Coverage of Albany and New York State government

  • Primary Election Results
  • Governor Bans State Agencies from Inquiring About Immigration Status
  • Senator Flanagan Appoints Chief Counsel
  • Board of Regents Approves New Learning Standards
  • State Department of Labor to Hold Hearings on Scheduling Practices
  • Governor Announces Funding for Zero-Emission Vehicles and Infrastructure
  • Political Update
  • Coming Up

Primary Election Results

Last week’s primary elections featured only local races – no state or federal offices are being contested in 2017.   In some cases, such as in New York City, Buffalo, Rochester and Albany, winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to winning the general election.

State Legislators Running for Local Offices

The following state legislators ran for local offices:

  • Senator Phil Boyle lost the Republican primary for Suffolk county sheriff (while he remains on the Conservative and Independence lines, he has indicated that he will not continue to campaign for the office);
  • Senator George Latimer won the Democratic primary for Westchester County Executive; he faces incumbent Republican Rob Astorino in November;
  • Senator Ruben Diaz won a primary for a New York City Council seat;
  • Assemblyman Francisco Moya won a primary for a New York City Council seat;
  • Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj won a primary for a New York City Council seat;
  • Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin appears to have won the Republican primary for Rensselaer County Executive.

Two other Assembly members who sought New York City Council seats — Felix Ortiz and Robert Rodriguez – appear to have lost their respective races.

With respect to Diaz, Gjonaj and Moya – when their seats will be filled depends on when they resign their current positions.  If any of them resign their current positions before September 20, then their state legislative seat will be filled in a special election held on November 7.  If they resign after September 20, then their seat will be filled in 2018 if the Governor calls a special election to do so.  Otherwise, the vacancy will be filled at the November 2018 elections.

Mayoral Races

Incumbent Democratic Mayors won their respective primary races in New York City (Bill de Blasio); Albany (Kathy Sheehan); Buffalo (Byron Brown); and Rochester (Lovely Warren).  All are considered virtually guaranteed re-election in November.

In Syracuse, former Cuomo Administration staffer Juanita Perez Williams won the Democratic primary in a race where the incumbent was barred from running for re-election due to term limits. She will face Republican Laura Lavine in November.

Governor Bans State Agencies from Inquiring About Immigration Status

Last Friday, Gov. Cuomo announced that he has issued an executive order that “prohibits state agencies and officers from inquiring about or disclosing an individual’s immigration status unless required by law or necessary to determine eligibility for a benefit or service.”  The order also prohibits law enforcement officers inquiring about a person’s immigration status unless investigating illegal criminal activity.

Gov. Cuomo said:

“As Washington squabbles over rolling back sensible immigration policy, we are taking action to help protect all New Yorkers from unwarranted targeting by government.  New York became the Empire State due to the contributions of immigrants from every corner of the globe and we will not let the politics of fear and intimidation divide us.”

Senator Flanagan Appoints Chief Counsel

Last Friday, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) announced the appointment of David Previte as Counsel to the Majority. Previte previously served as Senior Counsel to the Republican Majority, where he was responsible for Health, Medicaid, Racing and Wagering, and Elections. He also served as the Senate’s Parliamentarian.

Senator Flanagan also announced the appointment of James Curran to First Deputy within the office. He recently served as Special Counsel to the Majority Leader and advised the conference on education issues.  In addition, he said that staff members Lisa Harris, Jonathan Federman and Nicola Coleman will each take on increased leadership roles within the office.

Board of Regents Approves New Learning Standards

Last week, the New York State Board of Regents approved new learning standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, replacing the controversial “Common Core” standards.  name. The new standards, called the “Next Generation Learning Standards,” dictate what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade, while providing flexibility in terms of measuring students of different abilities and languages. They are the result of a two-year public process which involved consultation with educators, parents and other stakeholders.

Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa said:

“The standards we adopted today continue to be rigorous, to challenge New York’s students to do more and to prepare them for life in the 21st century.  Throughout the entire process, we worked collaboratively and transparently, receiving valuable input from educators and parents, as well as experts in teaching English language learners, students with disabilities and our youngest learners.”

Teachers will have three full school years to be trained in the new standards and to develop local curricula before having to use them in the classroom. Teachers will begin teaching the new standards in September 2020; the first state tests based on the standards will be administered in the spring of 2021.

State Department of Labor to Hold Hearings on Scheduling Practices

Last week, Gov. Cuomo announced that he has directed the Commissioner of Labor to schedule public hearings on employee scheduling concerns. The Department of Labor (DOL) will hold these hearings to solicit public comment on how to address what is known as “just-in-time,” “call-in” or “on-call” scheduling, practices that allow employers to schedule or cancel workers’ shifts just hours before they start.

DOL will formally advance regulations at some point, which will apply to all employers once finalized.

Gov. Cuomo said:

“These hearings will help guide us in crafting sensible protections to provide New Yorkers with fair and predictable work schedules.  This will give hard-working men and women a platform to have their voices heard, and allow us to take another step toward a fairer, stronger New York for all.”

Governor Announces Funding for Rochester Data Science Consortium

Last Thursday, Gov. Cuomo announced that the state will provide $22.5 million for the creation of the Rochester Data Science Consortium at the University of Rochester.  The project, which is expected to result in 184 new jobs, includes the construction of the brand new 60,000 square-foot building to house the new consortium.

Gov. Cuomo said:

“Data science is the new tech frontier, and with this consortium, we are further strengthening the Finger Lakes’ role as a leading hub for optics, imaging research and commercialization to create high-paying jobs and support the local economy.  Across New York, we are investing in new research and technology to cement our status as a global destination for innovation and enterprise and drive economic growth for generations to come.”

Governor Announces Funding for Zero-Emission Vehicles and Infrastructure

Last week, Gov. Cuomo announced that $2.2 million from the Environmental Protection Fund is now available in rebates for municipalities to purchase or lease electric, (plug-in hybrid or battery) or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for municipal fleet use, and for installation of public charging or fuel cell refueling infrastructure.

Gov. Cuomo said:

“New York is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, just as we have already significantly reduced emissions from electric power.  These investments are part of New York’s focus, at all levels of government, to build cutting-edge, resilient infrastructure, generate more energy from renewable sources, and support a cleaner, greener, more sustainable New York for all.”

Political Update

Winners & Losers

Each week, City & State New York publishes a list of the week’s political “winners” and “losers.”  Read last week’s list here.

Coming Up

The New York State Gaming Commission holds its next meeting on September 25.

On September 26, the Assembly Labor Committee is holding a public hearing on the New York State Workers’ Compensation Permanency Impairment Guidelines.

Also on September 26, the Senate Consumer Protection committee is holding a public hearing “to investigate how best to protect consumers, such as seniors and internet users, from the theft of their personal information.”

On October 30, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) is holding a public hearing on its proposed lobbying regulations and proposed source of funding regulations.