Are New York Democrats Delivering on the Progressives’ Want Checklist?


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ALBANY — With solely three weeks earlier than the Legislature is to adjourn for the yr, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo emerged after the Memorial Day weekend with a 10-point agenda of issues he needs to see completed by the tip of session.

The governor’s points included some urgent issues — new lease laws to switch ones that expire in June — in addition to some decades-old concepts (an Equal Rights Modification, as an illustration, which the governor needs to enshrine within the State Structure).

Mr. Cuomo additionally used one in every of his two radio interviews on Tuesday to bash his fellow Democrats — suggesting that the State Senate, now led by Democrats, had not completed a lot however impede “progressive” laws — and mainly confirmed that he want to run for a fourth time period in 2022.

Lengthy earlier than that occurs, in fact, Mr. Cuomo shall be engaged within the end-of-session dash alongside the Democratic speaker of the Meeting, Carl E. Heastie, and the bulk chief within the Senate, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Westchester County Democrat whose spokesman referred to as the governor’s assaults on Tuesday “strange” and “bizarre.” (Republicans, shut out of management in both home for the primary time in practically a decade, have little hope of passing any of their plans this yr.)

However he additionally made clear that he wouldn’t tolerate any efforts by activists to exclude him from the negotiations: “Negotiate a bundle, ship it to the governor, don’t embrace him,” he mentioned. “O.Ok. Then I gained’t signal the bundle. After which you haven’t any lease reform legal guidelines.” A lot for certainty.

The opposite virtually certain factor is much less contentious (which is partly why it might look like a secure guess). The state’s minority- and women-owned enterprise program, which promotes authorities contracts for underrepresented teams, expires on the finish of this yr. Mr. Cuomo has promised to resume it.

Hopes for legalizing marijuana in New York this yr have been like Schrödinger’s cat: seemingly useless and alive on the identical time.

On Tuesday, all indicators appeared to point that they could possibly be resurrected, after Mr. Cuomo declared legalization one in every of his end-of-session priorities. Simply days earlier, legislators had launched a brand new legalization invoice, which they mentioned was designed to appease key gamers — together with Mr. Cuomo, a transformed marijuana skeptic — by scaling again among the extra far-left proposals. Up to now, so good.

However these hopes may quickly be snuffed out, as a result of the governor additionally made clear that the blame sport for the earlier failures would proceed. Mr. Cuomo mentioned the State Senate was holding up marijuana as a result of it didn’t have the votes. However senators and Meeting members have blamed Mr. Cuomo for strolling away from negotiations.

“I don’t suppose it’s going to be on the deserves, I feel it’s on the politics,” Mr. Cuomo mentioned on Tuesday on WNYC. On that, not less than, in all probability everybody can agree.

Mr. Cuomo’s different said priorities are comparable political minefields. He backed a proposal to permit driver’s licenses for undocumented residents, which has gained momentum within the Meeting. However final time the difficulty got here up, 12 years in the past, it was sideswiped by fervent opposition from lawmakers and the general public.

This time, even with progressives making immigrant rights a precedence in response to the Trump administration, the invoice nonetheless has to win over extra average members of the Legislature, comparable to Democrats from Lengthy Island and upstate.

The governor additionally referred to as to authorize gestational surrogacy — permitting a lady to be compensated to hold a baby for an infertile or homosexual couple, as an illustration — regardless of the opposition of the Catholic Church. And he pitched a prevailing wage proposal, which might require any venture receiving state subsidies to pay employees on par with union charges. Enterprise teams say the invoice may ship building prices skyrocketing.

Additionally doubtlessly thorny could possibly be a proposal to require common vaccinations. Mr. Cuomo didn’t embrace a bid to eradicate nonmedical exemptions to inoculations in his 10-point agenda, however when requested on WNYC a couple of measles outbreak raging in Brooklyn and Rockland Counties, he mentioned he supported the invoice. The chairman of the Meeting well being committee has raised First Modification issues in regards to the invoice.

“You’ve a proper to your non secular beliefs. You don’t have a proper to contaminate my little one,” Mr. Cuomo mentioned.

Few issues occur in Albany with out Mr. Cuomo’s blessing, and there have been some notable omissions from the governor’s precedence listing on Tuesday.


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