New York Set to Hobble ‘Legal’ Cannabis with Taxes and Regulations

“A legal market with high taxes and overly stringent regulations is still a market in which people aren’t arrested and jailed. Rules can be loosened to what people will tolerate, as they have been elsewhere. But New York officials have yet to learn that markets function based on the choices of participants. The wishes of government regulators who want to use them as social-engineering tools and ATMs don’t really matter. Marijuana markets will thrive so long as there are customers to be served. The question is whether they will thrive in the open under light taxes and regulations, or underground to escape the heavy hands of politicians.”

New York’s restrictive gun laws didn’t stop the Buffalo shooter

“In 2019, New York enacted an extreme risk prevention law, otherwise known as a “red flag law,” that can bar individuals who are believed to pose a danger to themselves or others from possessing firearms. New York state police decided not to invoke that law against the Buffalo shooter, who didn’t have a previous criminal record, but had made serious threats of violence. On Wednesday, Hochul issued an executive order requiring police to do so going forward.”

“She also called on the state legislature to pass bills that would require police to report guns associated with crimes within 24 hours and mandate that semiautomatic pistols sold in New York be microstamped so that law enforcement can link cartridges found at crime scenes to the gun that fired them. And she announced the creation of a dedicated domestic terrorism unit within the state police, along with efforts to investigate social media companies that have provided platforms for hate speech.

The goal is to ensure that people like the Buffalo shooter don’t fall through the cracks again. When the shooter was 17, he said that he wanted to commit murder-suicide at his high school. He was required to undergo a psychological evaluation and referred to police, who decided not to take further action for reasons still unknown. So when he turned 18, there was nothing preventing him from legally purchasing a weapon. And he did. The weapon he used in the shooting was purchased from a store in Endicott, New York: a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle that he illegally modified to increase its capacity.

Under New York’s red flag law, that never should have happened.”

New York Just Cost Democrats Their Big Redistricting Advantage

“On Wednesday, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the congressional map New York Democrats enacted back in February was a partisan gerrymander that violated the state constitution and tossed it to the curb. The decision was a huge blow to Democrats, who until recently looked like they had gained enough seats nationally in redistricting to almost eliminate the Republican bias in the House of Representatives. But with the invalidation of New York’s map, as well as Florida’s recent passage of a congressional map that heavily favors the GOP,1 the takeaways from the 2021-22 redistricting cycle are no longer so straightforward.

That’s because much of Democrats’ national redistricting advantage rested on their gerrymander in New York.”

“There are still congressional maps that could get struck down in court, like Florida’s. And there are still states that have yet to finalize a map — like, oh yeah, New York!

In its decision, the New York Court of Appeals endorsed the idea that a neutral special master — essentially, an expert in drawing political maps — should draw New York’s next congressional map. That would presumably lead to a relatively fair map, but the details and exact partisan breakdown are, of course, still a mystery; Democrats could still gain seats from New York’s map when all is said and done (just not as many as from their gerrymander).”

The New Identity Politics of Eric Adams

“He likes, and is liked by, both of his immediate predecessors, Bill de Blasio and Mike Bloomberg, two former mayors who happen to repel one another. He was a victim of police brutality as a teenager who then became a cop, who then became a critic of the department’s treatment of Black cops, who then became the most pro-cop candidate in the 2021 mayor’s race. He has made crime his top priority, while also keeping at least some social justice and progressive allies by his side. He has said he will meet with anybody, however unsavory the character, but rejects the idea that he might be unsavory by association. He does not identify as a technocrat or an ideologue. His aides describe his goal as reversing inequality citywide — but his agenda is best understood as a desire to restore something more ephemeral to his hometown: a feeling, a sense of confidence. He wants, simply stated, “to reenergize the spirit of New York.”

In a city of weird people and weird mayors, Adams is maybe the most idiosyncratic figure to ever hold the office. And yet he has presented himself as a national model, a new brand of politics for others to emulate, built on the notion that you can be two or more things at once. If this is a good model for his party, torn in an existential crisis about what it means to be progressive or a moderate, establishment or anti-establishment, it’s a hard one to replicate. He is telling politicians they don’t have to choose. They can, in fact, be everything, assuming they want to be. Adams has called himself the new “face of the Democratic Party,” and it’s one of the few labels he is willing to embrace, but there’s no easy way to nail down what it will mean today, tomorrow, or the day after that. It’s an instruction manual where all the parts fit in all the sockets. By his own description, Adams is “perfectly imperfect,” embracing his many facets as a feature rather than a bug — and thus leaving open the possibility for … well, anything.”

“Adams has spent his early days in office trying to restore public safety. Born in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and raised in South Jamaica, Queens, he was arrested and beaten by NYPD officers at the age of 15, after he and his brother stole from a prostitute who had failed to pay Adams back for errands he’d run for her while she was injured, according a retelling of the story in the Atlantic. “He has lived a lot of regular life experiences — unfortunate ones,” said Adam Clayton Powell IV, a friend and former state assemblymember, “but ones that have built his character and have made him who he is.” Crime, and his own history with it, was the centerpiece of the Adams campaign, and it was enough to set him apart from a field of dozen rivals. But the mayor has national ambitions, too, though they are not as easily defined as, say, a presidential run, or an ideological crusade. Instead, he wants the party to free itself of litmus tests, lanes and labels.

“Politics is about reaching inside somebody and telling them something about themselves,” said Evan Thies, a senior campaign adviser who still helps manage Adams’ politics. “And the way Eric is doing that is by saying, ‘Look, I’m unapologetic about who I am — and who I am is multitudes. Who you are is multitudes.’ You don’t have to be a narrow version of yourself. By pushing back when anyone tells him he can’t be that person, he makes people feel comfortable about themselves.”

During the campaign, it didn’t take long for Adams to notice that while he restated a simple message tied to his own story — “public safety is a prerequisite to prosperity” — the other candidates were, in his estimation, trying to be “heard” rather than “felt” on policy and politics. “Look at the people I ran against. They were scholars. They were extremely bright. Maya Wiley, Shaun Donovan. Uh, for God sakes, Ray McGuire! I sat down in a restaurant with Ray McGuire, and he ordered a complete meal, speaking French. I’m like, ‘Damn,’” he says. “But Democrats need to start wanting to be felt. You go into these meetings and people start saying, ‘I passed bill HR such-and-such,’ and, ‘Do you know the Child Safety Act?’ It’s just not resonating with people.””

New York is about to let noncitizens vote. It could reshape local politics forever.

“a national movement to give voting rights to legal noncitizens has found its way to the country’s most populous city and, pending court battles, will soon give those immigrants the chance to shape local elections.
About 800,000 green card holders and others authorized to work in the country will become eligible to vote for mayor, City Council and other local offices. New York is by far the largest city to make such a move.

The impact on local elections could potentially be far-reaching. The city’s electorate consists of just under 5 million active registered voters, meaning a major push to register immigrants and get them to the polls could reshape politics in New York. Voting blocs like the one that elected Linares could have the power to affect the outcome of not just City Council races but even the next mayoral race.

Proponents say noncitizen voting will give more political clout to communities whose concerns have often been overlooked, and force candidates and elected officials to be responsive to a broader swath of the population. Opponents — who are challenging the law in court — predict it could be a logistical nightmare, and charge the increased influence for immigrant voters could come at the expense of U.S.-born Black voters.”

“New York wasn’t alone in allowing some form of noncitizen voting in years past: as many as 40 states practiced it at some point from the 18th century through the early 20th century, according to research by Ron Hayduk, a professor at San Francisco State University who has studied noncitizen voting, including the New York school board election. The practice was abolished in the last of those states nearly a hundred years ago.”