April 12, 2024

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In the News-New York State

Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez to Lead the Dormitory Authority of the State of NY

Governor Kathy Hochul announced this week that the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York Board of Directors has appointed Robert J. Rodriguez as Acting President and Chief Executive  Officer.  

Robert Rodriguez currently serves as New York’s 68th Secretary of State and will take on his  new role beginning on May 8th. Mr. Rodriguez will serve as Acting President & CEO until confirmed by  the Senate. 

Prior to joining the administration as Secretary of State, Mr. Rodriguez served as a member of  the New York State Assembly for 11 years, representing Assembly District 68, where he focused on  creating affordable housing, economic development, and education. He served as Co-Chair of the  Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment, founding Chair of the  Assembly sub-committee on Infrastructure and Member of Committees on Ways and Means, Housing,  Labor, Banking, Corporations & Authorities and Mental Health. 

Mr. Rodriguez also held private sector roles as a Director at Public Financial Management, Vice President at A.C. Advisory, Inc. and various management and operations roles at Bloomberg LP. In  addition, he served on a number of volunteer boards including as Chairman of Manhattan Community  Board 11 and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. 

Mr. Rodriguez is a graduate of Yale University, where he received a B.A. in History and Political Science and New York University Stern Business School where he received an MBA in Finance.

NY Received More From Washington Than   It Sent Due to Federal Relief

State Comptroller DiNapoli’s Analysis Finds NY Received $1.06 for Every Tax Dollar Sent to DC in FFY 2022, Third Consecutive Year of Positive Balance 

Federal pandemic relief funds, though being spent down, continued to boost New York’s balance of payments with Washington, according to a report issued this week by State Comptroller Thomas  DiNapoli. 

 In Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2022, New York state generated $361.8 billion in federal taxes and benefited from $383 billion in federal spending. For every tax dollar paid to Washington, the state  received $1.06 in return – a favorable per capita balance of payments of $1,076. According to the  Comptroller, this is the third year in a row that New York has had a positive balance of payments, after a long history of sending more to Washington than it receives. 

Forty-five states, including New York, had a positive balance of payments in FFY2022. The five  states that had a negative balance of payments were Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, New  Hampshire, and California. In FFYs 2020 and 2021, all states had a positive balance of payments. New  York ranked 39th in FFY 2022, as compared to 30th in FFY 2021, 40th in FFY 2020, and 49th in FFY  2019. 

“The response to the dire economic conditions brought on by the pandemic boosted federal aid  for New York and all other states,” Comptroller DiNapoli said. “As this relief comes to an end, New  York’s balance of payments with Washington may again turn negative as federal support returns to pre pandemic levels..” 

Key findings in Comptroller DiNapoli’s report include: 

  • New York generated $18,388 per capita, ranking it third in per capita contribution to the federal  treasury, which was 32.4% higher than the national average of $13,888. 
  • New York received $19,464 per capita, ranking it 11th in per capita federal spending, which was  9.3% higher than the national average of $17,804. 
  • New York’s share of federal spending (6.5%) was higher than its share of the nation’s population (5.9%) and below the state’s share of total taxes paid (7.8%). 
  • Federal expenditure areas where New York ranks high include Medicaid ($2,742 per capita, 4th),  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ($529 per capita, 7th), Rental Assistance and Public  Housing ($271 per capita, 1st), and Transit ($154 per capita, 1st). 
  • Federal expenditure areas where New York ranks low include Federal Employees Wages and  Salaries ($437 per capita, 42nd), Veterans Benefits ($415 per capita, 49th), Federal Employees  Retirement ($201 per capita, 50th), and Highways ($94 per capita, 49th). 

Advisory Panel to Study the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on NYS Courts

Chief Administrative Judge Joseph Zayas this week appointed an Advisory Panel to examine the  benefits and risks of Courts’ use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools. 

The Advisory Committee on Artificial Intelligence and the Courts, comprising of judges, court administrators, attorneys, legislators, academics, and other experts from around the State, will be  led by Appellate Division, Second Department Associate Justice Angela G. Iannacci, Stuart Levi, a  partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP; and New York University and School of Law  Professor Jason M. Schultz. 

The newly established advisory group has been charged with examining the use of AI tools in the courts by judges, court staff, attorneys, and litigants; identifying the opportunities presented by AI to  improve the administration of justice in the New York State court system; minimizing the risks arising  from the use of AI tools by staff and officers of the court; and developing appropriate guardrails to  ensure that AI is used in the courts safely, responsibly, and effectively. 

The panel will initially focus on certain areas for study and recommendation, 


  • Assessing current and proposed uses of AI by judges, non-judicial personnel, attorneys, and  litigants in the New York State Courts. 
  • Providing AI training and education for judges, attorneys, and non-judicial personnel. 
  • Identifying best practices for court systems regarding AI use by judges, nonjudicial personnel,  and other court users. 
  • Assessing the ethical implications of using AI tools, including by attorneys. 
  • Considering whether work standards for judges and non-judicial personnel should be updated to  address the use and potential misuse of AI tools. 
  • Examining questions of authenticity that may arise when evidence is created or processed  through AI and recommending legislation, rules, or guidelines for how the courts should receive  and handle such evidence. 
  • Identifying opportunities for the court system to use AI to increase access to justice and improve  the experience of litigants and other court users. 
  • Exploring innovations to improve operational efficiency and systems for studying AI use by  judges and non-judicial personnel.
  • Determining how to best ensure that AI use in the courts is equitable and transparent, avoids  potential biases in AI algorithms, and remains consistent with privacy and confidentiality  considerations. 

Advisory Panel membership list.

In the News-New York City

City Council Approves Willets Point Phase 2

Willets Point Development Will Add Over $6 Billion in Economic Impact, Create Over 14,000 Construction Jobs and More Than 1,500 Permanent Jobs

The New York City Council yesterday voted to approve the Willets Point Phase 2 development,  as part of the Uniform Land User Review Procedure (ULURP), advancing the second phase of the  redevelopment strategy to transform Willets Point into a new mixed-used neighborhood.  

This phase of the redevelopment will create approximately 2,500 units of new housing, a 250- room hotel, a 25,000-seat soccer stadium to be the home of NYC Football Club, 2.8 acres of publicly  accessible open space, and 80,000 square feet of local retail space. 

Of the 2,500 housing units, 1,400 units will be permanent affordable housing, the largest addition of affordable housing in 40 years. About 15% of the affordable units will be set aside for homeless individuals. 

“Housing is the goal – and with today’s City Council vote, I’m proud to say that we just scored the goal of the decade,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “We’re bringing 2,500 affordable housing units, 150,000  square feet of public open space, thousands of good-paying jobs, and the city’s first soccer-specific  stadium to a neighborhood in Queens that used to be known for its junkyards. 

Construction for the first phase of 100-percent affordable housing at Willets Point is already  underway. In December 2023, Mayor Adams and city officials broke ground on the first 880 units of  affordable housing, which are expected to be completed by the end of 2026. The next housing development to commence construction will be an additional 220 affordable homes set aside for low income seniors. 

With the creation of a new soccer-specific stadium, Willets Point will become a the City’s  premier sports hub, according to the Mayor, with the New York Mets’ Citi Field and U.S. Tennis  Association’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center both within walking distance of the Metropolitan  Transportation Authority’s Mets-Willets Point subway and Long Island Rail Road station.

Bill Passed by the City Council 

Introduction 69-A, sponsored by Council Member Lincoln Restler —  

Prohibits provisions in employment agreements that shorten the period in which claims and complaints  of unlawful discriminatory practices, harassment, or violence may be filed and in which civil actions  may be commenced. 

Introduction 126-A, sponsored by Minority Leader Joseph Borelli — Requires that the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) provide body armor to employees within the Bureau of Emergency Medical  Services (EMS). This would largely codify existing practices and establish requirements that protective  equipment meet ballistic and stab resistance standards of the National Institute of Justice. 

Introduction 127-A, sponsored by Minority Leader Joseph Borelli — Requires that FDNY provide de escalation and self-defense training to EMS workers. 


New York’s Budget Extended through April 15th 

Narrows Original Decision Voiding State’s Adult-Use Cannabis Regulations 

As the Legislative Leaders and Governor Kathy Hochul continue to negotiate a year-long budget  deal, the Senate and Assembly passed extender legislation to pay the State’s obligations through  Monday, April 15th

The Senate will return to Albany on Monday and the Assembly is scheduled to return at the Call  of the Speaker. Meanwhile, the State’s leaders will continue negotiating over the weekend.

NYC Launches LockerNYC To Combat Package Theft And Reduce Delivery Truck Traffic 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT)  Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez this week launched LockerNYC, a free pilot program that will utilize  lockers installed on public sidewalks throughout multiple boroughs to allow New Yorkers to receive  secure package deliveries. 

“We are taking on porch pirates and cutting down on emissions by unwrapping LockerNYC, our  pilot program that will combat package theft and reduce delivery truck traffic in our city,” said Mayor  Adams. 

The LockerNYC pilot includes seven units, each with the capacity to securely hold 25 packages  at a time and has the potential to further expand this year. The pilot is open to the public and the  LockerNYC program will be available across multiple delivery carriers. New Yorkers can sign up for  free and manage orders online.

NYC Comptroller Lander Wins $119k+ in Benefits for Workers at Queens Condo

The New York City Comptroller’s Office reached a settlement with 11-51 47th Real LLC, The  Board of Managers of the Jackson Condominium, and Choice NY Property Management LLC (Choice  Management) for 421-a prevailing wage violations regarding wage theft from building services workers  in Hunters Point, Queens. The settlement payments total $119,005.54, including benefits and interest

11-51 47th Real LLC received a 15-year partial tax-exemption from the New York City  Department of Housing Preservation and Development for the building, which includes 53 residential  units. All properties benefiting from a 421-a tax break are required to follow New York State prevailing  wage laws

In this case, Choice Management did not pay the supplemental benefits to the workers, as  required by law. Over the two-year period between October 2017 and December 2019, six workers  collectively missed out on $87,675.94 in supplemental benefits. 

Federal Legislation to Give National Recognition to Strong Museum Passes the House 

A bill that would designate the Strong Museum as the National Museum of Play is one step  closer to becoming law as the U.S. House of Representatives approved the National Museum of Play  Recognition Act earlier this week. 

“The Strong is truly a one-of-a-kind destination for families of all ages, fostering lifelong  learning, creativity, and discovery through play,” said U.S. Representative Joseph Morelle. “I’m proud to have led the effort in Washington to secure the national recognition they deserve….” 

The designation would officially recognize The Strong as the only museum of its kind that exists  solely for exploring play and its cultural history. The museum officially opened to the public in 1982  and has since grown to more than 375,000 square feet. It includes both the National Toy Hall of Fame  and the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

Coming Up 

New York State 

Monday, April 15th  

New York State Senate Transportation Committee Meeting, 708 LOB, 11:30 a.m. New York State Senate Insurance Committee Meeting, 124 CAP, 12 p.m. 

New York State Senate Local Government Committee Meeting, 904 LOB, 12 p.m. 

New York State Senate Veterans, Homeland Security, & Military Affairs Committee Meeting, 708 LOB, 12:30 p.m. 

New York State Senate Session, 3 p.m. 

New York State Assembly Session, 2 p.m. (Tuesday and Wednesday are TBA) 


Tuesday, April 16th 

New York State Senate Education Committee Meeting, 510 LOB, 10 a.m. 

New York State Senate Social Services Committee Meeting, 410 LOB, 10:30 a.m.

New York State Senate Internet and Technology Committee Meeting, 816 LOB, 11 a.m. New York State Senate Environmental Conservation Committee Meeting, 124 CAP, 11 a.m.

New York State Senate Children and Families Committee Meeting, 804 LOB, 11 a.m.

New York State Senate Health Committee Meeting, 124 CAP, 12 p.m. 

New York State Senate Agriculture Committee Meeting, 901 LOB, 1 p.m. 

New York State Senate Session, 3 p.m. 


Wednesday, April 17th 

New York State Senate Session, 11 a.m. 

New York City 


Monday, April 15th 

Committee on Fire and Emergency Management, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m. 


Tuesday, April 16th  

Committee on Hospitals, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m. 

Committee on Economic Development, 250 Broadway – Committee Room 16th floor, 10 a.m. Committee on Immigration, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m. 


Wednesday, April 17th 

Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, 250 Broadway – Committee Room 16th floor, 10 a.m. Committee on Small Business, Committee Room – City Hall, 10 a.m. 

Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m. 

Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Sitings, and Dispositions, 250 Broadway – Committee Room 16th floor, 12 p.m. 

Committee on Higher Education, Committee Room – City Hall, 1 p.m. 

Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction, Council Chambers – City Hall, 1 p.m. Committee on Hospitals, Council Chambers – City Hall, 1 p.m. 

Committee on Health, Council Chambers – City Hall, 1 p.m. 

Committee on Education, Council Chambers – City Hall, 1 p.m. 

Committee on Land Use, 250 Broadway – Committee Room 16th Floor, 1:30 p.m. 


Thursday, April 18th 

City Council Stated Meeting, Council Chambers – City Hall, 1:30 p.m. 

Friday, April 19th 

Committee on Governmental Operations, State & Federal Legislation, Committee Room – City Hall,  10 a.m. 

Committee on Public Housing, Council Chamber – City Hall, 10 a.m.

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