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The Battle for Home Rule Begins to Brew

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November 26, 2014 by westsideneighborhoodalliance

On Nov. 18, The Epoch Times reported that the struggle over New York’s rent laws is already heating up, as that morning a coalition of tenants, city council members, and state elected officials rallied in front of City Hall to call for stronger rent laws that would preserve affordable housing.

The rent laws expire next summer. But some lawmakers are arguing that Albany needs to go further than simply renewing the rent laws; instead, they argue, Albany needs to give the City control over the rent laws.

Currently, Albany sets the rent laws, meaning that upstate interests wield an enormous amount of control over rent laws that most affect New York City residents.

In order to bring so-called “home rule” back to New York City, Albany would need to repeal the Urstadt Law, which was passed in the 1970s to give the state control over tent laws as the city was near bankruptcy.

Still, Democratic state senators and assembly members say repeal of the Urstadt Law is unlikely unless Governor Andrew Cuomo pushes for it.

“It would shift the policy to the people who actually live in the city of New York and have to be accountable to the people of the city of New York, so I think it is a win-win to do so,” Senator Liz Kreuger said. Kreuger has sponsored a bill to repeal the Urstadt Law. It went nowhere in the Senate, and she is not optimistic this year with the Republican majority, she said.

“But I think it is a very hard fight to win,” Krueger said. “Upstate legislators have no idea about the realities of rental housing.”

Read the full article at The Epoch Times.

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