Hundreds of tenant activists barraged the state Capitol on Tuesday as a part of the fight to reform New York’s rent laws before they expire on June 15.
When the protesters blocked the entrance to the Senate and Assembly chambers, scuffles ensued and 61 of them were arrested, including three members of Ridgewood Tenants Union (RTU).
RTU organizers Stacie Johnson, Raquel Namuche and Ryan Hickey traveled up to Albany as a part of the Housing Justice for All Coalition, a network of many of state housing groups who are putting pressure on legislators to pass all nine bills that make up the universal rent control legislative platform.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was also among those arrested in the fracas.
— Housing Justice For All (@housing4allNY) June 4, 2019
Rowdy footage captured by The Real Deal shows Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms Wayne Jackson and a security guard shoving through the human blockade in order to get to the chambers.
This is happening right now : Protestors are blocking entrance to Assembly chamber pic.twitter.com/YxuBGJnRsq
— The Real Deal (@trdny) June 4, 2019
The housing advocates are pushing state Senate and Assembly leadership leave Gov. Cuomo out of the negotiations for the package of bills and in order enough support to pass all nine in both chambers before it goes to the governor.
As a result of the activist’s efforts on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins announced that the Senate has “support for all nine priority housing bills.”
Today Cuomo made his own statement, testing the veracity of Stewart-Cousins claim that she had the necessary votes to pass the legislation.
”I call on the Senate to pass the bills today. I am ready to sign the bills if they pass. If they do not pass the bills today it means they cannot and New Yorkers should know the respective positions so we can pass a new law before the expiration of the existing rent law on June 15,” Cuomo wrote.