New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is playing it safe ahead of her election with Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin by refusing to act on hundreds of bills that have already cleared the state legislature, according to a report.
Hochul’s alleged inaction on more than 420 pieces of legislation — whether to sign into law or veto — critics say, is an effort to avoid any missteps or controversies that could cause her to slip in the polls in an already-tight race, according to the New York Post.
“The governor has made a strategic decision not to sign or call up lots and lots of bills until after the election,” John Kaehny, director of the watchdog group Reinvent Albany, told the publication. “It’s enormously frustrating.”
According to the report, Hochul’s office has refused to act on bills involving medical fields, banking, real estate and cryptocurrency mining. Some companies in these fields have a vested interest in her campaign, the New York Post reported.
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One bill that has remained idle on the governor’s desk, the “Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act,” has been there since it passed the state Senate in May.
Sen. James Sanders Jr. continues to urge Hochul to sign the bill into law.
“Homeowners who are in foreclosure will be the biggest winners when this significant foreclosure bill becomes law,” he said in August. “This legislation will go a long way in helping homeowners save their homes from foreclosure by leveling the playing field and eliminating certain abuses lenders have used in Courts to the detriment of the homeowners.”
The bill easily cleared both state legislative chambers earlier this year. It passed the Senate on May 3 by a vote of 52-10 and passed the Assembly on March 23 by a vote of 107-40.
As recently as Oct. 28, members of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus sent a letter to Gov. Hochul urging she “immediately” sign it into law.
“With each passing day, New York homeowners are increasingly losing their homes to what would otherwise be time-barred foreclosure actions,” Sen. Sanders added. “We believe the FAPA should be signed into law in its current form without further delay.”
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Despite the alleged idleness on hundreds of bills, Hochul is continuing to sign some legislation into law, including a package of bills aimed at helping survivors of domestic violence she signed last month.
“Preventing domestic violence and supporting survivors of abuse is a mission that has been a lifelong journey for generations of women in my family,” Gov. Hochul said at the time.
She added: “With the bills I signed into law yesterday and resources from our Division of Consumer Protection, the New York Department of State, the Address Confidentiality Program and the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, we are continuing to empower and lift up those who have suffered at the hands of others by helping them to transition into safer, more secure lives.”
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According to polling website FiveThirtyEight, Hochul maintains a seven-point lead over Zeldin. Her lead, once an 18-point difference just months ago, continues to shrink with less than a week to go before the election.