Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Sen. Rachel May lines up priorities, chairs new committee as legislative session gets underway

A circular room is filled with maroon chair and brown desks to accompany them.
WAER file photo
The New York Senate chamber is filled with silence as it remains empty.

The 2023 legislative session is underway in Albany, and with it comes new priorities and committee roles for Central New York's delegation, especially for Sen. Rachel May of New York's 48th District.

May has been named the new chair of the Senate Cities 2 committee, which focuses on issues in upstate cities. There's another city committee dedicated to New York City matters. Sen. May said she's ready to dive in, hold roundtable discussions and come up with solutions.

“We have a lot of common concerns about concentrated poverty, lack of affordable housing, food deserts and transit deserts," May said. "I feel there are a lot of really great issues that we can highlight, both successes and challenges that these cities face.”

May already has legislation in the hopper. Now that her newly redrawn district includes most of the Finger Lakes, one of May's introduced bills strives to protect freshwater sources.

She has also proposed legislation to incentivize affordable housing and infill development to counter sprawl, which May said Gov. Kathy Hochul is likely to support. But what’s anticipated to be a tight state budget could mean an uphill battle for items that need funding. However, May said she’s prepared to fight and assure home care workers get higher pay.

“We got a big investment last year, but we have to make sure the initial promised investment gets into the budget this year," May said. "The home care workers and the agencies that hire them really would like to see a significantly higher increase in their wages than what we put in motion.”

May suspects there will also be battles over child care and education funding. She expects plenty of debate overHochul’s choice of Hector LaSalle as the State's Court of Appeals chief judge. It’s up to the Senate to move the nomination forward. May and other Democrats have concerns that he might be too conservative on worker and reproductive rights and other issues.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at