Coverage of Albany and New York State government

  • Governor Announces Regulation of Credit Reporting Agencies
  • Governor Expresses Support for Single-Payer Health Care System
  • Governor Announces Water Quality Council
  • Assembly Speaker Appoints Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein to Chair Ways and Means Committee
  • Attorney General Schneiderman Announces Appointments
  • Campaign for ‘Yes’ Vote on Forest Preserve Constitutional Amendment Launched
  • Political Update
  • Coming Up

Governor Announces Regulation of Credit Reporting Agencies

In response to the recent Equifax data breach in which hackers gained access to sensitive personal information of an estimated 143 million American consumers, Gov. Cuomo announced last Monday that the state Department of Financial Services (DFS) will issue new regulations that will require consumer credit reporting agencies to register with the state, and will subject them to the state’s cybersecurity rules that were put in place for banks and insurance companies.

The proposed regulation will give the DFS oversight of credit reporting agencies, including the authority to deny and potentially revoke a consumer credit reporting agency’s authorization to do business with New York’s regulated financial institutions and consumers if the agency is found to be out of compliance with certain prohibited practices, including engaging in unfair, deceptive or predatory practices.

Gov. Cuomo said:

“A person’s credit history affects virtually every part of their lives and we will not sit idle by while New Yorkers remain unprotected from cyberattacks due to lax security.  Oversight of credit reporting agencies will help ensure that personal information is less vulnerable to cyberattacks and other nefarious acts in this rapidly changing digital world. The Equifax breach was a wakeup call and with this action New York is raising the bar for consumer protections that we hope will be replicated across the nation.”

Governor Expresses Support for Single-Payer Health Care System

Last Monday, Gov. Cuomo expressed his support for a federally-run, single-payer health care system. The Governor, appearing on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show,” called it “a good idea” when asked about it by the host. He also said that he would sign a state single-payer health care bill, so long as it “was not incongruous with what the federal government would do to us.”

The issue of single-payer health care is expected to be an issue in the 2020 presidential race.  A number of potential Democratic candidates, including U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Corey Booker of  New Jersey; and Kamala Harris of California have come out in support of legislation to create a single-payer health care system.

Governor Announces Water Quality Council

Last Friday, Gov. Cuomo announced the appointees to the 12-member Drinking Water Quality Council, which was formed in response to a number of industrial water contamination problems around the state in recent years.

The Governor’s appointees include Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos.  The Governor has eight appointees to the Council, and the Legislature has four.

Gov. Cuomo said:

“New York is once again stepping up as the federal government continues to ignore its duty to provide clear guidance to protect drinking water quality. Using the best available science, and tapping an array of experts, this new Council will provide science-based recommendations for the development of regulations to assure that good quality drinking water remains available to all New Yorkers. Water quality is a national issue that requires consistent national standards, but New York can no longer afford to wait.”

The Council’s first meeting is scheduled for Oct. 2 at Stony Brook University. A second meeting will be held in the Albany area later this year.

Assembly Speaker Appoints Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein to Chair Ways and Means Committee

Last week, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) announced the appointment of Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D – Brooklyn) to serve as chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.  She replaces Denny Farrell, who recently retired from the Assembly.

Assemblywoman Weinstein, who will be the first woman to chair the committee, has served as the chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee since 1994. She has served in the Assembly since 1981.

Speaker Heastie said:

“One of the longest serving members of the Assembly, Helene has made immeasurable contributions to the residents of New York State.  Her vast experience in the People’s House and extensive knowledge of the state budget process will guide the Assembly Majority as we continue to pursue our Families First agenda.”

Attorney General Schneiderman Announces Appointments

Last week, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the appointment of Chief Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Margaret Garnett.

Mr. Bragg has served in the Attorney General’s office since 2013, where he has served as the Executive Deputy Attorney General of the Social Justice division, overseeing the Charities, Civil Rights, Environmental Protection, Health Care, and Labor bureaus. He also leads the office’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit, charged with investigating and, if warranted, prosecuting cases where unarmed civilians die during interactions with law enforcement.

Ms. Garnett currently serves as Chief of Appeals for the Criminal Division of the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she has prosecuted a wide variety of federal criminal cases, including murder, robbery, extortion, narcotics, racketeering, fraud, and internet sex crimes.

Campaign for ‘Yes’ Vote on Forest Preserve Constitutional Amendment Launched

Last Tuesday, supporters of a constitutional amendment that would make it easier for local governments in the Adirondacks and Catskills to make infrastructure improvements have created a coalition to urge a “yes” vote on the question in November.

The proposed constitutional amendment, which will be on the ballot as Proposal #3, will establish a 250-acre land bank that local governments can access when they need to obtain protected land for a project.  Then the State Legislature can add an equivalent amount of land from this bank to the preserves.  Currently, a constitutional amendment is required any time a local government within the Adirondacks or Catskills forest preserves need to obtain land to use for public works projects.

The Vote Yes for the Adirondacks and Catskills coalition includes the Adirondack Council, the Nature Conservancy, the Conservative Party and the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), among others.

Political Update

State GOP Leader Re-Elected

Last uesday, the New York State Republican Party held its annual meeting in Albany.  Incumbent Chairman Ed Cox was elected to serve a fifth two-year term.

Cox told reporters that he is optimistic that the Republican Party will be able unite behind a single candidate in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race.

Assemblyman Kavanagh Chosen to Run for Vacant Senate Seat

Last week, the Kings County (Brooklyn) and New York County (Manhattan) Democratic leadership agreed to nominate Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh as the Democrat to run in the 26th Senate District Special Election to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Senator Dan Squadron.

The election will be held in conjunction with the general election on Nov. 7. He will face Republican Analicia Alexander in the overwhelmingly Democratic district.

Poll:  De Blasio Holds Significant Lead in NYC Mayoral Race

A Marist poll released this week finds that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio leads his Republican challenger, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, 65 percent to 18 percent.   Independent Bo Dietl shows 8 percent support.

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

On September 28, 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.”

Also on September 28, the New York State Department of Labor is holding a public hearing on employer scheduling practices including “just-in-time,” “call-in” or “on-call” scheduling.

Also on September 28, the Assembly committees on Health, Social Services and Aging are holding a public hearing on adult care facilities.

The Board of Regents holds its next meeting on October 16 and 17.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) holds its next meeting on October 19.

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.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) holds its next meeting on October 31.