Governor Andrew Cuomo is once again looking outside the Capitol walls for support to get his agenda passed during the remainder of this legislative session. Albany Reporter Erin Billups has that story for us tonight.
After of years of scandals plaguing the Capitol, lawmakers insist ethics reform is a top priority during the remaining six weeks of their session.
“The Republican conference believes very much that ethics has to get done this session,” said Republican Senator Tom Libous, the Deputy Senate Majority Leader.
Yet an ethics forum organized and attended only by Democratic senators, further exposed the partisan divide over the issue.
Despite State Assembly leaders' insistence that they are pretty much on board with the governor’s ethics plan, Cuomo said they are not there just yet.
“Every time we talk about ethics, folks talk about the need for independent oversight and for full disclosure," said Democratic Manhattan Senator Daniel Squadron. "In both cases, there are some legislators who really don’t want to see those things happen.”
That is why Cuomo is once again taking his agenda for ethics reform, as well as property tax relief and legalizing gay marriage, to the public.
“We’re talking about dozens, and dozens of events. I will be doing them, the lieutenant governor will be doing them, the members of the administration will be doing them and the commissioners around the table,” said the governor.
Cuomo’s “Take It To The People Tour” across the state is, in effect, an effort to strong-arm lawmakers into dealing with his priority agenda by the end of June.
“If the people express their desires, politicians will follow, or they won’t be politicians for long,” said Cuomo.
Good government groups applauded Cuomo’s effort to involve the public and said, as with the budget, it seems to be working.
One advocate said hopefully this time the governor will take it a step further.
“There’s been a lot of selling and that’s why what I’m hoping to see is more of an opportunity for the public to weigh in and to question and to help shape the governor’s policies,” said Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York.
The governor said they will include some town hall-style meetings where the public will be able to ask the administration questions.