January 12, 2024

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In the News-New York State

Governor Hochul Delivers State of State Address   

On Tuesday, January 9, Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her second State of the State Address in front of the New York State Legislature and guests. In the hour-long address, Governor Hochul celebrated the legislative successes of the Executive Chamber over the past year, addressed some of the challenges that the State of New York is facing in the coming year, and mapped out a new ambitious agenda titled “Our New York, Our Future.” 

The new and broad agenda mapped out by Governor Hochul aims at making the Empire State safer, more affordable, and more resilient. In her address she touched on policy initiatives across several sectors, including but not limited to:

Fighting Crime and Ensuring Safety

Governor Hochul highlighted the progress made in the last two years, with double-digit declines in shootings and murders. Hochul proposed initiatives such as the creation of a dedicated State Police “Smash and Grab” unit to crackdown on retail theft, and introducing new measures to combat gun violence. Additionally, the agenda includes increased support for prosecutors dealing with domestic abuse cases, prosecuting certain crimes as hate crimes, and cracking down on illicit cannabis storefronts.

Addressing Mental Health Challenges

Recognizing the impact of decades-long disinvestment in mental health, Governor Hochul introduced plans to address serious mental illness. Initiatives include the opening of 200 new psychiatric inpatient beds, establishing a law enforcement and mental health coordination team, and improving mental health admission procedures. The agenda also focuses on tackling the youth mental health crisis through school-based mental health clinics, Youth Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Teams, and expanded loan repayment programs for children’s mental health practitioners.

Transforming and Strengthening Healthcare

On healthcare, Governor Hochul focused on proposals that aim to expand affordable healthcare options, combat the opioid crisis, and improve mental health and addiction services. The agenda supports healthcare providers through the Health Care Safety Net Transformation Program which aims to encourage partnerships to strengthen safety-net institutions. As a means to enhance accessibility to mental health and addiction services, Hochul also announced that out-of-network coverage will be expanded for patients when timely in-network appointments are unavailable.

Consumer Protection and Affordability

Building on last year’s minimum wage increase, Governor Hochul proposed the first expansion of New York’s consumer protection law in over 40 years. Additional measures include legislation to ensure fair treatment by Buy Now Pay Later loan providers, the expansion of paid medical and disability leave benefits, and the elimination of co-pays for insulin cost-sharing.

Addressing the Housing Crisis

Governor Hochul reiterated her commitment to addressing New York’s housing crisis. Hochul put forward proposals to incentivize housing construction in New York City, create a $500 million capital fund for housing development on state-owned land, and combat housing discrimination against Section 8 voucher recipients. She also looks to bolster the Pro-Housing Communities program by making the certification a requirement for accessing $650 million in state discretionary funding.

Strengthening New York’s Economy

In Governor Hochul’s address, she spoke on her commitment to building a more business-friendly and worker-friendly state. One such initiative that aims to do so is the Empire AI program – a consortium aimed at unlocking the economic potential of artificial intelligence. She also stated her goals of expanding advanced manufacturing training centers and supporting immigrant entrepreneurs. She also continued to underline her fight to protect workers by seeking stronger protections against wage theft and child labor law violations.

Ensuring a Clean Energy Future

Governor Hochul touched on energy affordability, introducing legislation to support responsible gas system transition planning and creating a one-stop-shop for environmental review and permitting of major renewable energy projects. The Statewide Solar for All initiative aims to provide electric bill credits to over 800,000 households.

Protecting Against Extreme Weather

Governor Hochul outlined a comprehensive resiliency plan to protect New Yorkers from extreme weather events. Measures include making homes more resilient, major investments in statewide disaster response, responding to extreme heat through funding for cooling capacity, and repairing aging infrastructure.

Conserving Natural Resources

Building on environmental protection plans, Governor Hochul proposed planting 25 million trees by 2033, protecting the clean water and drinking water for municipalities in need, and addressing the root causes of harmful algal blooms. The NY SWIMS initiative focuses on statewide investment in more swimming opportunities for communities with historical equity gaps.

Expanding Access to Higher Education

Governor Hochul emphasized supporting public higher education, proposing direct admission for high-achieving students, legislation to ensure FAFSA completion, and leveraging SNAP benefits to address food insecurity among college students.

“Back to Basics” Reading Plan

Recognizing the shortcomings of current reading curricula, Governor Hochul introduced the “Back to Basics” reading plan, investing $10 million to train teachers in evidence-based ‘Science of Reading’ instruction and launching a microcredential program for teachers.

Better Transit, Safer Streets

Governor Hochul proposed transformative infrastructure investments, planning the expansion of the Second Avenue Subway to Broadway, moving forward in the Interborough Express engineering phase, combating fare evasion, and providing tools for New York City to lower speed limits.

Supporting Children and Families

Hochul announced a $7 billion Medicaid initiative secured by the Biden Administration, highlighted her six-point maternal and infant health agenda, noted her plans to increase access to high-quality childcare, continuous Medicaid and CHIP funding for eligible children, and lauded the securing of $200 million in federal funding for nutrition assistance from the USDA’s Summer EBT program. 

Fostering an Inclusive New York

Addressing the rise in the State’s bias and hate crimes, Governor Hochul proposed expanding support for New Yorkers with disabilities, increasing commitments to First Nations – including the expansion of dental care for these communities -, the strengthening of data privacy for abortion providers, the enhancement of services for LGBTQ+ and TGNCNB New Yorkers, and the expansion of mental health support for veterans.

Strengthening New York’s Agricultural Industry

Governor Hochul introduced proposals to boost New York’s dairy and agricultural industry, including financial support for the dairy industry, workforce strengthening tools managed by Cornell University, increasing youth agricultural leadership opportunities, growing the bioeconomy, and launching a blue food transformation – reducing the environmental impacts of the production and consumption of seafood.

Office of Service and Civic Engagement

Governor Hochul also announced a new Office of Service and Civic Engagement within the Lieutenant Governor’s office which will oversee a strategy to create accessible public service opportunities. The Empire State Service Corps Program will connect students with opportunities to serve their communities, including tutoring, meal distribution, and climate action.

The address drew several reactions from the many legislators in attendance. State Assembly Minority Leader, William Barclay, expressed umbrage at the lack of mention of the migrant crisis. Interestingly, Hochul’s counterpart in New York City where the crisis currently has the largest impact, Mayor Adams, lauded the address, claiming that Hochul did a great job in mapping out the State and City’s path forward. The State Assembly’s Deputy Majority Leader, Michael Gianaris, took issue with the lack of tenant protections in the Governer’s housing agenda, while State Senator Zellnor Myrie took a more hopeful approach, stating that, given time and increased voter passion, the necessary compromises would be made.

New York State Board of Elections Releases 2024 Political Calendar

This week, the New York State Board of Elections (BOE) released their Official 2024 Political Calendar. In this document, which can be viewed below, the BOE highlights important dates and deadlines related elections taking place this year. Please note that all dates are subject to change by the State Legislature

In the News-New York City      

Mayor Adams Restores Cuts to City Agencies

During press conferences held this week, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced restorations to the budgets of the Police, Fire, Sanitation, and Parks departments following new estimates on revenue and expenditures. This funding rolls back cuts proposed in the Mayor’s November Financial Plan, in light of what was predicted to be a $7 billion budget gap for Fiscal Year 2025. The mayor credited the new funds to “strong financial management,” “better than anticipated tax revenue, and savings.”

On Wednesday, Mayor Adams announced funding to the NYPD that would allow a class of 600 recruits in the police academy in April, graduating in October. Funding to the FDNY would allow for the return of a fifth firefighter at twenty engine companies and keep 190 firefighters on payroll, albeit not at full-duty status. Restorations to DSNY include funding for litter basket collection, which would have been cut 40% according to the November Plan. Funding was also returned to the Parks Opportunity Program, which provides job training and continuing education programming. 

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Finance Committee Chair Justin Brannan released statements celebrating the restorations and promising to push for additional restorations. Other council members and unions have advocated for cuts to be restored to other city agencies, including the Department of Education and libraries.

These restorations will be included in the mayor’s FY’25 Preliminary Budget, which will be released on January 16th. Cuts in the November Plan led the United Federation of Teachers and District Council 37, AFSCME, to file suit against the City last month. Polling from Quinnipiac University showed an overwhelming majority of City residents were concerned that the cuts would impact their daily lives.


New York City Council Committee Shake-Up

The New York City Council is expected to vote on the composition of committees at the upcoming Stated Meeting on January 18th. During the January 3rd Charter Meeting, the Council voted on and approved the composition of a temporary Committee on Rules, Privileges, and Elections, chaired by Council Member Diana Ayala, tasked with finalizing the Council’s new committee chairs. The Council has scheduled a hearing of the committee for 11am on January 18th, ahead of the 1:30pm Stated Meeting. The defeat of Council Member Marjorie Velazquez in the November 2023 general election resulted in an opening in the Council’s Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection. Other committee changes have also been rumored.

Upcoming Special Elections

On February 13, 2024, voters in New York’s 3rd Congressional District will vote in a special election pitting former Representative Thomas Richard Suozzi against Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip. Suozzi is running on the Democratic line and Pilip on the Republican and Conservative lines. 

In the coming days, Governor Hochul will issue a proclamation for a special election to fill a vacancy in the Assembly’s 77th district, following the resignation of Latoya Joyner. The Governor has 10 days from the occurrence of the vacancy, January 8th, to proclaim a special election. Depending on when the proclamation is issued, the special election could be set for February 20th, 27th, or March 5th

To find your congressional and assembly districts, as well as any other district, use the NYS Board of Elections website: https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/

Coming Up

New York State


Tuesday, January 16th

Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, Legislative Office Building, Room 611, 10:00 a.m.

Banks, Legislative Office Building, Room 710, 10:30 a.m.

Environmental Conservation, NYS Capitol Building, Room 124, 11:30 a.m.

Judiciary, NYS Capitol Building, Room 124, 12:15 p.m.

Children and Families, Legislative Office Building, Room 804, 1:30 p.m.

Senate Session, Senate Chamber, 3:00 p.m. 


Wednesday, January 17th

Alcoholism and Substance Use Disorders, Legislative Office Building, Room 813, 9:30 a.m.

Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business, Legislative Office Building, Room 945, 9:30 a.m.

Senate Session, Senate Chamber, 11:00 a.m.


Thursday, January 18th

Utility Debt Relief Public Open House, SUNY Cortland Student Life Center, 4:00 p.m.



Tuesday, January 16th

Banks, Off the Floor


Wednesday, January 17th

Consumer Affairs and Protection, Legislative Office Building, Room 942, 9:30 a.m.

Real Property Taxation, Legislative Office Building, Room 641A, 10:00 a.m.

Governmental Operations, Legislative Office Building, Room 623, 11:00 a.m.

Racing and Wagering, Legislative Office Building, Room 846, 11:00 a.m.

Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, Legislative Office Building, Room 423, 11:30 a.m.

Housing, Legislative Office Building, Room 942, 12:00 p.m.

Transportation, Legislative Office Building, Room 829, 12:00 p.m.


New York City 

Thursday, January 18th

Rules, Privileges and Elections, City Hall, Committee Room, 11:00 a.m.

City Council Stated Meeting, City Hall, Committee Room, 1:30 p.m.

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