After Year Plagued by Corruption Charges, State Lawmakers Wary of Deal-Making
With the legislative session in Albany quickly drawing to a close, some are worrying that this year could be notable for how little got accomplished. The cloud of corruption appears to be making lawmakers skittish about any last-minute deal-making. Zack Fink filed this report.
Normally, June is one of the busiest months in Albany, but the high-profile arrests of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos have left lawmakers in what some describe as a state of paralysis.
"It doesn't feel right now that much is going to come together, except maybe by extenders or something just to push it down the road," says state Sen. John DeFrancisco.
It's not to say there aren't big issues that still need to be resolved. The city's rent protections, for example, expire next week.
Mayor Bill de Blasio attended a rally for rent regulations this past weekend.
Governor Andrew Cuomo also recently indicated he would support a much more aggressive effort to strengthen the rent laws, by ending vacancy decontrol which is when affordable housing units lose their protections due to tenants moving out.
"We cannot continue to bleed affordable housing stock since we don't have a plan to continue to create affordable housing stock," says Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrew Stewart Cousins.
Assembly Democrats, however, are reluctant to make deals—even if they can lead to better rent protections.
"Big bills that have things the Assembly doesn't want is not something we are looking to even consider," says Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
Some believe there is a reluctance to make any deals with all the high-profile corruption cases brought this year.
"You got that hanging over everybody's head so that's another reason why I think things are not coming together—because even terming something as this-for-that is dangerous thing to do in the climate of guilt," De Francisco says.
There are four session days this week and just three days next week, which doesn't leave a lot of time, but insiders say that actually plenty of time to tie up loose ends in Albany before lawmakers head home for the remainder of the year.