The State Legislature passed a flurry of legislation in 2019, including voting reforms, the Reproductive Health Act, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), the Jose Peralta Dream Act and the Child Victims Act.
All of these progressive bills were blocked by former State Senate Republicans and the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) for years. With Democrats firmly in control of both chambers, they are following through on their extensive legislative agenda.
But New York City still faces crises left and right, including a shortage of affordable housing and a crumbling subway and bus system. Albany needs to do its part to address both.
The legislature will have a chance to stem the tide of displacement this session when rent laws are up for renewal. Tenants advocates have already advanced a comprehensive package of legislation that includes ending vacancy decontrol, eliminating MCIs and altering preferential rent.
Albany should study all of these measures carefully, but enact reforms that will make the city a more affordable place to live.
Lawmakers should also look at updating the Loft Law, removing loopholes that exclude many loft tenants from protections.
Finally, legislators must consider Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi’s Home Stability Support (HSS) rental supplement idea to begin curbing homelessness across the state.
The biggest question of the legislative session will be how to fix the MTA and finally upgrade the decrepit mass transit system. Despite growing momentum for congestion pricing, legislative leaders have not yet committed to making it a reality.
Regardless of how lawmakers go about funding improvements, it must be done. Riders can’t wait another year for Albany to act.