State Senate Democrats claim supermajority

New York state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
New York state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
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New York state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

State Senate Democrats claim supermajority

Progressive advocacy groups hope the power shift will fuel efforts such as raising taxes on wealth New Yorkers.
November 24, 2020

New York state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins declared that the party will have a supermajority in the chamber next year, Politico reports.

Senate Democrats have amassed 42 out of 63 seats as absentee ballots have been counted, with Stewart-Cousins including state Sen. Pete Harckham among the victors. He has yet to declare victory in the race, but the remaining absentee ballots place him in a strong position to overcome Republican candidate Rob Astorino’s lead.

A supermajority means Democrats will hold even more significant sway over state politics. It also gives the state legislature the numbers needed to override a veto from Gov. Andrew Cuomo without Republican support, since Assembly Democrats also enjoy a supermajority in their chamber. This could bring hope to progressive proposals such as implementing a single-payer health care system and raising taxes on the wealthy, though it remains to be seen how aggressively Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie will threaten to use their new power.

Several advocacy groups took the news as a sign that a supermajority will bode well for their respective agendas. “Now is the moment for New York to protect and build on the 2019 pre-trial reforms, significantly decarcerate our jails and prisons, and prioritize communities over cages,” several criminal justice activists groups, including the Center for Community Alternatives, HALT Solitary Confinement Campaign and Release Aging People in Prison Campaign, wrote in a statement. “This includes passing legislation to legalize cannabis, end solitary confinement, ensure that all people in prison have a fair shot at parole release, overhaul our state’s racist and draconian sentencing laws, and end all law enforcement collaboration with ICE.” Other groups, such as the Alliance for Quality Education, Housing Justice for All and Make the Road New York, reiterated calls to raise revenue from wealthy New Yorkers.  

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.
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