Hundreds of invoices await Hochul’s signature. Here are 10 that will help define your leadership right from the start.

Governor Kathy Hochul took office with unclear positions on many pressing issues in the Empire State. She cultivated a reputation as a relatively conservative Democrat during her tenure as a local and congressional official. Her two terms as lieutenant governor suggest that she is a moderate Democrat like her predecessor, as different as their political styles may be. Hochul is now able to define his own political brand like never before.

The time of his ascension to the second floor coincides with the time of year when any governor must decide what to do with the hundreds of bills passed by the Senate and State Assembly over the past year. Hochul has so far signed 11 bills to demonstrate his commitment to issues such as criminal justice and climate change mitigation. That leaves hundreds of other bills that will show what the new governor thinks on a range of important issues.

Albany tradition is for legislative leaders – unless they want a potential political fight in their hands – to keep the bills they pass until the governor is ready to implement them. Once the legislation reaches the governor, Hochul has ten days to sign it, veto it, or do nothing, in which case the bill is automatically defeated. This system means that while Hochul looks like her predecessors, she will schedule plenty of bill signing ceremonies over the next few months to highlight the bills she loves. The final weeks of December could feature a veto flurry like in previous years.

Lawmakers have passed a total of 460 bills, according to the Legislative Retrieval System, which have yet to reach the governor. A City & State analysis found that 10 bills were particularly representative of the choices Hochul faces in achieving goals such as restoring confidence in government, tackling the pandemic, dismantling systemic racism, reducing gun violence and do something about global warming. These bills may not make the headlines no matter what Hochul does, but they will say a lot about the type of governor she is emerging as her tenure begins.

Do something about climate change

The recent flash floods have shown, once again, how New York is dealing with climate change by increasing its resilience to natural disasters. The state may be better prepared in the future if and when utility companies implement contingency plans required by a bill passed by state lawmakers. The legislation could even save businesses money in the long run, as they would be required to reimburse customers for extended outages in the future. Signing this bill is Hochul’s way of pretending she’s really serious about preparing the state for climate change. While it has already signed legislation that aims to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles by 2035, it still has to decide what to do with the legislation that aims to limit carbon emissions from concrete used by the state. Industry groups criticized the bill for damaging their bottom line too much. If Hochul promulgates it, it would be an example of how she prioritizes efforts to meet the state’s climate goals over economic concerns.

Dismantle systemic racism

Hochul could fight systemic racism by signing a bill that would declare him a public health crisis, an approach other states like Michigan have already taken. A bill passed by state legislators would establish a task force to develop biennial reports containing legislative recommendations on the removal of centuries of racial inequity. One of the biggest sources of these is statewide housing segregation. The new governor could do something about it by signing a law that requires state housing programs to “promote fair housing” by identifying patterns of segregation, then requiring state agencies to do something. thing about it. They would then have to report their performance every year under the bill.

Reduce gun crime and mass incarceration at the same time

Violent crime has hit all-time lows in recent years, although the numbers have risen (and may fall of late) in the past year. Republicans in particular have been eager to use this trend against Democrats and many of the criminal justice reforms they support. Lawmakers have passed several bills this year that aim to crack down on untraceable phantom weapons, which are assembled from parts lacking serial numbers. A bill pending Hochul’s signature would criminalize possession of such weapons and require gunsmiths to stamp those they assemble with identifying marks. This could offer the governor a chance to say she is fighting gun crime without causing a significant increase in the number of people incarcerated in jails and jails. The governor, who enacted high-profile parole reform last week, can satisfy progressives by also signing a law decriminalizing possession of hypodermic needles, which have been used in the past to incarcerate people with impaired conditions. substance addiction.

Restore confidence in the government

Hochul has previously stated that she supports the use of partisan gerrymandering to benefit Democrats at the federal level, but she could still do something to draw fairer maps for local elected officials. A bill awaiting signature would prohibit local legislative bodies from creating districts that needlessly divide local communities for more partisan advantage. This could make local elections more competitive and convince more voters that it is worth voting. They might even get a double dose of electoral faith if Hochul signs a law to track mail-in ballots so New Yorkers don’t wonder if local election boards counted them – a big problem in recent years with the much criticized electoral system of the state.

Fight COVID-19 and the inequalities it amplifies

The coronavirus has disproportionately hit residents of nursing homes, which is one of the reasons lawmakers have passed a slew of bills this year to increase reporting of facilities across the state. Hochul has been criticized by some lawmakers for her supposed role in helping her predecessor formulate a deadly nursing home policy during the pandemic. Lawmakers this year passed a set of bills aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus and other infectious diseases in institutions. One of the bills seeks to do this by establishing new procedures for how staff can report on-going issues under the long-term care ombudsman program.

A significant side effect of COVID-19 has been how it inspired a wave of violence against Asian Americans while highlighting the disproportionate poverty seen in this community and others. Ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vetoed a pre-pandemic bill that would force state agencies to collect better data on Asian-American communities by classifying them by ethnic group rather than as a single block in state demographic reports . This could give policymakers additional information on the fight against COVID-19 and the associated challenges if Hochul signs the legislation.

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