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AP: Former NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dies at 77

Blair Horner

  • It’s political science 101: The executive proposes and the legislative branch disposes. Last week, Governor Hochul proposed her $216 billion state budget. Her plans include not only spending proposals, but policy changes as well.
  • It’s a political truism that budgets are about priorities. This week, Governor Hochul will show New Yorkers hers. The debate over the governor’s budget plans will be the most critical action of the current legislative session.
  • As with all State of the State addresses, Governor Hochul’s covered a wide range of issues, large and small, having both regional as well as statewide appeal. Her speech understandably focused on the pandemic and health care, followed by her plans to curb gun violence, help stimulate economic development, increase the state’s housing stock, and tackle the threat posed by a rapidly heating planet.
  • This week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul delivers her first “State of the State” address. Commentator Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, details some of the top issues facing the state.
  • Last week, Governor Hochul acted on a half dozen pieces of legislation that covered drinking water supply safety, lead exposure in school drinking water, plastic waste, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector, pesticides in kids’ summer camps, and fracking wastes being used on roadways. She got five right and one – the use of fracking waste – wrong.
  • As 2021 heads toward its conclusion, Governor Hochul faces a public health decision deadline. Under New York State law, legislation that was approved during the 2021 legislative session must be sent to the governor for her approval by the end of the calendar year. Nearly 900 bills were approved by both houses of the Legislature during the 2021 legislative session and this week many bills moved to the governor’s desk for her consideration.
  • The expanding investigations into the actions of former Governor Cuomo and his top staff continue to dominate the news. Just when we thought we knew all there was to know, last week’s release of the sworn depositions of the governor and his top staff gave new insights into how the former Administration handled harassment complaints and how the governor and his top aides acted.
  • New York’s colleges and universities have seen the state slashing support for years. That systematic disinvestment coupled with a declining number of college-aged students has brought colleges and universities to the financial brink. The financial squeeze has left many colleges – both public and independent – forced to reduce student services and hike student costs. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has, not surprisingly, made it all worse.
  • Three months ago, former Governor Cuomo resigned from office after a devastating report issued by the Attorney General. The Attorney General had been asked by the governor to investigate allegations that he, the governor, had harassed women in government.
  • New York State’s bottle deposit law, also known as the Bottle Bill, has been around for so long, it’s hard to imagine it remains controversial. You buy certain containers, you place a nickel deposit, return it, and get the nickel back. Less junk for the landfill, more recycling of wastes.