Time winding down on legislative session
Lawmakers at the State Capitol are rushing to tie up loose ends before the session ends next week. Capital Tonight reporter Nick Reisman has the latest on where things stand.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Majority Democrats in the State Assembly on Wednesday moved to pass bills that are friendly for their liberal base, but have little to no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate. The measures include a bill that would require bullet shells have a unique computerized stamp imprinted on them while another would legalize marijuana for medical uses.
“Quite frankly, I think it's a waste of the taxpayers’ time to be debating, discussing these bills and I don't think either one of these bills is a good idea for New York and I think our priority should be about economic development and mandate relief for our local municipalities,” Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said.
Not so says Assemblyman Joe Lentol, the Codes Committee chairman, who says both bills are important. And when it comes to medical marijuana, Lentol says it's about helping the sick.
“The relief of pain is very important in the life of somebody who experiences it. I have arthritis in my knee. I wish that medical marijuana would be available to me even though I never smoked it just to see if it would alleviate my pain,” Lentol said.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says he supports the bullet ID legislation known as microstamping, but he hasn't made a concerted effort to move the bill passed Senate opposition.
“I think the governor is on record. He's on record that he's very supportive of it and he wants it to pass. Now it's up to the Republicans. It's up to the Senate Republicans to this on the floor,” said State Senator Jose Peralta.
The regularly scheduled session ends June 21, though lawmakers aren't ruling out a return to Albany either in the summer or even toward the end of the year.
“I'm sure things will happen over the next several months and there will be reason for us to have come back and clean things up so it wouldn't surprise me if we came back either before or after the election,” Deputy Senate Majority leader Tom Libous said.
An agreement on creating a new system of reporting abuse and neglect cases of the development disabled remains elusive, despite threats from Governor Cuomo to hold lawmakers in Albany. Meanwhile, Senate and Assembly members have all but ruled out an increase to the state's minimum wage, at least for this month.