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New York State Legislature

Legislative Session Winds Down In Albany

Jul 22, 2020
The state capitol in Albany
Dave Lucas / WAMC

The New York State legislature is wrapping up its business for 2020 at the state capitol this week, in a session that is perhaps defined more by what lawmakers are not doing, than what they have been doing.  

Blair Horner: Voting Protections Are Still Needed

Jul 20, 2020

In New York, making new laws and changing old ones is supposed to be a deliberative process.  Normally, lawmakers introduce bills, the bills get referred to a committee, committee legislators and staff review the provisions, and then – sometimes – the bill is put to a vote.  From there the bill can be sent to the relevant floor of either the Senate or Assembly for final consideration.  If approved by both houses, that bill then goes to the governor and his staff for review before action. 

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The New York State legislature is due back in Albany Monday for a session that is expected to last several days. A growing number of lawmakers want to see new taxes on the wealthy on the agenda, and they are getting some help from Queens Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

New York state lawmakers returned to session this week, with plans to vote on bills aimed at helping New Yorkers cope with the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

While Governor Andrew Cuomo has held daily briefings on the coronavirus and issued more 250 executive orders, the New York state legislature has been absent from the Capitol for six weeks. Now, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins say they plan to hold committee meetings on May 26, and convene in session in the following days to vote on legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The group Common Cause is pushing the New York State legislature to resume its regular session remotely, as the COVID-19 outbreak has made convening at the capitol in Albany nearly impossible.

NY Senate Deputy Leader Mike Gianaris
Karen DeWitt

The New York state legislature has postponed its session until at least Wednesday, in order to figure out how to conduct its business safely under new regulation released by the CDC regarding human density in light of the spreading coronavirus. 

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Two Capital Region state lawmakers are beginning a bipartisan effort to examine New York’s population loss. Meanwhile, a push is on to ensure the upcoming federal census leaves no one behind.

Compassion & Choices logo
Compassion & Choices

With the legislative session in full swing at the New York state capitol, lobbying groups have been seeking to influence lawmakers on long-awaited policy changes.

Joe Seeman in costume protesting in Glens Falls in 2014
Lucas Willard / WAMC

A well-known progressive activist is running for a New York State Assembly seat in Schenectady and Saratoga counties.

NYS Assemblywoman Pat Fahy holds a copy of her newsletter.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

New York lawmakers are set to return to Albany Wednesday for the start of the new legislative session. 109th District Assemblywoman Pat Fahy sat down this morning with WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas for a preview of what’s ahead. The Democrat says she anticipates "a lot of challenges on a host of issues."

Last week, state lawmakers wrapped up the 2019 legislative session and it represented a big change from what New Yorkers have seen in the recent past.  Sweeping changes to the state’s law regulating home rental apartments, an impressive expansion in the state’s voting laws, decriminalization of marijuana possession, and other important issues were approved. 

Cuomo, holding a nearly full glass of water Friday to illustrate what the session accomplished, most of the Democrat's goals.
Karen DeWitt

The 2019 New York legislative session was among the most productive in several years, with the passage of bills that ranged from strengthening abortion rights, to allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. If you’re a liberal Democrat, there’s a lot to like. But conservative Republicans are not as pleased. 

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

Following the Assembly, the New York state Senate voted 33-29 to allow undocumented immigrants to receive standard driver’s licenses. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo raised some last-minute objections, saying he fears that some data that the state Department of Motor Vehicles collects on the immigrants might be accessed by the federal government and immigration officials — but he has since signed the bill. 

This week is the scheduled last week of the 2019 legislative session.  The session can be viewed as historic: Complete Democratic Party control of the state government has resulted in a slew of legislation passing, many of which had festered due to partisan gridlock – like narrowing the Limited Liability Company loophole that allowed real estate developers to make much bigger campaign contributions than other businesses –– and others that could dramatically alter state policies – like permanent extension of rent control.

File: Governor Andrew Cuomo at Norsk Titanium in Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

With the state legislative session set to end June 19, WAMC's News Director Ian Pickus spoke with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on The Roundtable Monday, June 16, 2019. 

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The State Senate acted Wednesday on measures that lawmakers say will improve safety on New York’s roads, including adding cameras to the stop arms of school buses.

In 1966, then-Speaker of the California Assembly Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh aptly observed “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.”  If so, in Albany, our elected officials are extremely well-nourished.  New York law makes it easy to pull in donations from those with deep pockets; the state has the largest campaign contribution limits (of any state that has limits) in the nation.  Under state law, one can make a legal campaign contribution of over $115,000 to a political party and can donate nearly $70,000 to candidates for governor.

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

A bill that would create a backdoor method to release President Donald Trump’s taxes is moving through the New York state Senate and could be voted on as early as next week.

Last week, the debate came to a head over whether New York should create a voluntary system of public financing of elections.  The state Senate, which appears to be a supporter, held a public hearing to gather testimony on the governor’s proposed plan. 

Eliyanna Kaiser, member of the Sexual Harassment Working Group, speaks before the Senate and Assembly held hearings on improving the state's anti-sexual harassment policies
Karen DeWitt

During the first hearing on sexual harassment in New York’s government in 27 years, state lawmakers on Wednesday closely scrutinized Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s policies on the issue, as victims told harrowing stories about their experiences.

The state capitol in Albany
Dave Lucas / WAMC

New York lawmakers say it’s likely they will vote soon to end cash bail and make other changes to help defendants who they say are unfairly treated in in the state’s criminal justice system.

The New York State capitol in Albany
Dave Lucas / WAMC

The New York state Senate passed a bill to make the state’s eight-year-old property tax cap permanent. So far the Assembly has not approved the measure.  

The Child Victims Act is scheduled to be approved in the New York Legislature this week. Sponsors say they have fixed a perceived flaw in the legislation that opponents said could provide a loophole for public schools in sexual abuse cases.

With state lawmakers back in Albany, a new Siena Poll shows half of New Yorkers view the governor and the legislature favorably, but pay raises are another story.

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

The Democratic-led New York State legislature is set for a big week. Action is planned Monday to implement early voting in the state, and on Tuesday to grant more civil rights to transgender New Yorkers. Also on Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo will release his budget proposal.

With the legislature returning to Albany tomorrow, good-government groups are promoting legislation they say would fight corruption in state contracting.

MaryEllen Elia: 2019 Budget Priorities

Jan 8, 2019

Happy New Year to all of you, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.

Today, as we look toward the upcoming legislative session, I’d like to talk about the Board of Regents 2019 Budget and Legislative Priorities and our State Aid request for the 2019-20 school year.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Barnard College in New York City Monday.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/sets/72157677489122758

Former U.S. Secretary of State and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton joined New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday to promote plans to codify abortion rights in state law in the new legislative session.

New York State Capitol ~ Albany New York ~ Major General Philip H Sheridan ~ Equestrian Statue
Onasill ~ Bill Badzo / flickr

November’s elections are behind us, and Wednesday, their consequences will be felt when the full state legislature convenes in Albany.

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