Legislative Session: Key Issues Still Unresolved in Albany
With three days left of legislative session, lawmakers head home for the weekend, with still no resolutions to a number of key issues. But as Nick Reisman explains, lawmakers do agree on one thing -- that the session will end on time.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Agreements on key issues remain elusive at the Capitol as lawmakers leave for the weekend. But there was one area the state's top legislative leaders could agree on: Next Thursday will definitely be the last day of the 2016 session.
That gives lawmakers a week -- including three scheduled days in Albany -- to reach deals on variety of outstanding issues ranging from combating heroin addiction to ethics reform. Top lawmakers met for an hour with Governor Andrew Cuomo and provided characteristically vague updates.
“We're still discussing things. Maybe close on a couple of things. We're still talking about everything. But we have some time,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
Lawmakers did discuss ethics reform with Cuomo, including his most recent proposal to regulate super PACS.
“We're talking about everything. The governor unveiled his independent expenditure proposal yesterday. We've been discussing that -- pension forfeiture. We've been discussing a lot of things having to do with ethics reform,” Heastie said.
Meanwhile this week, another issue emerged: Delinking the approval of teacher evaluations to a boost in state aid for school districts. Lawmakers want to push that back by at least a year, but it remains unclear if that bill will be voted on.
“There's a long way between now and September. I'm confident where we can get to a point where no one is going to have to worry about losing state aid,” said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.
Speaking with reporters in Niagara Falls, Cuomo insisted lawmakers have plenty of time to reach agreements and vote before leaving Albany for the rest of the year.
“They have all the time in the world. When they don't want to do something, they start coming up with excuses. Well, we only have a week left. We've been talking about these issues for months,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo is also pushing an issue that's personal for him. After his longtime partner Sandra Lee underwent breast cancer surgery, Cuomo wants to boost efforts for breast cancer screening and prevention.