Speaker Under Siege

House Motion to Vacate, Steaming Over NY HEAT Act, State Senator Goes to Washington

Good morning from Washington, D.C. There is plenty of action here and in Albany where the New York State Legislature returns to Session after a short recess.

The story so far—Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), frustrated with Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) over government funding, filed a motion to vacate back in March.  This is the parliamentary maneuver that spelled the end of Kevin McCarthy’s brief speakership. Thus far, however, MTG has not forced a vote.

Following Johnson’s support of a supplemental foreign aid package, Greene has changed her tune and says she will bring the issue for a full Floor vote, offering at a press conference last week, “I think every member of Congress needs to take that vote and let the chips fall where they may and so next week, I am going to be calling this motion to vacate. Absolutely, calling it.” Johnson dismissed Greene’s threats, claiming, “This motion is wrong for the Republican Conference, wrong for the institution, and wrong for the country.” The initiative appears to lack support among the broader Republican conference, with only one other member, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), publicly supporting the move. Even more importantly, at least in Republican circles, President Trump offered Johnson his tacit support, saying at a joint press conference at Mar-a-Lago last month, “I stand with the Speaker.” 

In exchange for his good-faith negotiations on the foreign aid bill, Democrats have said they would come to Johnson’s aid to ensure he would not be removed as Speaker.

In a joint letter, House Democratic Leadership said, “At this moment, upon completion of our national security work, the time has come to turn the page on this chapter of Pro-Putin Republican obstruction. We will vote to table Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Motion to Vacate the Chair. If she invokes the motion, it will not succeed.” Significantly, a vote to table the measure would save Democrats from actually having to vote for Johnson.

“I stand with the Speaker.” 

Former President Trump at Mar-a-Lago News Conference

Where things become less clear is if Greene pushes the matter beyond one vote. When asked if his conference would undertake a marathon of votes to ultimately save a Speaker of the other party, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said they will “take it one step at a time.” 

The House Democratic Caucus will be one vote stronger later today when friend of the firm Tim Kennedy (D-NY) is sworn in as the nation’s newest member of Congress.

Kennedy soundly defeated Republican challenger Gary Dickson in last week’s Special Election for New York’s 26th Congressional District following the retirement of Rep. Brian Higgins. Kennedy earned an impressive 70% of the vote.  He will be missed in Albany.

Two Viewpoints on the Special Election for NY-26

Jack joins Susan Arbetter of Capitol Tonight as the votes were coming in on this Congressional race. Watch here.

Back in Albany, lawmakers will return today with just 18 days of legislative session remaining before they are scheduled to gavel out for the year on June 6th. With the budget behind them, the attention will now turn to the thousands of bills that are introduced and considered every year. Here are some of the biggest issues to keep an eye on: 

Even Year Elections

A bill introduced by Senator James Skoufis proposes a state constitutional amendment to move elections in cities across the State, including New York City, into even numbered years. A bill passed last session moving most town and county elections into even numbered years, a measure touted as improving voter turnout. That change also has massive partisan consideration and is facing a challenge in court.

The current proposal, however, would require an amendment to the state constitution, meaning the final bill needs approval by a subsequent legislature as well as approval by voters. If adopted, the 2029 New York City Mayoral election would be for a three-year term and would then align with the presidential race beginning in 2032. 


To help meet New York’s ambitious climate goals, lawmakers and environmental advocates have prioritized the NY HEAT Act. The bill would end the ‘obligation to serve,’ which requires utility companies to provide free new natural gas hookups within 100-ft of an existing service line, with current ratepayers subsidizing the cost.

The measure passed the Senate, but has so far stalled in the Assembly, and advocates have expressed concerns that lawmakers are eyeing certain carve-outs that could water down the proposal. There are strong proponents on both sides of this so expect the advocacy to get heated before the end of session.

Extended Producer Responsibility

A bill that seeks to reduce the amount of packaging and improve recycling efficiency, as well as a slew of similar proposals, is being considered after failing to make it into the budget. The measure would require the creation of a packaging reduction and recycling organization, with producers of said packaging paying a fee into the organization to enable them to meet the reduction and reuse requirements.

For non-plastic packaging, recycling rates must meet 35% by 2028, 50% by 2035, and 75% by 2050. For plastic packaging, recycling rates must meet 25% by 2028, 50% by 2035 and 75% by 2050. 

Short-Term Rentals

Some lawmakers believe the prevalence of short-term rental properties is exacerbating the state’s affordable housing crisis and have drafted legislation to require owners of short-term rental properties to register with the Department of State every two years and pay an associated fee. Senate bill sponsor Michelle Hinchey offered, “In many areas across the state, housing stock is being taken off the market because many homes and places that should be full-time homes have been turned into investment properties and short-term rentals.”

Industry groups like the Travel Technology Association remain skeptical, saying in a statement, “These policymakers continue to focus on instituting a complex system of regulation that would hurt the upstate economy, make travel more expensive, and reduce the income potential for thousands of New Yorkers who rent their homes to make ends meet.” 


The Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids act seeks to implement guardrails for young children’s interactions with technology. The Legislation would expand parental control over the online content that kids are seeing, prevents technology companies from developing addictive social media feeds, and prohibits social media companies from sending push notifications to minors between midnight and 6 a.m.

Tech NYC, a technology trade group that represents industry heavyweights like Google and Meta, would like to see the state do more due-diligence before enacting such a wide-sweeping law saying, “We look forward to continuing conversations and reviewing the many implications of these bills with legislators, as well as better understanding the ways we can help families and communities navigate these issues.” 

AI Regulation

While trying to push the boundary on artificial intelligence research through Empire AI, New York is also pursuing legislation to establish best practices and ethical development of artificial intelligence technology. The legislative oversight of automated decision-making in government act (LOADinG Act) would require state agencies to publicly disclose their use of automated-decision making systems and publish an impact assessment when such systems are in use. 

Walter T. Mosley

Governor Kathy Hochul has formally nominated Walter T. Mosley to serve as New York’s 69th Secretary of State. Mosley is a Brooklyn community leader who served in the state Assembly from 2013-2020. In a statement, Mosley said, “I am deeply honored to be chosen by Governor Hochul to serve as Secretary of State. My career has been focused on finding ways to make government work for the people, and I am thrilled to take on this pivotal role in state government.” 

Across the pond, the Tory Party is dealing with the fallout from one of the worst local elections results in recent history.

Between councils, mayors, and police and crime commissioners, the Tories lost nearly half of the seats they were defending—their worst rate of defeat since 1966.


Here’s the story of a woman who thought Bob Dylan had fallen in love with her and what happened next…

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