ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With the end of the legislative session less than a month away, it’s getting down to the wire to pass any bills that are still left on the table.
There are several things on the legislative to-do list for local lawmakers, including addiction treatment, safe drinking water, and ride sharing. One thing that continues to be a top priority is meaningful ethics reform.
With federal investigations and subpoenas coming to the New York State Capitol, some lawmakers said the legislative process is coming to a standstill.
“There’s, in my opinion, no doubt that Preet Bharara’s shadow looms large over the Capitol,” Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin said.
Sen. Neil Breslin said the investigations caused everyone to be on edge.
“But when there’s investigations going down every day, they’re tarnished by the investigation even if they’ve done nothing wrong,” he said.
And although Sen. George Amedore said he doesn’t see a hold up, he believes things do need to move forward.
“If there is wrongdoing, then they need to find it, they need to deal with it, and we need to build the public trust,” he said.
Amedore had significant legislation pass in the Senate last week concerning addiction recovery. But Breslin said he doesn’t see the Assembly taking up a version this session.
“There’s a long way to go before we get to the right page,” Breslin said.
McLaughlin said he doesn’t see much of anything getting done.
“I do know right now we are not firing on all cylinders down here at the Capitol,” he said. “We’re kind of limping along.”
Government watchdog Blair Horner of New York Public Interest Research Group, or NYPIRG, agrees.
“There’s been a cloud that’s descended over the state Capitol because of the reported investigations into the governor’s former aides,” he said.
But Horner said three weeks is still a lot of time for the legislature to get something done. Several local lawmakers, including Assemblyman John McDonald, hope ethics reform is one of them. If not, he said the investigations from U.S. Attorney [Bharara] will keep coming.
“Because the lack of willingness to put in meaningful ethics reforms, he’s doing it one conviction at a time,” McDonald said.
If anything, one local lawmaker said the investigations should make lawmaker want to pass ethics reform even more.