By DLCC Chair and New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
In 2018, New York was stuck in the mud. We had a Republican Majority in the State Senate that did everything they could to block progress. Thankfully, New York voters were just as frustrated as the Democratic Senators, and they helped elect the largest Senate Democratic Majority in State history this past November. We started the 2019 Legislative Session with 40 Democratic Senators in the 63-member Chamber, and we hit the ground running.
In just a few short months, we passed over 935 bills through the New York Legislature and had one of the most productive and progressive sessions in state history. We passed voting and ethics reforms, common sense gun safety legislation, protections for women’s health and rights, an over $1 billion increase in state education aid, and the most expansive affordable housing and tenant protection legislative package in history.
The new Senate Democratic Majority also passed a nation-leading environmental protection plan, expanded rights for the LGBTQ community, took steps to combat sexual harassment and unequal pay in the workplace, stood up for immigrants’ rights and our DREAMers, and reformed the justice system. Additionally, we held over five times as many legislative hearings compared with the former Senate Republican Majority to seek public input and expert testimony on important bills and issues.
With Donald Trump in the White House, it is clear that State Legislatures and governments have become the last line of defense for our rights and values. By helping elect a strong Senate Democratic Majority in New York, the DLCC made the progressive accomplishments of the past year possible. We need to help more Americans protect their rights and achieve real change by empowering progressive candidates and electing more Democratic Majorities in Statehouses across the nation.
We must all get more engaged and involved in the political process to achieve real change and move our states, and nation, forward. The past year in New York should be an example to millions of Americans who are tired of inaction in their own states of what a difference a Democratic Majority can make.