State Legislative session winding down quietly

June 20, 2017 06:57 PM

ALBANY - New York has raised the age of marriage to 17, replacing a law that allowed children as young as 14 to legally wed. Governor Cuomo signed the measure Tuesday. However, that's about the only headline coming out of the state Capitol as the Legislative session winds down.

In past years, there have been indictments and other scandals. There have also been heated, contentious debates. This year, according to many people -- not so much.

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There's no scientific data to back it up, just a feeling by some, that the Big Ugly that's come to characterize the final days of the Legislative session, isn’t as ugly this year.

"This is the first year that I've observed there's no last minute negotiation between the Executive and the Legislature for a big or controversial item or package," noted Republican Assemblyman Dan Stec of Queensbury.

That's not to say lawmakers aren't getting their work done.

"Yesterday we voted on 109 bills including some that we debated and we will have an equally busy calendar today and tomorrow," pointed out Democratic Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner of Round Lake.

When lawmakers aren't busy voting on bills, they're often being button-holed by lobbyists or constituents outside their respective chambers.

"You know, these are all different groups of people who represent different interests," explained Woerner.

"I think what you're seeing is just this is a function of a whole lot of bills are going to be voted on today and tomorrow and this is the last chance to speak your peace," noted Stec.

Sometimes, interest groups show up outside the Capitol -- like substance abuse and recovery advocates that were there on Tuesday.

"This is a non-partisan issue. Addiction impacts whether you're Republican, whether you’re Democrat, whether you're white, whether you’re black, whether you’re rich, whether you’re poor, whether you’re gay or whether you’re straight," pointed out Stephanie Campbell with Friends of Recovery NY.

"There are different groups who have an interest in a various piece of legislation that will be coming for a vote today," acknowledged Woerner.

"People come and they champion an issue and get somebody’s ear and you start convincing people. Before you know it, things start moving in the Legislature. That's how Democracy is supposed to work," reminded Stec.


WNYT Staff

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