Busy weekend ahead for state legislators
State lawmakers have a week left in the legislative session to take action on several bills that Governor Cuomo wants passed before lawmakers head back to their districts. With the clock ticking, that means lawmakers will need to continue negotiations over the weekend. Capital Tonight reporter Nick Reisman has the story.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Potential deals on a variety of legislative goals ranging from monitoring abuse of the developmentally disabled to the disclosure of teacher evaluations must be made over the weekend. Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a radio interview that he won't waive a three-day aging process, a vow designed to force compromises this weekend.
“I've said to the leaders that I want to do this without a message of necessity. So this weekend, you know, Monday, we're going to have to come to closure, so we are making progress,” Cuomo said.
Lawmakers will have to have compromises by Sunday in order for bills to be printed Monday. The final day of the legislative session is June 21.
“It's going to be an extremely busy weekend and everything is going to have to be in over the weekend and I think, Monday by midnight,” Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous said.
Lawmakers and Cuomo's office remain at odds over the Justice Center, a new agency that would respond to abuse and neglect cases of the disabled. Assembly Democrats say Cuomo hasn't proposed enough independent oversight or protections for whistleblowers.
“The way this bill is structured, it makes whistleblowers report sometimes to the people that they're blowing the whistle on and that's not the way for the system to work properly,” Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti said.
As has been the case this session, another partisan skirmish erupted on the floor of the Senate Thursday, this time over Senator Tom Duane's bill that would provide affordable shelter housing for the HIV positive. Democrats charge that the GOP majority put the bill on the floor because they knew it would fail, a claim Republicans deny.
Libous said, “Senator Duane had a bill on the floor. It received 26 votes. It failed. There were eight democratic members absent. Had they been here, it would have passed.”
The measure is a signature issue for Duane, who is HIV positive. He could have pulled the bill from the floor when it was apparent it would fail, but declined to.
“I can tell you the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick people living with HIV will be the ones negatively impacted by this,” Duane said.
Lawmakers are back home for now, but return Monday for four session days next week.