Session Countdown 2017

Session Countdown 2017

Session Countdown 2017: Education, Housing, Infrastructure and Good Government
May 28, 2017

Albany capitol building

When a belated state budget agreement was announced in April, officials gave themselves a pat on the back.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted an increase in education aid, a free tuition program for some public university students and more than a dozen other measures – while keeping overall spending in check.

Democrats joined the governor in applauding a law raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18. Republicans praised the new workers’ compensation reforms. And members of both parties welcomed the expansion of ride-hailing services in upstate New York and the allocation of $2.5 billion for clean water infrastructure.

“With this budget, New York is once again leading the nation and showing what responsible government can achieve,” Cuomo boasted.

RELATED: Cuomo is a control freak, but does it work?

But while the state budget was jampacked with new spending commitments and policy changes, there’s plenty that didn’t get done. To cite a few examples, lawmakers are challenging Cuomo’s oversight of state economic development programs, state Senate Republicans are holding up mayoral control of New York City schools and a battle over vacation rental websites like Airbnb has reignited.

In this ongoing feature, City & State reviews the key policy debates, the post-budget funding fights and the political battles behind some of the legislative standoffs in education, infrastructure, housing, ethics, health care, labor and energy.

Organized Labor

Andrew Cuomo

Backers of legislation aimed at boosting U.S. manufacturing are optimistic that a proposal to encourage the state to give preference to American-made goods will be passed this month as the legislative session winds down. Read the full report here.

Health Care

medical marijuana

More than a year since the state's medical marijuana program went into effect, and in the face of criticism from patient advocates, state officials are taking incremental steps to try to expand access. Read the full report here.


Bill de Blasio mayoral control

The fight over mayoral control of New York City schools is heating up. We also take a look at charter schools, the Excelsior Scholarship program, federal budget cuts and the status of Common Core. Read the full report here.


NYC housing

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have tried to stem the rising tide of homelessness, but housing continues to be a major issue in the final weeks of the state legislative session. Read the full report here.


Andrew Cuomo in the state senate

After President Donald Trump fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who had developed a reputation as the “Sheriff of Albany,” state lawmakers must have breathed a sigh of relief – and seemingly stopped pretending to care about ethics reform. Read the full report here.


Albany capitol building

Gridlock on trains and subways is getting worse. Can the state fix it? We also take a look at water quality, design-build and the Buffalo Billion phase II. Read the full report here.


Nine Mile Point

New York’s strategy to save its dying nuclear power industry is now spreading to other states, alarming opponents of the plan. We also look at the status of Indian Point, carbon pricing, the Clean Water Infrastructure Act and the state's pledge to remain committed to the Paris Accord. Read the full report here.

Criminal Justice

Andrew Cuomo m13

In the final few weeks of the state legislative session, lawmakers are pushing for further changes to the state’s criminal justice policies, including new proposals for responding to the ongoing opioid epidemic, a rising gang threat and a renewed effort to change the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases. Read the full report here.

More Items Up For Debate

Online Poker

From online poker to economic development oversight, here are a few more items that lawmakers are debating as the session winds down. Read the full report here.

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City & State