Last month I posted a rundown of the progress we’ve made on the MYD Policy platform. I’m re-posting an updated version of that post, with some additional MYD victories!
In May of 2013, the Manhattan Young Democrats passed its official Policy Platform, which laid out MYD’s legislative and policy goals for the year. So how much has been accomplished in four months? We’ve had some successes, though the current leadership structure of the State Senate has made it nearly impossible for most progressive legislation to make its way to the floor for a vote. Read on for more details.
Campaign Finance Reform (S.04705/A04980-B) – The Fair Elections Act passed the NY Assembly, but could not get a vote in the State Senate.
Minimum Wage – The Assembly passed a strong minimum wage law, but the Senate passed a watered down version that phases in the increase over a three year period, and includes a tax break for hiring teen workers, which some worry could encourage employers to fire employees once they are no longer eligible for the tax break.
NYCHA Development (S.4641/A.6964) – A bill that would subject NYCHA development to the same ULURP review process as all other types of development passed the Assembly, but could not get a vote in the Senate. (Are we noticing a pattern here?)
UPDATE: Education Issues
Pre-Kindergarten Education – Incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio ran on a campaign pledge to pay for universal pre-K by raising taxes on the wealthy. While some have questioned de Blasio’s ability to get a tax increase in an election year, Governor Cuomo has signaled a willingness to work with de Blasio in making his plan a reality.
Teacher Evaluations & School Closures – de Blasio has also stated his preference for relying less on test scores in evaluating teachers and supports a moratorium on school closings, two major planks of the MYD Education platform.
Environmental/Animal Protection Issues
Hydrofracking – A ban on fracking has been referred to committee in both chambers, though the state moratorium on fracking remains in effect indefinitely.
GMO labeling (S.3835/A.3525) – A bill to require GMO labeling in NY State was defeated in committee in the Assembly.
GENDA (S.195/A.4226) – The Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act passed Assembly, but could not get a vote in the Senate.
Stop and Frisk – The Community Safety Act passed the City Council. It was then vetoed by the Mayor, but the Council was able to override the veto.
DREAM Act – Passed the Assembly, held up in Senate committee.
Madison Square Garden – The City Council voted to cap MSG’s permit at 10 years.
Midtown East Rezoning – City Planning Commission voted to approve the rezoning. It now goes to the City Council for a full vote, though several local officials, including Council Member Garodnick, have expressed concerns about the plan.
UPDATE: Today Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Council Member Dan Garodnick issued a joint statement that will delay a vote on Midtown East rezoning until certain issues, such as air rights and infrastructure improvements, can be worked out.
Taxi of Tomorrow – According to the New York Times, “…beginning Oct. 28, virtually every new non-hybrid taxi is required to be a Nissan NV200, the Taxi of Tomorrow chosen by New York City as part of a competition in 2011. The cabs are expected to be phased in over three to five years, until nearly all of the city’s roughly 13,000 yellow cabs are the same.” But on Tuesday a judge blocked plan, saying that the administration overstepped its authority. As a result, the future of the program is uncertain.
Women’s Equality Agenda – The WEA passed the Assembly, but in the State Senate the IDC/GOP leadership chose to split the bill into 10 parts and pass each of the parts separately, refusing to bring the reproductive rights plank of the agenda to a vote at all. The Assembly refused to break up the bill, which means that currently none of the WEA has been enacted into law, much to the chagrin of Governor Cuomo who had made the WEA one of his signature legislative goals.