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New York Governor Hochul rejects bill central to chief judge dispute

Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed a bill that would have required organizations to disclose their spending and lobbyist hires when advocating for or against a gubernatorial nominee. This move comes ten months after the rejection of Hochul’s first pick for New York’s chief judge, Hector LaSalle. The bill was a direct response to the intense lobbying efforts over LaSalle’s nomination in 2023.

Hochul defended her decision, stating that the bill would impose significant new reporting requirements on retroactively and require additional implementation costs. However, the bill’s sponsors, such as Deputy Senate Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, believe that the veto lacks a good argument or justification.

The rejection of LaSalle’s nomination marked a low point in Hochul’s relationship with the Legislature. The bill was intended to close what lawmakers saw as a loophole in state law that allowed organizations to conduct lobbying without disclosing their spending for gubernatorial nominees. The bill would have gone back in time to take effect, aiming to capture the spending that took place during the battle over LaSalle’s nomination.

This bill was among the 22 vetoed by Hochul, along with 38 that she signed. She has yet to act on 101 bills awaiting her signature by the end of the month. Despite the rejection of her first pick, Hochul successfully nominated Rowan Wilson, a liberal-leaning justice, as the chief judge, and he was easily confirmed by the Senate. Hochul’s actions have sparked continued controversy and debate within New York’s Democratic Party, as the aftershocks of the LaSalle battle continue to ripple through Albany.

Photo credit gothamist.com


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