Big-Ticket Items Falling by Wayside in Albany Leaves Room for Other Bills That Might Otherwise Be Ignored

Many big-ticket items have fallen by the wayside in the Albany legislative session, but the vacuum has left room for other bills that might otherwise be ignored. Zack Fink filed the following report.

On Wednesday, good-government groups made a final push for some kind of procurement reform this session.

Critics say a lack of transparency in how state contracts get awarded led to the federal indictments of nine people for bid-rigging and bribery through their work on Governor Cuomo's upstate development projects.

"Taxpayers deserve to have a squeaky-clean procurement process, and instead, they have federal indictments. It's a disgrace," said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group. "And the governor and the legislature should act before the session is over."

But Capitol observers aren't holding out much hope for the reforms. Governor Andrew Cuomo opposes them, and legislative leaders haven't been enthusiastic they can hammer out an agreement.

"We are still trying to get to a three-way agreement on procurement," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

While it seems increasingly unlikely the big things like procurement reform will get done, there are other issues getting voted on that might otherwise have flown under the radar, like changing the way state law refers to firefighters and police.

Brooklyn Democrat Jo Anne Simon sponsors a bill that would make the change.

"The bill basically goes through our statutes and changes every instance where it says policeman or fireman and changes it to police officer or firefighter," Simon said. "Basically, we have made the language in our statutes gender neutral."

Simon's bill passed the state Senate on Wednesday.

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