Election Day Recap - New York State Edition

James Walsh, Wed, Nov 7th, 2018 8:26:34 am
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While some Elections Day results are not yet final, due to a few close races, we know that New York State government will be Democrat-controlled for the first time in nearly a decade, with Democrats winning all of the statewide races (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General) and capturing the Senate Majority which had been the last bastion of Republican power in state government.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli all handily defeated their Republican challengers to win re-election, while current New York City Public Advocate Letitia James defeated her rival to win the Attorney General's race.

In the State Senate, Democrats captured several seats held by Republicans on Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley and will begin the 2019 legislative session with an anticipated majority of 40 members, compared to 23 members for the Republicans. The Senate Democrats are expected to elevate their leader, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers), to the Majority Leader post, while it is likely that Senator John Flanagan (R-East Northport), the current Majority Leader, will assume the role of Minority Leader. There will be 17 new Senators, including 15 Democrats and 2 Republicans. Also, along with the new majority, we will see a new chair of the Senate Housing Committee, to replace current Chairperson Senator Betty Little (R-Queensbury) who has been a true champion for affordable housing across New York State over the past several years. We will advise of the new chairperson when that person is named, likely in early January.

In the State Assembly, the Republican Minority won four Democratic seats, but also lost two Republican seats and therefore are in line to have a net increase of two seats, highlighting the unpredictability of our current elections. All told, there will be 21 new Assemblymembers, including 12 Democrats and 9 Republicans. While it is an overall modest gain for Republicans, the Democrats, led by Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), will continue to have a formidable majority in 2019 of 107 members compared to 43 Republicans. Although we expect (and hope) that Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) will remain as the Chair of the Assembly Housing Committee, there are sometimes adjustments in the chairs and committee membership with the start of each new two-year legislative session. We will alert you if there are notable changes in the committee.

With Democrats in control of the Governor's Office and the Legislature, it is likely that legislative initiatives that were stalled in the Republican Senate will receive new momentum, including prevailing wage legislation, changes to NYC rent regulations and others unrelated to affordable housing such as single payer health program, the child victims act, and the reproductive health act. Proposals relevant to the affordable housing industry will have to be explored and we will be better able to identify some of those initiatives in the weeks to come.

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