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Stories about New York

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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Federal judge orders New York State Board of Elections to reinstate Democratic presidential preference primary on June 23

On May 5, Judge Analisa Torres of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the New York State Board of Elections to reinstate the Democratic presidential preference primary on June 23, 2020, which the board had previously canceled. The order was the result of a lawsuit filed on April 28 by Andrew Yang, a former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, and several candidates for New York’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention.

The New York State Board of Elections canceled the Democratic presidential preference primary on April 27, operating from a state law enacted that month that authorized the board of elections to remove candidates from ballots upon the suspension or termination of their campaigns. Senator Bernie Sanders (I) suspended his presidential campaign on April 8, making former Vice President Joe Biden (D) the presumptive Democratic nominee.

To date, 20 states and one territory have postponed state-level elections. For more information, click on the “learn more” button below.


Ballotpedia tracks state legislative races without a Democratic or Republican candidate

Ballotpedia is tracking state legislative races without a known Democratic or Republican candidate in the 2020 elections. As of April 29, 764 state legislative races do not have a Democratic candidate, and 583 do not have a Republican candidate.

The most seats without a candidate from one of the major parties are concentrated in three states: New York, Oklahoma, and Georgia. New York has the highest number; of its 213 state legislative seats, 74 races (34.7%) do not have a Republican candidate. Oklahoma and Georgia are tied with the second-highest at 68 races. Of the 125 seats on the ballot this year in Oklahoma, 68 races (54.4%) do not have a Democratic candidate. Of the 236 state legislative races that are on the ballot in Georgia, 68 races (28.8%) do not have a Republican candidate.

In 2018, 6,073 state legislative races were on the ballot and 2,017 (33.2%) did not feature major party competition. In comparison, there were 2,477 such races in 2016 and 2,606 in 2014.

During the 2020 election cycle, the filing deadline to run for the state legislature has passed in 30 states. Washington has the next filing deadline on May 15.

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SCOTUS issues opinions in cases concerning ACA, copyright, and NYC’s former ban on transporting firearms

On April 27, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued rulings in three cases argued during its October Term 2019-2020. The court has issued 29 decisions this term.

Maine Community Health Options v. United States concerned the “Risk Corridors” program of Section 1342 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The case originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and was argued on December 10, 2019.
  • The issue: Writing for the majority, Justice Sonia Sotomayor defined the issue: “These cases are about whether petitioners—insurers who claim losses under the Risk Corridors program—have a right to payment under §1342 and a damages remedy for the unpaid amounts.”
  • The outcome: The court reversed the Federal Circuit’s decision in an 8-1 ruling and remanded the case. The court held that the risk corridors statute created a government obligation to pay insurers the full amount set out in Section 1342’s formula, that Congress did not impliedly repeal the obligation through its appropriations riders, and that petitioners properly relied on the Tucker Act to sue for damages in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org Inc., a case that concerned copyright law and the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA), originated from the 11th Circuit and was argued on December 2, 2019.
  • The issue: “Whether the government edicts doctrine extends to—and thus renders uncopyrightable—works that lack the force of law, such as the annotations in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated.”
  • The outcome: The court affirmed the 11th Circuit’s decision in a 5-4 ruling, holding “the OCGA annotations are ineligible for copyright protection.” Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts stated that under the government edicts doctrine, judges and legislators “may not be considered the ‘authors’ of the works they produce in the course of their official duties.” The rule applies even if a material lacks the force of law.
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York concerned New York City’s former ban on transporting a licensed, locked, and unloaded handgun to a home or shooting range outside city limits. It originated in the 2nd Circuit and was argued on December 2, 2019.
  • The issue: “Whether the City’s ban on transporting a licensed, locked, and unloaded handgun to a home or shooting range outside city limits is consistent with the Second Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the constitutional right to travel.”
  • The outcome: The court vacated the 2nd Circuit’s ruling in a 6-3 per curiam decision, holding the petitioners’ claim was moot because the city changed the ban in 2019. A per curiam decision is issued collectively by the court with no indicated authorship. Justice Brett Kavanaugh filed a concurring opinion. Justice Samuel Alito filed a dissenting opinion, joined in full by Justice Neil Gorsuch and in all but Part IV-B by Justice Clarence Thomas.

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Andrew Yang sues New York State Board of Elections over cancelation of Democratic presidential preference primary

On April 28, 2020, Andrew Yang, a former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, and several candidates for New York’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention filed suit against the New York State Board of Elections over its decision to cancel the state’s Democratic presidential preference primary. The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The Democratic presidential preference primary, originally scheduled to take place on April 28, 2020, was postponed to coincide with the statewide primary for congressional, state, and local offices scheduled to take place on June 23, 2020. Senator Bernie Sanders (I) suspended his presidential campaign on April 8, 2020, making former Vice President Joe Biden (D) the presumptive Democratic nominee. On April 27, 2020, the state board of elections canceled the Democratic presidential preference primary. A law enacted earlier in April authorized the board to remove candidates from ballots upon the suspension or termination of their campaigns.

To date, Ballotpedia has tracked at least 32 lawsuits dealing with the administration of elections in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. These suits span 20 states and have, to date, resulted in nine rulings and/or settlements. Ballotpedia has tracked another 52 lawsuits dealing with other state actions undertaken in response to the outbreak. These suits span 29 states and have, to date, resulted in 14 rulings and/or settlements.