A debate over extending rent control laws for New York City is now turning to expanding the measures to upstate communities as well.

New York City’s rent control laws are due to expire at the end of June. And as the laws are being renewed, state legislators want to strengthen protections for tenants and bring the regulations to upstate cities.

“This is the first time that tenants in all parts of New York state are pressuring and lobbying for rent control and tenant protections,” said Tenants PAC Treasurer Mike McKee. “It’s a very exciting development.”

Assembly lawmakers on Thursday held a public hearing on the issue — one of a series being held in upstate cities to discuss how rent control regulations would effect upstate renters and landlords.

“The reason it’s happening in is because people are hurting,” McKee said. “There are tenants in Texas, there are tenants in Chicago. Oregon just passed a statewide rent control law. It’s very important.”

If statewide rent control is adopted, a local government would have to opt in. Rent increases would be subject to the approval of a local rent board, which could also approve measures that make it harder for landlords to evict people.

“I’m still trying to get my arms around the issue,” said Assemblywoman Pat Fahy. “It’s a complicated one and there’s still a lot to learn.”

Fahy sees merit to concerns raised by tenant advocates as well as those who want to see more development in upstate cities like Albany.

“While I understand some tenants are under siege around the state and there’s a growing imbalance with speculative landlords,” she said. “Here, we are actually trying to get more development into Albany. So I have some concerns.”

Meanwhile, lawmakers may consider strengthening laws that require landlords to provide upkeep for their buildings and urged state officials to provide greater oversight of rent-controlled buildings.

“I can tell you that there’s neighbors of mine who live in conditions that do not even exist in third world countries,” said Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa, a Democrat from Manhattan. “We need to be cognizant of that and we need to fix those loopholes that exist.”

The Assembly will hold its next hearing on rent control in Rochester later this month.