Weed is Legal + Budget is Late

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Local News

  • New York State finally legalized recreational marijuana use for adults, after multiple failed attempts in previous years. Gothamist provided a breakdown of the new legislation.
  • At the time of this newsletter’s completion, negotiations around the state budget remain incomplete and the budget is late. However, certain developments appear likely:
  • The budget will raise $5 billion in new taxes through sports betting and increasing taxes on the rich.
  • The state budget may repeal the Medicaid Global Cap, the arbitrary spending limit Governor Cuomo imposed on Medicaid spending in 2011.
  • Housing advocates say the $200 million Housing Access Voucher Program, which is designed to prevent homelessness, likely won’t make the State budget.
  • Statewide universal pre-K may be included in the budget.
  • The terms around a multi-billion dollar fund for workers ineligible for federal COVID relief funds remain in flux. Assembly Member Marcela Mitaynes (District 51, Sunset Park) joined a hunger strike to demand that the fund contained $3.5 billion.
  • City Limits published a retrospective on the failed 2014 alliance between the Working Families Party and Governor Andrew Cuomo brokered by Mayor de Blasio.
  • The New York Health Act, which would bring single payer healthcare to the state, is now sponsored by a majority in both the Senate and Assembly for the first time.
  • New York health officials were told to prioritize friends and allies of Governor Cuomo in the early days of the pandemic.
  • Republican Assembly Minority Leader Robert Ortt submitted an ethics complaint to the State’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics, charging Governor Cuomo with leveraging state resources to cover up negative details of his COVID response in order to receive a $4 million book deal.


  • Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Brad Lander for NYC Comptroller.
  • City Council Member Costa Constantinides (District 22, Astoria) abruptly resigned eight months before he was scheduled to vacate his term-limited seat. Given the timing of his resignation, less than 90 days from the June 22 primary, it will not trigger a special election. That means Astoria will not have an elected representative in City Council during upcoming budget negotiations.
  • DSA-endorsed City Council Candidate Michael Hollingsworth (District 35, Crown Heights) was endorsed by LiUNA-NY, a major building trades union.
  • Bklyner provided an extensive overview of the DSA for the City slate and priorities.

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