ISSUES THAT MATTER

November 07, 2018 at 4:45 am

What issues do you most care about after the votes are counted? We’re looking at the issues Albany must tackle in the coming legislative cycle.

Aired on November 6, 2018. 

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WITH MUCH OF THE COVERAGE OF
TODAY'S ELECTION FOCUSED ON THE
RAMIFICATIONS, IT CAN BE EASY TO
LOSE SIGHT OF LOCAL ISSUES.
JOINING ME NOW TO DISCUSS WHAT
IS AT STAKE IS JONATHAN LENTZ,
EDITOR AND CHIEF OF CITY AND
STATE NEW YORK.
WELCOME BACK TO THE SHOW.
>> GOOD TO BE HERE.
>> WE HAVE A LOT OF BIG, LOCAL ISSUES.
I THINK THE ONE ALL NEW YORKERS
CARE ABOUT IS RENT CONTROL AND
RENT CIRCULATION.
>> THIS IS MOSTLY DOWN STATE NEW
YORK CITY ISSUE, BUT IT'S A BIG ISSUE.
COMES UP EVERY FOUR YEARS.
THAT WILL BE UP FOR RENEWAL IN
THE 2019 STATE LEGISLATIVE SESSION.
HISTORICALLY, THE REPUBLICANS
WHO CONTROLLED THE STATE SENATE
HAVE PROTECTED THE INTEREST OF
REAL ESTATE AND DEVELOPERS.
SHOULD DEMOCRATS TAKE THE STATE
SENATE, WHICH WILL BE A REAL
POSSIBILITY, THINGS MIGHT LOOK
GOOD FOR TENANT ADVOCATES AND
PEOPLE THAT WANT STRONGER
PROTECTIONS FOR TENANTS IN FORK CITY.
>> AND FOR THE FIVE PEOPLE WHO
DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT, EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT MORE.
>> THERE ARE ABOUT A MILLION
PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY UNDER
RENT CONTROL.
THAT MEANS YOUR RELATE CAN ONLY
GO UP BY A CERTAIN POINT A YEAR.
OVER TIME, REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN
ABLE TO ERODE SYSTEM OF THOSE
PROTECTIONS OR RAISE THE
THRESHOLD, GET MORE PEOPLE OUT
OF RENT CONTROL.
THAT KEEPS YOUR RENT FIXED AT A
CERTAIN LEVEL.
AGAIN, IF REPUBLICANS ARE OUT OF
THE WAY, THAT COULD MEAN MORE
PROTECTIONS.
SOME PEOPLE ARE ARGUING TO BRING
MORE PEOPLE UNDER RENT CONTROL,
WHICH WOULD BE SOMETHING YOU
HAVEN'T SEEN IN NEW YORK IN
GENERATIONS.
>> ALL RIGHT.
ANOTHER BIG ISSUE DEMOCRATS ARE
RUNNING ON IS HEALTH CARE.
WHILE THAT'S BEING DEBATED AT
THE NATIONAL LEVEL, THERE'S THE
POSSIBILITY OF SINGLE PAYER
HEALTH CARE IN THE STATE, OR IS
THERE THE POSSIBILITY?
>> SOMETIME THAT STATE SENATE
DEMOCRATS ARE PUSHING FOR, AND
THEIR ASSOCIATES IN THE ASSEMBLY
AS WELL HAVE SUPPORTED THIS IDEA.
THERE ARE REAL QUESTION MARKS,
WHAT IS THE REAL COST?
IT MIGHT BE FEASIBLE IN NEW YORK.
SOME PEOPLE ARGUE IT COULD MAKE
MORE SENSE IF IT WERE A NATIONAL
PROGRAM, THAT TO DO IT AT A
STATE LEVEL WOULD POSE DIFFICULTIES.
EVEN IF DEMOCRATS TAKE THE STATE
SENATE, THIS WILL BE A BIG THING
TO WORK THROUGH.
IT COULD GO INTO 20201 TO WORK
THROUGH THE DETAILS.
NO GUARANTEE THAT GETS DONE.
>> OF COURSE, THAT IS A BIG
PIECE OF LEGISLATION FOR THE
STATE TO HAVE TO HANDLE.
BUT THERE ARE SOME OTHER MORE
PROGRESSIVE ISSUES THAT MIGHT
GET CODIFIED INTO LAW.
ONE OF THEM WOULD BE THE WOMEN'S
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ACT.
>> THIS WOULD CODIFY ROE V.WADE.
THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF DEBATE
ABOUT THAT NATIONALLY.
NEW YORK WAS ONE OF THE FIRST
STATES TO PUT PROTECTIONS FOR
ABORTIONS IN STATE LAWS.
IT PREDATED ROE V. WADE.
SO THERE ARE SOME PROTECTIONS
ALREADY, THOUGH WITH THE
CONCERNS THAT PEOPLE ON THE LEFT
HAVE, AND WOMEN RIGHT'S
ADVOCATES HAVE ABOUT THE SUPREME
COURT THAT MAYBE THEY WOULD, IF
NOT OVERTURN BUT POSSIBLY ERODE
ROE V. WADE, THERE'S A BIG PUSH
IN NEW YORK.
AND GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO SAID
THIS IS ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS
HE WANTS TO DO IN THE NEW
SESSION.
>> SO WE CAN LOOK FOR THAT
LEGISLATION TO FLY THROUGH
ALBANY IN JANUARY.
WE'LL SEE.
WHAT ABOUT THE IDEA OF CRIMINAL
JUSTICE REFORM THAT'S BEEN A BIG ISSUE.
WE ACTUALLY SAW CYNTHIA NIXON IN
THE PRIMARIES PUSH GOVERNOR
CUOMO TO GO FURTHER TO THE LEFT
IN DEALING WITH THIS.
WHAT DO YOU SEE HAPPENING?
>> I COULD SEE MORE INCREMENTAL
REFORMS GETTING THROUGH.
THIS HAS BEEN AN ISSUE THAT THE
GOVERNOR HAS CHAMPIONED IN THE PAST.
THEY DID GET THROUGH RAISING THE
AGE OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY
IN NEW YORK, MAKE IT MORE
CONSISTENT WITH THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.
I THINK WHAT THEY WANT TO DO IS
WHEN THEY CASH BAIL, CHANGE THE
DISCOVERY PROCESS.
SO IF YOU'RE CHARGED WITH A
CRIME, YOU GET TO SEE EVIDENCE
SOONER, A FEW OTHER THINGS.
I COULD SEE THAT HAPPENING.
IT'S BEEN THE STATE REPUBLICAN
SENATE CONFERENCE THAT'S PUSHED
BACK ON SOME OF THESE PROPOSED CHANGES.
IF DEMOCRATS CONTROL ALBANY,
IT'S LIKELY IT GETS THROUGH.
>> CAN WE SAY THE SAME THING FOR
LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL USE OF MARIJUANA?
>> THAT WILL BE INTERESTING.
THE GOVERNOR HAS CHANGED HIS
RHETORIC AROUND THAT.
IT WASN'T LONG AGO HE WAS
CALLING IT A GATEWAY DRUG, EVEN
MEDICAL MARIJUANA, THE PROGRAM
IS VERY RESTRICTIVE AND PEOPLE
SAY THAT NEEDS TO BE LOOSENED.
IF IT GOES FORWARD, LOOK TO
WATCH THE GOVERNOR ON THAT AND
HOW MUCH HE WANTS TO ALLOW THAT.
>> IS THERE A CHANCE IF WE SEE
MORE DEMOCRATS, BUT PROGRESSIVE
DEMOCRATS TURNING UP IN THE
STATE SENATE, THAT THEY CAN
ACTUALLY PUT PRESSURE ON THE
GOVERNOR TO MOVE IN A DIRECTION
WE HAVEN'T NECESSARILY SEEN HIM GO?
>> THAT'S A POSSIBILITY, CERTAINLY.
I THINK SINGLE PAYER WOULD BE
ONE AREA WHERE THE GOVERNOR HAS
NOT EMBRACED IT.
YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER, IF
DEMOCRATS TAKE A STATE SENATE,
THEY'LL PICK UP SEATS ON LONG
ISLAND, IN UPSTATE NEW YORK.
THEY'LL HAVE TO BALANCE THEIR
OWN POLITICAL FUTURE AND NOT
ONLY WIN THE SEAT BUT KEEP THE
SEAT.
PROGRESSIVE MEASURES MAY NOT GO
FORWARD IF UPSTATE, MORE
MODERATE DEMOCRATS FEEL LIKE
THEY CAN'T GET BEHIND IT.
>> OF COURSE, THERE IS ALWAYS
THAT GREAT DIVIDE BETWEEN DOWN
STATE AND NEW YORK STATE.
BUT WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OTHER
ISSUES THAT WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE
COMING OUT OF THIS ELECTION FOR
NEW YORK?
>> CONGESTION PRICING IS A BIG
THING TO WATCH.
THAT'S SOMETHING -- IT DOESN'T
NECESSARILY COME DOWN ON PARTY
LINES IN AND OF ITSELF.
THERE ARE DEMOCRATS IN THE OUTER
BOROUGHS IN NEW YORK CITY THAT
DON'T WANT THIS TO GO FORWARD.
A BIG THING TO WATCH, AGAIN, IF
THE STATE SENATE GOES
DEMOCRATIC, YOU'LL HAVE SOME
SUBURBAN LAWMAKERS THAT DON'T
WANT TO BE ON THE SHORT END OF
THE STICK.
THE LAST TIME THE DEMOCRATS
CONTROLLED THE STATE SENATE,
THERE WAS A PAYROLL TAX THAT
WENT THROUGH, LARGELY
CONTRIBUTING TO REPUBLICANS
RETAKING THE STATE SENATE.
SO WHATEVER GOES FORWARD,
THEY'LL WANT TO MAKE SURE THEIR
SUBURBAN CONSTITUENTS ARE
PROTECTED ON THAT FRONT.
>> LASTLY, I HAVE TO ASK, DO WE
EXPECT OR HOPE FROM A
DEMOCRATICALLY STATE
LEGISLATURE, ANY REFORMS TO THE
MPA?
>> THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION.
THAT'S THE BIG DEBATE, NOT JUST
GETTING MORE MONEY, BUT FIXING
THE PROCESS, HAVING PROCUREMENT
WORK BETTER.
YOU KNOW, I GUESS THERE IS A
RISK WITH SINGLE PARTY CONTROL
IF DEMOCRATS CAN CONTROL EVERY
HOUSE IN THE GOVERNORSHIP, MAYBE
THEY WON'T BE AS INCLINED TO
PUSH FOR REFORMS.
>> ALTHOUGH I WOULD ASSUME THAT
THERE WOULD BE MORE OF AN
EXPECTATION FOR RESULTS.
BUT WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
THE LEGISLATURE COMES BACK IN
JANUARY.
>> CERTAINLY.
>> AND JUST A REMINDER TO OUR
VIEWERS, "METROFOCUS" WILL
CONTINUE TO PROVIDE IN DEPTH
COVERAGE OF ALL OF THESE
IMPORTANT ISSUES SO THAT YOU CAN
STAY INFORMED.

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Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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