The Democrats in the New York State are placing a special emphasis on issues pertaining to women as they attempt to retake the majority, insiders have suggested. “Women’s issues, from reproductive health and rights in the workplace, are something that we’ll be focusing on,” a source familiar with the Senate Democrats’ efforts said. “One thing that’s been made clear is that people who live in Democratic districts that vote for Republican Senators, don’t have a clue how conservative these guys are…on social issues.”
This week a number of Assembly Democrats got a peek at what their new district lines will look like if the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment has anything to say about it. And LATFOR, with legislative leaders, has for decades had the final word on drawing district lines for the state. The process of redistricting was conducted in secret, lines were drawn to protect incumbents and maintain the senate Republicans’ majority, legislators were consulted on what would be convenient for them. The people were as far away from the process as possible.
Even when their plans were challenged in the court as politically motivated or inherently in violation of the law, LATFOR and the majority leaders came out on top.
By NICOLE HIGGINS DeSMET
This May, when James Connolly, a slim New York City native with a slight stoop and a shock of white hair, started life anew, he took the downtown E train, carrying bags of his clothes and all the history books he could fit.
He had said goodbye to a five-story walk-up on East 50th Street that put a terrible strain on his heart, to constant worries about how he was going to pay his rent and to notices from his landlord to get out.
By Liz Krueger
In another whirlwind session in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed through a new tax plan that will generate $1.5 billion in much needed additional revenue for the state. I supported the plan because that revenue will make it easier to balance the budget without devastating cuts to education, health care and social services, and because it creates a more progressive tax structure than we would have if we did nothing. But there is also plenty to be critical of, both in terms of the minimal progressive reform to our tax structure and the record-breaking 26 minutes the Legislature and public had to review the contents of the package.
By Mark McNease
I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with New York State Senator Liz Krueger. Senator Krueger has been in the New York Senate since being elected in a Special Election in 2002. She is currently the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee and is a member of five other committees.
I receive Senator Krueger’s events emails and was aware that seniors and the aging population are among her signature issues. She was also the second person to sign on to the New York marriage equality bill, back in 2002, just behind the bill’s original sponsor, Senator Tom Duane. I had the chance to speak with Senator Krueger and get her responses on some questions about issues we face in aging and about LGBT equality, specifically marriage now that it’s legal in New York State. Many thanks to Senator Krueger for taking the time to speak with me.
Posted by Our Town on December 7, 2011
Hundreds attend hearing on controversial drilling process
“Ban Fracking Now” was the rallying cry for about a dozen downstate lawmakers before a Nov. 30 hearing on the drilling procedure, held at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, though a few acknowledged the long odds in pressuring Governor Andrew Cuomo to keep the industry out of the state.
Hundreds of citizens turned out for the last of four hearings on whether to lift the current ban on hydraulic fracturing. Politicians like Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and even a few celebrities, like actors Debra Winger and Mark Ruffalo, joined a protest outside of the venue an hour before the start of the hearing.
My name is Liz Krueger and I represent the 26th Senate District, which includes the East Side and Midtown areas of Manhattan. I want to thank Chairperson Erik Martin Dilan and the members of the City Council Housing and Buildings Committee for providing me with the opportunity to testify today in support of Intro 404, which I believe is a critically important piece of legislation.
The proliferation of illegal hotel operations has removed thousands of affordable apartments from an already tight housing market, disrupted the lives countless permanent residents who live in the buildings where the illegal hotels are operating, decreased the revenue the City receives from hotel taxes, and ruined many tourists’ visits in New York. The internet has made it easier than ever to advertise illegal hotels, which are residential units that are designated under the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law and City zoning rules as permanent residences but are improperly used as transient hotel rooms. Even a brief search of the internet reveals hundreds of advertisements for illegal hotels. Housing advocates estimate that there are many thousands of these units being operated in more than 300 buildings across New York City, primarily in Manhattan and North Brooklyn but increasingly in other areas as well. Building owners and third party managers convert residential units, the majority of which are located in buildings with rent-regulated and Single Room Occupancy tenants, into illegal hotel units in order to make more money on the apartments than the law allows.
By RICK KARLIN
ALBANY — The day after its unveiling, state lawmakers on Wednesday approved an overhaul of the state’s income tax brackets in a way that provides a modest measure of middle-class relief, but increases rates for the state’s wealthiest residents.
“This is the best path for this state at this time,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said after the Senate passed the measure 55-0; the Assembly passed it later in the evening. “The more you make the higher rate you pay. That I believe is fair.”
The package, with middle-class tax cuts but higher rates for those earning more than $2 million a year, was brought forward after Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos hammered it out in classic three-men-in-a-room fashion.
And while it raises less money than some would like, the measure included elements that offered something for everyone — so much so that even the most conservative lawmakers heaped on the praise.
“Today we’re ending, hopefully, the 2011 legislative session on a really positive note,” Skelos said.
“This was one of our best moments,” said GOP Sen. Jack Martins of Long Island, who noted that it resulted from bipartisan agreement.
“The brackets are better. We need the revenue,” said Manhattan Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger, who voted aye while expressing concern at the extreme speed that sent the legislation through the chamber. Barely an hour after the second 33-page piece of legislation in the package was printed, it had been passed by the Senate.
By Thomas Kaplan
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo first notified the public that he wanted to revise New York’s income tax Sunday afternoon, with e-mail sent to the state’s newspapers, offering them an essay in which he mentioned “comprehensive reform of our tax code.”
Just two days later, the governor announced that he and legislative leaders had agreed on an overhaul of the income tax; that day, he summoned lawmakers back to Albany, and the next day, Wednesday, he invited them to a party before they had seen the measure or voted on it.