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Democrat-controlled NY State Legislature Kicks Off 2019 Session

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ALBANY, N.Y. -

A historic day in Albany Wednesday as the Democrat-controlled New York State Legislature begins its 2019 session, voting to elect Yonkers Senator Andrew Stewart-Cousins to be the new Democratic majority leader and the first woman to lead a chamber of the state legislature.

"In November, we saw sweeping change in our state government. We will work with our like-minded colleagues in the State Senate who have fought for years to advance many of these measures," said said Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie.

"Alongside my friend Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who will soon become the new Senate leader, and our fellow Senate Majority colleagues, we will work together to make our Families First Agenda a reality," he added. 

Democrats have vowed to pass a list of reforms previously blocked by Republicans, including making Roe v. Wade permanent in state law and overhauling financial and election laws. 

Speaker Heastie listed additional issues they plan on tackling including:

  • Continuing to address the opioid crisis;
  • Accessible and affordable child care;
  • Common sense gun measures;
  • Robust education funding for our neediest schools;
  • Continuing to ensure college affordability;
  • Sustainable funding for the MTA;
  • Stronger rent laws, ensuring public and affordable housing, and protecting tenants across the state;
  • Marijuana law reforms; and
  • Economic development and job creation.

Republicans like Bainbridge Assemblyman Cliff Crouch is urging democrats to focus on the economy. 

"As we move forward in this session, we need to step back and look at what we are doing. The Governor proposed a very aggressive -- progressive -- agenda," said Republican Assemblyman Cliff Crouch. 

"Now more than ever we need representatives in Albany who are willing to stand up to Gov. Cuomo and downstate Democrat interests,” said Crouch. “New York’s residents continue to endure some of the highest taxes in the country and our business climate remains abysmal. New Yorker’s deserve better. We need to reel in spending to cut taxes across the board, and work to loosen the burdensome regulations placed on our small businesses. This session I vow to do all I can to keep the Governor and New York City Democrats in check and ensure the Southern Tier’s voice is heard in Albany.”