New York Capital Brief:

Hochul Convenes Special Legislative Session

Governor Kathy Hochul called state lawmakers back to Albany on Wednesday for a special session to address a handful of time-sensitive issues.
The Senate and Assembly voted to extend the State’s residential and commercial eviction moratorium to January 2022 following the US Supreme Court’s ruling last week that struck down the nationwide 60-day extension that was ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month. 

Both Houses also voted to alter the State’s open meetings law to allow virtual proceedings.  This change stemmed from concerns raised back in July, when the Senate’s Ethic’s Committee hearing was postponed due to apprehension that the hybrid model they’ve grown accustomed to using – when members participate remotely or in-person – violated the Open Meetings Law.  According to open meeting law, if a public meeting is held by video conference, then the public must be able attend in person to listen and observe the proceedings at any site where a government official is participating. That rule can not be followed when many legislators participate remotely from their homes.

Lastly, Governor Hochul appointed and the State Senate confirmed members to the State’s Cannabis Control Board.

Former Brooklyn Assemblymember Tremaine Wright has been named Chair of the Cannabis Control Board.  She had previously served as Chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.

Christopher Alexander has been named the program’s Executive Director. Alexander is the government relations and policy manager at Village, a cannabis company.


Prepping for COVID Vaccine Rollout

On Tuesday, Governor Hochul announced that $65 million is being allocated to local health departments to distribute the imminent booster COVID-19 vaccines. Hochul emphasized the importance of deferring to the State’s local health departments and communities, where the dynamics of distribution needs can be unique, as opposed to imposing more rigid plans.

“You tell me what you need and I’ll make sure there’s funding available,” Hochul said Tuesday from the University of Buffalo. “You figure it out. You know your communities better than anybody. Tell me how to take it literally to people, door to door.”


Gov. Hochul Appoints New DFS Superintendent

Governor Kathy Hochul announced this week that Adrienne Harris has been nominated to lead the New York State Department of Financial Services as its next Superintendent. Formerly a top economic advisor to President Obama, Ms. Harris will become the state’s top financial regulator tasked with overseeing the banking and insurance industries and their compliance with state laws as New York works to rebuild its economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, if confirmed by the Senate.