Preparing for the Big Ugly in Albany

Morinello: "They throw in items that won't pass individually"

Albany, N.Y. (WBEN) - "My prediction is that almost everything that Governor Andrew Cuomo wants, will get done."  State Assemblyman Angelo Morinello told WBEN Wednesday, he is preparing for what's known as the "Big Ugly". 

That's when state leaders throw policy items into a big bill that would not pass individually.   It comes up as the last bill of the session. 

"This will have any and all policy positions that are wanted by the Governor or legislature." Morinello calls them "member items".  They are combined with unpopular items and lawmakers are forced to vote yes or no.

"You're criticized either way," he said.  "If it's a "no", you're criticized for not supporting your district.  If you vote "yes", you're criticized for supporting positions that your district may not want.  It's a catch 22," said Morinello.

The Assembly and Senate are in the final stretch of the session.  There are a number of unresolved issues.

Those issues range from legalizing recreational marijuana, to driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, to paid surrogacy.

Pay equity is another unresolved issue. "This one is strange," said Morinello, a former judge.  "They want to legalize prostitution.  It just seems that all morals are being thrown out the window at this point. Anything that we grew up with, that promoted civil order and civility, seems to be ignored.

For the first time in a decade, Democrats control both chambers of the State Legislature. But the progressive wing agenda is dividing Democrats on issues including the driver’s license bill and marijuana legalization.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins have both said they hope to avoid a “big ugly.” But Republican Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan, from Long Island, warned last week that such a bill was coming.

The State Legislature session is scheduled to end June 19th.

 

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