Appointment and Legislative Updates

Digital Collage by Alana Burman

State and Federal Updates:

  • America First New York – New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his intentions to make the “New York Buy American” act permanent, when it was originally set to expire in April 2020. The “Buy American” act requires all structural steel and iron used in state road and bridge construction projects worth more than $1 million to be made exclusively in the United States. Under the law, the Department of Transportation, Thruway Authority, Bridge Authority, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Office of General Service, SUNY Construction Fund and Dormitory Authority of the State of New York are required to include a contract provision requiring the iron and steel for all surface roads and bridge projects to be made in the United States.[1]
  • Presidential Primary Date Change – Governor Andrew Cuomo may be considering vetoing a bill that would set the presidential primary on April 28. The result of this would instead have New York voters head to the polls in February instead of late April. This would put the New York presidential primary a day after the Iowa causes. Additionally, NY1 reports that sources say New York would also move its legislative primaries for state Senate and Assembly, currently scheduled for June 23, 2020, to coincide with the February presidential primary. The February primary date is seen as helpful in boosting overall turnout for local races if aligned with the presidential.[2] The Democratic National Committee has warned the Governor that moving up the state’s primary election day would come with consequences, such as the removal of primary delegates.[3]
  • Vape Free Zone – Governor Andrew Cuomo asked the state’s Department of Health to issue guidance that will urge people to stop vaping amid concerns over a lung disease linked to electronic cigarettes. The number of vaping-related illnesses has gone up to at least 450 cases in 33 states, according to the Center for Disease Control, and they cautioned people against using e-cigarettes. At least five deaths have been linked to the vaping-related respiratory illness, where most patients experience shortness of breath, fever, cough, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.[4] The governor’s office says it will direct the Department of Health (DOH) to subpoena manufacturers of thickening agents used in vaping products, direct the DOH to issue emergency regulations requiring vape shops to post a warning sign about the products, and propose legislation banning flavored e-cigarettes.[5]
  • “Plate Gate” – Governor Andrew Cuomo may force drivers to get new plates with the latest New York state design and pay at least $25 to do so.[6]  Under the current plan, on April 1, three million drivers with plates that are ten years or older are to automatically get new plates when they renew their registration with a $25 replacement fee added to the registration fee and an additional $20 charge for the same plate number. This is estimated that it will bring in about $75 million to the state, with all of the state’s 11.2 million cars needing to get new plates to be compliant with new electronic toll readers.
  • Gun Safety Legislation – Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation (S 2438/A 1213) which closed a loophole and gives law enforcement access to out-of-state records in order to help prevent the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining a firearm license in New York. The Governor also signed a measure (S 6160/A 7739) allowing local and state law enforcement officers more access to an individual’s information on a firearm license application.[7] 
  • New York State Pipelines – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) moved to reassert control over the permitting of interstate oil and gas pipelines by determining that New York State had forfeited its power to block construction of the proposed Constitution Pipeline because the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) had taken more than the allotted one-year period to disapprove a request by the pipeline developers for a Section 401 Clean Streams Certification. The proposed pipeline would run 124 miles from the Marcellus Shale natural gas fields in northeastern Pennsylvania to Schoharie County in upstate New York. There, it would connect with the existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline that already feeds into New England.[8]

New York State Cuomo Administration Updates:

  • Kumiko Gibson has been appointed Counsel to the Governor. Gibson brings extensive legal experience, working at the highest levels of government and public service, including over two years as Counsel and three years as Associate Counsel to Vice President Al Gore.
  • Elizabeth Garvey has been appointed Special Counsel and Senior Advisor to the Governor. Garvey will be the counsel responsible for the Governor’s budget, legislative and policy priorities. She has served as Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel for the State University of New York and on the Chancellor’s Cabinet as the legal adviser to the SUNY System Administration.
  • Jim McDonough has been appointed Director of the Division of Veterans’ Services. McDonough previously served as the Director of the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs from 2007 to 2010.
  • Jesse Campoamor has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs. Previously, he served as Director of Community Affairs in the Office of the New York City Comptroller and as Political Organizer for 1199SEIU, New York.
  • Simonida Subotic has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Economic Development. Most recently she served as a Principal for the Boston Consulting Group where she was responsible for leading business development efforts, managing teams, and advising both public and private sector clients, where she drew on her consulting roles at the World Bank Group and the United Nations.
  • Jeremy Shockett has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Public Safety. Shockett served as the First Deputy Chief of the Trial Division for the King’s County District Attorney’s Office, where he supervised over 400 attorneys and their chiefs across 11 bureaus.
  • Matthew Saal has been appointed Senior Advisor for Communications. Saal is a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer who has extensive experience producing television and digital programming, previously, working as Creator and Executive Producer at Bloomberg LP.
  • Colleen Curtis has been appointed Senior Director of Digital Strategy and Social Media. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President for Consumer, Social and Digital Publicity at Starz Entertainment and the Director of Digital Content at the Executive Office of the President under President Obama where she managed oversight and content for multiple online platforms.
  • Jeremy M. Goldberg has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Technology and Innovation for the State of New York. Most recently, he was Deputy CTO and Managing Director of NYCx in the New York City Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO).
  • Edgar Santana has been appointed Director of Downstate Regional Affairs. Santana previously served as Director of Political and Governmental Affairs for the Laborers Eastern Region Organizing Fund. He previously worked as the Construction Marketing Representative for the Eastern Region Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust.
  • Brandon Hicks has been appointed Director of African American Affairs. Most recently, he served as the National Organizer for the National Action Network where he developed a national campaign to advance special prosecutor legislation and organized diverse campaigns surrounding police brutality, marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform.
  • Maria LoGiudice has been appointed Assistant Deputy Secretary for Public Safety. She previously served as the Managing Director of Budget and Fiscal Studies for the New York State Senate Finance Committee focusing on financial analysis surrounding public protection, including corrections, criminal justice services, homeland security and emergency services, State Police, victim services and local government issues.
  • Molly Reilly has been appointed Assistant Secretary for Upstate Intergovernmental Affairs. Ms. Reilly most recently served as the Mayor of Sackets Harbor for two years and also served as a professional educator, during which time Governor Cuomo selected her as an Empire State Excellence in Teaching Awardee.