Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his second new proposal to fight corruption in Albany Tuesday, while pouring water on the call to legalize medical marijuana. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to eliminate an obscure but important law known as Wilson Pakula, which empowers the heads of political parties, giving them the ability to endorse candidates enrolled in a different party.
State Senator Malcolm Smith allegedly tried to bribe New York City Republican county chairmen in order to get on the GOP line for mayor.
While the governor's proposal would largely take away the power of party chairmen, Cuomo said he does not want to end cross-party endorsements. Cuomo, a Democrat, also ran on the Working Families Party in 2010.
"No cross endorsements is de facto seen as eliminating the minor parties," he said. "I think eliminating the minor parties, which I do not support, would be politically very, very difficult, if not impossible."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who outlined his own anti-corruption package Tuesday, does not favor repealing Wilson Pakula.
"I don't think we should preclude people from running on more than one line," he said. "They're only allowed to be registered in one party. There has to be a mechanism."
In a separate development Tuesday, Governor Cuomo said declaratively that he does not support medical marijuana. That's different from what he said last year, when he said that it was something he'd consider and it was "on his radar."
"I do not support medical marijuana," Cuomo said. "I understand the pros and cons. I understand the argument. We are looking at it, but at this point, I don't support medical marijuana."
Advocates for the medical marijuana bill, which is making its way through the legislature, say it has the best chance it's ever had of passing both houses.
The governor has said he favors reducing penalties for marijuana possession for those targeted in stop, question and frisk operations.
"It's hard to explain why on the one hand, you'd be reducing the penalties for people who are possessing for recreational use, and I agree with doing that, but why, if you support that, you would continue to stand in the way of people who are really suffering," said Manhattan Assemblyman Richard Gottfried