Four Issues Albany Policymakers Should Address Next Year

As the New York Senate and Assembly ended their legislative session last week, we, along with many New Yorkers, were disappointed to see very little actually get done. The legislature failed to pass or even debate a number of important pieces of legislation.

The New York State Legislature will reconvene in January 2019, and after September and November elections, the makeup of the Senate and Assembly will likely be different. Among other things, this means that new opportunities might present themselves to move important issues.

With this in mind, here are four issues the legislature should prioritize next year.

1. Automatic Voter Registration

We believe it should be easier to vote in New York, and Governor Cuomo proposed a few ways to make that happen in his State of the State address in January. At the time, Cuomo proposed automatic voter registration, early voting, and same-day registration. However, no action was taken by the Legislature this session to address these proposals.

2. Congestion Pricing

In January, Cuomo’s Fix NYC panel outlined a reasonable approach to congestion pricing in Manhattan. We’ve written that properly-implemented congestion pricing offers the best available option to provide a steady revenue stream for improving our mass transit system. Congestion pricing wasn’t approved during Albany’s budget negotiations at the end of March, nor was it revisited during the legislative session.

3. Homesharing

Since 2017, a smart homesharing bill sponsored by Assemblyman Joe Lentol has been sitting in committee and has made little movement, despite the desire by many New Yorkers and tourists to take part in homesharing. The bill would legalize responsible homesharing while enabling regulators to target bad actors. Read more about the issue in our policy brief.

4. Propel Legislation

Propel, a Tech:NYC member company that helps food stamp recipients manage their funds, is being hobbled by an incumbent player. We heard from Albany legislators that they were concerned about this, as it made no sense to keep food stamp recipients from using their data however they wanted. Our legislators have a responsibility to encourage innovation and to help our most vulnerable community members, and we hope they will find a way next year to help Propel and any other company in a similar position.

It’s unfortunate that these issues were not addressed during the last legislative session, but we hope they will be debated and passed in some form during the next year.

New York State Capitol Building in Albany, NY by Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock