State Assembly

New York Assembly Housing Committee chair Linda Rosenthal discusses division in emerging housing deal

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

There are a series of moving parts that all need to fit together before a housing deal comes together in Albany. These include tenant protections, a wage deal between developers and construction unions, a tax break for developers, the removal of density regulations and new allowances for office conversions.

One new hurdle is a demand by developers to roll back certain tenant protections that were passed into law in 2019.

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New safeguards added to New York's proposed Medical Aid in Dying Act

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The two architects behind New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act have amended added additional safeguards to the legislation in the hope it can soon become law.

The act would allow terminally ill, mentally capable adults who have been given six months or less to live to take their own lives with a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs.

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Bill would exempt burning wood for fuel from New York climate act's restrictions

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would exempt the burning of wood, used for cooking or heating buildings, from restrictions under the state’s 2019 climate law.

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) mandates the state lower greenhouse gas emissions to 40% of 1990 levels by 2030, and by 85% by 2050.

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New York Assemblymembers want NY HEAT Act included in state budget

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Members of the New York state Assembly on Tuesday urged the chamber’s speaker, Carl Heastie, and Gov. Kathy Hochul to include the NY HEAT Act, which aligns utility regulation with state climate justice and emission reduction targets, in the state budget.

Proponents of the measure say it is intended to limit costs to customers as New York state transitions away from natural gas while protecting them from predatory practices by capping utility costs at 6% of income for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers to prevent utility companies from hiking rates.

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New York Assembly passes ban on CO2 fracking

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The New York state Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill that would expand the state's ban of the controversial drilling process to extract natural gas to include a newer practice that uses carbon dioxide to extract methane and circumvents the current policy.

Fracking was first prohibited in New York back in 2014 and then permanently banned in the 2021 state budget.

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State Legislature releases budget priorities as negotiations continue

BY Bernadette Hogan New York State

Democratic state lawmakers are letting Gov. Kathy Hochul know where their priorities are in what’s known as their “one-house” budget proposals that were released earlier Tuesday.

The plans will serve as roadmaps for the next couple of weeks in negotiations leading up to the state’s April 1 budget deadline.

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Next phase of state budget negotiations begins

BY Bernadette Hogan New York State

The next phase of Albany’s budget negotiations kicked off Monday night, as both Democratic state Senate and Assembly conferences were poised to release their “one house” budget proposals.

Only the state Senate’s document was released online late Monday night as R1952. The documents establish the Legislature’s stance on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 2024 $233 billion budget proposal released in January.

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New York Republicans push for changes to 'ill-conceived' bail laws after recent incidents

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Republican lawmakers are once again calling for changes and outright rollbacks of the state’s bail laws, pointing to recent incidents in the state as why the law is problematic.

First passed in 2019, Democrats, who hold supermajorities in both chambers of the state Legislature, have amended the law three times since then, the most recent being last year.

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Lawmaker remains committed to making daylight saving time permanent in New York

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The time for the U.S. to "spring forward" this weekend comes with more resurfaced pushes to make daylight saving time permanent in New York.

State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a Democrat from Rotterdam, said on Thursday he remains committed to ending the biannual process of changing clocks, an effort he has continued for years now.

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New York state Assemblyman Smullen's son, 14, dies after crash

BY Spectrum News Staff Albany/Capital Region

State Assemblyman Robert Smullen's son A.J. has died after being hit by a car last month.

Smullen announced his son's death Wednesday morning. A.J. Smullen, 14, was struck by a vehicle the morning of Feb. 22 in front of Bellevue Women's Hospital in Niskayuna, according to the Niskayuna Police. He was taken to Albany Medical Center, where he died.

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New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie discusses budget issues, education

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

With redistricting in the rearview mirror and one-house budgets expected to be released next week, Capital Tonight sat down with New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to discuss a variety of topics, including education aid.

The speaker stated he is looking to make sure rural and suburban schools don’t lose money in this year’s budget; and that there is an appetite for revisiting the Foundation Aid formula.

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Longtime New York state Assemblymember Helene Weinstein to retire

BY Tim Williams New York State

New York state Assemblymember Helene Weinstein, the first woman to chair the influential Assembly Ways and Means Committee, has announced she will retire at the end of this legislative session. Weinstein, the longest-serving incumbent in the state Legislature's lower chamber, joins her state Senate counterpart, Neil Breslin, in planning to retire.

In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, announcing her decision to retire, the Brooklyn Democrat said “it has been the greatest honor to serve” and thanked current and former staffers.

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New York legislative Labor Committee chairs renew effort for minimum wage parity between upstate, downstate

BY Tim Williams New York State

On Monday, New York state lawmakers and advocates will join together at the Capitol to announce that the newly minted chair of the Assembly Labor Committee, Rochester’s Harry Bronson, will be the prime Assembly sponsor of legislation that would create a minimum wage parity between upstate and downstate New York.

The bill, known as the Upstate Parity and Minimum Wage Protection Act, would create a statewide minimum wage floor of $17 per hour. As of Jan. 1, the minimum wage in New York City, Westchester and Long Island sits at $16 per hour. In upstate New York, that figure rests at $15 per hour. By 2026, the minimum wage in non-upstate areas will rise to $17 per hour, while upstate will rise to $16 per hour.

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New York lawmaker introduces bill to ban dynamic pricing amid Wendy's plan to test it on their menus

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

A New York state lawmaker introduced legislation on Thursday that aims to ban dynamic pricing on food items in response to fast food chain Wendy's plan to test a system where prices for various items could fluctuate based on demand.

Democratic state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, of the Capital Region, introduced the "Fair Food Pricing Act," which his office said is meant to protect consumers from potential exploitation and manipulation.

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Advocates push for term limits for New York state officeholders

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

New York state lawmakers for years have considered the possibility of imposing term limits on themselves but so far none of those proposals or campaign promises have come to fruition.

"Hope springs eternal but I know it's an uphill battle," said state Assemblymember Monica Wallace, D-Lancaster.

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Western N.Y. state Assemblyman Joe Giglio won't run for reelection

BY Luke Parsnow Western New York

New York state Assemblyman Joe Giglio will not run for reelection in 2024, according to Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay.

The Western New York Republican, currently of the 148th Assembly District, has served in the Legislature’s lower chamber for nearly 20 years.

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Longtime Hudson Valley Assembly member to retire

BY Tim Williams Albany/Capital Region

Hudson Valley Democrat Aileen Gunther is set to retire at the end of this term after serving for over two decades in the state Assembly.

In a statement posted to social media, the chair of the Mental Health Committee said her time in the Legislature had been an “honor,” and she is “wholeheartedly committed to securing funding” and “meaningful policy” before the end of her term.

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State assemblyman challenging David Soares for Albany County district attorney

BY Spectrum News Staff Albany County

Albany County District Attorney David Soares officially has his first primary challenger this year.

State Assemblyman Phil Steck confirmed to Spectrum News 1 Wednesday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for district attorney. This after the Albany County Democratic Party on Tuesday evening decided not to endorse anyone in the race, and instead host open interviews for interested and qualified candidates.

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Democrat Landon Dais wins 77th Assembly District seat in the Bronx

BY Deanna Garcia The Bronx
UPDATED 12:00 AM ET Feb. 14, 2024

Democrat Landon Dais has won the seat for the 77th Assembly District in the Bronx in the special election, Spectrum News projects.

According to the Associated Press, with approximately 94% of the expected vote tallied as of 11:50 p.m. Tuesday, Dais had 78.1% of the vote, while Republican candidate Norman McGill had 21.9% of the vote.

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New York Assembly Higher Education Committe chair Pat Fahy wants more state aid for SUNY, CUNY

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

According to state Education Department figures, New York’s public schools are seeing their lowest enrollment numbers since the years after World War II, and that decline is affecting public and private institutions of higher education across the state — from the lecture hall to the budget office.

On Friday, lawmakers heard from higher education leaders, including SUNY Chancellor Dr. John King, in a marathon budget hearing. King has said that SUNY either needs more operating aid from the state or an increase in tuition to address the system’s financial needs.

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Caring for New York’s children through tax credits and budget funding

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, child poverty more than doubled nationwide since the expiration of the federal child tax credit.

Additionally, child poverty rates in New York are on the rise. State Assembly Children and Families Committee Chairman Andrew Hevesi has proposed legislation to rectify that.

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New York Republicans to Hochul: Send National Guard to the borders

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Republican leaders in the state Legislature are urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to deploy the state's National Guard to Texas and New York's northern border to assist in the flow of migrants coming into the U.S., according to a letter they sent Thursday.

"More than 8 million border encounters have occurred since President Biden took office. In 2023, over 2.5 million migrants entered the country through the southern border. In December alone, 302,034 encounters were reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. On New York’s Northern Border, 91,640 illegal crossings were reported in the past year," the letter states, signed by state Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt and Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay.

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Hochul sets special election for Feb. 13 to fill Bronx seat in state Assembly

BY Luke Parsnow The Bronx

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday issued a proclamation scheduling a special election on Tuesday, Feb. 13 to fill the 77th state Assembly seat recently vacated by Latoya Joyner.

"I’m grateful for the extraordinary service Latoya has performed for her constituents and our State. I wish her luck as she embarks on a new journey, and I look forward to working with the next representative to deliver for New York,” Hochul said in a statement.

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New York Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay concerned with migrants as well as outmigration

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Typically in Albany, the legislative minority is unhappy with the opposing party’s session agenda. But after Gov. Kathy Hochul’s State of the State address on Tuesday, that wasn’t the case with Assembly Republicans.

According to Minority Leader Will Barclay, the issues the governor raised are aligned with his conference’s agenda.

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New York GOP leaders ding Hochul on lack of specifics, not mentioning migrants in State of the State address

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

As New York Gov. Kathy Hochul outlined her legislative priorities for 2024 in her State of the State address on Tuesday, Republican leaders criticized her for what she did not discuss and framed some of her ideas as solutions to problems self-inflicted by years of Democratic control in Albany.

“With a $4 billion budget gap, there was no commitment to keep state spending in check. Illegal migrants are crossing the southern border in droves, but New York has yet to figure out how to properly handle the ongoing influx,” state Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay said in a statement. “Despite New York owning the nation’s worst outmigration numbers, there is no concrete plan to ease financial pressures on families and businesses. And after years of pro-criminal policies that undermine public safety, there is still no interest in increasing accountability or fixing glaring problems in the state’s criminal justice center.”

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Bronx state Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner abruptly resigns after first day of session

BY Kate Lisa New York State

After New York state lawmakers convened for one day of the 2024 legislative session, state Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner unexpectedly announced she will resign from her seat representing the 77th District in the Bronx.

Joyner, 37, posted her decision to resign in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, early Thursday afternoon. Her resignation will take effect midnight Monday as the assemblywoman says she's leaving public service to pursue a different professional opportunity.

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N.Y. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie talks collaboration with Hochul, not veto overrides

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

A flurry of year-end vetoes on legislation that passed by wide margins in the New York state Legislature has both the governor and the Assembly speaker bemoaning the rush to pass bills at the end of the six-month legislative session in June.

According to a statement on the executive’s website written by Gov. Kathy Hochul's Communications Director Anthony Hogrebe, “This year the State Legislature passed 896 bills, more than 500 of which passed in the final days of the session – most without a single hearing or opportunity for public comment.”

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New York Assemblymember Marjorie Byrnes won't run for reelection

BY Luke Parsnow Livingston County

New York state Assemblymember Marjorie Byrnes won’t run for reelection later this year, the Republican lawmaker announced Tuesday, concluding three terms in the state Legislature.

“The people that I represent, our constituents, they’re friends,” she said. “But what it comes down to is the Assembly calendar requires you to be in Albany extensively from January until June. And at this point in our lives, it’s just time to spend more time with family.”

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Al Stirpe drops N.Y. state Senate bid, will seek reelection to Assembly

BY Luke Parsnow and Seamus Lyman Central NY

New York state Assemblymember Al Stirpe says he is ending his campaign for a state Senate seat in Central New York and will instead seek reelection to the state's lower chamber, the Democratic lawmaker told Spectrum News 1 on Wednesday.

Stirpe launched his campaign for the 50th state Senate District in October and had been endorsed by independent Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.

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Long Island GOP assemblymember discusses N.Y. redistricting decision

BY Susan Arbetter and Tim Williams New York State

On Tuesday, the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that New York's congressional lines drawn by a special master prior to the 2022 elections must be thrown out and a new set of maps must be approved by the end of February.

The decision was derided by Republicans from every corner of the state, including Long Island Republican state Assemblyman Ed Ra. Ra told Capital Tonight that Democrats in the state “did everything to stack the court in their favor” to win this case.

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Gov. Hochul will deliver State of the State address on Jan. 9 in Albany

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul will deliver her State of the State address — her second as an elected governor — on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

Hochul will give the annual address at 1 p.m. in the state Assembly chamber at the state Capitol in Albany, the traditional location for it before former Gov. Andrew Cuomo moved them to the convention center at the Empire State Plaza, which allowed for more people to attend beyond the members of the Legislature.

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New York Assemblymembers hold rural equity forums across the state

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

Members of the New York Assembly Minority Caucus have been crisscrossing the state’s rural areas to hear from community members and stakeholders about the issues they are facing and the potential solutions.

Assemblymember Bob Smullen, a Republican who represents parts of the Adirondacks and eastern Mohawk Valley, joined Capital Tonight to discuss what he’s learned and potential solutions he will be pursing in the next legislative session.

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New York Assembly Member Bichotte Hermelyn discusses influx of migrants

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

More than 100,000 migrants have made their way to New York City as states like Texas continue to transport them from the southern border.

As the city, state and federal governments deal with the influx, New York state Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, who also serves as the Brooklyn Democratic Party chair, is calling for an “equitable response” to the influx.

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State lawmakers introduce public safety bills after Utica school football game shooting

BY Luke Parsnow Utica

Days after a 16-year-old was arrested for allegedly shooting a security guard at a high school football game in Utica, two New York state lawmakers say they plan to introduce legislation that includes increasing penalties for people under 18 to illegally possess a gun and make it easier for them to be tried in criminal court.

Republican state Sen. Joe Griffo, of Rome, and Democratic Assemblywoman Buttenschon, of Marcy, said the bill would also allow judges to use mental health evaluations during a pre-trial detention hearing and allow them to issue a secure order if a defendent is determined not to have strong ties to the area.

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New York Assembly Minority Leader Barclay urges Legislature to address migrant influx

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

New York Assembly and Senate Republicans are calling for an extraordinary session of the legislature to address issues around the influx of migrants to the state. The conferences have sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul urging her to “address the issue head on."

“I think one thing we can agree on in a bipartisan manner is this is a crisis. We’ve had 100,000 migrants come to this state,” Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay told Capital Tonight. “Clearly, this influx of people is taxing social services, is taxing law enforcement. It’s taxing our citizens and our communities.”

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New York Assembly Democrats' campaign arm to report more than $2.2 million

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

The campaign war chest of th New York Assembly Democratic conference is set to report more than $2.2 million in cash on hand later on Monday, according to a source familiar with the filing.

The Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, the political arm of the large majority conference, is reporting a cash-on-hand total for any conference campaign arm or mainline committee for a party in the last 23 years in a non-election year filing.

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New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on ‘overtime’ session for the chamber

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The New York state Assembly returned to the state Capitol this week for a short special session to wrap up some “unfinished business” but is expected to leave Albany without taking action on the Seneca gaming compact, according to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Last week, Speaker Heastie announced that the Assembly would not advance a measure that would allow the state to move forward with renewing the gaming compact between New York state and the Seneca Nation. On Wednesday, Heastie said a deal must be respectful of the Seneca Nation while also ensuring the Rochester delegation of Assembly members are “comfortable.”

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New York lawmakers move to ban radiological waste dumping in Hudson

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

New York lawmakers gave final approval Tuesday to a measure that would ban the dumping of radiological waste from the Indian Point Energy Center nuclear plant as it goes through the decommissioning process.

The Democratic-led Assembly approved the measure with a handful of Republican votes as lawmakers and environmental advocates point to the economic damage that can be done by discharging the waste into the river. Opponents, including a labor union that represents workers at the Westchester County site as well as the owner of Indian Point, contend the measure is unnecessary and could cost jobs.

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New York Assembly plans 2 days of legislative work next week

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York Assembly lawmakers and staffers have been told to prepare for two days of legislative work beginning June 20, a source familiar with the discussion said on Tuesday.

The state Assembly is returning for a two-day sint of voting on unfinished business. Many of the bills being considered are local-level concerns for lawmakers.

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New York lawmakers advance commission to review reparations remedies for slavery

BY Nick Reisman New York State
UPDATED 10:15 PM ET Jun. 08, 2023

The Democratic-controlled New York state Assembly in a largely party-line vote on Thursday approved the creation of a commission to assess reparations remedies for slavery.

The measure was approved, 106-41. Later Thursday, the state Senate approved the bill. It now heads to the governor for her consideration.

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New York advocates strengthen push for 'Clean Slate' bill before session ends

BY Nick Reisman and Tim Williams New York State

With the clock ticking down on the New York legislative session, criminal justice advocates are calling for passing “Clean Slate” legislation before the scheduled end of the legislative session on June 8.

State Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, a Queens Democrat who sponsors the legislation in the Assembly, told Capital Tonight that she’s “confident” that the bill can get done by June 8 thanks to additional support the bill has gotten after “significant changes” were made.

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Measures aimed to aid New Yorkers with disabilities advance

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

State lawmakers in the Assembly on Monday advanced a package of proposals meant to make it easier for New Yorkers with disabilities to access services.

The measures were approved in recognition of Legislative Disabilities Awreness Day, as lawmakers seek to address the roadblocks people face when receiving help.

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Business groups make push against renewed wrongful death bill

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

A renewed effort to pass an expansion of the state's wrongful death statute is expected to take a step forward on Tuesday when it is considered by the New York Assembly Judiciary Committee.

But the measure is once again being opposed by the state's business community, which also pushed back against a previous version of the bill vetoed this year by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

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Bill to seal criminal records gains traction in New York Assembly

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

For years, criminal justice advocates have called for a measure to seal many criminal records in New York in order to help formerly convicted people find employment.

But the legislation has stalled in the state Assembly, which despite its large Democratic majority and recent track record of making progressive-backed changes to criminal justice laws, has not taken up the provision known as the Clean Slate Act for a vote.

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New York Assembly Housing Committee chair: Hochul's proposal 'can't just be done by edict'

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s marquee budget proposal was her New York Housing Compact, which would have created 800,000 housing units over 10 years. It was an ambitious plan that would have required each municipality in the state to meet certain growth metrics, but it never got off the ground.

The reason, according to state Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, chair of the Assembly Housing Committee, is that the plan was missing some key elements.

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Protections for renters against lead-based paint in New York advances

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

New York lawmakers want more protections and redress for renters in the state who are exposed to lead-based paint in their homes.

Legislation advanced Wednesday in the state Assembly that would bar the exclusion of coverage for losses or damages by the exposure to lead paint from liability coverage to rental property owners.

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Lawmaker doesn't expect streaming tax to be included in New York budget

BY Ryan Whalen Tonawanda

TONAWANDA, N.Y. -- Democratic leadership in the New York state Assembly is proposing a 4% state and 4% local sales tax on digital streaming products, excluding newspapers and periodicals.

However, Assemblyman Bill Conrad, D-Tonawanda, said the plan does not have support from the entire conference, including himself.

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Progressives discuss New York budget dynamics, push for tax hikes on the wealthy

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

For all the lofty rhetoric around budgets being moral documents, while they’re being created, the sausage-making is done by people like you and me. People who get cranky after working weeks of late nights; who have stale pizza and Pepto-breath; who feel frustrated by political intransigence.

Here lies the danger of the late budget: That the very people responsible for the heavy lifting of creating it may get to a point where the major issues are such an ordeal that there’s no gas left in the tank for smaller issues that could be done post-budget.

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Assembly Republicans: Bolster security for New York schools

BY Nick Reisman Albany

State Assembly Republicans Thursday backed a package of measures meant to make schools safer in New York — from adding more school resource officers to addressing mental health concerns.

The announcement for the proposals, the subject of a months-long statewide listening tour on the issue by Republican lawmakers, coincided with multiple schools across parts of upstate New York receiving false threats on Thursday.

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New York lawmakers eye digital streaming media tax, delivery fee

BY Nick Reisman Albany

New Yorkers could be facing a tax on digital subscription streaming media services for music, TV and audiobooks as well as a fee for delivery services in order to raise money for mass transit under measures contained in a budget proposal being advanced Thursday in the state Assembly.

The tax and fee provisions come as New York is seeking to raise billions of dollars for mass transit as well as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the New York City region.

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New York Assembly Speaker Heastie on housing, child care and opioids in chamber's one-house budget

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The legislative one-house budget proposals don’t include several of the priorities that Gov. Kathy Hochul included in her own spending plan. There’s no tuition hike for SUNY and CUNY; no bail reform; her New York Housing Compact has been reworked; and both houses include a tax hike on wealthy New Yorkers which the governor specifically stated she didn’t want.

Nevertheless, state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told Capital Tonight that there is plenty in common between the Legislature and the executive because so many of their goals remain the same. For example, both support a hike in the minimum wage, an increase in housing units and funding for the M.T.A.

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New York Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay meets with Hochul, discusses state budget

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

While New York Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay has served in the state Legislature since 2003, he hasn’t spent a lot of time discussing the state budget with any of the state’s previous governors. That changed Wednesday morning when he had breakfast with Gov. Kathy Hochul and Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt at the governor’s mansion.

“This was kind of a new thing and I appreciate that,” he told Capital Tonight about the meeting, which focused on bail reform, housing and mental health.

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New York Assembly redistricting a factor in potential public financing delay

BY Nick Reisman Albany

As state lawmakers consider a two-year delay in rolling out a system of publicly financed political campaigns in New York, the ongoing redistricting process in the state Assembly is playing a role in the discussions, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Tuesday confirmed.

"Certainly the Assembly is going through a redistricting situation, so it's part of the things we are talking about," Stewart-Cousins said during an unrelated news conference.

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New York lawmaker 'confident' court fees could be eliminated in 2023 session

BY Nick Reisman and Tim Williams New York State

New York state lawmakers and advocates are renewing their effort to pass legislation designed to eliminate court fees that people convicted of a crime have been forced to pay. State Assemblyman Kenny Burgos, a Bronx Democrat who sponsors the legislation in his chamber, argues the court fees amount to a “regressive tax.”

Burgos told Capital Tonight that the fees, which amounted to roughly $40 million a year, are used to fund parts of the state government. However, Burgos and advocates argue more is spent to reclaim court fees than the state gets back.

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Criminal record sealing measure gains backing in New York Assembly

BY Nick Reisman Albany

A bill meant to seal many criminal records has gained the backing of all of the newly Democratic elected members of the New York state Assembly, supporters of the legislation on Wednesday said.

The proposal, known as the Clean Slate Act by its supporters, has stalled in the state Assembly over the last several years.

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Statewide housing voucher bill advances in New York Assembly

BY Nick Reisman Albany

A bill that would create a statewide housing voucher program in New York cleared a key Assembly panel on Tuesday as a debate over how to expand access to housing continues in Albany.

The measure, backed by Assembly Housing Committee Chair Linda Rosenthal, would create a statewide voucher program for people who are homeless and people who at risk of eviction.

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New York Assembly Member Amy Paulin on chairing the Health Committee and Hochul’s budget

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Retired New York state Assembly Member Dick Gottfried, who chaired the Assembly Health Committee for 35 years, said there’s an enormous learning curve for lawmakers who take on this challenge.

“I remember when I became health chair, it very quickly became clear to me how little I knew,” he told Capital Tonight. “And that was true of everyone in the Assembly but (former Assemblyman) Jim Tallon, the health chair (at the time), who we relied on a lot.”

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Q & A: New York Assembly Speaker Heastie on housing, SUNY & CUNY tuition hikes, raising taxes

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, leader of the Assembly Democrats, is one of a handful of lawmakers who will be actively negotiating the $227 billion state budget with Gov. Kathy Hochul. Capital Tonight anchor Susan Arbetter spoke with Heastie about a variety of issues. Some excerpts from the interview are below:

CT: You’ve said that instead of reforming the bail laws for a third time, that you think the Legislature should instead tackle housing insecurity and the root causes of crime. Can you be specific?

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New York AFL-CIO and key labor unions back legislative staff union

BY Nick Reisman Albany

A coalition of regional and statewide labor unions on Tuesday publicly endorsed the effort by legislative staffers in the New York Senate and Assembly to organize, according to a letter signed by the New York State AFL-CIO.

The unionization push by legislative staffers has the backing also of the large public workers unions in the state, including the Civil Service Employees Association, the Public Employees Federation and 1199SEIU.

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New York lawmakers approve bill to increase to their own pay

BY Nick Reisman Albany

New York state lawmakers are step closer to being the highest paid state Legislature in the country.

The Democratic-led state Assembly and Senate in a rare December vote on Thursday approved a bill setting their salaries at $142,000 a year — a $32,000 pay hike that was coupled with a provision limiting how much money they can earn outside of their jobs as elected officials.

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Pay raise for New York lawmakers stirs calls for further action

BY Nick Reisman Albany

State lawmakers' plans to return Thursday to vote for a measure to raise their pay by $32,000 is leading to calls for further action on measures that would also increase the minimum wage, extend a gas tax holiday into the new year and provide support for home heating assistance.

It's the give-a-mouse-a-cookie rule of New York politics: If you hold a special session, a few more glasses of milk are going to be sought.

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Hochul encourages cap on outside income if state lawmakers increase pay

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul expects lawmakers would include a ban or cap on outside income if they return to Albany for a special session next week to vote for a pay increase, she said Thursday.

Sources have said lawmakers are weighing holding a special session of the Legislature late next week to increase their pay to $130,000 and potentially ban or limit outside income. They currently earn $110,00 annually.

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New York lawmakers weigh outside income ban in pay raise discussions

BY Nick Reisman Albany

New York lawmakers are weighing a ban on outside income as they discuss potentially increasing their salary in a special session of the Legislature.

A source on Tuesday confirmed a special session of the Legislature could be held next week, with legislative pay reaching $130,000. New York lawmakers currently earn $110,000.

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Hochul in favor of special session to raise state lawmakers' pay

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul was supportive Friday of lawmakers returning to Albany for a special session to vote to raise their salaries after multiple legislative sources have said legislative leaders are weighing a pay increase.

Lawmakers can only vote to raise the salaries of a future Legislature. If they do not vote for an increase before Dec. 31, a future raise won't take effect until the next Legislature takes office in 2025.

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Heastie: No investigation needed into New York attorney general's probe of top aide

BY Kate Lisa New York State

New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is not calling for an investigation into how state Attorney General Letitia James and her office handled investigating sexual harassment allegations against her former chief of staff Ibrahim Khan, who resigned Nov. 22.

The attorney general is considering a criminal referral in the case, but is facing steep backlash after reports her office suppressed the investigation about Khan until after the Nov. 8 election. He was also previously accused of forcibly kissing a woman in 2014 while working for James, who was New York City's public advocate at the time.

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NYPIRG: Size range in newly proposed state Assembly maps leave much to be desired

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Last week, the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) released the first draft of the new New York state Assembly district maps for the 2024 elections.

According to Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), the current Assembly maps left a lot to be desired regarding their size range.

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New York coalition pushes for economic justice in next legislative session

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

As the opening of the next legislative session in Albany nears, groups of all political stripes are trying to organize and amplify their message.

One coalition of statewide progressive groups is pushing for a more just economy, especially for low-income communities of color which have historically struggled in the face of red-lining.

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New York's redistricting panel advances new proposed map for state Assembly

BY Nick Reisman Albany
UPDATED 7:06 PM ET Dec. 01, 2022

Commissioners on New York's redistricting panel voted Thursday to advance a new proposed map for state Assembly legislative boundaries, setting off yet another round of public hearings.

The new map is something of a do-over for the redistricting commission following a court order to draw new legislative boundaries for the 150-member chamber. But this time, the Republican and Democratic members of the redistricting commission sought to highlight how they were unified behind a single proposal.

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New York Assembly majority leader 'relieved' by Buffalo shooting suspect's guilty plea

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Relief is what New York state Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said she felt upon discovering that the man who allegedly killed 10 people at a Tops in her community had pleaded guilty to all of those murders.

The lawmaker believes it was clear he was guilty and the families with whom she's become close to should not have had to deal with a long trial.

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Will Barclay re-elected New York Assembly Republican leader

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Central New York state Assemblyman Will Barclay was re-elected the leader of the Republicans on Tuesday to the Democratic-dominated chamber.

The vote was held in private with Republican lawmakers in Albany on Tuesday afternoon as they prepare for the 2023 legislative session set to begin in January.

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New York's top court upholds pay raise panel for state lawmakers

BY Nick Reisman Albany

A mechanism for granting state lawmakers their first salary increases in decades was upheld by New York's highest court in a ruling handed down Thursday morning.

The lawsuit, first filed in 2018, challenged whether state lawmakers and the governor could throw the decision for pay raises for all 213 members of the New York Senate and Assembly to an appointed commission.

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New York lawmakers want to make daylight saving time permanent

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Two state lawmakers in New York are trying to make daylight saving time permanent, ending the need to push clocks back an hour in the fall and forward in the springtime.

The proposal has united Democratic state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and Republican state Sen. Joe Griffo, who are both backing the measure that would need to be done in a compact with neighboring states.

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New law assesses Holocaust education in New York as anti-Semitic attacks rise

BY Ryan Whalen and Tim Williams New York State

As the instances of anti-Semitic rhetoric and attacks rise in New York and across the country, a new state law is examining the quality of Holocaust education in the Empire State.

State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, a Queens lawmaker who sponsored the legislation, said “even though we say Never Again, it’s sort of a nice phrase to say, we really need to put those words into action.”

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New York advocates urge Hochul to sign comptroller oversight bill

BY Tim Williams New York State

Back in 2011, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders passed a budget deal that stripped the state comptroller’s office of oversight powers that it had had for over a century. Now, over 30 organizations have signed onto a memo of support urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that would restore many of those oversight powers. John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, told Capital Tonight that if Gov. Hochul wants to fulfill her promise of a “new era of transparency," she needs to sign this bill into law.

The bill, which was sponsored by state Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick and Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowksi, would restore most but not all of the oversight powers that were stripped away. Kaehny said the bill would allow the comptroller’s office to review state contracts for organizations like SUNY and the Office of General Services before they are signed. Kaehny argues this oversight could have prevented the state from overpaying for COVID-19 tests or some of the bad spending in the Buffalo Billion.

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New York Assembly Republicans form school safety panel

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Republicans in the New York state Assembly on Friday announced the formation of a task force to assess school safety and violence and how to address it.

The panel will be led by Assemblyman Joe Giglio, Assemblyman Doug Smith and Assemblyman Mike Reily.

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New York League of Conservation Voters issues endorsements in key races

BY Nick Reisman Albany

The New York League of Conservation Voters on Wednesday formally released its final slate of endorsements for the 2022 general election, backing 22 candidates in key races across the state.

The group's endorsements come as environmental organizations are also pushing for the approval of a bond act to boost environmental infrastructure in the state.

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New York Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn on maternal care, 'Mickey’s Law'

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The U.S. is one of the richest countries in the world, yet pregnant women here face staggering mortality rates, something New York Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn experienced firsthand.

“Having lost a baby to negligent health care, I had to experience something that was very unfortunate – probably the most significant tragic experience (of my life),” Bichotte Hermelyn told Capital Tonight.

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Lawsuit challenges committee's confirmation power to New York's new ethics commission

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Under New York's new ethics law, an independent committee made up of leaders from the state's 15 accredited law schools decide by a majority vote whether to confirm appointments to the 11 member Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in government.

Last month, that panel rejected Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt's appointment of Gary Lavine, a Syracuse-area attorney who served on the now-disbanded Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

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Capital Region is home to a wild card state Assembly race

BY Tim Williams New York State

The race for New York's 113th Assembly District, which includes parts of Saratoga and Washington counties and the cities of Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls, will be one to watch.

The district, which leans Democratic, is home to an electoral rematch from 2020, when Democratic incumbent Carrie Woerner bested Republican challenger Dave Catalfamo 55% to 45%. But with a midterm election shaping up to be a good year for the GOP, and the issues of abortion, the economy and crime weighing heavily on voter’s minds, could we see a flip?

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Heastie says he's open to judicial training for bail law

BY Nick Reisman Albany

New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has remained one of the most steadfast and prominent supporters of the state measures that largely ended cash bail for many criminal charges.

And as the law has become a flashpoint in a larger debtate over crime and public safety in New York statewide, Heastie has decried how the law has been blamed — in his view unfarily — for rising violence.

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NY Assembly Speaker Heastie continues upstate summer tour

BY Nick Reisman Albany

New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie next week will start the upstate portion of his summer tour with visits to Rochester and the Syracuse area as well as Utica, his office on Friday said.

The annual tour of the state began when Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, took on the top post in the state Assembly seven years ago.

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New York State Police, DEC to issue enforcement guidelines for new concealed carry rules

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Questions are mounting about New York state's new rules restricting who can get a concealed carry permit and where firearms can be carried in New York as police wait for enforcement guidelines.

New York's Concealed Carry Improvement Act, signed hours after being introduced during an extraordinary session last week, prohibits firearms in sensitive places like airports, schools, parks, houses of worship, hospitals and medical facilities, among others. The law takes effect Sept. 1.

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233-year-old New York resolution could lead to eroding rights, advocates warn

BY Tim Williams New York State

Two-hundred-and-thirty-three years later, advocates are calling on the New York state Legislature to rescind a call for a constitutional convention over a concern that constitutional rights could be rolled back.

Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause NY, told Capital Tonight that a 1789 New York state resolution calling for a federal constitutional convention to add the Bill of Rights to the document could be used to roll back rights and powers of the federal government in the 21st Century.

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New York Assemblywoman Pat Fahy wants to ‘reimagine’ aging Albany highway

BY Tim Williams Albany/Capital Region

When New York Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, an Albany Democrat, looks at the Interstate 787 highway that cuts through New York’s capital city, she sees an “opportunity” to correct mistakes of the 1960s and 70s and reclaim the city’s “greatest natural resource — the mighty Hudson River.”

The highway, which was constructed in the 1960s, runs along the Hudson River in Albany County with connections to neighboring Rensselaer County. Fahy said it is “essential” for economic development to have greater access to the waterfront.

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League of Women Voters awaits court decision on New York Assembly maps

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

While the New York state Assembly primary elections are currently slated to be held on Tuesday, June 28 using the new maps drawn by Democrats earlier this year, a judge in the First Department of the Appellate Division last week ruled that the lines are invalid, but cannot be redrawn during this election cycle because of time constraints.

A separate lawsuit, brought by the League of Women Voters of New York State, alleged that the state Board of Elections shouldn’t certify the Assembly lines because the Court of Appeals said they were drawn by an unconstitutional process.

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How caucus lawmakers flexed New York legislative muscles in session

BY Nick Reisman Albany

The Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus this year was able to win a series of legislative and budget victories, including a funding boost for public colleges in New York City, expanding the Homeowner Protection Program and boosting funding for the Black Farm Fund, as well as efforts to reduce gun violence.

The caucus can also point to measures such as the approval of a state-level version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, reducing medical debt and addressing lead poisoning levels in children.

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Appellate judge tosses state Assembly maps

BY Kate Lisa New York State
UPDATED 8:55 PM ET Jun. 10, 2022

The New York State Assembly maps adopted by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul in February are void, according to a state Appellate Court ruling on Friday.

The now-tossed Assembly district lines will remain in place for the June 28 primary and the Nov. 8 general election.

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New York lawmakers, advocates hope for a final deal on 'Clean Slate' measure

BY Nick Reisman Albany

A measure that would seal criminal records for thousands of New Yorkers has the potential to be revived in the coming days after stalling for the last several years in Albany.

The bill, known as the Clean Slate Act, advanced out of a key committee in the state Senate on Tuesday afternoon. It's final fate, however, remains unclear as lawmakers plan to leave Albany by the end of the week for the rest of the year.

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