As state lawmakers wrap up the final days of this legislative session, the governor’s absence in Albany is becoming more and more apparent. Capital Tonight’s Nick Reisman looks at whether this is impacting negotiations.
ALBANY, N.Y. — The legislative session concludes next week, but one person so far has kept out of the public eye in Albany: Governor Andrew Cuomo. The governor has shied away from public appearances at the Capitol since the budget passed in April. But lawmakers insist he’s still very much involved.
“Don’t be misled not seeing him in person. There are discussions going on all the time with him, rather by phone or meetings,” said Senator John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope.
The legislative session concludes next Wednesday. And lawmakers must still take up an extension of mayoral control of New York City schools. Cuomo, too, may nominate a judge for a vacancy on the state Court of Appeals, which requires Senate confirmation. Senate Judiciary Chairman John Bonacic is confident a judge can be confirmed by next week.
“If we had to get it done before we leave session, we probably could,” Bonacic said.
But not everyone agrees that Cuomo is fully engaged. Assemblyman Robin Schimminger says Cuomo’s absence has made for little progress on reforming economic development programs with new oversight and transparency measures.
“It’s difficult to get that three-way agreement when one of the three legs on the stool just isn’t around. I think that’s running out the clock, delaying things,” said Assemblywoman Robin Schimminger, D-Kenmore.
Four days in Albany can be a lifetime; however, and things could certainly change and Cuomo could always return.
“That doesn’t mean his presence isn’t here. His staff is here. Technology allows us to be reached by phone and I’m sure at some point he’ll make his presence known,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
Lawmakers meanwhile are confident they will be able to conclude the session by next week as scheduled.
“They haven’t started the lottery yet, but I’m going to buy a ticket that says we’re getting out of here on the 21,” said Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle.
But then the question becomes would they return? Legislative leaders haven’t ruled out a special session, especially if the state is impacted by potential cuts on the federal level.
By Nick Reisman
Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 05:59 AM EDT