Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

State Legislature

State Legislature

  • ny25

    Left to right: Tremaine Wright, Jason Salmon, Jabari Brisport


    Brooklyn State Senator Velmanette Montgomery’s January retirement announcement created an opening for a coveted seat in the upper house of the State Legislature, leading to a fierce Democratic primary that is set to be decided this month.

    Given the overwhelming Democratic enrollment advantage in the district, where Montgomery has been the senator since 1985, the primary winner is all but

    ...
  • Mayor de Blasio property tax reform dead

    Mayor de Blasio's slow-play on property tax reform has now been compounded (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayor's Offie)


    The start of the year 2020 offered what many believed to be the most promising steps in decades to revamping New York's confusing and unfair property tax system. In January, an advisory commission established by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council, which was tasked with comprehensively assessing and reevaluating the property tax system, released a set of recommendations. While coming much later than many had

    ...
  • tbny slate 2020 cropped

    Endorsed candidates (image via True Blue NY)


    A coalition of progressive activists from across the state, which formed as a response to Donald Trump’s election and helped tip the balance of the state Legislature towards Democrats in 2018, is backing a slate of Democratic candidates in the June primary election to propel movement on issues of social, economic, and racial justice that they feel have been ignored by the current state government.

    The True Blue NY coalition scored a progressive coup in the last state election cycle by helping elect several progressive

    ...
  • state senator brian benjammin

    State Senator Brian Benjamin (photo: New York Senate)


    May 27, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Brian Benjamin on Rescuing New York's Finances & More

    State Senator Brian BenjaminState Senator Brian Benjamin joined the show to discuss the New York State and City fiscal crises brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak and its fallout. Benjamin, who

    ...
  • state senator gustavo rivera

    State Senator Gustavo Rivera (photo: New York Senate)


    May 27, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Gustavo Rivera on New York's Health Care Response to COVID-19

    State Senator Gustavo RiveraState Senator Gustavo Rivera returned to the show to discuss how New York is responding to the coronavirus crisis, and the status of the New York Health Act, a bill he

    ...
  • gov cuomo outlinesfy

    Gov. Cuomo delivers a budget address (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)


    Despite pleas from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and state and local government leaders across the nation for major new federal help for budgets devastated by the COVID-19 recession, there is still no clear path to Washington acting quickly to provide financial relief. 

    Although on May 15 the House of Representatives, with its Democratic majority, passed a $3 trillion aid bill for the country that included $1 trillion for state and local governments, President

    ...
  • mt kitso pre

    New York has made some adjustments to voting amid COVID-19 (photo: governor's office)


    This guest column is part of Citizens Union Speakers, a regular series of op-eds written by members of the Citizens Union Foundation community in Gotham Gazette, CUF's flagship public education program. The opinions expressed in these Citizens Union Speakers columns are those of the authors alone, not Citizens Union Foundation, Gotham Gazette, or any other entity.

    ...
  • nurses hospital

    Nurses at the frontlines of the coronavirus battle (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Nine weeks after Governor Andrew Cuomo closed all but essential businesses and services, many of the state’s essential workers are now finding themselves struggling with their employers and insurance companies for injury benefits related to COVID-19, and for those who die, their survivors are left to pick up the mantle.

    Infected front-line staff, from health-care workers to grocery store clerks, are being asked to prove they contracted the virus on the job in order to

    ...
  • parollee restor oped

    Questioning which New Yorkers can go to the polls (photo: Gotham Gazette)


    Practicing social distancing is by no means easy, but the guidelines are simple: maintain six feet of distance from others, avoid crowded environments, public bathrooms, and shared dining facilities, and to blow off steam, go outside. Stick to the guidelines, health officials assure us, and we can all help protect each other, especially the vulnerable. 

    But many of the most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis are those whom most of us will never see and for whom social

    ...
  • dcc jponte rikers

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Rikers Island jail complex, a notorious and decrepit institution sitting on 413 acres in the East River, was slated for closure well before New York City became the country’s epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, during which the complex has emerged as a hotspot for infections that have led to the deaths of several detainees and corrections officers.

    But the timeline for shutting down the jail complex and building local jails in four boroughs has been thrust into uncertainty by countervailing

    ...
  • gov cuomo census

    Gov. Cuomo at the NY Census Conference (photo: governor's office)


    According to plans, New York state government would have spent the equivalent of $70 million this year on its effort to ensure that all New Yorkers are counted in the 2020 Census. But as the state has experienced a devastating coronavirus outbreak, that effort has, for all appearances, never gotten off the ground, and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration has done little to inform residents that it is in their best interest and that of the entire state to fill out the Census.

    The

    ...
  • divest ny fos

    A protest to push for New York pension system divestment from fossil fuel stocks (photo: @350)


    The oil and gas industries are experiencing significant upheaval as the coronavirus pandemic decimates economies across the globe. The price of crude oil in the United States temporarily fell below $0 per barrel for the first time ever last month, prompting renewed energy among activists and elected officials in New York who want to rid the state pension fund of all investments in the fossil fuel industry.

    But the one person they must convince, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli,

    ...
  • state senators

    Senators Ramos and Gounardes (photo: NY Senate)


    A group of Democratic state senators, mostly from New York City, gathered in a digital forum Wednesday night to discuss the government’s COVID-19 response. The virtual event, held in partnership with the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI), a nonprofit liberal think tank, covered topics including the state budget, impending cuts and proposals to raise revenue, and legislation to address ramifications of the virus.

    Eight senators, or a fifth of the Democratic majority in the 63-seat chamber, participated in

    ...
  • greene corr fac gov cuomo

    Gov. Cuomo at a correctional facility (photo: governor's office)


    On April 3, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rammed through a budget that will be devastating to New Yorkers and then on April 4 declared that the legislative session was “effectively over” for the year. Several legislators immediately pushed back.

    Comments from legislators on social media ranged from “Hell no” to “...

  • 1 senator gianaris wbai 600

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


    April 15, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Senator Michael Gianaris on 'Canceling Rent' & State Senate Priorities

    michael gian senate 150

    State Senator Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat who is the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, joined the show to discuss his push to

    ...
  • Cuomo coronavirus briefing power Albany

    Gov. Cuomo at one of his coronavirus briefings (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    The consequences of poor social distancing, inadequate supply chains, and nearly every other facet of our COVID-19 calamity are nothing short of life and death. But as New York endures a disaster unlike any in our lifetimes, as we see our morgues filled and our store shelves stripped bare, this teeming tidal wave of death might upend most fundamental assumptions about our way of life.

    We are about to face a deeply dangerous moment, not

    ...
  • Cuomo political rally winking

    Gov. Cuomo appears interested in seeing the demise of New York's smaller political parties (photo: New York Democratic Party)


    Included in the bills to approve a state budget for the new fiscal year beginning April 1 was the creation of a new campaign finance system with a public-matching program, lower individual contribution limits, and various other changes to campaign finance law. But the controversial inclusion of changes to ballot thresholds could prove to be a poison pill, not for the law but for the several minor political parties

    ...
  • 3 maj leader asc

    A nearly-empty State Senate Chamber as business is conducted amid coronavirus outbreak (photo: NY Senate)


    If New Yorkers take Governor Andrew Cuomo’s word for it, the new $177 billion budget approved last week will “deliver results” for the people of the state and was a far cry from a “bare minimum” spending plan at a time when the state’s finances are racked by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. But within his own Democratic Party, which controls both houses of the Legislature where the plan was passed, the budget is a highly unpopular document that to

    ...
  • 1 jessica ramos senwbai

    (photo: NY Senate Media Services)


    April 08, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Senator Jessica Ramos on Coronavirus in Queens & the New State Budget

    jessica ramos wbaiState Senator Jessica Ramos represents a Queens district hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic; she joined the show to discuss its impact on her constituents, how the city and state have responded, and the

    ...
  • 1 mbd rides cityhall

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Two months after Mayor Bill de Blasio made his nominations for two empty seats on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board, Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to send those nominations to the State Senate for its approval. The inaction continues to leave half of de Blasio’s four seats empty as the Board makes major decisions impacting virtually everyone who lives or works in New York City.

    The MTA Board is composed of 17 voting members, whose decisions have broad impacts on the

    ...
  • 2 a 30

    Gov. Cuomo & legislative leaders (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    Amid the unprecedented public health crisis presented by the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature managed to cobble together a $177 billion state budget, though slightly past its deadline, which contains a raft of legislation on criminal justice, environmental protection, public health regulation, campaign finance reform, women’s reproductive rights, election administration, gun control, and more.

    But the budget session became particularly harried, and focused in

    ...
  • 3 albany ltgov duffy grad

    State lawmakers wrongly bowed to law enforcement pressure on bail reform, the author writes (photo: governor's office)


    Predictably, and disappointingly, the New York State Legislature rolled back last year’s historic and hard fought bail reforms at the eleventh hour. It was an act of cruelty after providing our communities the briefest of reprieves following the historic enactment of bail reform just three months ago, on January 1.

    Less than two minutes of floor debate allowed racists and prison profiteers to win in their crusade to

    ...
  • Cuomo Heastie Stewart-Cousins

    State government leaders Stewart-Cousins, Cuomo, Heastie (photo: The Governor's Office)


    A new state campaign finance system, with public matching money for candidates who choose to participate and lower individual contribution limits, will be enshrined in law through inclusion in the new state budget. It is accompanied by new and highly-controversial ballot-threshold requirements for political parties.

    Using a modified system due to the coronavirus outbreak, the state Legislature voted through various budget bills on Tuesday and

    ...
  • voting

    Coronavirus complicates voter registration efforts & voting itself (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    A bill before the state Legislature expanding online voter registration in New York City has taken on particular urgency amid the coronavirus pandemic, its sponsors say, as in-person voter registration drives become impossible and New Yorkers are told to avoid leaving their homes but for essentials and emergencies.

    The New York City Board of Elections currently only allows an individual to register to vote online through the Department of

    ...
  • Robert Carroll State Assembly

    Assemblymember Carroll, the author (photo: New York State Assembly)


    In a few days the New York State Legislature will pass a new state budget. In a normal year, this is the most consequential task the Legislature does. In a crisis year, it may be the last thing we do.

    What we do now could help New Yorkers weather the storm. Unfortunately the discussions we are having, which are few, are emphasizing the wrong issues.

    To understand New York’s politics, one must understand that New York’s budget is not just dollars and cents, but also a

    ...