Wednesday, April 23, 2014


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State Senate To Vote On 10 Points Of Women's Equality Act Separately

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The legislative session is winding down in Albany this week, and while there were a number of last-minute deals on legislation, there are also some failures. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

After insisting that his 10-point women's equality agenda be passed as one omnibus bill, Governor Andrew Cuomo relented this week and split it up into 10 separate bills. That allows the state Senate to avoid voting on a controversial abortion provision.

"Right from the very beginning, we said this could go a number of different ways," said Tracey Brooks of Family Planning Advocates. "We tried at first as an omnibus bill. The Senate refused to introduce those bills."

The Assembly, though, is still insisting on passing the women's equality agenda as one bill, meaning it would be different than what the Senate did, and that could spell death for the legislation.

The governor believes it will be reconciled by Friday.

"They have every combination of bill that you could imagine, so they can literally do whatever it is they want to do," Cuomo said. "I didn't want them to be able to say, Zack, 'Well, you didn't send up a bill in this form, and therefore, we're limited.'"

The governor and legislative leaders have also reached a deal on casinos.

"We have four casinos authorized," said Howard Glaser, director of state operations. "This is really an upstate New York economic development bill. Four casinos in three regions. Capital district, southern tier and the Catskill/Hudson Valley region."

There was no deal, however, on a proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for those targeted in stop-and-frisk operations in New York City.

"Although marijuana use is used in all ethnic groups, yet the arrests, the astonishing disproportionate number of arrests based on ethnicity, is really an indictment on our law enforcement community," said State Senator Eric Adams of Brooklyn.

"It is fair to say, I believe there is not going to be any legislation on marijuana that passes this year," Cuomo said.

On marijuana, the bottom line is that there weren't enough votes in the Senate to pass it. Senate co-leader Jeff Klein was going to bring it to the floor for a vote anyway, but sources tell NY1 that the governor squashed it.

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