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Cuomo's Women's Equality Agenda Seems To Be Stalled Until January

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By Monday there was new talk of a special legislative session, after state lawmakers ended their work over the weekend without passing Governor Andrew Cuomo's women's equality agenda, but there was no signs that the state Legislature and the governor are ready to back down in a heated fight. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Both the state Senate and the state Assembly passed different versions of the women's equality agenda at the end of their session last week, leaving Governor Andrew Cuomo without a bill to sign into law.

"The senate passed individual bills, the assembly passed in all one bill. The Senate did not pass a woman's right to choose, the assembly did. So that has to be reconciled because those nine laws literally made history," Cuomo said.

But lawmakers have now left Albany, and absent a special session, the women's equality agenda championed by Cuomo appears to be struggling on life support.

In a statement, Republican state Senate co-leader Dean Skelos says, "I agree with Governor Cuomo and leading women's groups that the Speaker should bring his members back to Albany to complete work on the nine agreed-upon bills."

Abortion rights advocates, who have the strong backing of the Democratic women's caucus in the assembly, still say the burden is on the senate.

"Look, I think there are still a lot of options still to get to the full 10-point women's equality agenda, which is what the voters have asked for," said Andrea Miller of NARAL Pro-Choice.

Last Thursday, the women's equality coalition literally applauded Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for refusing to compromise on any of the 10 points when he passed the agenda in one 10-point bill, including the abortion plank.

The next night, some of those same women's groups abruptly switched course and urged the assembly to compromise and pass the senate version. NARAL Pro-Choice was not one of them.

"You know, the reality is at the end of session, everything kind of gets thrown up into the air. The old adage is everything falls apart a million times then comes back together again," Miller said. "The end of session was a powerful, intense time. Lots of things were going on."

The legislative session is technically two years long, so the women's equality agenda does not have to pass in 2013. Lawmakers not due back in Albany until January 2014, at which time the assembly can still act on the nine planks passed by the senate.

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