Friday, April 18, 2014

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Cuomo Downplays Suggestion That Scandals Will Affect His Agenda

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It's a short work week in Albany, as lawmakers continue to reel over the recent corruption scandals, which have Governor Cuomo downplaying suggestions that the dark climate in Albany will affect his agenda. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Corruption scandals continue to cast a shadow over state government.

State Senate Democrats face the prospect of numerous criminal investigations of their members after it was revealed that former state Senator Shirley Huntley recorded her colleagues for the federal government.

"I think if there's any response to the scandal, I used the word complicated, more complicated, this morning, and I think that's right," said Governor Andrew Cuomo. "It's emotionally draining for some people."

According to the governor, much has already been accomplished this legislative session. Still on the agenda, though, is a women's equality act and campaign finance reform.

Republicans have other priorities.

"We're focusing in on job creation, which has been a priority for the Republican Conference in the Senate," said Republican state Senate Conference Leader Dean Skelos. "Casinos, obviously decisions have to be made there."

Leaders are hoping to legalize gambling and put a referendum on the ballot this November to change the state constitution.

Scandals, though, seem to keep taking up the leaders' time.

A report that began last year on allegations of sexual harassment against Assemblyman Vito Lopez has still not been released to the public.

"I have always maintained, and still maintain, that I would like the full report to be released," said state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "I have said that all along. I have not changed that view."

The report from the state's ethics commission, known as JCOPE, is being kept secret, even after being referred to the legislative ethics commission, the legislature's own ethics watchdog.

"I don't control the legislative ethics commission," Silver said. "It's a joint body. There are co-chairs. The only one who has weighed in is the Staten Island district attorney, who is doing a criminal investigation, and he has asked them not to release it."

JCOPE has promised to release the report next week in its entirety, but critics say the fact that this matter still hasn't been resolved does not bode well for the corruption scandals dissipating quickly and lawmakers returning to business as usual at the state Capitol. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP