Albany: What's left as lawmakers work to adjourn

Session-ending compromise sought for sports betting

June 16, 2018 - 10:14 pm
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ALBANY, N.Y. (WBEN/AP) — In New York state government news, lawmakers are wrapping up their work as they prepare to adjourn for the year, with a long list of measures still up for debate.

The Senate and Assembly plan to adjourn Wednesday.

A look at what to watch in the final days:

SPORTS BETTING: The issue jumped to the top of the list after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that all 50 states can decide for themselves whether to authorize wagers on athletic events. Several of New York's neighbors pounced, with betting already underway in Delaware and New Jersey.

Legislation to allow betting at casinos, racetracks and on mobile devices was introduced in Albany but quickly became mired. While the Senate's Republican leaders support passage, Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo sounded a more cautious note, with Heastie saying he doesn't personally support gambling and Cuomo questioning whether there was enough time in the session to pass the bill.

Casino owners and gambling lobbyists are hoping for a last-minute deal, hoping the sports betting bill could be included in a grand, session-ending compromise known in Albany as the "big ugly."

MUST DO: There's a long list of minor bills that lawmakers still must pass. Many are measures extending or renewing certain local taxes in municipalities around the state, and while those bills aren't likely to make headlines around the state, they're of vital importance locally. Passing the myriad bills is often one of the last things lawmakers do before they adjourn — and they're often passed in the middle of the night as tired lawmakers struggle to finish their work.

OTHER PRIORITIES: A proposal to overhaul teacher evaluations and rescind a state law requiring them to take into account student test scores is a top priority for Democrats and the Assembly. School security is another big issue; Senate Republicans want to increase funds for armed school security while Democrats favor Cuomo's proposal to allow teachers and parents to petition a judge to remove guns from the homes of troubled students.

ELECTION FEVER: National politics played an outsized role this session, with Democrats counting on a "blue wave" of Democratic votes this November to help them take over the state Senate. Republicans have vowed to defend their majority. That means both sides are anxious to return home for summer campaigning — and fundraisers.

LEFT OUT: Legislation to extend the criminal and civil statute of limitations for child molestation is expected to once again be blocked in the Senate. The bill would also create a one-year window for victims to sue over decades-old allegations now barred by the state of limitations. It's opposed by large institutions such as the Catholic Church who warn it would wreak financial havoc.

Several other high-profile bills are expected to be left on the cutting room floor when lawmakers adjourn. They include legislation to authorize physician-assisted suicide, legalize recreational marijuana and eliminate cash bail for crimes other than violent felonies.

Proposals to crack down on government corruption are expected to languish on the agenda for another year.

WILL THEY FINISH ON TIME? Lawmakers have a habit of blowing their deadlines. Last year lawmakers finished their work two weeks late, and past sessions have stretched on even later into the summer. But with elections looming lawmakers will look to wrap up their work on time — or maybe just a couple days late.

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