News in New York – Primary Day, NYS Special Session, and Rent Increases
June 27, 2022
June 27, 2022
Tomorrow is the first of two primary election days in New York State. Voters will cast their ballots for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and State Assembly along party lines. Governor Kathy Hochul is running for re-election against Congressman Tom Suozzi and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, where she is anticipated to win the Democratic nomination for Governor. The Republican primary for Governor is a four way race between Congressman Lee Zeldin, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson, and Andrew Giuliani, the former NYC Mayor’s son. The Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor is expected to be much closer than the Governor’s race, as newly appointed LG Antonio Delgado will try to hold off challenges from activist Ana Maria Archila and former Council Member Diana Reyna. On the Assembly side, there are several progressive candidates who have launched primary challenges against Democrats that they perceive as too moderate, and many of these challengers have received the backing of the Working Families Party and Democratic Socialists of America. The primary for Congressional and State Senate seats will be held on August 23.
Last week, Governor Kathy Hochul called on the State Legislature to reconvene this week for a special session to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning New York’s gun law. Lawmakers will meet this week to pass firearms-related legislation, which will likely include changes to the permitting process related to training and background checks, and implementing restrictions in “sensitive” locations such as houses of worship, parks, and the NYC subway system. Further, the NYC Council suggested state legislation that would effectively make all of NYC a “sensitive location.” In addition, there is talk about passing a state-level equal rights amendment that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution after the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. However, it currently remains far from certain, as there is still debate on whether the amendment should deem members of a “creed or religion” a protected class. Governor Hochul has decried the court’s decision and vowed to “continue to protect” abortion access in New York, but has not commented specifically on the efforts to pass the constitutional amendment. The Legislature is expected to convene this Thursday.
Last Monday, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) voted to increase rent for rent-stabilized apartments by 3.25% for 1-year leases and 5% for 2-year leases. By a 5-4 margin, the RGB voted to approve the highest jump for rent-controlled apartments in nearly a decade, as rates have not increased this much since the Bloomberg Administration. This decision will impact about 1 million rent-regulated apartments in NYC. RGB Chair David Reiss stated that the rise in owners’ cost justified a rent increase, and noted that inflation in New York was much higher than in previous years in part because of the minimal increased in rent-stabilized apartments. Many tenant advocacy groups were outraged at the decision, while landlord groups stated that the increases were not high enough. The new rent increases will go into effect in October.
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