ALBANY – Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out his agenda for the first 100 days of 2019 during a wide-ranging speech Monday in Manhattan, where he vowed to set New York on a progressive course that he says would make President Franklin Roosevelt proud.
Cuomo laid out dozens of measures he says he will push at the start of his third term, which begins Jan. 1. He called it his “Justice Agenda” and likened it to a Declaration of Independence for New York.
His agenda includes making the state property-tax cap law permanent. It is set to expire in 2020. He also wants to extend a higher tax on the state’s top earners, something that is a consistent topic of debate at the Capitol.
The president also called for bolstering abortion rights, implementing the state DREAM Act, legalizing recreational marijuana, and approving the Child Victims Act – which would extend the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes and open up a one-year window to revive previously timed-out claims.
In addition, Cuomo vowed to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act – Also known as GENDA – which would provide protections for those who are transgender and add gender identity to the state’s hate crime and human rights laws. And he also vowed to put a legal end to conversion therapy in New York.
And with Democrats in control of both legislative chambers, Cuomo has vowed to bolster the state’s gun-control laws. Specifically, Cuomo has pointed to three different measures he’d like to see become law. One would officially ban bump stocks, the second would expand the wait period for gun-seekers flagged by the national background check database, and the third bill, known as the Red Flag Bill, would allow family members or school officials to petition a judge to block someone from owning a gun if the person is deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
The governor also said he will push to enact reforms in the state’s criminal-justice system – starting with ending cash bail, saying it discriminates against lower-income defendants.
And Cuomo said he’s going to push for a number of reforms to make it easier to vote in New York, including making Election Day a state holiday.
Cuomo also vowed to push for automatic voter registration, early and mail-in voting and aligning the state and federal primaries, which are currently held on different days.
The agenda comes in advance of the governor working for the first time with a fully Democrat-controlled Legislature, following the Republicans losing control of the State Senate following the 2018 General Election.
A couple of local officials commented on the governor’s progressive agenda.
Former Jamestown City Council President and current Chair of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities Gregory Rabb said that he was particularly pleased to see GENDA and the end of conversion therapy on the governor’s list of priorities. Rabb – who was the first openly gay elected official in upstate New York – said he’s spent a good part of his advocating for the LGBTQ community and as he approaches retirement, he said it’s exciting to see the Governor’s commitment to the cause of human rights for all residents in the State.
Chautauqua County Democratic Election Commissioner Norman Green also provided a statement on the Governor’s Agenda, saying he’s in full support of reforming New York’s antiquated election laws that are disenfranchising voters.