2022: A New Normal in New York State?

This year marks Governor Kathy Hochul’s first budget and first legislative session. It is also the first go for the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission, creating an untested process to establish new district boundaries. As we speed towards consequential 2022 primary elections in June, the Legislature and the Governor will have to decide how to allocate historic federal infrastructure investments, fight a pandemic while attempting to shape New York’s post-COVID landscape, and deal with thornier conversations like single-payer healthcare, next steps on climate change, and criminal justice reform.

Governor Hochul has exceeded expectations in her early months, climbing to strong approval ratings despite the backdrop of Omicron and economic uncertainty. The decision by Attorney General Tish James to run for re-election makes the Governor’s race hers to lose. Hochul has consistently offered a vision of a “new Albany;” one with empowered Commissioners, sunlight in the Capitol, and a focus on restoring faith in the policymaking process.

However, now comes the real test. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo wielded the Executive Chamber-friendly budget process in New York State like a cudgel, constantly besting the Legislature and getting his way on almost every issue for the better part of a decade. Hochul will immediately face formidable negotiating partners in Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie—who were seasoned during Governor Cuomo’s reign—at the negotiating table.

Beyond the State Budget Process, the past few years have brought some of the most productive legislative sessions in recent memory, in large part due to a symbiotic relationship between the “dynamic duo” of Heastie and Stewart-Cousins. The Legislature and Governor Cuomo—despite increasingly frayed relations—were able to produce signature wins on LGBTQ+ rights, climate change, criminal justice reform, and a mountain of legislation that had long been stalled in Albany.

What’s next? And can Governor Hochul and the Legislature keep up the pace?

Let’s take a look at what might be on the horizon for 2022.

Read the full report below.

Topic covered include:

  • Redistricting
  • COVID-19
  • Left vs. Center-Left
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure & Economic Development
  • Health
  • Climate
  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Other Key Issues
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