Significant changes could go down in New York, Business Insider is reporting. For the first time in almost 70 years, Democrats make up the majority of the New York State Senate. Democrats have not had control for longer than a combined total of three years since 1945. After the 2018 midterm elections, however, seats normally held by Republicans have been taken over by Democratic officials, and Democrats now make up most of the house with 43 seats now held by Democrats in comparison to 23 seats held by Republicans. Now that New York has seen a shift in representatives, many are speculating whether policies involving universal healthcare and marijuana use will now come to fruition.
A bill enacting universal health care in New York has been shut down time and time again since 1992. Now that Republicans no longer outnumber advocates for the bill, however, it may be able to see more success than it has in the past. Jessica Post, executive director for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, sees New York’s administration change helping to pass more progressive policies involving universal healthcare among other things.
“With Democrats’ leadership in the state solidified, New York can pass policies previously blocked by Republicans to expand health care coverage, address climate change, and ensure women retain the right to make their own medical decisions,” Post said in a statement Tuesday. “New York will once again be a progressive beacon as Democrats continue to build the blue wall of resistance against Washington Republicans’ extremist agenda.”
Another potential policy that could gain more traction is the legalization of recreational marijuana use. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, who won re-election, had marijuana legalization as a significant part of his campaign platform. He hopes to be able to draft legislation that allows recreational use. Other issues that Democratic candidates are hoping to address are gun control, immigrant protections, and a reformation of the current bail system.
New York has seen a step up in diversity as well, with Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins becoming the Senate majority leader, which would make her the first woman to lead either the Senate and the House of Representatives. In addition, she is also the first African-American woman to lead the Senate. Another first for New York is Julia Salazar, who is the first elected official for the state that identifies themselves as a socialist. John C. Liu of Queens has also been the first Asian senator New York has elected, and Catalina Cruz is the first elected “Dreamer” as she is an immigrant from Colombia. Many expect these new diverse representatives to bring about progressive changes in legislation.
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