New York Note – Congressional Lines, City Legislation, Teacher Contract

July 20, 2023

New York Ordered to Redraw Congressional Maps

Last Thursday, a midlevel New York court ordered the Independent Redistricting Commission to redraw the state’s congressional maps ahead of new year’s 2024 elections, overturning a lower court’s decision. This represents a major win for Democrats as the Republican-friendly current lines were drawn by a court-appointed expert in 2022 after the Redistricting Commission failed to agree on new lines and the Court of Appeals rejected the Democrat-controlled Legislature’s maps. If this decision is upheld, it could change the political landscape of the state and country as Democrats may be positioned to gain as many as six house seats. Shortly after last week’s ruling, Republicans vowed to appeal the decision to New York’s highest court, where it will be ultimately decided.

NYC Council Passes and Introduces Legislation

Last Thursday, the NYC Council convened a Stated meeting, where they passed and introduced multiple pieces of legislation. The Council passed several bills part of the mental health roadmap, including a bill requiring an interactive map of available mental health services providers in NYC. They also passed a bill that categorizes lead-based paint that is peeling in the common areas of a residential building as an immediately hazardous violation. The Council introduced legislation that would require a study on the feasibility of establishing a commercial and residential linkage fee. They also introduced a bill that would allow pedestrians to legally cross a roadway at any point, effectively legalizing the activity commonly referred to as “jaywalking”. In addition, the Council voted to override the Mayor’s veto of the Council’s legislation to address homelessness and the eviction crisis through a legislative package that aims to reform the CityFHEPS rental assistance voucher program. This is the first time the Council overrode a Mayoral veto since Mayor Bloomberg was in office. You can find all of the bills that were passed and introduced here.

Teachers Union Approves Five-Year Contract

The New York City teachers union, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), voted to ratify a new five year contract. The new contract raises the starting salaries for NYC teachers to $72,350 by 2026, which is an 18.5% increase from the current starting salary of $61,070. The contract also includes an expansion of remote learning opportunities for older students, along with a 3% annual wage increase in the first three years, 3.25% increase in the fourth year, and a 3.5% increase in the final year. The agreement will apply retroactively from September 14, 2022 through November 28, 2027. However, while teachers approved the contract, school-based occupational and physical therapists voted against it. As a result, they will not receive the benefits of the contract, will continue working under the terms of their 2018 contract until their unit can reach a deal with the Administration.

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