New York State of the State 2014

This past week, Governor Cuomo gave his annual State of the State address.  In this address, among other things, Governor Cuomo gave remarks regarding education, juvenile justice, and women’s equality.  Below is a brief summary of a few of these items.   Here is the speechtext, and accompanying book expanding on his presentation.  For direct links to relevant sections of the book, please click on the section titles below.

Education

One of the more anticipated issues that the Governor addressed was Universal Full-Day Pre-K throughout the State.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for universal pre-k in New York City as a major part of his mayoral platform.  However, de Blasio’s plan of universal pre-k would be reliant on the New York legislature and Governor Cuomo.  Governor Cuomo stated that he believed that now is the time to expand full day universal pre-k throughout the State for all children.  Though the Governor agreed that now is the time for universal pre-k, the funding mechanism may differ from Mayor de Blasio’s plan.

Governor Cuomo discussed adding a 2 billion dollar “Smart Schools” bond referendum aimed at creating state-of-the-art classrooms and adding technology to schools.  In his speech, the Governor addressed the technology disparities in schools throughout the state where he remarked that some schools have tablets and high-speed internet while for others the most high-tech equipment are the metal detectors that students walk through when entering school.

Juvenile Justice

Another issue that was discussed is New York’s Juvenile Justice System.  New York’s Raise the Age Initiative has been gaining a lot of traction over the past year.  In his address, Governor Cuomo acknowledged that New York is one of only two states with the criminal age of responsibility at sixteen.  The Governor proposed the establishment of the Commission on Youth, Public Safety & Justice.  This Commission will be responsible for developing recommendations on how to better aid youth in the juvenile justice system in addition to creating a road map on how to raise the age.

Women’s Rights

Governor Cuomo reiterated his stance on passing his 10 Point Women’s Equality Act.  The Women’s Equality Act was introduced to the New York Legislature last summer.  The bill failed to make it through the Senate after it was passed by the State Assembly.  The major issue preventing the passage of this act is the inclusion of a measure that would strengthen abortion rights.  Despite all of the other issues that this bill would address, including sexual harassment, salary discrimination, and domestic violence, some law makers criticized the all or nothing approach.  The New York Times discussed this proposed Act further in an article written last summer.

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