New York City Hall
What to watch for this week in New York politics:
As the week begins, school is closed in New York City and much of the city and state will be focused on the Sunday-into-Monday snowstorm that is expected, and the government response to it. Keep in mind that some if not all Monday events may be canceled.
We’re less than a month from the date, April 1, when a new state budget is due. As the State Legislature looks to continue moving bills over the next few weeks on issues like criminal justice reform, budget negotiations will begin to heat up as the two Democratic majorities in the Senate and Assembly look to get on the same page and work with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration on a budget deal that will not only come to spending agreements on key issues like local school aid, but also on controversial policies like marijuana legalization and congestion pricing for New York City.
There are four days of legislative session this week in Albany. They come after the Legislature and Governor were unable to agree on a revenue forecast to use for budget negotiations, meaning the state comptroller’s office will set the number. Also at hand are issues like bail reform that appear to have hit a roadblock in negotiations. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie will make a public appearance on Friday morning to discuss his chamber's priorities and where things stand in Albany.
Also this week: City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will give his first State of the City address. Johnson has said a main focus of the speech will be a new, detailed plan for city control of the subways and buses -- otherwise known as the MTA’s New York City Transit division. Expect other new proposals and plans from Johnson, who has not yet set out his own policy vision since taking over Council leadership a little more than a year ago. Johnson has advanced a variety of priorities for himself and his colleagues, and has taken a clear interest in transit issues, but the speech will be the first time he fully lays out an agenda of his own.
Johnson’s City Council will start its month of hearings this week on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s preliminary budget plan -- see below for details.
The speaker continues to be the Acting Public Advocate until Public Advocate-Elect Jumaane Williams is sworn in. Williams said he expects that to happen this week, though we don't yet have a day.
And we’re continuing to watch the next steps in the Amazon saga and the L-train repair work saga. City and state Census preparations are also on the agenda this week.
There's a lot to be aware of this week -- see our day-by-day rundown below.
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The run of the week in detail:
NOTE: New York City schools are closed on Monday and some of the events below may be canceled.
The New York State Legislature will be in session on Monday in Albany.
Also at the Legislature on Monday: At 11 a.m. the Senate Standing Committees on Banks and Consumer Protection will hold a joint public hearing in Albany regarding “the proposed Student Loan Consumer Assistance Program.”
At 8 a.m. Monday, Senator Chuck Schumer and Regional Plan President Tom Wright will give speeches on infrastructure, specifically the Gateway Tunnel project. The event, which will take place at the Mezzanine at 55 Broadway, is co-sponsored by the Association for a Better New York, the Regional Plan Association, and the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management.
At the City Council on Monday:
--The Committee on Health will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “accessing the state’s medical marijuana program and its intersection with a recreational marijuana program,” as well as to discuss two resolutions calling on the state to expand the state’s legal medicinal marijuana program and to pass legislation “rectifying any conflicts between the state's medical marijuana regulations and recreational marijuana regulations.”
--The Committees on Public Housing and Oversight & Investigations will meet jointly at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing “examining the DOI report on NYCHA mismanagement at the Throggs Neck Houses,” as well as to discuss two proposed laws requiring agency heads to publicly disclose false statements made by their agency in an official capacity and requiring the Department of Investigation to report bimonthly to the Council on NYCHA employee overtime. The committees will also discuss a resolution calling on the state to pass a law requiring NYCHA “conduct annual evaluations of agency property employees.”
--The Committees on General Welfare and Hospitals will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding the “impact of marijuana policies on child welfare,” as well as to discuss laws requiring ACS to report additional information on allegations in child abuse cases and requiring ACS to report on investigations initiated by the city for positive drug screenings. The committee will also discuss two resolutions calling on ACS to stop classifying the possession of marijuana as creating an imminent risk to children and calling on the state to create “clear and fair regulations” for hospitals to inform pregnant patients of their rights before drug testing.
--The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 2 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding loft laws, and to discuss a resolution calling on the state to pass an expansion of the loft law.
At 11:30 a.m. Monday, the Center for an Urban Future will host “Preparing New York State’s Workforce for Automation,” discussing what officials and policymakers should be doing to prepare for the changes to come with automation, at the Hilton Albany. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will deliver keynote remarks. After, there will be a panel discussion consisting of Assemblymember Marcos Crespo; Lois Johnson, Director of Workforce Strategies at the Workforce Development Institute; Annmarie Lanesey, CEO of Albany Can Code; Melinda Mack, Executive Director of NYATEP; and Todd Mack, Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development at Monroe Community College.
At 1 p.m. Monday, "Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner O’Neill will hold a media availability on crime statistics." At 4 p.m., "the Mayor will sign Intro.1004-A which will establish the basement apartment legalization pilot in East New York." In the evening, "the Mayor will deliver remarks at the Legion of Honor Medal Ceremony for Charles Cohen." And in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours, "the Mayor will appear on NY1’s Inside City Hall."
At 1 p.m. "Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul Kicks Off Women's History Month with Elected Officials and NYS Women's Suffrage Commission Members" at the state Capitol in Albany. At 5:15 p.m., "Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul Attends the NYS Farm Bureau's 2019 Taste of New York Reception."
At 2 p.m. Monday, the state’s Census commission will hold the first of six public hearings to discuss the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census and the myriad related issues. The hearing will take place at Rochester City Hall.
The New York State Legislature will be in session on Tuesday in Albany.
At noon Tuesday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will deliver his State of the City address at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City.
At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the New York City Board of Elections will hold a commissioners’ meeting.
The New York State Legislature will be in session on Wednesday in Albany.
Wednesday marks the beginning of the City Council’s preliminary budget hearing season. The first hearing is on the mayor’s preliminary budget in general, with the Committee on Finance and Subcommittee on the Capital Budget, jointly at 10 a.m., and featuring testimony from the Office of Management and Budget, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and the Independent Budget Office.
Also at the City Council on Wednesday:
--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.
--The Subcommittee on Landmarks will meet at noon.
--The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will meet at 1 p.m.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dare to Run will host “#WomenLead: How to Diversify the Pipeline of Women Leaders in New York” at the University Settlement House on the Lower East Side, featuring a panel of women who have run for office in New York discussing their experiences. Panelists will include City Council Members Carlina Rivera and Helen Rosenthal, recent Public Advocate candidate Nomiki Konst, former Assembly candidate Ashley Zanatta, former Senate candidate Jasi Robinson, State Democratic Party women’s vote director Ny Whitaker, and attorney Monique Cardial.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, City Council Member Eric Ulrich will hold a town hall meeting to discuss the issue of property taxes at the Knights of Columbus’ Rockaway location.
The New York State Legislature will be in session on Thursday in Albany.
The following City Council committees will hold preliminary budget hearings on Thursday:
--Fire and Emergency Management at 10 a.m., regarding fire/emergency medical service and the Office of Emergency Management.
--Higher Education at 10 a.m., regarding CUNY.
--Land Use at 1 p.m., regarding the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Department of City Planning.
--Technology and Land Use jointly at 3 p.m., regarding DoITT.
Also at the City Council on Thursday: the Committee on Land Use will meet at 11 a.m.
At 2 p.m. Thursday, New York City Census Director Julie Menin will appear at the Newmark School of Journalism with professor and NY1 anchor Errol Louis for a Q&A session on her office’s work to ensure all New Yorkers are counted in the 2020 Census. The event is hosted specifically by the journalism school’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, the 2019 Charter Revision Commission will hold its second of six “issues forums” at City Hall to discuss potential charter revisions. This forum will focus on revisions regarding police accountability.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, the MTA will host the first of four open houses for community members regarding the “revised” L-train project. The first of these will take place at Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard Church in the West Village.
Friday and the weekend
At 8 a.m. Friday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie will join Crain’s for a “Business Breakfast Forum” at the New York Athletic Club, discussing “the state budget, other pressing topics facing lawmakers and his long-term goals for the newly constituted legislature.”
Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m. Friday.
The following City Council committees will hold preliminary budget hearings on Friday:
--Environmental Protection at 10 a.m., regarding the Department of Environmental Protection.
--Sanitation at 2 p.m., regarding the Department of Sanitation and the Business Integrity Commission.
--Parks & Recreation and Capital Budget jointly at 2 p.m., regarding the Department of Parks & Recreation.
by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max