Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed more than 150 pieces of legislation before a midnight deadline Wednesday. Many are bills that passed in a flurry of activity in the final days of the legislative session. NY1’s Zack Fink filed the following report.
Many of the bills signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo are local and specific only to certain areas of New York State.
For example, New York City will now have mandatory kindergarten for 5-year-olds. Supporters of the bill, which included members of the New York City Council, said 3,000 kids who were eligible were not enrolling in kindergarten each year. Studies show that early childhood education gives kids a huge advantage when it comes to learning.
"The impetus of this particular legislation was that members of the city council heard around the city that parents that were registering their children in kindergarten at five years old were basically being told that it’s not necessary, you can wait until their kids are six years old. And that our classes are overcrowded. So basically, they were being shooed away,” said Councilman Robert Jackson.
The governor also signed legislation banning paraphernalia used for human-orchestrated animal fighting, specifically dog fighting.
"That includes what’s called a breaking stick. A breaking stick allows you to separate the jaw of a dog if it’s caught on to another dog, if it’s biting another animal,” said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.
Another bill gives the city's community boards more input in determining which bars and clubs can obtain liquor licenses through the New York State Liquor Authority or SLA. In Hunts Point, several violent incidents outside nightclubs prompted local leaders to crack down. But under the law, they had little say over what gets licensed. That has now changed.
"No matter what issues were raised by the community, the SLA simply made a black-and-white decision based on the applicant's information and not taking into consideration the concerns of the community. That has to end and this bill finally recognizes the role of the community input in this process,” said Assemblyman Marcos Crespo.
The legislature passed a total of 571 bills this year. Of those, Gov. Cuomo has signed 262 of them, including budget bills. That leaves 309 bills that are awaiting his signature. In this latest round of signings, there were no vetoes.