Albany's New Democratic Legislature Passed These 5 Progressive Bills, But Now They Must Clear Cuomo

Originally published in Gothamist on October 01, 2019.

Last week, under pressure from progressive activists, Governor Andrew Cuomo finally signed a bill into law that could have a significant impact on the presidential race next year. New York voters will now be able to switch their party affiliation far closer to election day than ever before. Valentine’s Day 2020 will be the deadline for independents to register as Democrats to vote in New York’s April presidential primary, as well as state and congressional primaries in June.

The bill passed the State Senate and Assembly just as the legislative session ended in June, but sat waiting for Cuomo’s signature all summer. This isn’t unique in Albany, where hundreds of bills can get signed into law months after their passage. Yet Cuomo’s delay began to cause confusion in political circles: until the bill was signed, voters would have until October 11th of this year to change their party affiliation for the April primary.

Excusing Breastfeeding Mothers From Jury Duty

Breastfeeding mothers would be able to postpone jury duty if Cuomo signs a bill sponsored by Senator Velmanette Montgomery, a Brooklyn Democrat. “No form of public service should override a mother's primary responsibility and care of her infant child,” reads the bill’s language. “This legislation provides breastfeeding mothers with the ability to be excused from jury duty per the written notice by a physician supporting the reason for excuse.”

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