City & State’s readers correctly guessed that the Legislature would pass the Clean Slate Act but incorrectly assumed that lawmakers would be able to reach some kind of deal with Gov. Kathy Hochul on housing, according to City & State’s latest unscientific poll. In the days leading up to the June 9 end of session, 201 people responded to our informal survey asking which policies were most likely to pass before lawmakers went home for the summer.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents – 148 people – correctly guessed that the Clean Slate Act would pass out of both the state Senate and the Assembly, while 77 people correctly guessed that the Legislature would pass controversial revisions to the state’s public campaign finance program.
Five of the polled policies related to the state’s housing crisis. Although Hochul and legislative leaders could not agree on including any housing policies in last month’s state budget, hope springs eternal, about 40 people guessed that the Legislature would be able to pass “good cause” eviction protections, the Housing Access Voucher Program, a replacement for the 421-a tax break or a right to counsel for tenants in housing court.
But it was not to be. State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced that the governor had rejected their proposed housing deal, and they were not willing to pass a housing package only for Hochul to veto them.
The legislators’ purported housing deal did not include mandates for suburban communities to build more housing – a proposal that had once formed the centerpiece of Hochul’s ambitious “Housing Compact” plan before being effectively killed by suburban lawmakers. City & State’s audience knew that the plan was political poison; just six out of a total of 201 respondents imagined that the housing mandates would pass in the last days of session.
The biggest upset in the poll was the Grieving Families Act, which only 10 respondents guessed would pass before the end of session. The bill, which would amend New York’s wrongful death law, easily passed both the state Senate and Assembly and now sits on Hochul’s desk.
Another surprise was parole reform. Advocates claimed that both the Elder Parole and Fair & Timely Parole bills had majority support in the state Senate and Assembly – and 27 poll respondents guessed that the reforms would pass – but leadership never brought either bill to the floor.
The scheduled end of session has come and gone, but the show’s not over until the Assembly sings. The lower chamber worked through the weekend but still did not finish all of their work, so Assembly members will be back in Albany on June 20 to consider a few more bills passed by their counterparts in the state Senate.
One of those bills is Sammy’s Law, which would allow New York City to set its own speed limits, and which 68 poll respondents guessed would pass before the end of session. With the backing of influential state Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Brad Hoylman-Sigal, the bill easily passed the Senate. The Assembly is scheduled to vote on the bill once it reconvenes on June 20.
The Assembly is also scheduled to vote on the No Slavery in New York Act, which would ban forced labor in state prisons. The bill, which 58 readers guessed would pass before the end of session, has already passed out of the state Senate.
City & State’s poll also received a number of write-in votes, which ranged from the cynical (“absolutely nothing will pass”) to the surprisingly prescient (“The senate will not confirm Justin Driscoll”). And then there was Green Book Strategies co-founder Jenn Shafran, who submitted her own idea for a non-existent bill called “Eric’s Law,” which would amend the Multiple Dwelling Law to authorize short-term rentals of residences located in NYC parks that contain at least 1 million blades of grass – a cheeky reference to the mayor’s plan to house asylum-seekers at Gracie Mansion.