Republican Senators Continuing Trend of Not Seeking Re-election
Several new faces will be gracing the state senate following the 2020 election and many of them will be tasked with taking over for long serving members. Continuing the trend that started earlier this month, several additional Republican State Senators have announced that they will not be seeking reelection next year and that this upcoming legislative session will be their last in Albany.
State Sen. Joe Robach, from suburban Rochester, said Wednesday that he would retire next year. Robach’s announcement came days after State Sens. Betty Little, who represents the Adirondack region, and Mike Ranzenhofer, from Erie County, announced their retirements. Senator George Amedore, whose district covers areas south and west of Albany, said on Black Friday that he wouldn’t run again for office so he could focus on his family business.
All these defections will make the already steep hill Senate Republicans have to climb even tougher as three of these four seats could be competitive.
Paid Time Off Proposal Not Expected to Pass this Year
Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan during his presidential campaign that would allow almost all employees in New York City to earn paid time off. This proposal was championed by Public Advocate Jumanne Williams but has stalled in the City Council. Council Speaker Cory Johnson has raised concerns on the effect this proposal would have on small businesses around New York and has said that he needs more time to review it.
The New York State Government Affairs team has been active on this issue, meeting with nearly every council member about this important topic. Furthermore, the Association was present at a stakeholder meeting earlier this week with the Public Advocate and the Mayor’s office to discuss this proposal and why businesses are finding it so burdensome. This group of stakeholders is expected to formulate and release suggested changes to the proposal in the new year.
Legislature to Take Aim at Single Use Plastics
Democrats in both the Assembly and the Senate have made one thing clear in the lead up to the 2020 legislative year: they will begin tackling single use plastics. Ahead of the upcoming legislative session, both chambers have introduced more than a half-dozen bills to limit the availability of single-use plastics from bans of plastic cutlery to restrictions on shampoo bottles in hotels.
With the legislature already passing a plastic bag ban last year (which exempts restaurants), they now look set to take on the rest of the single use plastics spectrum. While it remains to be seen which of these litany of bills will take center stage, we can all expect these environmental bills to be a priority for both the Assembly and Senate this upcoming year.