Gotham Gazette

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State Legislature

State Legislature

  • 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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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • '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

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  • 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,

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  • 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

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  • ‘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

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  • 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

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  • ‘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

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  • 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

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  • 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
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  • Lee Wins Competitive Democratic Primary for Lower Manhattan Assembly Seat Being Vacated by Niou

    (l-r) Illapa Sairitupac, Grace Lee, and Denny Salas


    UPDATE: Grace Lee won the Democratic primary for Assembly District 65. Read the full story for background on the race, her priorities, and more:

    There’s a wide open and highly-competitive Democratic primary heading for the finish line in Lower Manhattan’s 65th State Assembly District.

    It is among many Assembly primary elections where voting is set to conclude Tuesday, along with the statewide party primaries for Governor

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  • Sitting Senator and Former City Council Member Face Off in New Brooklyn State Senate District

    Andrew Gounardes, left, and David Yassky


    Following a chaotic redistricting process in New York, an interesting State Senate primary is shaping up in parts of Brooklyn.

    State Senator Andrew Goundares, who represents the current 22nd district, and former City Council Member David Yassky are the only two Democratic candidates who have entered the race for the new 26th State Senate District. The district includes some of Gounardes’ current district, notably his home turf of Bay Ridge, as well as the neighborhoods of Dyker Heights, Fort Hamilton, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Red Hook, and parts of Sunset Park, Park Slope,

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  • Passed by Senate, NYC Board of Elections Reform Shelved by Assembly

    Board of Elections reform on the table (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    A package of reforms to the way elections are run in New York State all but died last week when the Assembly adjourned without bringing the legislation to a floor vote after they passed the Senate. That includes a sweeping bill to restructure the membership and executive leadership of the New York City Board of Elections, which has been plagued by political patronage, nepotism, and mismanagement year after year.

    While legislators

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Dick Gottfried on 52 Years in the State Assembly

    Assemblymember Dick Gottfried (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    June xx, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Dick Gottfried on 52 Years in the State Legislature

    Assemblymember Dick Gottfried is retiring after 52 years in the Legislature. He joined the show to reflect on his tenure, including 35 years chairing the Assembly health committee, how state government has changed over time, his major accomplishments, the New York Health Act, and more.

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

  • Slate of Insurgent Candidates Focused on Climate Seizes on Failure of State Bill

    Climate march (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Democrat-led state Legislature ended its session over the weekend without passing any additional major pieces of climate-related legislation that some legislators and activists had been pushing for months. The failure to act has provided renewed vigor to several candidates running in the primaries this year who had already been centering climate action in their campaigns, many of them challenging incumbent Democrats.

    They say that the state must take immediate and extraordinary action as the adverse effects of climate change continue

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Diane Savino Says Farewell to the State Senate

    State Senator Diane Savino (photo: NY Senate)


    June 6, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Diane Savino Says Farewell to the State Senate

    State Senator Diane Savino, a Democrat representing parts of Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn, joined the show to reflect on her 18-year tenure in the Legislature as she moves on to the next phase of her career after deciding not to seek reelection this year.

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

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  • What's In, What's Out: 2022 State Legislative Session Ends with Major Policy Decisions

    An Albany rally for abortion rights (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)


    State lawmakers voted on legislation late into the night Thursday, the scheduled end of the legislative session, and while the State Senate finished its business the Assembly continued passing bills throughout Friday and into Saturday.

    A number of major deals were reached in the final week as the session came to a crescendo, while other marquee proposals fell by the wayside.

    And as of Saturday morning, with the Senate on break but the Assembly still wrapping up business, the fate of at least two

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  • Little Being Done to Address New York’s Prison-to-Shelter Pipeline

    A housing rally (photo:John McCarten/City Council)


    Two out of five people returning to New York City from prison last year were released to a shelter or another placement for homeless adults, according to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). At roughly 2,050 people, it was enough to fill the largest hotel in midtown Manhattan. They often ended up sleeping on the streets.

    Those inside the so-called prison-to-shelter pipeline say cycling through the criminal legal and shelter systems is destabilizing and dehumanizing as they attempt to reenter

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  • Don’t Let Belmont Bonds Become the Next New York Boondoggle

    An empty Belmont


    The twice-bankrupt New York Racing Association (NYRA) is back at the State Capitol, cup in hand, asking the state to back $450 million in bonds to rebuild Belmont Park’s perfectly suitable and usually empty racetrack. The bonds would be in addition to the millions of dollars the state already provides to the industry through subsidies and tax exemptions. Considering the ongoing financial problems, coupled with diminishing interest and economic development as a result, it would be fiscally irresponsible for the state to back the

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