Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

State Legislature

State Legislature

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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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  • 1 rikers ombudsman

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


    Amid major upheaval in state government and ongoing pandemic-era crises in New York, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is embracing a sense of stability and an opportunity for more collaboration among political leaders.

    During a recent appearance on the Max Politics podcast from Gotham Gazette, Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat

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


    September 8, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on the New Era in State Government

    New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat from Westchester, joined the show to discuss the new era in state government, the transition from Governor Andrew Cuomo to Governor Kathy Hochul, her conference's upcoming priorities, and a variety of key issues in state government and New York

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    Senator Zellnor Myrie (photo: NY Senate)


    After a novel round of public hearings throughout the state, the New York State Senate elections committee is gearing up to hold its traditional post-election oversight hearing, where the New York City and State boards of elections will have to answer questions about what went right and what went wrong in the primaries earlier this year.

    On September 21, lawmakers will have their perennial conversation with representatives from the boards, as well as good government groups and other election experts, where

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  • statedwide public meeting

    (l-r) Top: Ivelisse Cuevas-Molina, Ross Brady & Jack Martins; Middle: John Flateau & David Imamura; Bottom: John Conway


    New York's legislative redistricting commission is moving into its next phase following a series of public hearings intended to get a sense of the contours of "communities of interest," a new criteria being incorporated into the line-drawing process for the first time this cycle, in addition to constitutional and statutory requirements.

    The commission, itself a nascent entity, held nine

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    Housing justice protest (photo: @housing4allNY)


    September 01, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: New York's Eviction Moratorium and the Housing Justice Movement

    Cea Weaver, campaign coordinator at Housing Justice for All, joined the show to discuss the extension of New York's eviction moratorium and the bigger housing policy picture.

    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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  • senate limited numbers

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


    The United States Census released the nation’s population data by congressional and state legislative district on August 12, setting underway the re-districting of legislative seats, controlled by each individual state. The process will now unfold in New York and around the nation, with control of the House of Representatives and state legislatures on the line.

    Having served in the New York State Legislature for 32 years, I went through three redistrictings, in 1992, 2002, and

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    Senator Michael Gianaris (photo: NYS Senate)


    Last week, with New York’s executive branch embroiled in scandal and former Governor Andrew Cuomo set to resign, State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris appeared on Gotham Gazette’s Max Politics Podcast to reflect on Cuomo’s reign and resignation, the political dynamics of Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul taking over as the state’s first woman governor, and policy

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  • Senator Michael Gianaris on Post-Cuomo New York Politics

    Senator Michael Gianaris (photo: NYS Senate Media Services)


    August 20, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: Senator Michael Gianaris on Post-Cuomo New York Politics

    State Senator Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat and deputy leader of the State Senate, joined the show to discuss Governor Andrew Cuomo's downfall and reign, what's next in New York state politics, legislative priorities and dynamics, his own political future, and much more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know

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  • ethic cuomo heastie

    Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (photo: governor's office)


    Friday brought sad but unsurprising news in Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s decision to call off impeaching Governor Andrew Cuomo. For survivors, lawmakers, and advocates who doubted the Legislature would impose real accountability, this decision confirmed their worst fears. While Cuomo’s promised resignation is a monumental fall from power and an important safeguard against future abuse, it provides little justice for those he attacked in the past.

    There are

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    Governor Andrew Cuomo (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)


    July 31, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: Governor Cuomo Faces Series of Scandals and Investigations

    Luis Ferré Sadurní, a reporter with the New York Times in the Metro section, and Marina Villeneuve, a reporter with the Associated Press, both of whom cover Governor Andrew Cuomo, joined the show to break down the numerous investigations and scandals the third-term Democrat is facing and what comes next, including the highly-anticipated report from New York State

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  • senator zell myrie budget hearing

    State Senator Myrie (photo: NY Senate Media Services)


    The New York State Senate election committee may be breaking the mold of cyclical and predictable debate about voting administration and its discontents with a series of public hearings meant to broadly chronicle the experiences and ideas of voters across the state.

    The committee is holding four hearings "in every corner of the state" to give a platform to voters ahead of the traditional post-election oversight hearing where lawmakers interrogate election

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