Kavanagh rips State Senate effort to defund Tenant Protection Unit

Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh

Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh

By Sabina Mollot

The Assembly will be fighting back against a push from the State Senate to defund the Tenant Protection Unit (TPU), Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh said this week.

The TPU is a division of the state housing agency, Homes and Community Renewal, along with others like the Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

And according to Kavanagh, the plan to strip the TPU of its funding was in the State Senate’s budget proposal.

However, the TPU, he noted, has been helpful to tenants in fighting landlords who’ve improperly deregulated properties by getting the units reregulated and getting back rent paid to tenants.

“Unfortunately, the Senate Republicans do not want the rent laws to be enforced,” said Kavanagh about the effort, which was first reported by the Daily News. “So they’re trying to remove the funding.”

The Assembly has already put forth its own budget proposal as has the governor, with both supporting the agency. But Kavanagh said since the governor and both houses have to support it, the Assembly is bracing for a fight.

“We’re going to fight this and we expect that they’re going to fight back,” he said.

The Senate’s Housing Chair Catherine Young, a Republican from upstate Olean, did not respond to a request for comment from T&V. However, according to the Daily News, she believes the TPU has been operating with a lack of transparency.

While the focus is still on the budget, as well as school reforms and ethics reforms, renewal or expiration of the Rent Stabilization Laws (the latter of which is not expected) is set to take place in June.

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The road to reform in Albany

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

The King is dead. Long live the King!

By now you have heard, ad nauseum, about the indictments and resignation of Sheldon Silver as speaker of the New York State Assembly. Assemblyman Carl Heastie from the Bronx has been elected as speaker.

The stunning downfall of Mr. Silver is very sad on many levels. On a personal note he has been a friend and an ally. I believe that as the leader of the Assembly for 21 years he accomplished much. Notwithstanding the charges of personal corruption alleged against him which a court must ultimately decide, I believe that from a public policy standpoint, Silver leaves his post and the state better off than he found it. But if his arrest and fall from grace is the ultimate result and legacy of this year’s legislative session in Albany that will be sadder still. Reform is needed and badly. And if not now, when?

The public needs to have confidence in its elected officials and its government institutions. Plainly said, today they do not.

The road to reform does not begin and end with the State Assembly; it must go through the State Senate as well as the governor’s office. Reform does not mean replacing one leader for another; it means systemic and enduring changes that will hold public officials to a higher standard of conduct. And it will mean that current office holders, including the governor, will have to sacrifice some of their current and cherished prerogatives.

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