January 2020

Government Affairs Update for January 31, 2020

Legislative Forum Guest Speaker: David Lombardo, host of The Capitol Pressroom
This year’s Legislative Forum at NYSAR’s Mid-Winter Business Meetings will be held on February 12 at 10 a.m. in Fort Orange Rooms 7–9 and will feature guest speaker David Lombardo, host of WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom. David is an experienced journalist in state politics and previously served as Capitol reporter for the Albany Times Union. NYSAR Director of Government Affairs Mike Kelly and NAR Political Representative Zack Rubin-McCarry will also be presenting state and federal issues updates during the legislative forum.

Learn how “Good Cause” Eviction hurts tenants, building owners and homeowners
NYSAR strongly opposes state legislation (S.2892/A.5030) that would establish a “good cause” eviction standard statewide, essentially providing tenants with a lifelong lease and imposing an annual rent increase cap of 1.5 times the CPI. This would apply to all non-rent regulated buildings with four units or more. Watch and share these videos released by the Rent Stabilization Association explaining the issue and harmful impact of “good cause,” also known as “just cause” eviction. NYSAR’s strong opposition to this bill is a top legislative priority and will be highlighted at our upcoming Mid-Winter Business Meetings.

NYSAR meets with special counsel to Governor Cuomo on independent contractor issue
On Tuesday, NYSAR met with special counsel to Governor Cuomo to discuss legislative efforts to reclassify certain app-based workers as employees and eliminate independent contractor status. NYSAR expressed its concerns with the proposal and the desire to make sure independent contractor status for licensed real estate professionals remains protected.  NYSAR will continue to meet with state lawmakers on this critical issue.

Government Affairs Update for January 24, 2020

NYSAR meets with Senator Savino on independent contractor issue
REALTORS® representing NYSAR met with State Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) in her district office to discuss her bill (S.6538/A.8343), which would seek to eliminate independent contractor status for certain workers in the app-based technology or “gig” economy. NYSAR is working to make sure independent contractor status for licensed real estate professionals remains protected as legislative negotiations on this issue continue. NYSAR is also scheduled to meet with executive counsel to Governor Cuomo on this issue in the coming days.

Governor Cuomo presents his Executive Budget proposal
On Tuesday, January 21, Governor Andrew Cuomo presented his $178 billion Executive Budget proposal. Notably, the governor’s budget did not include any major tax or fee increase in order to close a $6 billion budget deficit. The governor, instead, proposed cuts in state spending, a restructuring of Medicaid, and projected that current state tax receipts would grow by $2 billion to close the deficit. Read a more detailed summary of the governor’s budget proposal here.

State Senator Seward is 11th Senate Republican not seeking reelection this year
Republican Sen. James Seward on Monday announced he would not seek re-election to a central New York seat he’s held since 1987. Read more here.

Government Affairs Update for January 17, 2020

Department of State proposes new state regulations to enhance fair housing
On January 15, the Department of State published new regulatory proposals to enhance fair housing provisions in New York State. The proposals are subject to a 60-day public comment period. The new proposals include:

  • Requiring brokers to be responsible for providing a new disclosure on fair housing (to be furnished by the Department of State) to prospective homebuyers, renters, sellers, and landlords;
  • Requiring the posting and display of fair housing laws at real estate brokers’ offices and websites;
  • And requiring video and audio recordings of all approved fair housing instruction, which must be kept for one year following the date of recording.

The governor announced his intent to propose these new measures in December.

Governor Cuomo to release his budget proposal Jan. 21
Governor Andrew Cuomo will present his Executive Budget proposal on Tuesday, January 21 in Albany, where he will unveil details on how the state will address a $6 billion budget deficit. NYSAR will review the governor’s budget to identify any potential issues that impact real estate licensees, real estate taxes, and the overall housing market.

Good Cause Eviction bill to be a priority for tenant advocates
Tenant advocates say passage of legislation to create a “Good Cause” eviction standard statewide will be a priority again this year. NYSAR opposed this bill last year and it was not included in the overall Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act which was signed into law last June, expanding rent stabilization statewide and creating new eviction protections. NYSAR plans to strongly oppose the “Good Cause” eviction bill again this year. You can read more here.

Government Affairs Update for January 10, 2020

Governor Cuomo delivers 2020 State of the State Address
On Wednesday, January 8, Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered is 10th State of the State Address laying out the framework for legislative and budgetary proposals for the incoming legislative session year. The governor’s address sets the stage for his Executive Budget proposal, which he will release later this month, as well as budget negotiations with the State Legislature which generally begin in February.

Included in the governor’s address were, among others, proposals that would:

  • Address independent contractor status as it relates to “gig economy” workers for companies such as Uber and Lyft;
  • Provide guaranteed paid sick leave for employees;
  • Create a $3 billion Environmental Bond Act to invest in habitat restoration and flood reduction;
  • Strengthen the scope state’s Human Rights Law by simplifying the complaint process, increasing education and including domestic violence victims as a protected class;
  • Fight flooding and support sustained resiliency on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River;
  • Cut the state’s tax rate on small businesses from 6.5% to 4%;
  • Ensure net neutrality in New York.

Governor Cuomo also listed out dozens of other proposals to address climate change, invest in the state’s infrastructure and environmental preservation, crackdown on hate crimes, and address social justice issues. The governor did not provide specific actions to address the $6 billion budget shortfall facing the state this year, however. You can read the full 2020 State of the State Book here.

Senator Ken LaValle will not seek reelection
Republican State Senator Ken LaValle, representing eastern Long Island, announced he will not seek reelection this year, making him the tenth Republican State Senator in the 23-member conference to announce their retirement or resignation so far this year. Sen. LaValle is the longest-serving senator in New York, first elected in 1976 and was the author of legislation creating the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund.

NYC Mayor de Blasio releases draft fair housing plan
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released the Where We Live NYC Draft Plan to promote the administration’s fair housing goals. The Mayor’s administration began the process of putting together this draft plan in 2018, releasing it this month for public analysis and feedback. NYSAR will review the draft and plan on submitting formal input ahead of the March 7 deadline for public comment.

Government Affairs Update for January 3, 2020

Gov. Cuomo to deliver State of the State address January 8
Governor Cuomo is scheduled to deliver his 10th State of the State address on January 8 focusing on a broad range of proposals addressing gun safety, net neutrality protections, and lowering prescription drug and health care costs to name a few. The governor will also address the $6 billion budget deficit facing the state this year. State legislators also begin the 2020 legislative session which is scheduled to end early this year on June 2 due to state primary elections on June 23. You can read more here.

Census estimates show New York losing one Congressional seat
U.S. Census estimates released Monday showed New York State gaining population at a slower rate than most of the country (ranked 46th in the country), resulting in a possible loss of representation in Congress. Census data garnered from decennial counts (the next one is April 1st, 2020) determine how the state will fare in its House of Representative’s allotment as well as its share of federal funding for public education, public housing, and infrastructure. New York is projected to lose one seat in the House of Representatives. Read more here.