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Citizens Union Applauds NYC Campaign Finance Board for Recommending Moving Local Elections to Even-Numbered Years in 2022-23 Voter Analysis Report

May 1, 2023 - Citizens Union has released the following statement from executive director Betsy Gotbaum in response to the New York City Campaign Finance Board recommending moving local elections to even-numbered years in their 2022-23 Voter Analysis Report. Citizens Union issued Moving Elections to Even-Numbered Years in January, a report detailing the benefits of aligning New York City elections with gubernatorial or presidential elections

Statement from Citizens Union on Proposal to Eliminate the Commission on Judicial Nomination

April 12, 2023 - “Eliminating the Commission on Judicial Nomination, which recommends candidates for the Court of Appeals to the Governor, would further politicize the judiciary and erode the public’s faith in our court system. The Commission is appointed by all three branches of government, and serves as an effective mechanism to ensure that the Governor’s nominees are made on merit. The Commission also is essential to keeping our judicial branch independent and inoculated from political horse trading between the legislative and executive branches. The public must have confidence that our judicial system is run by, and composed of, judges who can exercise independence and focus on the fair and impartial administration of justice.”

Good Government Groups Call on Governor and Legislature to Abandon Flawed, Last Minute Proposal Changing Method for Appointing Judges to the NYS Court of Appeals

March 30, 2023 - Citizens Union, the League of Women Voters of New York State, and the Committee for Modern Courts, released the following statement calling on the Assembly to reject Governor Hochul’s proposed “program bill” (A5983/S06061) which passed the Senate this morning and will change the selection process for appointing judges to the New York State Court of Appeals:

Citizens Union Calls on New York City to Move Municipal Elections to Even-Numbered Years

January 27, 2023 - Citizens Union issued a report outlining the benefits of moving New York City’s municipal elections to even-numbered years. This move would bring elections for city offices in line with gubernatorial or presidential elections. Municipal elections in New York City, which are currently held in odd-numbered years, have consistently seen lower voter turnout than elections held in even-numbered years. Consolidating municipal elections with presidential or gubernatorial elections will increase voter turnout, giving more New Yorkers a say over who governs them at the local level.

Watchdog Groups Oppose Legislative Pay Raise Bill

December 20, 2022 - Legislative leaders introduced a bill late last night giving hefty raises to the next state legislature. The leaders are proposing base salaries of $142,000 starting January 1, 2023, with a limit on outside income of $35,000 beginning in 2025 (about 25% of the increased salary).

Transparency and Disability Groups Ask Legislature for Open Meetings Webcasting Rules

December 19, 2022 - Citizens Union joined more than a dozen transparency and disability groups in calling the legislative leaders pass new rules that ensure that all public meetings in the Legislature are webcast. Due to changes in the Open Meetings Law (OML) approved by the Legislature in April, if the Senate and Assembly intend to use videoconferencing to allow members to participate remotely in public meetings, they must adopt a one-time joint resolution after a public hearing to authorize videoconferencing.

Citizens Union, other good government groups demand Council hold hearings to vet Board of Elections nominee

December 19, 2022 -- Citizens Union, Common Cause NY, the League of Women Voters of the City of New York, NYPIRG and Reinvent Albany have sent a letter to NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Majority Leader and Rules Committee Chair Keith Powers, calling on the Council to hold a public confirmation hearing for the New York County Democratic nominee for Commissioner of Elections and take transparent measures that would vet the nominee’s experience and fitness to administer elections. 

Advocacy Groups Respond to New York State Public Campaign Finance Board Budget Request for FY 2023–2024

December 16, 2022 - Yesterday the New York State Public Campaign Finance Board voted on its budget request for FY 2023–2024. The board’s commissioners approved a request totaling $114.5 million, including $100 million for future matching funds for participating campaigns and $14.5 million for program administration. The new program launched on November 9 and will provide public matching funds to participating candidates for state offices beginning with the 2024 legislative elections.

Good Government Groups: No Pay Raise Without a Real Ban and Cap on Outside Income

December 15, 2022 - Yesterday, in response to news about a possible pay raise for lawmakers, Citizens Union joined Common Cause/NY, League of Women Voters of NYS, NY Public Interest Research Group, and Reinvent Albany penned a letter to legislative leaders in Albany demanding any raise come with a ban on income earned through certain professions and a cap of up to 15% on certain permissible outside incomes. This request follows the same guidelines Congressional members use.

Watchdog groups request the new Ethics Commission to investigate JCOPE’s approval of Governor Cuomo’s book

November 11, 2022 - Citizens Union, Common Cause/NY, N.Y. Public Interest Research Group, and Reinvent Albany sent a letter to the members of the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, requesting they investigate JCOPE’s approval of former Governor Cuomo’s book deal as well as compliance with and enforcement of the terms of that approval. The letter also requested the Commission revise its rules to require Commission approval for outside income requests of agency heads statewide officials.

Citizens Union Announces Endorsements of Three Candidates for State Senate and Assembly in Competitive General Election

October 25, 2022 - Citizens Union announced its preferences in 3 contested seats in the general elections for State Senate and Assembly. After a rigorous evaluation of 6 candidates running for office in Brooklyn and Queens, Citizens Union has endorsed Mathylde Frontus for Assembly (AD 46, Brooklyn), and Iwen Chu (SD 17, Brooklyn) and Toby Ann Stavisky (SD 11, Queens) for State Senate.

Dozens of Unions, Watchdogs, and Other Groups Urge Gov. Hochul to Sign Bill Restoring Comptroller’s Oversight Powers

October 5, 2022 - Eight unions and 27 organizations sent a memo of support today urging Governor Hochul to sign S6809-A/A7925-A (Reichlin-Melnick/Zebrowski), which restores many of the State Comptroller’s contract oversight powers. District Council 37, CWA District 1, AFSCME, and NYSUT were among those calling on the Governor to sign the bill, which the legislature passed in June.
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