Plugged In @ Hinman Straub – January 18, 2019

What’s Inside

  • Governor Presents State of the State and Executive Budget
  • Legislature Passes Election Reforms
  • Legislature Passes Protections for Transgendered Individuals
  • Counterterrorism Advisory Panel Announced Recommendations
  • Governor Cuomo Announces New State Party Chairman
  • Some Details Emerge on Sports Betting
  • Senator Gillibrand Declares Presidential Bid
  • Updates, Reminders, and Links
  • Coming Up

Governor Presents State of the State and Executive Budget

On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo gave his ninth State of the State address which he coined his “Justice Agenda” to ensure the promise of full, true justice for all. This presentation also included the 2019-20 Executive Budget proposal. Major highlights of the $178 billion dollar spending plan include the legalization of adult-use marijuana, a nearly billion dollar increase in education aid, congestion pricing in NYC, and making the property tax cap permanent. The plan stays within the self-imposed 2% spending growth in year-over-year spending.

Governor Cuomo said: “This year, we think it’s the year to fully enact a justice agenda, in the broadest sense of the word justice. Social justice, economic justice, and racial justice. And that this is the time to do it. We face real challenges in the state of New York. We have a federal government that is assaulting our values, our liberties, our rights, and our economy. Literally our economy. The federal cuts to our budget would be devastating and the federal effect on the values and liberties on New Yorkers would be devastating. And this is the moment in government that we are leading. And it is up to us to bring this state forward. We have no allies who are going to help us. The federal government is not going to help us. It’s up to this legislative body to lead this state at this crucial time.”

Legislature Passes a Package of Election Reforms

On Monday, the Senate and Assembly passed a package of election reform measures aimed at making voting in New York more accessible. Among the measures is a system of early voting which will allow for a nine day early voting window. The package also makes it easier to transfer registration upon moving, closes the LLC loophole for campaign contributions, allows for teens to pre-register to vote, and consolidates the federal and state primaries (which could lead potential changes to the legislative calendar in 2020).

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Senate Democrats, said: “We should not fear making it easier for those who are eligible to vote, to vote,” adding, “We should not fear restricting the flow of money into our electoral system.”

This package is an early victory for the new Senate Majority as well as the Assembly, as both have long sought such reforms.

Legislature Passes Protections for Transgendered Individuals

On Tuesday, the Senate and Assembly passed the bill known colloquially as GENDA. The bill prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Previous to the passage of this legislation, discrimination prohibitions outlined in statute applied specifically to age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, marital status, or disability. The bill also includes offenses regarding gender identity or expression within the list of offenses subject to treatment as a hate crime.

The sponsor, Senator Brad Hoylman said: “The passage of GENDA–16 years in the making–and legislation to end so-called conversion therapy will codify our progressive reputation and ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation are treated with dignity and respect under the law. As the Trump administration continues to roll back protections for LGBTQ Americans, today’s victory sends a strong message to LGBTQ New Yorkers across the state: you are loved, understood, and protected by your state government. We will not let you down.”

Counterterrorism Advisory Panel Announces Recommendations

Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo announced the expert counterterrorism advisory panel he commissioned has delivered its recommendations for strengthening New York’s counterterrorism readiness incluidng enhancing counterterrorism coordination at major transportation hubs, exploring state-of-the-art security technology, expanding counterterrorism risk assessments and training, addressing emerging terrorist tactics, designating a senior counterterrorism advisor and convening statewide counterterrorism council.

The panel is comprised of Chair Kenneth L. Wainstein, partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell and former Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush; Raymond W. Kelly, former New York City Police Commissioner; and Lisa O. Monaco, former Homeland Security Advisor to President Barack Obama.

Governor Cuomo Announces New State Party Chairman

On Monday, Governor Cuomo announced that Nassau County Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs will take over as state party chairman. Jacobs will replace Byron Brown, the Mayor of Buffalo, as party chairman. Jacobs will retain his post as Nassau County chairman.

Cuomo said: “Jay Jacobs is an outstanding champion for Long Island with an unparalleled record of bringing Democrats together to win historic victories, and I am excited to work with him to further strengthen our party and elect even more Democrats up and down the ballot.”

Some Details Emerge on Sports Betting in New York

It appears increasingly likely that sports betting in New York will be initially offered only on the physical premises of any of the four land-based casinos currently operating in New York and by extension any of the Indian-nation casinos. Cuomo’s budget director, Robert Mujica, said Tuesday the Cuomo administration believes extending sports betting beyond the casino’s physical space would violate the state constitution. That would, for now, block betting online or at other locations, like horse tracks, racinos or Off Track Betting parlors. “If we want to expand it anywhere else but the land-based casinos, including online … you need a constitutional amendment,” Mujica said. “That’s a separate conversation.”

Regulations still need to be issued by the gaming commission before any sports books can become operational. According to Morris Peters, spokesman for the state budget office, the gaming commission is expected to propose rules and regulations for the four private casinos by the end of January.

Senator Addabbo, Chair of the Senate committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering has introduced a bill and an amendment to the constitution to allow online sports betting in New York.

Gillibrand Announces Presidential Bid

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that she would be forming an exploratory committee to run for President. Gillibrand joins an already crowded Democratic field including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has the standing endorsement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is also considering a run as is California Sen. Kamala Harris and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Updates and Reminders

City & State NY’s weekly Winners & Losers here.

City & State NY’s Healthcare Power 50 here.

City & State NY’s Public Advocate Endorsement and Money Tracker here.

The Buffalo News does a deep dive into Cuomo’s marijuana proposal here.

New York Gas and Electric Utilities lend a hand to furloughed federal employees.

Epic snowfall expected in New York, stay safe.

Coming Up

The Legislature announces joint budget hearing schedule.

The Assembly plans to hold a public hearing on NYSERDA programs funded by the SFY 2018-2019 budget on January 22.

The January 23, Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee public hearing “to examine recycling-related issues” has been postponed. New date TBD.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) holds its next meeting on January 29.

The PSC will hold its next meeting on February 7 at 10:30 a.m.

The Board of Regents will hold its next meeting on February 11 and 12.

The legislature will hold a joint public hearing on Sexual Harassment on February 13.

The Senate plans to hold a hearing on LIRR on-time performance, no date set currently.