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New York Capital Brief: July 23, 2020

Legislative Update

State lawmakers have been busy with a special session this week taking up dozens of issues ranging from COVID-relief to typical “end-of-session” local legislation. Since the effects of COVID-19 have sent this election year awry, special attention has been drawn to the State’s antiquated voting procedures.

In March, the legislature passed a measure to allow the Houses to vote on legislation remotely to keep in alignment with social distancing guidelines during the pandemic. Shortly after, Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order allowing New Yorkers to vote in the primary election via absentee ballot. This week, a pair of Senate and Assembly bills are being discussed that would enact the New York Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2020.

Despite the expansive list of issues the legislature has been tackling this week, the $15B budget deficit remains unaddressed.

Former NY Assembly Speaker Sentenced to Prison

On Monday, former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison on corruption charges. Silver’s attorneys have asked for their client to serve his term in home confinement, citing the coronavirus and his experience with cancer and chronic kidney disease as significant threats to his survival. At this time, it is expected that he will serve his sentence in prison.

COVID Update

On June 25th, Governor Cuomo, along with CT Governor Lamont and NJ Governor Murphy, implemented a tri-state travel advisory which requires anyone who is returning from a “restricted state” to voluntarily quarantine for 14 days. This week, 10 new states were added to the list, bringing the total to 31 states.