The domestic terrorist’s racist attack on Black Buffalonians continued to resonate this week, drawing President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden to Buffalo. Here, again, are the victims:
The President and First Lady were joined by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Senator Kirstin Gillibrand, Governor Kathy Hochul, State Attorney General Letitia James, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, and gobs of local elected officials at the Delavan-Grider Community Center. The delegation laid flowers at a makeshift memorial and the President took time with each victims’ families before delivering an address to the community, and to the nation.
Biden, who is no stranger to personal tragedy and personal grief, offered a poignant, moving, and powerful speech. The President was visibly emotional when reflecting on the lives of the victims and ended with a message of hope to their families. “The day is going to come — it will come — when your loved one brings a smile as you remember him or her — as you remember her; it’s going to bring a smile to your lip before it brings a tear to your eye,” said the President.
Our Jack O’Donnell joined the news team at News 4 Buffalo to provide political analysis during its expanded coverage of the President’s visit following the racially-motivated mass killings in Buffalo. Watch an interview here. More coverage here.
- Green Priorities—Since the passage of the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (CLCPA) in 2019, environmentalists, utilities, and other stakeholders spend every session pushing legislation that they think will help achieve the ambitious CLCPA goals on emissions reduction and renewable energy production. This year is no different on that front.
- Utility Owned Renewables—Advocates and utilities are lining up behind a proposal that would allow utilities to own a limited number of large scale renewable generating facilities. The proceeds from the sale of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from those facilities would go to low-income customers in the form of a bill credit. However, various ratepayer and market concerns could stymie the bill in end of session discussions.
- New York State Build Public Renewables Act—A proposal that would allow the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to own and build renewable generation, storage, and transmission has slightly more momentum than the utility owned renewables bill. Decision makers are engaging on the bill and trying to find a way to get it done before June 2. However, the bill faces fierce opposition from developers who say it will deeply impact the market private development of renewables throughout the state, thus hurting ratepayers.
- Cryptocurrency Mining Moratorium—A bill to ban powering proof-of-work (Bitcoin) cryptocurrency mining operations powered by fossil fuels behind-the-meter passed the Assembly in April, but it has gotten hung up in the Senate. Advocates argue that having large fossil fuel-powered plants behind the meter will hurt the state’s efforts toward achieving CLCPA goals, while opponents argue the ban will lead to cryptocurrency and blockchain operations located outside New York State.
- NYC Issues—While most decision makers were in Buffalo last week, Eric Adams was in Albany to lobby on New York City’s priorities for 2022.
- Speed Cameras—Adams reached a deal that would expand and extend New York City’s Speed Camera Program—including allowing them to operate 24/7. “We have finalized an agreement to renew the speed camera program and expand the hours to 24/7,” said Senator Andrew Gounardes who will be the new bill’s sponsor with Assemblywoman Deborah Glick. It is expected to pass both Houses before the Legislature adjourns June 2nd.
- 421a–The Mayor’s trip did not yield any progress on 421-a—the controversial tax credit for affordable housing. During his trip Adams was pressing lawmakers to support the modified version proposed by Governor Kathy Hochul in the Budget this year.
- Mayoral Control—While the Mayor did not reach a deal on Mayoral Control, Senator John Liu, who chairs the Senate NYC Education Committee, said lawmakers are almost certain to extend it before they adjourn, but likely with some tweaks.
- Good Cause Eviction– Housing advocates want to see stronger renter protections passed that will make it harder to evict tenants. Good Cause Eviction—sponsored by Senate Julia Salazar and Assembly Member Pam Hunter—would prohibit eviction without “good cause.” It is a priority for Housing advocates and key progressives. However, being that it is not on the floor in either house, sponsors will have to move quickly.
- Clean Slate Act—This legislation would automatically clear one’s criminal record once they meet a set of criteria. This has been a priority for criminal justice groups for years but with a new governor, the coalition seems hopeful they can get it across the finish line.
- The newly drawn 12th district includes most of Manhattan and pits longtime New York City congressional members Carolyn Maloney and Jerold Nadler against each other. Both Maloney and Nadler have released statements announcing their intent to run. It is the first time, at least in modern times, that two committee chairs are facing off in a primary.
- DCCC Chair Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney will run for reelection in the 17th district as a result of the changes. His decision left current NY-17 representative, Mondaire Jones, with a tough choice. Jones announced he will move into NYC and run in the 10th district (one without an incumbent) but the manner in which it went down left many progressives with a bad taste in their mouth.
- The 10th district, encompassing lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, promises a crowded Democratic primary. Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he will run for the seat, joining Mondaire Jones and state Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou with potentially, more to come.
- One of the most notable changes between the draft and enacted maps was the reunification of the Crown Heights neighborhood with Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. The proposed split of the neighborhoods was met with intense backlash.
- The special master reunified the city of Buffalo after originally proposing a plan that would have grouped part of the city with the Southern Tier of the state.
- The new State Senate maps will have twelve districts that are considered competitive- up from the six orginally proposed by Democrats.
- Cervas made some significant changes in Long Island, redrawing parts of the 4th District to create a “majority-minority” district that was proposed by many groups.
More uplifting, friend of the firm and Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes received the Norton Medal at the University at Buffalo’s commencement over the weekend. The medal is awarded to an individual who “performed some great thing which is identified with Buffalo … a great civic or political act, a great book, a great work of art, a great scientific achievement or any other thing which, in itself, is truly great and ennobling, and which dignifies the performer and Buffalo in the eyes of the world.”
Still mourning with her community, her speech was perfect. “I don’t know if anyone has told you yet today, but I love you.” Thank you, Majority Leader- We love you too.
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