Legislative + Public Affairs Newsletter Update June 2023

 

The State’s legislative session wrapped up in June, a few days later than expected but still without significant progress on housing – a top priority for both Gov. Hochul and Mayor Adams. However, the legislature did pass nearly 900 bills this session, including the Clean Slate Act. Read on for a summary of what did – and did not – pass:

Clean Slate Act: The Clean Slate Act, which automatically seals certain criminal records after a set amount of time, was a high priority for legislative leaders this year. The bill, which does not apply to the most serious crimes such as Class A felonies, is intended to help individuals who have completed their sentences, and certain eligibility requirements rebuild their lives. Governor Hochul has indicated support for the bill’s concept, but has not said whether she will sign it into law. 

Housing: As the session waned, leaders in the Assembly and Senate announced that, while they had a two-house agreement on a broad package of housing reforms, they were unable to reach a deal with the Governor. Despite the lack of action on major items such as Good Cause Eviction, the extension of the 421-a tax abatement, and other initiatives, the legislature did approve some less controversial housing policies, including: 

Housing remains a top issue for the Governor, the Legislature, and municipal leaders. Governor Hochul has signaled that she may take executive action on housing, though her administration has not released details on what might be included in such a proposal.

Campaign Finance: The legislature voted to amend portions of the public funding program for campaigns, first enacted in 2020. The original program, which was intended to encourage local, small-dollar donations to electoral campaigns, provided public matching funds for contributions of $5-$250; no matching funds were to be received for donations over $250. The amended version will allow for matching funds for the first $250 of all donations up to the maximum contribution limit. The 2024 electoral cycle will be the first under the new public financing system.

Transportation: Advocates, led by Families for Safe Streets, prioritized the passage of “Sammy’s Law,” which would allow New York City to lower its own speed limit. Named after Sammy Cohen Eckstein, a 12-year old boy who was killed by a speeding driver in 2013, the bill had received support from Governor Hochul, Mayor Adams, and the New York City Council. It passed the State Senate in early June but was not brought to a vote by the Assembly.

LLC Transparency Act: The legislature adopted a measure that would require the disclosure of beneficiaries of limited liability companies doing business in New York. LLC would be required to register with the state and would be included in a public database. The bill sponsors aim to eliminate the ability of bad actors, especially in the real estate industry, to hide behind LLCs. Each house passed a slightly different version.

Other Albany Updates:

June Primary Election Overview

New York City’s primary election on June 27th was largely characterized by low turnout and few surprises. However, there were some notable races. 

In the hotly contested 9th District in Harlem, Yusef Salaam, one of the Exonerated Five, succeeded in challenging two sitting elected officials, Assembly Member Inez Dickens and Assembly Member Al Taylor. The incumbent, Kristin Richardson Jordan, was not seeking re-election. 

The biggest surprise of the night may have been Chris Banks’ defeat of Council Member Charles Barron in District 42, which includes East New York, Brownsville, and Starrett City. Council Member Barron has represented the district in both the Council and the Assembly for over two decades. Banks is a lifelong resident of East New York, community organizer and nonprofit leader; he currently serves as the President of the 75th Precinct Council. 

Elsewhere in Brooklyn, Susan Zhuang won the Democratic primary in the newly-drawn 43rd District, encompassing Bensonhurst and parts of Borough Park. Zhuang, who previously served as chief of staff to Assembly Member William Colton, will face Republican Ying Tan in the general election. Council Member Darlene Mealy fended off a challenge from Isis MacIntosh Green, who previously served as chief of staff to Assembly Member Latrice Walker. 

In Queens, Tony Avella is expected to win a competitive Democratic primary in District 19. Avella, who served in the Council from 2002-2009, will face off against incumbent Republican Council Member Vickie Paladino in November. 

Two sitting Council Members from Brooklyn will also compete in what is expected to be a close general election race. The redistricting process combined the districts of Republican Council Member Ari Kagan and Democratic Council Member Justin Brannan in Southern Brooklyn, setting up what is expected to be a close election.

On June 30th, just ahead of the new fiscal year on July 1st, the City Council adopted NYC’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget by a vote of 39-12. Of the twelve members who opposed the budget, eleven of them are members of the Council’s Progressive Caucus; they were joined by Republican Council Member Ari Kagan. Read on for a summary of the FY24 budget highlights:

Other New York City Updates:

Ashley Thompson DiNardo serves as Managing Director with an extensive background in legislative, budget, and land use processes. She previously worked in NYC government, most recently as Legislative Representative to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Combining her lobbying expertise with actionable strategic insights, Ashley has a unique ability to develop comprehensive strategies for her clients and knows what it takes to achieve success.

For help doing business with New York, contact Ashley at ashley@nullcapalino.com.

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