Thursday, March 31, 2011


This was budget week in Albany and for the first time in five years the New York State budget came in right on time.  Monday the Legislature came into session and spent much of the day in their respective conferences negotiating with their own conferences the final details of the tentative handshake agreement that was reached over the weekend by the “three men in a room.”  At 4 p.m. the General Conference Committee, received the last of the sub-committee reports on Higher Education, Education, Economic Development, Human Services and Transportation.  The one committee that did not report was the Health Committee because final negotiation points had not yet been reached.  The legislative houses did go to Joint Conference Committees, but because there was so little money for the sub-committees to negotiate, their role was quite perfunctory.   Following the General Conference Committee meeting most lobbyist felt that was the end of the day, only to find out at 6 p.m. that the Republican majority in the state Senate was pushing through changes to the Senate Rules.  According to the Democrats in the Senate there had been no 48 hour prior notice which is required for the change of the rules in that chamber.  The rules changes went through the Rules Committee where there was a spirited debate (loud vocal complaints) by the Democrats to no avail.  By the time, I arrived back at the Capitol to watch the debate; I discovered at 8 p.m. that night that the Capitol was locked!  The Senate however, was in full debate in Session.  Under current law, one entrance to the Capitol must be open when the Legislature is in session.  Following a call to the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, I was allowed into the building and then into the Gallery.  As you can imagine, since no one could get in the building, I was the only person in the two galleries.  Acrimonious debate was going on the floor of the Senate.  The debate lasted until about 9 p.m. and the new rules were pushed through with three of the four independent caucus members voting with the Republicans.

Wednesday was a hectic day of protests and budget bills passing at lightning speed.  Through the decades that I have lobbied in the Legislature, this was one of the most raucous and most boisterous of protests here at the Capitol.  Approximately 2000 people occupied the interior of the Capitol, the stairwells, the million dollar staircase and the 2-4th floors.  Shortly after the buses began to arrive at 1 p.m. the Sergeant at Arms shut down the lobby outside the Senate Chamber and one of the two galleries overlooking the Senate floor.  The Assembly shut down both of their galleries and I spent the remainder of the afternoon negotiating with the Assembly to comply with the Open Meetings Law.

The budget bills were finally passed in the Senate by midnight and in the Assembly by 1 a.m.  Governor Cuomo said in his State of the State message that he wanted an on time budget and that he wanted cuts to education and health care—he got all three.  His popularity among NYS voters remains high; he was definitely the winner in this budget. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Following a General Conference Committee meeting that was held at 7:30 p.m. last evening, which of course there was no public notice of, the Joint Budget Subcommittees began in earnest today.  Today’s meetings were more of a political statement by the committee members of each house rather than substantive negotiations.  With notable exception was the Higher Education Subcommittee where actual dollar amounts were used. 

You can find a list of members appointed to the General Conference Committee and each of the Joint Budget Subcommittees for the year 2011-2012 on both the Assembly and Senate websites.

These meetings will continue through the rest of this week as the target numbers come down from the General Conference Committee.  These Joint Conference Subcommittees have not been held for the past two years and at least this gives rank and file legislators and the public a view into how the 2011-2012 budget is being negotiated.  Also today was a Leader’s meeting which was held behind closed doors apparently at the request of the Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.  Their reason for this is that open meetings are a distraction and media circus.  So much for government transparency, especially during this week, which is sunshine week. 

All leaders are still vowing to have a budget in place by April 1.  Stay tuned for more on the budget saga.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The League along with our good government colleagues have formed a new coalition to pass independent non-partisan redistricting in the state of New York.  This coalition called ReShape NY was announced yesterday at two News Conferences held simultaneously in NYC and in Albany.   Attending at the Albany News Conference were two of the nine Co-Chairs, The Daily Beast and CNN contributor John Avlon, Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement at SUNY New Paltz Gerald Benjamin.   Also attending were many legislators from both houses and both parties.  For more information on this new coalition go visit the state League’s website.  The other notable event yesterday along with the announcement of this new coalition was the lightening speed at which the Senate Republicans introduced a constitutional amendment on redistricting.  This legislation (S.3331) went through the Senate Judiciary Committee at 1:30 in the afternoon and by 5:00 p.m. had passed through Rules and onto the floor where it was debated and passed by a vote of 35-24.  This legislation was OPPOSED by the League, Citizen Union of the City of New York, Common Cause, and NYPIRG, because it cannot address the current redistricting process and has a number of other serious flaws that are detailed in the group’s memo in opposition.

Constitutional Amendments must pass 2 consecutively elected legislatures, before it goes on the ballot for approval by the voters.  Since current redistricting must be done by May 2012, this amendment would have no effect on the current redistricting process since it will not kick into 2022.  This Constitutional Amendment ploy is being seen by the good government groups and several legislators as a dodge to keep the current status quo.  Governor Cuomo’s legislation on Redistricting currently is being sponsored by Speaker Silver in the Assembly (A.5388), where no action has been taken.  In the Senate it is sitting in the Rules Committee w/no sponsorship, meaning it is controlled by the Majority Leaders office and Mr. Skelos has said that he intends no further action in redistricting in this legislative session.  All four members of the independent democratic caucus, surprisingly, voted with the Republicans to pass this bogus Constitutional Amendment.  One of the members of this caucus is Senator David Valesky (D/I/WF-Cayuga, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga)  is the sponsor of a comprehensive and coalition supported legislation on independent non-partisan redistricting.  GO FIGURE!  Senator Diane Savino (D/I/WF-Kings, Richmond) participated in our Coalition Press Conference at 12:30 p.m., yet voted with the Majority in the Senate on this Constitutional Amendment.  AGAIN, GO FIGURE!

Today begins the budget debate in earnest.  Both the assembly and Senate are scheduled to debate their one house budget bill later this afternoon followed immediately by a general conference committee meeting early in the evening.  These joint conference committees will then do their work over the next several days with final action on the Governor’s Executive Budget and the Legislative Budgets finalizing the budget by the end of the fiscal year, March 31st.  Both legislative leaders and the Governor have said that the budget will be on time.   We will see.

As covered by every newspaper in the State, Senator Carl Kruger (D-Kings) and Assemblymember William Boyland (D/WF-Kings) were indicted on Federal Corruption charges late last week.  Immediately Senator Kruger was stripped of his ranking seat on the Senate Finance Committee and no Monday his seat in the Chamber was moved to the very last row, last seat in the Chamber—a very long way he has fallen.  This, just again, for the fifteenth time, points out the need for comprehensive ethics reform.  The charges again Senator Kruger highlight the fact that because he was a powerful Senate on the finance Committees he used his office to enrich himself personally.  This certainly points to better disclosure laws concerning elected officials and a strong independent entity to enforce new stricter standards for our elected officials.

Once the state budget is resolved, we anticipate that there will be ethics reform legislation.

Stay tuned for more.

Monday, March 7, 2011


The Governor’ office released the Preliminary Report on Mandate Relief on Tuesday.  The Roadmap to Reform included a) Stop the Proliferation of Mandates; b) Address Cost-Driver to Provide Meaningful Mandate Relief; c) Address the Current Unsustainable Burden of State Mandates.  This Redesign Team will continue to work for the next 18 months, so be prepared to hear much more about mandate relief.

Aside from budget issues most of the early week activity centered around legislation which would affect NYC only that deals with an education proposal by Mayor Bloomberg, on which the League has no position, but provided some legislative theater.   The measure, named LIFO (last in, first out), deals with teacher layoff.  The lobbying around this issue was furious and it culminated with a debate on the Senate floor that was interesting to say the least.  The measure did pass the Senate by a vote of 33-27 when two of the “IDC” voted with the Republicans to garner enough votes for passage.  This was a one house bill since the Assembly has said it doesn’t think it will take up this particular legislation.

Wednesday was a busy day with seventeen people being arrested while protesting the health and human services budget cuts.  Wednesday was also the day that the federally mandated “MOVE” bill (Military and Overseas Voting Empowerment) expeditiously passed Assembly (A.5698) and Senate (S.3500) Elections Committee’s and went immediately to the floor.  This is a bill that the Governor will sign quickly.  The MOVE legislation will ensure that military personnel serving abroad will have their vote counted in any special election.   A special election will take place seventy to eighty days from the day the Governor formally proclaims a Special Election rather than 30 to forty days which is currently New York law.  Once the Governor signs this legislation he is expected to call a Special Election in the vacant Western New York district. 

The Health Care/Medicaid Budget Hearing was held on Thursday, wrapping up the budget hearings.  Notable is that the Governor’s 30 day budget amendments were released late on Thursday, they included the Medicaid Redesign Team’s 97 recommendations which were unanimously approved, but also included a two-year Medicaid and school aid funding proposal.  This two-year proposal is being used by the Governor’s office as a planning tool to be used by the legislature in planning for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 state budget.  Mr. Cuomo’s Medicaid appropriation would go from $15.1 billion for 2011-12 to $15.7 billion in 2012-13, that includes only the state’s share of Medicaid.  Also included in this 30 day amendment is the two-year education funding plan which would go from $19.4 billion to $20.2 billion in 2012-13.   In the coming month there will likely be more protests over Mr. Cuomo’s budget, but now the focus switches to the Legislature who must develop their own budget plan and move toward joint conference committees and a hoped for on time budget. 

Another week in Albany.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Yesterday was the Budget Hearing on Education which always attracts a large crowd.  The interesting thing about yesterday’s hearing was how many Legislators were in attendance.  During the New York State Education Commissioner’s Testimony there was so many Legislators in the room, that most of the time was taken up by introductions.  Another interesting item about the hearing was the fact that for the first time in my memory or Denny Farrell’s 40 year history here, we saw a sitting Lieutenant Governor testify on the executive education budget.  Lieutenant Governor Duffy sited the major issues of Governor Cuomo’s proposed education budget:
1. wage freezes on supervisory personnel
2. mandate relief
3. 1.5 billion dollar education cut, which represents a cut of education aid by 7.3%

Although the League was unable to present oral testimony due to a limitation on those allowed to testify, it did submit written testimony.

The Legislature will not be in Albany next week because it is their President’s Week vacation.  So be sure to check back the week after next for more budget battle updates.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Today was an unusually busy Monday for the League.  The Mandate Relief Design Team met, we participated in a Press Conference on ethics, and also checked in on the Assembly Elections Committee while it held a spontaneous meeting to fast track an elections bill dealing with voting machines and villages.

The conversation around the table at the Design Team meeting today focused on unfunded mandates, their proliferation and their impact on local governments.  The difficulty is when mandates come down initially funded, then the money runs out and mandate never does.  We also talked about the need for fiscal notes to be attached to any legislation dealing with local governments and education.  The League has for several years, under our budget position, advocated for fiscal notes on legislation so that the public is aware of the fiscal impact of legislation.  Also discussed at this meeting was a need for standardization of procedures by local governments and educational entities. 

Meanwhile at a press conference at the capitol the good government groups called for immediate action on delayed ethics reform.  Citizens Union today released its second report in two years on turnover in the New York State Legislature, revealing an alarming trend of legislators leaving office due to ethical transgressions.  During the past six years from 2005-2010, 13 legislators left office because of criminal charges or ethical misconduct – more than triple the 4 legislators who left during the previous six-year period from 1999-2004.
On the election law front, Bill Number A.3093B, effective immediately would allow villages to use lever machines for their elections in March.  The League along with our good government colleagues opposed this legislation with a joint memo because it does not allow for disabled voters to vote independently and privately and it also flies in the face of standardization and uniformity in the use of voting technologies in all elections at all levels, one of the premises of HAVA.   The “B” version allows for a sunset of December 2012, after which time, all elections will be carried out with electronic machines.

All of this was before the session began late in the afternoon.  More to come and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his budget message today which outlined in broad spokes a blueprint for closing the 10 billion dollar deficit.  Education will be reduced by 7.3% or 1.5 billion dollars, Medicaid to be reduced by 1.8% or 982 million dollars and there will be a work force reduction of 6% or 9,800 layoffs.  Some speculate that his threat of laying off a total of 15,000 is being made to “soften up” the major labor unions (CSEA, PEF, and SEIU1199).  State agencies are to be cut by 10% and aid to local governments cut by 2%.  The budget also proposes to cap annual increase in the star exemption benefits to 2% per year.  There were few revenue raisers noted. 

Governor Cuomo called the standard budget process a “a special-interest protection program” due to the way it obscures the growth in spending on programs such as Medicaid and education.  Governor Cuomo called this budget a “transformational budget” dealing not only with Medicaid and education, but government consolidation and downsizing.  He noted that the state was suffering from a loss of federal stimulus fund and said we are now going to suffer through the withdrawal of that addiction.  Mr. Cuomo finished his address with a campaign style rhetoric exhorting the legislature to support the reductions laid out in his budget.  “The people get it, and the people are with you,” he said. ” … You can change the trajectory of the state this year.” 

More specifics on the budget to follow.


Following last week’s shouting match over Rules Reform, which as you may remember, is done every two years at the beginning of a new session.  These rules voted on by the members of the Senate govern how the Senate conducts itself over the next two years, including such things as voting for the Majority Leader.  The League has over many sessions joined with our good government colleagues to reform how the legislature (both houses) run their respective houses.  This includes such things as how resources allocated to every legislator and how many committees there are.   This is an integral part of the leadership driven culture in Albany. 

Republicans are in the majority in the Senate.  A week ago they put forward new Senate Rules through the Rules Committee.  A two hour screaming match ensued in the committee and because of the absence of one Republican member they were not able to pass these proposed rules out of committee.  The controversy has centered around a new rule that would prevent the Lieutenant Governor, a Democrat, from casting the tie breaking vote in the event of a vacancy in the Senate creating a 31-31 tie.   Republicans want this rule change since without the ability of the Democrat Lieutenant Governor to break a tie in the election of a Majority Leader, the Republicans would remain in control of the power of the majority and all that entails.  A special election would ultimately be held for the vacant seat, which then again might change the power paradigm. 

Fast forward to this Monday, when the Senate was again in Session.  These new rules in the form of a resolution passed the Rules Committee and went to the floor for a vote.  The debate over rules lasted four hours not ending until 8:30 p.m.  As opposed to many debates in the past two years this debate was very civil and there was almost a jovial feel on the Senate floor (clearly the Republicans are glad to be back in charge.)  This debate was more an academic, legal debate from both sides of the isle and was one of the more interesting debates I have listened to in years.  The issue comes down to Article 3, Section 9 and Article 4, Section 6 of the New York State Constitution.  Republicans made the argument that the Lieutenant Governor was not an elected member of the Senate and therefore should not have the ability to break a tie in the election of the leader of that chamber.  The Lieutenant Governor is a member of the Executive Branch and the Republicans cited a separation of powers issue.  On the Democrat side, Mr. Giannaris made the argument that if the Senate believes that the Lieutenant Governor does not have the power to break the tie, then a constitutional amendment to settle this issue should be put forward since rules changes should not be used to interpret the Constitution.  This issue should be resolved either by a constitutional amendment, ultimately approved by the people or by the Court of Appeals which is likely to be the way that this issue will be resolved. 

Following the debate, the vote on the rules resolution was 36 to 24 with all all four of the “Independent Democratic Caucus” Members (IDC) voting with the Republicans.    This new IDC, include:
· David Valesky, District 49 (Cayuga, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga)
· David Carlucci, District 38 (Orange/Rockland)
· Diane Savino, District 23 (Kings/Richmond)
· Jeff Klein, Bronx/Westchester

Preceding the lengthy rules debate a 2% property tax cap (S.2706) was passed by a vote of 45 to 17.  This was a bipartisan vote, however it mostly broke down to upstate vs. downstate.  All 17 dissenters were downstate Democrats: Joe Addabbo, Tony Avella, Ruben Diaz Sr., Martin Dilan, Tom Duane, Adriano Espaillat, Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Carl Kruger, Liz Krueger, Velmanette Montgomery, Kevin Parker, Jose Peralta, Bill Perkins, Gustavo Rivera, Jose M. Serrano, Daniel Squadron, Toby Ann Stavisky.  Also important to note that this was Governor Cuomo’s top priority signified by the fact that it was his Program Bill No. 1.  Speaker Silver has introduced a same as bill (A.3982), however no action has yet been taken.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mandate Relief Redesign Team

Today was my first meeting of the Governor’s Mandate Relief Redesign Team (Team), established by Executive Order 6.  This group of 30 will examine local government mandate relief through local consolidation, shared services among school districts.  The stakeholders around the table included organizations such as:

• NYS Association of Counties
• New York Conference of Mayors
• New York State Association of Towns
• New York State Department of Education
• New York State Council of School Superintendents
• New York State School Administrators Association
• New York State School Boards Association
• New York State United Teachers
• Civil Service Employees Association
• New York State Business Council
• Office of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
• Upstate Building Trades Association
• Citizens Budget Commission
• and both Senators and Assembly Members from the Majority and Minority.

The Team will submit a first set of recommendations to the Governor by March 1, 2011 for consideration in the Fiscal Year 2011-12 budget process.  The Team will continue to review until the end of Fiscal Year 2011-12.

The League was invited to participate because of our wide membership and our credibility as a civic organization involved in many of the issues being discussed.   It was an interesting 2 hours, everyone around the table appeared to be interested in the final goal, which is to make NYS a more efficient and economical government.  Today the Team spent most of the time talking about pension reform but nothing concrete was decided.  This Team looks to be an active and interesting endeavor.  I will keep you posted as we move ahead.

To submit your mandate Relief Redesign Recommendations, please visit their website:

Session Activity

This week’s session ended around noon on yesterday. The Committee Agenda is not yet out in either the Senate or Assembly, but it is very clear the Republicans in the state Senate are beaming and are glad to be back on the majority side of the Senate. As their first several bills the new Senate Republican majority introduced and passed a set of measures which would curb state spending, reduce regulations and require a 2/3 vote for legislators to raise taxes. These measures are one house bills which are unlikely to be passed by the Assembly Majority.

I will keep you posted, please be sure to check back.

Monday, January 17, 2011

LWVNYS Capitol Beat

Barbara Bartoletti, Legislative Director, LWVNYS
E-Mail: or Phone: 518-469-8905

As the 2011 legislative session gets under way, the League is going to bring back to life an old friend called “Capitol Beat.”  Updates will contain legislative information about League issues, as well as political gossip.  We will also outline the budget and of course, will chronicle the always-lively end of session. We welcome your comments posted on the blog page.

State of the State

A new Cuomo era has begun.  The 2011 Legislative Session began on New Year’s Eve when Governor Andrew Cuomo was sworn in as the 56th Governor of New York State.

On New Year’s Day, a Saturday, Governor Cuomo signed the first executive order of his administration with symbolism that extended through his entire first five days in office.  Executive Order No. 1 removed immediately the unsightly and ineffective concrete barriers that had lined State Street under his offices since shortly after the September 11th attacks.  This order  also reopened to the public the Hall of Governors on the second floor of the Capitol where the Governor’s offices are, much as they had been when his father, Mario Cuomo, was Governor.  The Hall of Governors had been closed to the public since 1995 by then Governor George Pataki, coining the term “Fort Pataki.”  These two moves were to symbolize the re-opening of government to the people.   "We will reopen the Capitol, literally and figuratively," Cuomo said in his inaugural speech.

Governor Cuomo signed the third Executive Order of his administration Sunday which requires his chamber staff and top state officials to complete an ethics training course renewable every two years.  The training will be offered by the Commission on Public Integrity.  The training will begin on January 31st, and must be completed within sixty days.  Mr. Cuomo says it's imperative that all government officials be versed in ethics rules and regulations and that top government employees have no questions, no gray areas, and no possibility of confusion regarding what is proper and what is not.

Governor Cuomo’s first week in office produced six Executive Orders:

No. 1. Removing the Barriers to State Government

No. 2. Review, Continuation and Expiration of Prior Executive Orders

No. 3. Ethics Training

No. 4. Establishing the Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission           

No. 5. Establishing the Medicaid Redesign Team

No. 6. Establishing the Mandate Relief Redesign Team

Full text of all the Governor’s Executive Orders:

His next symbolic move was to downscale his inaugural ceremony by having it in the Governor’s Reception Room, known as the War Room, televised but open only to a small audience of family and friends.  In his short (18 minutes only) inaugural address the new Governor stated “This is an austere setting.  And it should be, in my opinion. No grand celebrations. There’s a lot of disappointment vis-à-vis the government. There’s a lot of suffering from the economy. And I don’t think a grand ceremony or a lavish ceremony would be appropriate.”   His speech was about restoring people’s trust in their government in order to  build a better New York.

Outlined in his speech were three top priorities:

   1. Cut Government Spending
“We need to correct decades of decline and billions of dollars in overspending. The special interests who have ruled our government for years must give way to the people’s agenda.”

   2. Partnership
“To the state legislators, I say I reach out to you to form a new partnership, because in truth the partnership between the Executive and the Legislature has not been working well for years and that must change.”

   3. Create a More Open, Responsive Government
“I will lift the veil of secrecy that now surrounds Albany and I will communicate in every way I can, ways never used before, but I need the people to join in.  I said in my campaign this effort is not going to be about “me” but “we.” We the people formed the government, we the people must reform the government, and that’s going to have to start today…”

Full Inaugural Address:

In continuing his theme of restoring the people’s confidence in government, on Monday, January 3, 2011, Governor Cuomo announced that salary cuts for New York State employees would  begin at the top.  Mr. Cuomo said he would give back 5 percent of his $179,000 salary, or $8,950, in order to “lead by example” as the state grapples with its huge budget deficit. He also said he would cut the pay of his lieutenant governor and top aides and reduce the budget of the Executive Chamber.   He stated,  “The working families of New York cannot afford tax increases; the answer is going to have to be that we’re going to have to reduce government spending.”

All of these actions were a precursor to the big event of the Governor’s first week in Albany:  the annual State of the State address.  This address normally takes place in the Assembly Chamber filled with legislators and lobbyists.  The Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Leader then have their respective Press Conferences in their own conference rooms in the Capitol.  Andrew Cuomo cast that tradition aside when he announced that this year’s State of the State address would be held in the Convention Center of the Empire Plaza, which is within the complex but down the concourse from the Capitol.  Mr. Cuomo’s intent was two-fold; by removing the State of the State from the Assembly Chamber, it took the control away from Speaker Sheldon Silver and allowed the new Governor to take control.  He then instituted a lottery to allow New Yorkers, regular people, to attend the State of the State; the symbolism here was quite obvious, returning state government to the people.  For the first time, this new Governor also used a PowerPoint presentation for his State of the State address; he also did not use a teleprompter, but used old fashioned notes.  The affair, which typically is like the first day of school, greeting old friends that have not been in the city for several months, had the added symbol of the public being welcomed into state government.  Unlike other State of the State addresses, the other symbolic move at this one was to allow the two legislative leaders to speak before the Governor.   There were 2200 people at the State of the State, much larger than the number one would normally see in the Assembly Chamber.  Speaker Silver took full advantage of his allotted time speaking for nine minutes to outline his priorities.  Senate Majority Leader Skelos was a little less verbose; his priorities took only seven minutes.

Mr. Cuomo talked about the state being in a:
  • Time of crisis
  • Need to Transform our Government
  • Time for Change
  • Seize the Opportunity Now
Mr. Cuomo also indicated the Government was again open for business touting his concept for economic regional councils and private public partnerships.  His also indicated his support for a 2% property tax cap.  He outlined his intent to reorganize state government with a commission styled after the Berger Commission in order to downsize government.  He announced a one year wage freeze and stated that his budget would reduce spending.

The Governor showed he has a sense of humor with his now much touted ships passing in the night, complete with a visual of Captain Skelos and Commander Silver with the best part being the plane bombarding his ship with special interest missiles.  The notable aspects of his speech for the League was his outlining of an agenda for government reform.  Mr. Cuomo has talked since the campaign about state government losing credibility, voter confidence and integrity.  To combat this, the Governor outlined ethics reform, redistricting reform, campaign finance reform, and reducing the pay to play culture in Albany.  We look forward to further details on these reform initiatives.  Other initiatives that the Governor talked about were mandate relief, government consolidation, and juvenile justice reform which earned him the biggest applause of the afternoon when the Governor said,  "Don't put people in juvenile justice facilities just to give people jobs!"

The Governor ended on what he thought was a high note by telling the legislature it could be the best in the nation to which there was little applause.

The reviews of the speech were that this new Governor has an aggressive agenda and both leaders said afterward they were at least open to his proposals.  This has the earmark of an fascinating session.

Several receptions followed given by the Comptroller, Speaker and Majority Leader, even they were scaled down affairs.  These receptions were attended by lobbyists and Albany insiders (at least that much hasn’t changed.)

With such a grand first week in office, we look forward to what the coming weeks have to offer.

And the beat goes on…