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Stories about New York

New York environmental bond removed from the November ballot, with governor citing an unstable financial situation

On July 30, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that a $3.00 billion bond measure related to environmental projects was removed from the general election ballot.

In April 2020, as part of the state budget bill, the New York State Legislature passed a provision for the bond measure. Gov. Cuomo proposed the bond issue, titled the “Environmental Bond Act of 2020 Restore Mother Nature,” during his State of the State Address on January 8, 2020. The budget bill also included a provision empowering the New York Director of the Budget to remove the bond measure from the ballot should the budget department decide that there would be an adverse effect on the state’s finances.

Revenue from the bond issue would have been distributed to flood risk reduction, coastal rehabilitation, shoreline restoration, and ecological restoration projects; projects designed to mitigate the impacts of climate change; land conservation and recreation plans; and wastewater infrastructure. The ballot measure would have required that the department make every effort practicable to ensure that 35% of the bond revenue was used to benefit environmental justice communities (EJCs). The ballot measure would have defined EJCs as “minority or low-income [communities] that may bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies.”

Bill Ulfelder, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in New York, responded to the news, saying, “While it is clear that the pandemic has had a serious impact on the economy of our state and the nation, this measure was an opportunity to create jobs and conserve the clean water, clean air, and natural resources our children and grandchildren depend on.”

With the removal of the bond measure from the ballot for November 3, 2020, there will be no statewide ballot measures in New York in 2020. “The financial situation is unstable. I don’t think it would be financially prudent to do it at this time,” said Gov. Cuomo. He said that he hoped voters would decide the bond measure in the future: “We’re going to postpone the environmental bond issue hopefully one year to next.” The New York State Legislature would need to pass the bond measure again. Gov. Cuomo also cited the proposed HEALS Act in the U.S. Senate, stating that some of the provisions regarding where people are taxed would “have a very negative effect on New York City.”

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Jacobs sworn into U.S. House to represent New York’s 27th Congressional District

Just under a month after Christopher Jacobs (R) won the special election to fill the vacant seat in New York’s 27th Congressional District, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) swore him into office on July 21. Jacobs defeated Nate McMurray (D/Working Families Party), Duane Whitmer (Libertarian Party), and Michael Gammariello (Green Party) in the June 23 general special election for the seat. Jacobs received 55.2% of the vote to McMurray’s 43.1%. Whitmer and Gammariello each received 1% or less of the vote.
Jacobs also won the Republican primary in the regularly scheduled election for the seat, which also took place on June 23. He will face McMurray, Whitmer, and Gammariello in the Nov. 3 general election, as well as second-place finisher in the Republican primary Beth Parlato.
Jacobs was serving as a New York state senator when he won election to Congress. He resigned from the state senate on July 20 in order to be sworn into congressional office the following day. The state’s 27th Congressional District seat was vacated when Rep. Chris Collins (R) resigned on October 1, 2019.


New York Assemblymember Gantt dies

New York State Assemblymember David Gantt (D) died on July 1 after serving in the legislature for close to thirty years. Gantt was first elected to represent District 133 in the New York State Assembly in 1983. He was elected to represent District 137 in 2013 and held that office until his death.
Vacancies in the New York state legislature are filled by special election. This year four special elections were called in the state legislature—three in the assembly and one in the state senate. All four were originally scheduled for April 28. On March 28, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) postponed the four state legislative special elections, along with New York’s presidential preference primary and one Congressional special election, to June 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The state legislative special elections were subsequently canceled.
Gantt’s death creates the fourth current vacancy in the chamber. The partisan composition of the chamber is 103 Democrats, 42 Republicans, and one member of the Independence Party of America. All 150 seats are up for election this year.


House Judiciary Chairman Nadler wins three-way Democratic primary in New York’s 10th District

Rep. Jerry Nadler, first elected in 1992, defeated Lindsey Boylan and Jonathan Herzog in the Democratic primary for New York’s 10th Congressional District. The election was held on June 23, 2020, but results were delayed. due to the number of absentee ballots. New York state law prohibits such ballots from being counted until the beginning of the canvas period, which starts one week after election day.

The Associated Press called the race on July 1, 2020, based on an analysis of absentee ballots that had so far been return which concluded that there were not enough votes remaining for Boylan or Herzog to defeat Nadler. At the time the race was called, Nadler had 62 percent of the vote followed by Boylan and Herzog with 25 and 13 percent, respectively.

Nadler received endorsements from The New York Times, the Working Families Party, and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).



Flanagan resigns from New York Senate, Republicans select new Minority Leader

John J. Flanagan (R) resigned from the New York State Senate on June 28, ending more than 20 years of service in the New York state legislature. Flanagan represented District 9 in New York’s General Assembly beginning in 1987 and won election to the state Senate in 2002.
Flanagan had already announced that he would not run for re-election this year prior to submitting his resignation. He started a job as a vice president of regional and government affairs at New York healthcare provider Northwell Health on June 29.
Flanagan was serving as State Senate Minority Leader at the time of his resignation announcement, and his departure prompted leadership elections among the Senate Republicans. They selected Robert Ortt as the new minority leader on June 23.
Flanagan’s resignation leaves the second vacancy in the chamber, the first of which occurred when former Sen. Bob Antonacci (R) resigned at the end of 2019 to join the New York Supreme Court’s 5th Judicial District.
The partisan composition of the state Senate is 40 Democrats and 21 Republicans. All 63 seats are up for election this year. Republicans last held control of the chamber from 2010 up until 2018.
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Voters decide state-level races in Kentucky, New York, South Carolina

On June 23, 2020, Kentucky and New York held primaries for state-level offices, and South Carolina held state legislative primary runoff elections. Candidates competed to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020.

In Kentucky, 19 state Senate seats and all 100 state House seats were on the ballot, along with one state supreme court seat and one state intermediate appellate court seat. 104 incumbents filed for re-election.

A special general election was held in District 26 of the Kentucky State Senate. The seat became vacant when Ernie Harris (R) retired from the legislature on April 15, 2020.

In New York, 63 state Senate seats and all 150 state Assembly seats were on the ballot, and 179 incumbents filed for re-election.

State legislative special elections in New York were scheduled to take place in one state Senate district and three state Assembly districts. On April 24, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo canceled the special elections. Those seats will remain vacant until the general election on November 3.

South Carolina held primary runoffs for races in which a candidate did not receive a majority of votes in the primary election, which took place on June 9. Eleven races were on the primary runoff ballot, including eight state House seats and three state Senate seats.

Kentucky and New York’s statewide primaries were the 24th and 25th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. Virginia also held a statewide primary for congressional offices. The next statewide primaries are on June 30, 2020, in Colorado, Utah, and Oklahoma.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wins renomination over three challengers

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) defeated challengers Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Badrun Khan, and Sam Sloan in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th Congressional District. As of 11:15 p.m. Eastern Time on June 23, Ocasio-Cortez had received 73.8% of the vote to Caruso-Cabrera’s 18.6%. This was Ocasio-Cortez’s first primary after she unseated incumbent Joseph Crowley in the 2018 election. Election forecasters project Ocasio-Cortez is a solid favorite to win re-election in November.


Kentucky and New York to hold state legislative and judicial primaries

Kentucky and New York are holding regularly scheduled primaries for state-level offices on June 23.

In Kentucky, there are primaries being held for 19 state Senate seats, all 100 state House seats, one state supreme court seat, and one state intermediate appellate court seat. A special general election is being held in District 26 of the Kentucky State Senate.

In New York, primaries are taking place in all 63 state Senate seats and all 150 state Assembly seats. State legislative special elections in New York were also originally scheduled to take place in one state Senate district and three state Assembly districts, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) canceled the special elections on April 24. Those seats will remain vacant until the general election on November 3.

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3 states holding primaries for 42 congressional seats on June 23

Three states are holding primaries on June 23, 2020. Forty-two congressional seats will be on the ballot, including two U.S. Senate seats and 40 U.S. House seats.

The following seats will be on the ballot in Kentucky:
• 1 U.S. Senate seat
• 6 U.S. House seats

The following seats will be on the ballot in New York:
• 27 U.S. House seats

The following seats will be on the ballot in Virginia:
• 1 U.S. Senate seat
• 7 U.S. House seats

Four of Virginia’s 11 U.S. House seats—Districts 7, 8, 9, and 10—are not on the ballot because they are either holding conventions instead of primaries or their primaries were canceled due to lack of opposition.

Entering the November 2020 general election, the U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Thirty-five of the 100 U.S. Senate seats are up for election, including two seats up for special election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House of Representatives has 233 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one Libertarian, and four vacancies. All 435 U.S. House seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

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NYT highlights federal law allowing for the repeal of administrative agency regulations

The New York Times in its May 7 morning briefing discussed the use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) during the Trump administration to reverse certain regulations issued by the Obama administration. Trump administration officials, according to the Times, are working to ensure that the administration’s own regulations are not similarly vulnerable to reversal under the CRA by a future administration.

What is the Congressional Review Act?

The CRA is a 1996 federal law that affords Congress a check on the rulemaking activities of federal agencies. The law creates a review period during which Congress, by passing a joint resolution of disapproval later signed by the president, can overturn a new federal agency rule and block the issuing agency from creating a similar rule in the future. Congress and the president have used the CRA to repeal 17 rules, 16 of which were repealed after President Donald Trump (R) took office in 2017.

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