Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

State Legislature

State Legislature

  • NY Senate

    State Senator Zellnor Myrie of Brooklyn (photo: NY Senate)


    With the failure of federal voting rights legislation this month in the U.S. Senate, advocates in New York are redoubling a push to pass a sweeping state bill that would shore up voting protections for historically disenfranchised groups.

    Legislators introduced the John R. Lewis New York State Voting Rights Act in 2020 to fill at the state level some of the holes left in the federal Voting Rights Act after successive defangings by the U.S. Supreme Court in the past decade. The bill would enshrine a

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  • Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

    Voting in NYC (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    State lawmakers are amending a bill that could change the make-up and management structure of the New York City Board of Elections in an attempt to make the troubled agency more effective and accountable.

    "We've been working with both the State Board of Election for guidance, many election lawyers, many people familiar with the problems that the city has had forever with their

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    State Senator Liz Krueger (photo: NY Senate)


    January 19, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Senator Liz Krueger on Assessing the Governor's Budget and Other 2022 Priorities

    State Senator Liz Krueger, chair of the Senate's finance committee, joined the show to discuss Governor Kathy Hochul's Executive Budget and the hearings Krueger will soon hold on it, as well as other priorities for the Manhattan Democrat including ethics and elections reforms, implementation of the state's marijuana legalization, and more.

    Listen to

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


    Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday put forth a $216.3 billion Executive Budget for the 2023 fiscal year, which begins April 1, making massive proposed investments in education, health care, and infrastructure as the state continues on its road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Hochul touted a “socially responsible and fiscally prudent” budget plan that will rebuild the state’s health-care and education workforces, provide tax relief to middle

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    Inside Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In 1894, the framers of New York’s most recent constitution created the State Commission of Correction. With eight members, the Commission was empowered to visit and inspect all penal institutions in New York State and to promote their “humane and efficient administration.”

    Clearly, they are failing: New York’s correctional institutions are neither “humane or efficient” today. Rikers

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    Senator Jessica Ramos (photo: NY Senate Media Services)


    January 11, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Senator Jessica Ramos on Expanding Child Care, Replenishing the Excluded Workers Fund, & More

    State Senator Jessica Ramos, a Queens Democrat who chairs the Senate's labor committee, joined the show to discuss her push to vastly expand child care in New York, replenishing the Excluded Workers Fund, raising the minimum wage, and other top 2022 priorities, as well as aspects of the political and electoral

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    Gov. Hochul (photo: Darren McGee/ Governor's Office)


    Essential workers have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic for two years, risking their lives to keep the rest of us safe and the economy running. These workers don’t have the option to work from home—they are your grocers, nurses, delivery workers, transit operators, retail workers, and more—and they are most vulnerable to this deadly virus. They are also overwhelmingly people of color, women, and immigrants, enduring dangerous jobs for the benefit of the many.

    And now, we look to essential

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    Governor Hochul delivers her 2022 State of the State (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)


    Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her first State of the State address on Wednesday, laying out a vision for New York's future as the state enters another year of pandemic and economic recovery. Facing a primary in June, Hochul's speech outlined the agenda of her first — and possibly only — full year in office.

    Speaking to the State Legislature and all New Yorkers from the Assembly Chamber — a return to tradition but a break from her predecessor, disgraced former

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  • birthing options

    A push for better birthing options (photo via NYSALM)


    This op-ed is adapted from a public letter being sent to Governor Kathy Hochul by birth practitioners, advocates, educators, and leaders and reflects a petition already signed by more than 1,000 New Yorkers in support of the Midwifery Birth Center Bill.

    Midwifery birth centers provide high-value, evidence-based, patient-centered care that has been proven to result in positive health outcomes, cost savings, and health equity—and could be essential to advancing birth equity in New

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    An Albany rally for voting reform (photo: Senator Michael Gianaris)


    When New Yorkers voted down two state constitutional amendments this fall that would make it easier to vote they put a stunning stop to a three-year deluge of major statewide election reform.

    Voting rights advocates and Democratic state lawmakers are licking their wounds and looking ahead to the next legislative session, beginning in January, with a list of changes to election rules and operations, including some of the measures that just failed.

    Had

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    The authors at a press conference related to the BQE


    For years, residents, motorists, and headlines have screamed about the crumbling triple-cantilever on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Repair plans have been delayed, presented, and rejected. We are not moving forward fast enough to repair the triple-cantilever or to envision and build a coherent 21st Century solution for the entire BQE corridor.

    We can fix the BQE—and we must—but we can’t do it overnight. We need a solution that’s future-focused and environmentally-sustainable along the entire

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    The New York State Senate (photo: NY Senate Media Services)


    For years the Democratic majority of the New York State Assembly advanced bills its members knew the Republican-controlled State Senate wouldn't pass. Still other legislation, especially related to government ethics, transparency, and elections, stewed on the backburner with neither majority moving it forward. Those were the days of two-party rule in Albany, of a group of breakaway Democrats who buoyed Republicans, and a governor happy to straddle the middle.

    Since

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    Cleaning up at Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The deaths this year of 14 people held on Rikers Island and recent reports of inhumane conditions have renewed attention on the dereliction of one of the country's largest municipal jail systems.

    That includes from the lead sponsor of a bill in the state Legislature that would create an oversight board and statewide ombudsperson with jurisdiction over local jails and state prisons. The bill's

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    Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, the author (photo: NYC Department of Transportation)


    Every day, our court system loads New Yorkers down with additional fees that further criminalize poverty while doing nothing to make us safer. In fact, these court fees are among the government’s most effective means of extracting money from New Yorkers most at risk of poverty and least able to bear the financial burden.

    How much money are we talking about? Every single day, New York’s courts levy around $14,000 in regressive administrative surcharges, fees and fines, on top of

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  • child victims act

    State legislators and survivors of abuse discussing the Child Victims Act (photo: NY Senate)


    Last week, advocates rallied in Albany to call on the State Assembly to pass the Adult Survivors Act, a landmark law that would create a lookback period allowing the adult victims of sexual assault and abuse whose claims are now time-barred to pursue those claims in court.

    The advocates are right: Passing the Adult Survivors Act is absolutely essential if we are to provide justice to the countless people, mostly women, in New York State who have been

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    Ready for a bill-signing (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    Even before the pandemic, domestic violence was a leading cause of family homelessness in New York City, where a majority of shelter residents are single women of color and their children. In large part, this is

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    Gov. Kathy Hochul (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    Governor Kathy Hochul is signing two bills Thursday to protect the personal information and finances of domestic violence survivors fleeing their abusers.

    One bill allows survivors to shield their home address in public records when registering to vote with the Board of Elections. The second bill requires utility companies to ...

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    Voters at the voting booth (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    There are five yes or no questions on the 2021 general election ballot across New York, asking voters to approve or disapprove changes to the state constitution. All the items on the ballot have been passed by two successive classes of the State Legislature and now go to the voters. They includes measures related to legislative redistricting, voting, clean air and water, and more.

    Four experts joined host Ben Max for a Manhattan Neighborhood Network

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  • Catalina Cruz Kathy Hochul

    Assemblymember Cruz, middle, with Governor Hochul (photo: @CatalinaCruzNY)


    “My neighbors speak more than 150 languages. We have folks from all over the world who call this beautiful community their home. They are small business owners, they are first responders, they are frontline workers, we also have Elmhurst hospital. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful community that I am extremely proud to represent,” said Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, a Democrat who represents the 39th Assembly district, made up of Corona, Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights in Queens.

    Appearing on a...

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    Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, center (photo: @CatalinaCruzNY)


    September 29, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: Assemblymember Catalina Cruz on Aid for Immigrant New Yorkers & More

    Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, a Queens Democrat, joined the show to discuss two state programs to help undocumented immigrants, other work she's doing as chair of the Assembly's Task Force on New Americans, the Assembly judiciary committee's investigation of former Governor Andrew Cuomo, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know

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  • paterson mccall benjamin cleare

    (l-r) Basil Paterson, Carl McCall, Brian Benjamin, Cordell Cleare


    Cordell Cleare recently received the Democratic nomination to replace Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin in the State Senate after his appointment by Governor Hochul. Cleare is almost certain to win the special election that will be held with the general election on November 2. 

    She will succeed the legacy of Constance Baker Motley, Basil Paterson, Carl McCall, and David Paterson, some of the prominent senators who have represented the

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    Then-Gov. Cuomo with current Gov. Hochul (photo: Governor's Office)


    With the abrupt end of the ten-year reign of Governor Andrew Cuomo, reformers inside and outside of state government are looking for change. Unspooling their wishlist has been a kind of inaugural red carpet for Governor Kathy Hochul, who took office last month after Cuomo resigned amid a flurry of scandal -- almost all connected, in some way, to government ethics, transparency, and the erosion of checks and balances.

    Hochul immediately pledged to take steps to undo Cuomo's

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    Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, the author (photo: Rodneyse Bichotte/Facebook)


    Abortion is a matter of life and death for a woman. Those who are pro-choice like me know that access to safe abortion care can prevent a woman from losing her life, and restrictions can - and are - ending it. And for Black women like me, who know what it’s like to lose a child because of maternal healthcare inequities, this is a nightmare that’s only going to get worse.

    Women pioneers fought tirelessly

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  • state senate hearing

    State Senate elections hearing (photo: @CitizensUnionNY)


    The State Senate analyzed the execution of the June primary elections in a major hearing Tuesday that included testimony from election administrators for New York City and State, as well as counties, and election reform experts. The lawmakers not only examined how elections were run, but the systems and structures that undergirded their performance -- and, as many said, enabled their failures. 

    Tuesday's event was unusual in that it served as the culmination of a series of public hearings held

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    High school students (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    This month, as our children return for another pandemic school year, there has never been a more important time to have an honest conversation about mental health. 

    As a member of the New York Assembly Committee on Education, I have heard from countless parents and young people about how the pandemic has exacerbated the pre-existing psychological strains of depression and anxiety. These come on top of the pressures youth have faced for years, from navigating identity issues

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