New York Capital Brief:

Highlight’s of Hochul’s Executive Budget

Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled her first Executive Budget last week, outlining a $216B spending plan that is focused on rebuilding and rehabilitating the State following the peak devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.Stakes are high for this proposed budget as Governor Hochul seeks election to her first full-term as governor in this November.

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NY’s Mask Mandate Stays in Effect

New York State’s indoor mask mandate will remain in effect despite a flurry of court decisions that created confusion statewide.On Monday, a judge from the Supreme Court in Nassau County ruled that Hochul’s indoor mask mandate violated the State’s Constitution, which abruptly nullified the rule.  In response, Governor Hochul vowed to fight the decision and directed Attorney General Letitia James to file a motion to stay the ruling while the State filed a formal appeal.

On Tuesday, an appeals court judge temporarily blocked the previous lower court ruling, effectively allowing the mask rule to temporarily go back into effect.“The last thing I want to see is a different trend because people gave up on the masks,” Hochul said.


Redistricting Process Reaches Deadlock

On Wednesday afternoon, Speaker Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins released a joint statement announcing that the statutory deadline for the Independent Redistricting Commission to submit new congressional and state legislative maps had passed.

The failure by the commission to come up with a bipartisan-compromised set of maps means the State Legislature will have the authority to draw the maps that ensure all New Yorkers have equitable representation New York State government.Given the expedited nature of the political calendar, the Legislature’s plan is to vote on a set of maps by next week.


State Senate Confirms DFS Commissioner

This week, the State Senate continued to confirm Governor Hochul’s nominations for key positions within her Administration. Overall, most of the appointments have been confirmed unanimously, including DOH Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett and OASAS Commissioner Dr. Chinanzo Cunningham.  However, on Wednesday, the Senate finally confirmed acting DFS Commissioner Adrienne Harris with 9 “no” votes cast by both Democratic and Republican members – Senators Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), Phil Boyle (R-Suffolk), Jabari Brisport (D-Brooklyn), Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), John Liu (D-Queens), Peter Oberacker (R-Cortland), Jessica Ramos (D-Queens), Dan Stec (R-North Country), and James Tedisco (R-Glenville).

When Governor Kathy Hochul nominated Harris in August 2021, a coalition of progressive groups began organizing in opposition of her confirmation, citing her numerous roles working with and for the financial companies she will now be charged with regulating.
Here is a full list of Governor Hochul’s key administration appointments.