Hochul delays action on 420 hot bills before Election Day
Governor Kathy Hochul is avoiding any chance to offend voters and powerful interest groups ahead of Election Day by delaying action on a backlog of more than 420 bills passed by the legislature earlier this year, learned The Post.
The decision to sign or veto state action, critics say, comes as Hochul fights for his political life in a neck-and-neck race against his Republican rival Lee Zeldin ahead of the election in tuesday.
Some of the measures target the medical, banking, real estate and cryptocurrency mining industries that are big donors to the Hochul campaign, while others would benefit donor-friendly litigators and transit worker unions, reveals a list review by The Post.
“The governor made a strategic decision not to sign or call loads and loads of bills before the election. It’s extremely frustrating,” said John Kaehny, director of government watchdog group Reinvent Albany.
The dropout sparked frustration even among key Democratic allies.
For example, 56 members of the Black, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus sent a secret letter to Hochul — a copy of which was leaked to the Post — urging the governor to sign the Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act.
The bill passed the Assembly and State Senate on May 3.
« The swift signing of the FAPA law is of particular concern to our caucus, as manipulative lockdown practices disproportionately harm communities of color, » reads the letter, signed by MP Michelle Solages (D-Valley Stream) , the caucus chair and 55 other minorities. legislators.
“With each passing day, New York homeowners are losing more and more of their homes to what would otherwise be statute-barred foreclosure actions. FAPA should be enacted in its current form without further delay.
The measure, co-sponsored by State Sen. James Sanders (D-Queens) and Congresswoman Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn), seeks to overturn a Court of Appeals ruling that reopened hundreds of foreclosure cases that the owners thought they had won because the lenders had missed a key. deadline.
“Since May, there has been no justification as to why mortgage lenders should enjoy a privilege – the unilateral ability to manipulate and thereby evade the statute of limitations that no other litigant enjoys in New York, » lawmakers told Hochul.
But big real estate and banking players, including Hochul donors, have lobbied against the bill, including JP Morgan Chase, Capital One and KeyBanc.
The city first reported on the fight against the bill after it passed the legislature in May.
A ban on cryptocurrency mining at former fossil fuel power plants was also left pending. Mayor Eric Adams, a crypto industry proponent and also a supporter of the Democratic governor, urged Hochul to veto the bill.
Hochul reported a $40,000 campaign donation from Ashton Aoniat, chairman and CEO of Coinmint, which operates one of the world’s largest crypto mining facilities in upstate Massena, as well as industry-related lobbyists.
Another measure prohibits the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores. The bill, sponsored by State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and Congresswoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) is strongly backed by animal rights activists to crack down on abusive “puppy mills” that supply pets to retail stores.
But shop owners oppose it, who say their shops will be closed.
« New York is complicit in animal abuse and it must stop, » said Libby Post, head of the New York Animal Protection Federation.
Noting the overwhelming support for the bill in the legislature, Post said, « The protection of puppies and kittens is the last bastion of bipartisanship and political impartiality. »
Another highly popular piece of legislation would restore the state comptroller’s authority to pre-verify contracts and approve spending, which was removed by the previous government. Andrew Cuomo during his first term in 2011.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s removal from oversight preceded the Buffalo Billion bid-rigging scandal that led to bribery convictions of key Cuomo associates, including Joe Percoco and Alain Kaloyeros.
Tighter oversight of executive spending would also prevent the type of game from playing charges that have haunted Hochul, including a brewing scandal involving a $637 million untendered contract for rapid COVID tests that her administration gave a related company $300,000 in campaign contributions.
Negotiations are underway on the audit bill, which emerged as an issue during the only televised debate between Hochul and his Republican gubernatorial rival Lee Zeldin, Kaehny said.
Hochul typically negotiates to amend bills rather than vetoing them, Kaehny added.
Another bill would make it harder for hospitals and doctors – the Hochul’s main donors – to collect debt from patients.
The Post reported in September that Hochul attended a secret meeting at the Upper East Side townhouse of Alexander Rovt — a billionaire mega-donor to his campaign whose hospital network was bailed out by the state in april.
The consumer measure, pushed by Congressman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) and Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) protects patients from liens against their primary residence and wage garnishment due to money judgments due to hospitals or doctors.
Elsewhere, a bill pits trial lawyers against the business community.
The proposed Grieving Families Act would allow New York courts to consider emotional loss in a wrongful death case. Lawsuit attorneys, who are big donors to Hochul and the Democratic Party, support the measure – while dozens of business groups oppose it, saying there would be a steep rise in medical malpractice bonuses .
Other measures would require at least two workers on passenger trains and ban discrimination against asylum seekers and green card holders.
The Hochul team disputed the claim that it is blocking the legislation.
“Since taking office, Governor Hochul has signed nearly 1,000 pieces of legislation, including nearly 600 so far this year, which – whether the Post reports it or not – enhance public safety, protect New Yorkers armed violence and ensure quality education. for every child, providing tax relief for hard-working New Yorkers and supporting small businesses, and we are reviewing remaining legislation,” said Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays.
Hochul signed 581 bills out of 1,007 — or 57% — of bills that passed the legislature this year, more than in previous years, the governor’s office said.