Barclay: Session ends with onslaught of liberal, NYC legislation

PULASKI, NY — The 2019 state legislative session thankfully came to a merciful close in the early morning hours of June 21st.  After last November’s election, when downstate Democrats seized control of the state senate, most understood that the legislative agenda would be tilted towards downstate’s liberal priorities.  However, even socialists such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez probably wouldn’t have predicted just how hard-left New York was going to turn—although I imagine they would be happy.  Bills expanding abortion rights and allowing late-term abortion in certain circumstances, giving illegal immigrants the right to take part in NY’s tuition assistance program and eliminating cash bail except for the most violent felons are just a few of the many pieces of left-wing legislation that were passed during session.

The session ended in a flurry.  578 bills out of total of 1,099 bills passed this year were passed in the final five days of session and the liberal hits just kept rolling.  In the final days of session, the legislature passed bills that would allow illegal aliens to obtain NYS drivers licenses, a farm labor bill that will drive up costs for our already hard-pressed NYS farmers, and a so-called Climate Leadership Act that will cost billions of dollars, affect how each of us live and work yet have a very limited impact on global greenhouse gas emissions.  This is something the bill’s sponsor contends is the whole purpose of the legislation.

The Democratic majority’s haste to get legislation passed did create some interesting snafus.  One bill, that would have provided automatic voter registration for persons dealing with state agencies, was poorly drafted and could have been interpreted to automatically register non-citizens to vote!  Thankfully, the bill was pulled when the drafting error was pointed out. The fact that this drafting error was caught is somewhat miraculous given that we were passing legislation in rapid succession in the middle of the night.

Sadly, little to nothing was done this session to address the outward migration of NY’s population, to improve our business climate, or to assist our already overtaxed citizens.  Indeed, other than making the property tax cap permanent, it is hard to point to any pro-taxpayer legislation that was passed. What is even more troublesome is that some on the other side of the aisle claim they are just getting started.  Next year, expect pushes for legislation that will have the state pay for everyone’s healthcare, the legalization of prostitution, legalization of marijuana, and legislation that will require the release of all incarcerated criminals at the age of 55 provided they have served 15 years of their sentence—including murderers and rapists!

One axiom that is often repeated and is fitting at this time is “elections have consequences.”  Last November’s election results had major consequences for our state and unfortunately the consequences have not been positive for the citizens of upstate New York.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this or any other state issue, please contact me. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at or by calling (315) 598-5185.  You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.