New York's rent regulations expired on Monday at the stroke of midnight. When the legislative session ended on Wednesday, legislators still had not reached a deal to renew them, despite the deadline being four years coming.
In the weeks leading up to the impasse, Gov. Cuomo briefly pushed ending vacancy decontrol, which allows rent-stabilized landlords to deregulate apartments that they claim to have put a certain amount of renovation into, and the automatic 20 percent increase allowed between tenants. Come negotiation time, he sought to tie those reforms to his scheme to funnel taxpayer money into private schools through tax incentives, which didn't sit well with tenant activists.
On Friday, lawmakers, now in special session, agreed to a stopgap five-day extension of existing regulations, and Assembly Democrats broached the idea of just renewing the regulations long-term as-is. The mess prompted the Alliance for Tenant Power to declare Cuomo has "failed" the two-million rent-regulated tenants in the city and suggest he "change his party registration to Republican."
Now all this may appear to suggest that Albany is populated entirely by bumbling shills paid for by corporate—in this case developer and landlord—interests. But it's not like the Assembly and Senate haven't been busy—busy and effective. As the Daily News notes, they got all this done last week:
-Immunizations: The Senate and Assembly passed a measure adding meningococcal disease to the list of vaccines students must receive.
-Insurance break: Homeowners who take a natural disaster preparedness course would be entitled to an insurance discount under a bill approved by lawmakers.
-Nail salons: Lawmakers, at the urging of Cuomo, adopted a bill giving the state greater authority to regulate nail salons and shutter those found to abuse workers.
-Service dogs: Legislation would allow domestic violence victims to bring service or therapy dogs into shelters.
-Fish and wildlife: The Legislature passed several measures to renew the state’s authority to regulate and manage populations of lobster and such fish species as sturgeon, black sea bass and flounder.
-Leaving the scene: Lawmakers created the new felony of “aggravated leaving the scene of an incident without reporting” for motorists driving recklessly with a suspended license who leave the scene of an accident.
-Veterans’ burials: Lawmakers approved a measure to reimburse veterans organizations that provide burials for indigent veterans.
-Curbstoners: Lawmakers passed a bill to toughen penalties against illegal car dealers, known as “curbstoners,” who set up shop in public streets.
Vaccines, lobsters, and car sellers, oh my. Oh, and don't think we forgot: the law allowing dogs at outdoor cafes is also headed for Cuomo's desk, along with the more than 300 other bills legislators signed off on last week, according to the Daily News. When this dysfunction will end, or whether working New Yorkers will be able to continue to live in the city when it does, is yet to be seen.
But another, even more routine deadline—for the expiration of mayoral control of New York City schools—is coming down the pike on June 30th, and even that has turned into cause for political posturing by Cuomo and Senate Republicans.