Governor Returns to Familiar Ground After Shaky Legislative Session
After a shaky legislative session finally came to an end last week in which two of the state's top leaders were indicted, Governor Andrew Cuomo was back on more familiar ground this past weekend. Zack Fink filed the following report.
In the final days of the legislative session in Albany, the new Assembly speaker and state Senate majority leader seemed frustrated at times as they remained locked into their positions on different ends of the ideological spectrum.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, though, had ways to stay above the fray, including a daring prison break in upstate New York that drew him away from Albany. It was a situation he sometimes seemed to get personally involved in. He was asked about that in a slew of interviews on Monday morning, including NY1's Pat Kiernan.
"One of the reasons I get personally involved, Pat, is because I get personally involved," Cuomo said.
Over the weekend, one prisoner was shot dead. The other was wounded and taken into custody. They escaped from the storied Dannemora Prison in upstate New York.
The prison situation proved almost a welcome distraction from what ultimately became a legislative session with modest changes to existing law. As the session entered its final days, reporters also received surprising news about what the governor ended up with.
Q: Have there been any big changes since what was described to us on Tuesday in the Red Room?
Heastie: Yeah. The governor wants to marry people.
Cuomo explained later that day that governors have not previously had the authority to perform marriages, and his push to legalize same-sex marriage four years ago, arguably his biggest success, made him want that authority.
"I don't have any particular marriages in mind," Cuomo said last Thursday. "Anyone who's interested, let me know."
But in some ways, it seemed like the governor did have some marriages in mind. A day later, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Then, on Sunday, that ruling was celebrated at New York's gay pride parade, where Cuomo performed his first ceremony.
Cuomo's other biggest goal for the session was a uniform policy defining sexual assault on college campuses, something he also achieved. The governor said during an interview that it was personal to him since he will have three daughters in college next year.