This week started with a memorial service dedicated to the beloved Assemblywoman Barbara Clark. Barbara had long been a friend of the League and we are deeply saddened by her passing. She leaves behind a wonderful legacy as a strong advocate for the rights of women, children, and the undeserved population of New York State.
On Tuesday we participated in a press conference with NYPIRG on the Constitutional Convention urging reforms to the delegate selection process. The full letter send to the Governor’s office on the issue can be found here. The remainder of the day was occupied with strategy sessions on several different issues including ethics reforms and education initiatives.
Wednesday was a very full day starting with a legislative briefing for legislators on the education investment tax credit issue. It was a standing room only briefing with legislators and staff. We were joined by Fiscal Policy Institute, Citizen’s Budget Commission, Alliance for Quality Education, Reform Jewish Voice, and New York Civil Liberties Union. The briefing allowed legislators to learn more about the issue and have their concerns, both political and substantive, addressed. It was gratifying to see so many newly elected members attend the briefing. After the briefing we met with Assembly member Hyndman who had also attended the briefing and expressed her opposition to the education tax credit (ETC). We discussed the ETC budget proposal, early voting and automatic voter registration.
At noon we participated in a press conference on the Governor’s executive proposal on the ETC. It was well attended by fiscal, faith, and school association advocacy groups. The groups all expressed their opposition to this flawed budget initiative. A press release from all the groups can be found here. Then it was off to do a news interview with channel 10 on an interesting twist to the current Presidential campaign. The League has received several inquiries about how they can change their party registration to vote either for or against certain Presidential candidates. New York State election law does not allow changes for your party affiliation after mid-October of the previous year; except in the case of new voters or if you have moved to a new county. We also noted that New York is a closed primary state and unless you are registered in a party you cannot vote in a primary election. This is the first time in my decades of experience that people have expressed an interest in jumping parties for the specific reason of voting against another party’s candidate.
As we move closer to the budget deadline the halls of the Capitol and LOB become difficult to maneuver as lobbying organizations make their final push for money in the budget. We anticipate that the assembly and senate one house budget bills will come out on March 14th. Negotiations will then begin in earnest and conference committees will commence.