Hundreds of demonstrators descended on the state Capitol for what has come to be known as "Tenant Tuesdays" to demand that legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo strengthen the state's rent laws.
"We want to make sure all nine bills get passed so that everybody in New York State has affordable housing," said protester Marianna Davenport. "It's a human right, and that is what we are fighting for."
Those laws expire next week, and demonstrators blocked the entrances to both houses.
There is a package of nine bills before both houses that protect tenants. While the Assembly is able to pass all eight and the principles of the ninth, known as "good cause eviction," the Senate didn't have the votes as of last week. Good cause would extend rent stabilization statewide for tenants in non-regulated apartments.
But on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins came out with a statement saying her conference now supports all nine bills.
"I spoke to the majority leader, and the Assembly and the Senate are in the same position they were last week. We are in the same position of supporting the nine principles of the tenant package, and we look forward to passing the strongest rent package ever," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
Sources say the Senate may not have the votes to pass all nine after all.
In total, 61 people were arrested during the protests, which grew violent at one point. Two protesters were charged with assaulting the Assembly sergeant at arms.
Some members of the Assembly were chanting along with the demonstrators and cheering them on.
"You can see the frustration of the people of whether or not they will be able to trust whether it's the Senate, Assembly or governor to make sure that we have the nine packages of rent stabilization, rent control before June 15," said Assemblyman Felix Ortiz of Brooklyn.
Among those arrested was Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who says the bills should pass immediately.
"I want it done now. We should get it done today," Williams said. "Don't wait until the big ugly. We don't want things watered down. We don't want things traded against each other. We know that's what they are trying to do. Trying to put people against each other."
In a statement, a spokesperson for Cuomo called the legislature's bluff, saying you know the legislative body had the votes for a piece of legislation when they pass the bill.
The rent laws expire June 15.