Today in Bath, NY…
- A federal judge in the Northern District of New York officially allowed the state Board of Elections to move both the Congressional and state Senate primaries to August 23rd.
- National Democrats failed in a lawsuit before the Southern District of New York which represented their final effort to prevent their maps from being thrown out. Judge Kaplan stated “This is a Hail Mary pass, the object of which is to take a long-shot try at having the New York primaries conducted on district lines that the state says is unconstitutional.”
- On Wednesday, Steuben County Judge McAllister declined to throw out state Assembly maps in response to a lawsuit brought earlier this month. In his decision, McAllister wrote, “Since the Court has received no potential maps with regard to new Assembly lines, it would almost assuredly mean that the new maps could not be in place by May 20th.” Nonetheless, Judge McAllister agreed that the Assembly maps were unconstitutional (using the same logic that threw out the Congressional and state Senate maps), which could set up future legal challenges (of note, after a challenge to maps in 1964, legislators were forced to draw new lines and then run again in 1965).
- Primary Election for Assembly and statewide races on June 28th
- Primary Election for Congressional and State Senate races on August 23rd
- Special Election for Congressional seats vacated by Reed and Delgado on a separate Tuesday in August
- Traffic “Home Rule”—At the top of the list of NYC issues is city control or “home rule” over its streets. If agreed to by Albany lawmakers, the provision would enable New York City to set speed limits and deploy enforcement cameras without having to seek approval from the state. With nine scheduled session days left, it is being reported that a deal on city control will not be getting across the finish line. Governor Kathy Hochul had previously indicated she would support the plan, leaving Adams and Albany lawmakers pointing fingers. Assembly Transportation Chair William Magnarelli said Adams did not take the necessary steps and go through the formal process of requesting home rule. Adams says he has lobbying records that say otherwise. The rookie Mayor does have some support in the Legislature on this issue, most notably state Senator Andrew Gounardes, who said, “I don’t think it’s fair to say they’ve done nothing and have not been advocating.”
- Mayoral Control—New York City Schools have been under Mayoral Control since 2002 when former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrestled control from the Board of Education and the network of local school boards. The Legislature has extended Mayoral Control in various increments and bargaining since then, and the current authorization expires June 30th. Legislators kicked a final extension from the Budget to have the opportunity to discuss the extension in more detail.
- 421-a—Adams is also expected to lobby legislators on 421-a—the controversial tax break for developers for affordable housing that is set to expire in June. Legislators let the program lapse in 2016, and they could do the same this year. A proposed replacement program by Governor Kathy Hochul in the budget faced strong opposition from legislators and was ultimately kicked out of the budget process in order to focus on it in more detail.
Reproductive Rights—On the heels of the leaked draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, legislators have advanced and plan to pass a slew of measures to protect and expand abortion access in New York State, including increasing funding for services in New York in anticipation of an influx from out-of-state.
Good Cause Eviction—Real estate and landlord groups and housing advocates are locked in a bitter fight around a measure to make it harder for landlords to evict tenants. Similar tenant protections have become increasingly prevalent at the local level, advocates say the time is right for more statewide tenant protections. However, landlords argue it would make it nearly impossible to keep up with the necessary building upkeep and could decimate the housing stock across the State.
Adult Survivors Act—The Adult Survivors Act—modeled after the Child Victims Act enacted in 2019—would offer a one-year window of opportunity for adult victims of sexual harassment and abuse to file a civil lawsuit against an individual or an institution, even if the statute of limitations on the alleged crime has run out. The bill had gained momentum in light of allegations against former Governor Andrew Cuomo last year, but has failed to become law so far. The Senate unanimously passed the bill in April, but advocates are frustrated by the lack of progress in the Assembly.
Clean Slate Act—The Clean Slate Act—which would automatically clear New Yorker’s conviction record once they become eligible—has been a priority for criminal justice advocates across the State dating back to its introduction in 2020. A coalition of organizations and legislators pushed hard for its inclusion in the State budget, but it ultimately fell out of talks. At the end of the Budget process, members of the Clean Slate NY coalition said, “The ball is now in the Legislature’s court. We call on the Assembly and Senate to pass the Clean Slate Act on the first day back to session and for the governor to make good on her word to get the bill done.”
There are also a slew of smaller—but very important—issues that various stakeholders throughout the State are focusing on, including legislation that would establish a registration system for contractors and subcontractors performing public work in New York State; a bill to expand a key rental subsidy for individuals with HIV/AIDS to areas outside New York City; a proposal to extend prevailing wage to all renewable energy projects above one megawatt; and the Digital Right to Repair Act.
Have an issue you are curious about? Do not hesitate to reach out!
The issue of rising crime rates hit close to home for Albany lawmakers this week. Assemblyman Andrew Goodell had his car stolen from the Capitol parking garage before police found the wrecked car blocks away.
Finally, congratulations to our friends at Liverpool Football Club. They, again, beat Chelsea to win a trophy, this time the FA Cup.