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COVID-19 Pandemic Marks First Day of Sessions at the State Legislature in Albany | The State

COVID-19 Pandemic Marks First Day of Sessions at State Legislature in Albany

Sessions at the Capitol in Albany will last until June, when summer break begins.

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This Wednesday was start in Albany to the session of the State Legislature and the first day was marked by the coronavirus pandemic. Both assembly members and senators could not be present at the capitol building, and instead they performed virtual meetings to start the new legislative period that will last two years.

But another reality that will also be new in this period of sessions is that for the first time the two legislative chambers will have one Democratic ‘super-majority’, which will allow that party to have total dominance with 43 out of 30 senators and 107 of the 150 assembly members. With this super-majority they will be able to annul vetoes of the Governor without having to make deals with the other parties that have a minority representation, such as the Republican case.

And precisely about the governor, on this first day of sessions, Andrew Cuomo did not deliver his annual speech on the State of the State of New York, as established by the state Constitution that indicates that this speech coincides with the beginning of the legislative sessions. Instead, Cuomo reported that He will deliver his speech on January 11.

What issues will have priority?

The new session that began this Wednesday will last until June 18, when the summer break begins. And in these next six months, there are several topics that will have priorities in the discussions, the largest being the financial crisis created by the coronavirus. On this point, the Governor and legislators will have to figure out how to close the state’s huge budget gap, which could include raising taxes and even laying off layoffs.

But without a doubt that one of the great hopes that is had in Albany is that the so is achieved wanted help from the federal government, which still does not materialize. The new state budget must be approved no later than April 1, and both Cuomo and the Legislature They hope that with the new Joe Biden administration, and possibly a Democratic-majority federal Senate, that help can be achieved.

Another issue that will affect discussions in the State Assembly and Senate will be the measures that need to be passed to stop the second wave of the coronavirus, including possible measures to close some sectors of the economy.

But also, it is possible that some proposals that did not pass in the last session, such as approving a law to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

However, before any proposal begins to be analyzed, on this first day of sessions, the first thing legislators do is decide what the rules of the procedures that will govern the sessions will be, something that happens at the beginning of each two-year legislative period. . And taking into account that these meetings will be held remotely, now more than ever it is more important to decide every detail of how these sessions will work, what participation will be like and what the voting processes will be like. This will include making sure New Yorkers have access to these hearings.

Key Issues in the State Legislature:

  • Financial crisis created by the coronavirus. On this point, the Governor and legislators will have to find a way to close the state’s huge budget gap.
  • This may include a tax increase on the wealthiest
  • Measures to control the coronavirus pandemic such as restrictions and closures.
  • Aid to tenants and merchants, mainly small businesses.
  • One of the hottest topics is the moratorium on evictions.
  • Insist on the help of the federal government, especially now with the new Joe Biden administration.
  • Further reforms to the judicial system, reforms to the electoral system and approving funds for education will be discussed.


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