A new state legislative session is beginning in Albany that could lead to changes including the legalization of recreational marijuana and early voting.

Here is what you need to know about the people who run your state government.

Governor

(Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is beginning his third term as the governor of New York. Mary Altaffer/AP).

WHAT IS THE GOVERNOR'S ROLE?

The governor is the head of the executive branch of the New York state government, charged with signing or vetoing bills from the state Assembly and Senate and negotiating the annual budget with legislative leaders. The governor is also responsible for appointing the commissioners of the state agencies — such as education and health — members of the cabinet, and judges on the state Court of Appeals. The governor also appoints the leadership of the MTA.

Assembly speaker

 

(Carl Heastie, a Democrat, has been the Assembly speaker since 2015. Hans Pennink/AP).

WHAT IS THE ASSEMBLY SPEAKER'S ROLE?

The speaker of the 150-member New York State Assembly runs the caucus for the chamber, works with members on deciding which legislation he will introduce, and negotiates with the state Senate leader and the governor on legislation and the annual budget. The Assembly speaker also represents his own district.

Senate leader

 

 

(Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, is the incoming state Senate majority leader. She is the first woman to lead a major conference in the history of New York state government. Hans Pennink/AP).

WHAT IS THE SENATE LEADER'S ROLE?

The majority leader of the 63-member New York State Senate runs the caucus for the chamber, works with members on deciding which legislation she will introduce, and negotiates with the Assembly speaker and the governor on legislation and the annual budget. The Senate leader also represents her own district.

Lieutenant governor

(Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, was re-elected lieutenant governor in November. Frank Franklin II/AP).

WHAT IS THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR'S ROLE?

The lieutenant governor does not have any formal duties but is second-in-line to the governor. If the governor leaves office before the end of his or her term, the lieutenant governor would take over.

Attorney general

 

(Letitia James, a Democrat, is the first black woman to hold statewide office in the history of New York. Seth Wenig/AP).

WHAT IS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S ROLE?

The New York Attorney General is the state's top lawyer, responsible for overseeing dozens of attorneys and hundreds of cases. The attorney general also has the purview to regulate Wall Street, and will have broad jurisdiction of the Manhattan-based Trump Organization, Trump Foundation, and Trump campaign.

Comptroller

(Tom DiNapoli, Democrat, has been in office for more than a decade. Richard Drew/AP).


WHAT IS THE COMPTROLLER'S ROLE?

The New York Comptroller manages the state's pension fund for public employees, valued at more than $200 billion. The comptroller also conducts key audits for state and local government spending.

THE GOVERNOR'S INNER CIRCLE

Secretary to the governor 

(Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Melissa DeRosa secretary to the governor in Aparil 2017. Mary Altaffer/AP).

WHAT IS DEROSA'S ROLE?

As Secretary to the Governor, Melissa DeRosa helps set the governor's policy positions, including on immigration and civil rights. DeRosa is viewed as the most influential and powerful member of the executive branch, outside of the governor himself.

State budget director

(Robert Mujica, the state budget director, has the responsibility of funding mandates in Albany).

WHAT IS MUJICA'S ROLE?

Robert Mujica is in charge of crunching the numbers in the state budget each year, helping determine how to allocate the state's money. In Albany, many bills are rolled into the budget, giving the budget director significant responsibility to funding the mandates to make sure legislation is implemented.

Counsel to the governor

(Alphonso David, Counsel to the Governor, also steps into policy in Albany. Mike Groll/AP).

 

(Alphonso David, Counsel to the Governor, also steps into policy in Albany. Mike Groll/AP).

WHAT IS DAVID'S ROLE?

As chief counsel to the governor, Alphonso David is often tasked with ensuring that state agencies are complying with the law. But he is also a trusted advisor on policy, including criminal justice, helping drive some of the governor's office's decisions.