Albany Agenda

Here’s what NY lawmakers are focused on for the rest of session

Only five weeks to go!

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins NYS Senate Media Services

State lawmakers will flock back to Albany on Monday to begin the final stretch before the state Legislature adjourns June 6. With just 18 days of scheduled session remaining, now is the time for legislators to hone in on bills that for whatever reason didn’t pass muster during budget talks. 

From the environment, to elections, to policing protests, this is the final stretch run before politicians head home and campaign. 


The NY HEAT Act aims to get the state to shift from fossil fuels by eliminating a requirement that utility companies build free gas hook-ups for customers who live within 100 feet of an existing line. The measure passed the state Senate but was held up in the Assembly and never made it into the state budget, though Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the bill could be eyed later in session. 

Climate activists were rankled by developments in the bill, first reported by Politico New York, as the Assembly's proposal favors carve-outs for certain service areas in New York and no end to the “obligation to serve” customers who want natural gas hook-ups.

Algorithmic feeds 

Lawmakers spent much of session pushing for ways to regulate adolescent exposure to social media feeds. Two bills backed by state Attorney General Letitia James would ban algorithmic feeds for users under the age of 18 without their parents’ permission and prohibit the collection sale of kids’ data. 

Social media giants spent big to lobby against the proposals, sponsored by state Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assembly Member Nily Rozic, in the lead-up to budget negotiations. They did not make it into the budget, with lawmakers preferring to consider them as a standalone issue. Support for the regulations is reportedly picking up steam with a month and change left to go in session. 

Matching funds

State Sen. James Skoufis penned legislation that would create new guidelines for the state’s matching funds program, raising the bar for candidates to qualify. It’s a second attempt by lawmakers to make changes to the new program after the governor vetoed legislation last year. The new bill from Skoufis included some changes to address concerns cited by the governor. Hochul opposed allowing matching funds for large donations, as lawmakers attempted last year.

The proposal saw a last-minute push to be included in the state budget but was ultimately left out.

Nail salons

As City & State reported, nail salon technicians, often Asian and Latin American women, face a higher rate of reproductive health concerns. The Nail Salon Minimum Standards Council Act, sponsored by state Sen. Jessica Ramos and Assembly Member Harry Bronson, would create a council that would make recommendations on the wages, regulations and standards in the field. 

Post-protest fallout

In the wake of protests taking place in cities and campuses across the state, some lawmakers have pushed legislation that would address some of the law enforcement responses. State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris’ Keep Police Radio Public Act, which would make it illegal for police to encrypt their radio frequencies, is still a priority for the senior lawmaker. Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas also promoted her legislation, sponsored by Gianaris in the state Senate, that would prohibit law enforcement from detaining people for longer than 24 hours without cause and prompt them to create a registry of detainees in New York City. It followed reports that some protesters were held for more than 24 hours before arraignment, in violation of a court ruling on the issue.

Even year elections

The controversial law change moving New York’s local elections to even years is meeting its successor, one that would see elections in New York City for mayor and other positions make the same change, head for deliberation before the end of session this year. The bill, sponsored by Skoufis yet again, is a constitutional amendment, and even if it did pass this year, it would need to pass for a second time next year before going before the state’s voters for final approval.