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State Senate Adjourns With Same-Sex Marriage, Rent Regulations Unresolved

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TWC News: State Senate Adjourns With Same-Sex Marriage, Rent Regulations Unresolved
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The State Senate has adjourned until Friday morning, leaving the hot-button topics of same-sex marriage and the city rent regulations unsolved.

The Senate Democratic conference is expected to meet at 9:30 a.m. and the State Senate is scheduled to reconvene at 10 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said senators are still negotiating about mandate relief, and the bills would not be ready until 4 a.m. Friday.

"With the help of all the members and our guests that are here, we apologize but we will be adjourning," Skelos said.

There was also concerns that some senators needed rest and could not follow the original plan of extending Thursday's legislative session beyond midnight.

This surprise move came a few hours after State Senator Greg Ball said Thursday night that he will vote "no" on a same-sex marriage bill, but that he believes it will pass regardless.

This move brings the overall tally to 31 in favor, 29 opposed and two undecided.

Talks on rent regulations lasted through most of Thursday, and there was originally expected to be vote on the legislation.

Senate Republicans also continued a lengthy discussion Thursday as to whether the same-sex marriage bill should come to the floor for a vote.

Governor Andrew Cuomo had been "cautiously optimistic" that a vote on same-sex marriage would go through on Thursday, and many anxiously waited for that to happen.

Protesters lined the hallways around the State Senate, urging lawmakers to vote for or against the bill.

"This will be decided by the conference when they're gonna bring it out. I expect that it will be a lengthy conference, a thoughtful conference as we always do. And then we'll make the decision," said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. "I'm not going to work under time constraints, we're gonna do it when the conference is ready."

The State Assembly, which easily passed the original gay marriage bill last week, is poised to pass the chapter amendments to strengthen religious protections once they are assured the Senate will bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

Meantime, sources say the Senate is still in a holding pattern when it comes to the bill containing the extension and enhancement of rent regulations, a property tax cap and mandate relief, the details of which are still being finalized.

Cuomo said it's important to get the legislation right, and is urging patience from New Yorkers growing frustrated over the lack of progress.

"The rent regulation, property tax mandate relief bill is a complicated bill. If it takes a little bit more time, it takes a little bit more time," Cuomo said.

The Legislature also has yet to pass a health care exchange bill that gives uninsured New Yorkers and small businesses access to health care, a rational tuition plan for SUNY and CUNY schools and a CSEA labor agreement.

Lawmakers hope to finish the legislative session on Friday.

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