State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins was sworn in yesterday as the new leader of the New York state Senate. The Democrat from Yonkers is the first woman to serve as majority leader. After taking the oath of office, she presented her agenda to the Senate.
Chief among the legislative goals this session are bills to: Prohibit discrimination based on gender expression, extend the statute of limitations for crimes involving child-sex abuse, and provide college-tuition subsidies for eligible undocumented immigrants. She also hopes to pass legislation that will strengthen the state's infrastructure and permanently cap property tax increases at 2 percent.
The new Democratic leader of the Assembly, Speaker Carl Heastie of the Bronx, also spoke after he was sworn in. He hopes to enact legislation that will allow paid family leave and legalize recreational cannabis.
The Wall Street Journal has more.
City leaders and public transit advocates are becoming more interested in reactivating existing above-ground rail lines in the five boroughs. They believe it could improve the commutes for New Yorkers who currently live in transit deserts. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is already in the process of negotiating a deal with Amtrak to run commuter trains along a rail line that goes between Penn Station and New Rochelle in Westchester County via the Bronx. The plan would create four new stations on Amtrak-owned property in Morris Park, Parkchester, Co-op City, and Hunts Point. Service may begin as early as 2023.
Meanwhile, City Comptroller Scott Stringer is considering lowering prices for Metro North and Long Island Railroad rides within New York City to $2.75. There are currently 38 such stations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens that are underutilized because current ticket prices are prohibitively expensive for many local residents.
The New York Times has more.
In a Landlords New York Minute – A (Very) Brief Look Around the World
Félix Tshisekedi has been declared the winner of the Democratic Republic of Congo's recent presidential election and is the first opposition candidate to win an election since the nation's independence; Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro begins his second, six-year term today amid calls to resign due to his poor stewardship of the Venezuelan economy; and British Business Secretary Greg Clark is sounding warning bells over Brexit negotiations, as the two sides involved have come to loggerheads less than three months before a deal needs to be finalized to avoid an extremely chaotic rupture between the European Union and the United Kingdom. President Donald Trump stormed out of a meeting yesterday with Democratic leaders after he was told once again that they will not provide any funding for a $5 billion wall along the United States-Mexico border, which thereby ensures that the partial government shutdown will continue at least until the end of the week. The president is traveling to the border today for a photo op that he hopes will shore up support for the unpopular project. He may also (“maybe definitely,” not Definitely Maybe) declare an emergency to get money to fund the wall. Meanwhile, the shutdown is causing investors to grumble because missing government data is making it more difficult to assess the trajectory of the U.S. economy, small business owners are having to wait to receive business loans, federal workers are being forced to start crowdfunding campaigns to pay their bills, and service members of the U.S. Coast Guard are being encouraged to have a garage sale or take on a second job to cover their expenses while the shutdown soldiers on. After announcing a plan to provide health care to hundreds of thousands of uninsured and undocumented New Yorkers on Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed legislation yesterday that will require employers to provide employees with two weeks of paid vacation and will announce a plan to create a Mayor's Office to protect tenants today that will evidently serve as a guide for New Yorkers following Albany's changes to rent stabilization law later this year; legislators in both the state Senate and the Assembly will vote on a myriad of bills to expand ballot access across the state early next week; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is spearheading a campaign to revitalize the Orchard Beach pavilion along the Bronx Riviera; and City Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Dist. 5) introduced a bill yesterday that will require developers to disclose any relationships with politicians before they finalize any agreements with the city.
Younger people in typically happy nations are not that happy, there's about to be more milk in U.S. school lunchrooms, the U.S. fertility rate hit a thirty-year low in 2017, there is some really wacky technology currently on display in Las Vegas at this year's CES, scientists are getting closer to developing artificial consciousness, and sudden bursts of radio waves keep being detected by astronomers and no one seems to know why.