Legislative leaders reflect on session

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State’s legislative session wrapped up early Friday morning. Democratic leaders in the Assembly and Senate touted their accomplishments as the legislative session came to a close.

“While we achieved so much through the budget process, we have also continued to pass groundbreaking legislation at an unprecedented pace,” said NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

In a statement, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “Our work is helping to lead the recovery from this global pandemic and has put us on path to normalcy.”

The session started off in January with the state billions of dollars in the hole largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But after receiving a sizeable payout from the federal government, it avoided big budget cuts. Through the budget, the state fully funded foundation aid for schools and included universal Pre-K. It also raised revenues on wealthy New Yorkers, legalized recreational marijuana and mobile sports betting.

As the session wound down this week, the legislature passed gun violence measures, an opioid settlement fund, and election reforms. 

Elder Parole, Fair & Timely Parole, Clean Slate legislation and the Adult Survivors Act were measures progressive advocates had pushed for in the final hours, but those didn’t get over the finish line

Republicans had wanted a full removal of the governor’s emergency powers and reforms to bail reform. 

“The story of this session is going to end up being what wasn’t done more so than what was done,” said Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt. 

Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay said, “This session will be remembered as one that raised taxes too much, spent far too much and left New York state unsafe and unaffordable.”

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