Gotham Gazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 23

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Eyes of the New York political world are on Westchester as this week begins. There are 11 special elections Tuesday to fill vacant state legislative seats, but the big one is the State Senate race in District 37. While the district is home to a Democratic advantage it is an area where Republicans can and have won. The seat was previously held by Democrat George Latimer, who vacated it when he won his race for Westchester County Executive.

It is one of two Senate seats being filled Tuesday, the other is in the very safely Democratic Bronx, in District 32, a seat previously held by now-City Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr. Assemblymember Luis Sepulveda appears a lock to move to the Senate.

If Democrat Shelley Mayer, currently an Assemblymember as well, prevails over Republican Julie Killian in District 37, Democrats will take those two seats and their conference -- including the recently reunified former members of the Independent Democratic Conference -- will boast 31 members in the 63-seat chamber. The Republican conference would still hold a one-seat majority, which includes Brooklyn’s Simcha Felder, who won his last election on the Democratic and Republican ballot lines after multiple other wins as a Democrat. Felder has said he is open to being in whichever conference gives him and his constituents the best deal. Negotiations with Felder from both sides of the aisle are likely to intensify this week if he is indeed the deciding factor in which party holds a majority, though there are still some questions about whether Democrats could take control of the chamber even if they have a 32-seat conference given rules of the Senate that have been established for the current two-year session, which ends at the end of this year.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term this year, has said that it is important to win the two vacant seats -- and he was in District 37 again on Sunday to boost Mayer’s candidacy -- but that Democrats also need to look to flip Senate seats in November, when the entire Legislature is on the ballot.

Meanwhile, the state Legislature is in session three days this week. There are 27 scheduled session days left, including this week’s, before the legislative year is set to end in Albany in June.

It is a very busy week at the City Council, with a wide variety of committee hearings on bills and to perform oversight. There is also a full-body Stated Meeting on Wednesday, at which new bills are introduced and bills that have passed committee are voted through the full Council.

And, Mayor de Blasio is expected to release his Executive Budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 this week, though timing could change.

 There are a variety of events to be aware of this week - see our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
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The run of the week in detail:

On Monday at 10 a.m. at City Hall, “First Lady McCray will make an announcement regarding the City’s efforts to reduce mental health stigma and improve mental health care delivery in communities of color. The First Lady will be joined by Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson, Pastor Michael Walrond, U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks, and the leaders of Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Iota Phi Theta, and 100 Black Men. This event is open press. There will be Q-and-A.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio's only public event scheduled for Monday is his weekly appearance on NY1's Inside City Hall, in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.

At the City Council on Monday:
--The Committee on Small Business will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the Small Business First Initiative.
--The Committee on Criminal Justice will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “safety and security in DOC facilities,” as well as to discuss proposed laws “requiring the department of correction to report on the rate of lockdowns,” “prohibiting fees for telephone calls from inmates in city jails,” and “requiring the Department of Correction to report on use by department staff of any device designed to incapacitate a person through the use of an electric shock.”
--The Committee on Aging will meet at 10:30 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “social adult day care,” as well as to discuss proposed laws relating to “requiring the Department of the Aging to report on senior centers” and “inspections for social adult day cares and senior centers and reporting.”
--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at noon to discuss several proposed laws related to energy efficiency in buildings, including one “requiring that all city-owned buildings be powered by green energy sources by 2050” and another relating to “the creation of wind maps demonstrating wind energy generation potential within the city,” as well as to discuss a resolution “in support of the Governor of New York State in the commitment to and facilitation of the development of large-scale offshore wind projects by 2030.”
--The Committee on Women will meet at 12:30 to make a few tweaks to measures passed by the Council as part of its recent anti-sexual harassment package, including trainings at city agencies, climate surveys, and action plans.
--The Committee on Civil and Human Rights will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss proposed laws “creating an Office of Diversity and Inclusion within the Department of Citywide Administrative Services,” “requiring the Equal Employment Practices Commission to analyze and report annually on citywide racial and ethnic classification underutilization and adverse impact,” and “requiring the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to review and report annually on the city’s efforts to collect racial and ethnic demographic information, including a review of racial classification categories and employee response rates.”
--The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding flooding and sea level rise in Jamaica Bay, as well as to discuss proposed laws to launch a study on the city’s most flood-prone areas, “developing a geothermal pilot program for institutional use in the groundwater supply service area,” and creating a “Jamaica Bay task force, which would oversee the cleanup of Jamaica Bay.”
--The Committee on Civil Service and Labor will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss a proposed law relating to “reporting of pay and employment equity data.”

The New York State Legislature will be in session on Monday in Albany.

On Monday at 10 a.m. in Albany, "The New York State Assembly will hold a public hearing to examine the practice of medical aid in dying (AID), as well as potential legislation to authorize this practice. Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried will take testimony on Assembly legislation (A.2383-A, Paulin) that would enable terminally ill individuals with the decision-making capacity to voluntarily request and receive a prescription for medication to end their lives."

"On Monday at 8:30 AM, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will lead dozens of Brooklynites on his fourth annual Bike-to-Work ride, highlighting dangerous corridors in the borough and remembering recent victims of traffic violence as he kicks off his Earth Week celebrations in and around the borough. The event will highlight the positive impact that New Yorkers can have on their local environment by using pedal power to get around the city. At the press conference leading into the ride, Borough President Adams will speak to safe street infrastructure improvements that he is asking the City to prioritize." Other participants will include City Council Members Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, and Carlos Menchaca, the American Heart Association, Brooklyn Public Library, Citi Bike, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), New York City Police Department (NYPD), Park Slope Neighbors, Prospect Park Alliance, Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Corporation, Red Hook Initiative, StreetsPAC, and Transportation Alternatives.

At 9:30 a.m. Monday, criminal justice reform advocates will rally at the Broadway gate of City Hall to demand the mayor and City Council pass a law providing free phone calls to inmates at city jails. Currently, the city’s proposed budget includes “$5 million in revenue generated from phone calls from City jails.”

At 10:30 a.m. Monday, schools "Chancellor Richard A. Carranza will visit a software engineering class, robotics class, and a social studies lesson on the Bill of Rights at JHS 216 George J Ryan in Queens. In the afternoon, he will meet with students and families at town hall events," at 4 and 5:30 p.m. at Francis Lewis High School in Queens.

At 11 a.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer will host a "roundtable with New Yorkers impacted by the commercial bail bond industry," at Exodus Transitional Community.

At noon Monday, activists will march from the Sheridan Hollow Power Plant site to the State Capitol to demand that Governor Cuomo “halt all fracking infrastructure, commit to 100% renewable energy in New York, and make corporate polluters pay for the damage they cause.”

At 1 p.m. Monday, CITY Council Member Andy King, Taxi & Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi, police officers, and cab drivers will hold a press conference outside the Ultimate Grill restaurant in Baychester, Bronx to announce “submitted legislation to ensure safety for TLC drivers when confronted with an emergency.”

On Tuesday, there will be special elections to fill vacated seats in the State Senate and State Assembly. The elections will be held in Senate Districts 32 and 37, and Assembly Districts 5, 10, 17, 39, 74, 80, 102, 107, and 142.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will appear on NY1 Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. At 4:15 p.m., Johnson will speak at the Alliance for Downtown New York Board Meeting. And at 7:30 p.m., he will attend the Tulip Celebration at The Center.

On Tuesday morning, "First Lady McCray will deliver remarks at a convening by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, entitled “The Role of the Arts in Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness.”

At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, "City Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education, will be joined by fellow Council Members, elected officials, UFT President Michael Mulgrew, union members and officials, and new parents at a press conference to urge the administration to negotiate a paid parental leave program for hundreds of thousands of city workers. Treyger will also announce the date of an upcoming Council hearing on the subject." Other participants will include Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Daniel Dromm, Ben Kallos, and Keith Powers.

At the City Council on Tuesday:
--The Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing reviewing “DSNY’s Waste Characterization Study.”
--The Committee on Public Housing will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “property management in NYCHA.”
--The Committee on Health will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding animal care centers, and to discuss a proposed law relating to animal shelters.
--The Committee on Immigration will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the city’s support of “immigrant parents of children ages 0-5.”
--The Committee on General Welfare will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding an “update on the NYC 15/15 Initiative” to build 15,000 new units of supportive housing over the next 15 years, and to discuss a proposed law relating to “reporting on supportive housing.” Council Speaker Corey Johnson will deliver opening remarks.
--The Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss several proposed laws relating to sight-seeing buses.

The New York State Legislature will be in session on Tuesday in Albany.

At noon Tuesday at City Hall, "Gathering on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, L train riders and transit advocates will demand that Mayor de Blasio implement a 24-hour-a-day busway and other aggressive street changes during the 15 months of L train construction next year. The advocates will highlight an analysis of L train ridership and 14th Street traffic capacity produced by Transportation Alternatives, showing that, without a proposed 14th Street busway, neighboring streets would be inundated with trucks, private cars, taxis, and for-hire cars, causing unprecedented congestion and pollution in nearby communities during next year's L shutdown. The data will show that the 50,000 riders who use the L daily only within Manhattan would fit into 1,250 bus trips...or, without a strong bus plan, as many as 40,000 private vehicles, a "nightmare scenario" alternative that could paralyze city streets with up to 40,000 unnecessary car trips every day." Participants will include "transit advocates including the Riders Alliance, Regional Plan Association, Transportation Alternatives, Straphangers Campaign, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign."

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, Metro IAF will hold an affordable housing rally at City Hall. Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer will be among the speakers.

At 6:30 p.m., Public Advocate James will deliver remarks at the CUNY LGBTQI Leadership Program Advisory Council Meeting. And at 7:30 p.m., James will deliver remarks at The Wing’s TueNight Live Storytelling Event, at The Wing Dumbo.

On Tuesday, the Youth Progressive Policy Group will hold a lobbying day in Albany in support of the Young Voter Act, which would lower the voting age to 17, amend the state’s civics education curriculum, and require schools to distribute voter registration forms to 17 year olds.

On Tuesday evening, "Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Annual Gala."

The City Council will hold a stated meeting at City Hall at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. A pre-stated press conference led by Speaker Corey Johnson is expected beforehand, at 12:30 p.m.

The New York State Legislature will be in session on Wednesday in Albany.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the MTA will hold a board meeting.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Panel for Educational Policy will hold a policy meeting at Murry Bergtraum High School on the Lower East Side.

Mayor de Blasio is expected to unveil on Thursday his Executive Budget proposal for the upcoming 2019 city fiscal year, which begins July 1.

At the City Council on Thursday:
--The Committee on Youth Services will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss proposed laws relating to “establishing an anti-bullying hotline and additional resources for youth” and to “creating an ombudsman position within the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.”
--The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “Third Party Transfers and HDFCs,” which stands for Housing Development Fund Corporation, or affordable housing in the form of co-ops.
--The Committees on Mental Health and Hospitals will meet jointly at 1 p.m. at the Metropolitan Hospital Center on the Upper East Side, for an oversight hearing regarding “the future of psychiatric care in New York City’s hospital infrastructure.”
--The Committee on Governmental Operations will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “OATH hearing procedures of Taxi and Limousine Commission related violations,” as well as to discuss proposed laws relating to “the broadcasting of mandatory debates,” to “certain taxi and limousine commission-related hearing procedures of the office of administrative trials and hearings,” and to “an online list of required reports.”

At 10 a.m. Thursday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, the New York City Bar Association will host “Regulatory Future of Marihuana Laws in New York State,” featuring a panel consisting of State Senator Liz Krueger, Harrison Phillips of Viridian Capital Advisors, Chris Alexander of the Drug Policy Alliance, and attorneys David Feder and Jil Mazer-Marino.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, City & State will announce its “Staten Island Power 100” at the Hilton Garden Inn in Staten Island, with keynote remarks from Borough President James Oddo. This will be the first installment of City & State’s new Power 100 series in each borough.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, New York Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir will host a discussion with MTA Chair Joe Lhota and MTA Board Member Veronica Vanterpool, talking about “what can be done to ensure the future success of the New York subway system.” The event will take place at the Museum of the City of New York, part of the “Only in New York” series of talks at the museum hosted by Maslin Nir. (This event was originally scheduled for March 21 but was postponed due to snow.)

Friday and the weekend
Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly Friday morning appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show.

The Regional Plan Association will hold its annual Assembly on Friday at the Grand Hyatt in Midtown, bringing together numerous leaders in business and government to discuss “ideas we need to move forward on today to tackle some of the region's biggest challenges in order to ensure sustainability, good governance and shared prosperity.” The keynote speakers this year will be former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. Other speakers include MTA President Patrick Foye, New York City Transit President Andy Byford, former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and former MTA Chair Tom Prendergast, among others.

"NYC Loft Tenants, City Councilmember Stephen Levin, New York State Assembly Member Maritza Davila, and the Dumbo Neighborhood Alliance will hold a press conference​ & protest in the street​ on Broadway in Lower Manhattan outside the NYC Department of Buildings​ at 280 Broadway on Friday April 27th at 1PM to call for transparency, accountability, enforcement and an end to rampant anti-tenant bias. Our elected officials, activists, and tenants will speak out to demand that the DOB listen and reform it's recalcitrant, anti-tenant practices and policies."

At 9 a.m. Saturday, the Latino Leadership Institute will hold its "Women for Electoral Politics 2018 Conference" at DC37 offices in the Financial District, discussing strategies and skills "necessary to actively participate in NYC electoral politics." Speakers will include Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, City Council Members Carlina Rivera and Diana Ayala, Cecilia Gaston of the Violence Intervention Program, and Ann Oliveira of the New York Women's Foundation.

Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max

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