ensures fiscal responsibility,” said Hochul, a Democrat who just

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Roberto Ramírez on Hector LaSalle's Nomination for Chief Judge and Latino Representation in New York

    A rally in support of Hector LaSalle for Chief Judge (photo: Don Pollard/Governor's Office)


    January 24, 2023 - Max Politics Podcast: Roberto Ramírez on Hector LaSalle's Nomination to Become Chief Judge and Latino Representation in New York

    Roberto Ramírez — a founding partner and political strategist at The MirRam Group, a former Assemblymember, Bronx Democratic Party leader, and advisor on Freddy Ferrer's mayoral campaigns — joined the show to discuss Hector LaSalle's nomination to be the next Chief Judge of New York, Latino representation at the highest levels of

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  • After Second Legislative Passage, New York State Equal Rights Amendment To Go Before Voters in 2024

    Gov. Hochul signs abortion rights legislation (photo: Governor's Office)


    Voters in the fall of 2024 will have a chance to enshrine civil rights protections for women, LGBTQ people, and abortion access into the state constitution after lawmakers on Tuesday pass the New York State Equal Rights Amendment for the second time.

    If approved by voters, the state constitution will for the first time prohibit discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, disability, and sex, "including pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes,

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  • Max Politics Podcast: State Senator Jessica Ramos on Hector LaSalle, the Minimum Wage, & More

    State Senator Jessica Ramos (photo: NYS Senate Media Services)


    January 19, 2023 - Max Politics Podcast: State Senator Jessica Ramos on Hector LaSalle, the Minimum Wage, & More

    State Senator Jessica Ramos - a Queens Democrat, labor committee chair, and member of the judiciary committee - joined the show to discuss her vote against confirming Hector LaSalle to be the next Chief Judge, her efforts to increase the minimum wage, and more.

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

  • What Wasn't in Hochul's 2023 State of the State Agenda

    Gov. Hochul delivers her 2023 State of the State (photo: Don Pollard/Governor's Office)


    In her State of the State speech last week, Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, outlined her agenda for the year ahead, pledging continued action on public safety, an ambitious housing plan, major investments in climate action, mental health care, child care, and more. But even as she outlined many planks in her policy agenda, further outlined in a 275-page booklet, there were several areas where she only provided a vague notion of something

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  • State Senate Again Starts Legislative Session with Voting and Election Reforms

    At the polls (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Democrats in the New York State Senate announced plans to pass a package of voting and election reforms on Monday, marking the fifth year in a row since taking the majority that they have highlighted the issue at the top of the legislation session.

    Since 2019 Democrats have ushered in a new electoral landscape, including early voting, automatic voter registration, and the New York State Voting Rights Act, among many other shifts. The latest package in the Senate sets the tone on election issues ahead of Governor Kathy Hochul's

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  • Max Politics Podcast: State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on 2023 Priorities

    Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (photo: NYS Senate Media Services)


    January 6, 2023 - Max Politics Podcast: State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on 2023 Priorities

    New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins joined the show to discuss her 2023 priorities, the new Senate Democratic supermajority, her relationship with Mayor Adams, the governor's nomination of Justice Hector LaSalle to be Chief Judge, lessons of the 2022 elections, and more.

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

  • The Facts About the Grieving Families Act

    Facing life and death (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Just the facts, ma’am.

    That’s what fictional Dragnet detective Joe Friday used to ask for on TV decades ago. Today, the phrase is best known as a meme, but it’s still a good approach to decision-making in government. My colleagues and I should always look at the facts because that will point us towards the best course of action.

    Rarely is this more apparent than in the discourse around the Grieving Families Act,

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani on a New Plan to 'Fix the MTA' & More

    Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani at Wednesday's press conference (photo: Kara McCurdy)


    December 15, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani on How to 'Fix the MTA' & More

    Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani, a Queens Democrat, joined the show to discuss his new plan to 'Fix the MTA,' upcoming state budget negotiations, the 2022 election results, 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 audio below or download the

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  • What to Know About the Adult Survivors Act, New York’s New Law Allowing Civil Suits Over Past Sexual Abuse

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


    As of November 24, the Adult Survivors Act went into effect in New York State, allowing survivors of sexual offenses one year to file civil claims for cases that occurred even decades ago. 

    The Adult Survivors Act (ASA) was signed into law in May by Governor Kathy Hochul, the state’s first female governor, and removes the statute of limitations for certain civil claims regarding past sexual offenses between November 24 2022 and

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  • Queens Assembly Member Up Just One Vote After Recount as Fight Over 98 Ballots Remains

    Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato (far left, photo: @Stacey23AD)


    Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato, a Queens Democrat, is leading by just one vote over her Republican opponent, Thomas Sullivan, after a manual recount for the District 23 election concluded on Wednesday. But, the race is still not over as a court battle for nearly 100 additional ballots remains to be decided.

    On election night, Amato trailed Sullivan by 246 votes in an election with more than 32,000 ballots cast, a close enough margin to trigger an automatic hand recount. More than 1,000 absentee and affidavit ballots remained uncounted at the

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  • 'A Bill Like This Should Be A No-Brainer': Hochul Yet to Move on Legislation Restoring Comptroller's Contract Review Powers

    Gov. Hochul at a bill-signing (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    Update: Governor Hochul signed legislation to restore some of the comptroller's oversight of SUNY, CUNY, and Office of General Services centralized contracts on December 30, 2022.

    Governor Kathy Hochul has yet to sign a bill that would restore some of the Comptroller's contract oversight powers that had been stripped by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, putting her at odds with the state's chief fiscal watchdog, members of the State Legislature,

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  • 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

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  • 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...

  • 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

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  • '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

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  • 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

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  • 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)

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • 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

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