New York: Legislative Session expected to conclude Thursday

Generally, end days of annual legislative sessions in New York are stressful times, when state lawmakers create mess out of last-minute deals on matters, including taxes and abortion rights. This time, they are arguing over whether drinking prior to noon at Sunday brunch should be allowed or not.

Started in January, the session will most probably conclude on Thursday. It is expected to end without being quite like the way of political combat.

On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo came up with a list of his priorities for the session’s end as per his office has also been sent to the state Legislature. The list is mainly comprised of topics of wide agreement such as heroin addiction battle; raised access to breast-cancer screening and treatment; improvement in railroad safety; and a relook at state alcohol laws.

Mr. Cuomo and legislative leaders have already come up with their offers on the breast-cancer measure and a law for more often railroad safety inspections.

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, has also come up with a couple of controversial ideas looming over the legislative session. They were, ‘comprehensive ethics reform’ and countering money power in politics, but he didn’t go into detail.

Since previous year’s convictions of two ex New York legislative leaders, Mr. Cuomo and state lawmakers have received calls to improve state ethics laws.

Previous in the session, Cuomo came up with a proposal of shutting down a legal loophole, allowing companies to avoid donation limits, but the idea wasn’t welcomed by Republican lawmakers.

An ethics proposal seemingly aimed at New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Cuomo has been putting in efforts to strengthen disclosure needs and other rules relating to independent expenditure committees, fundraising arms that can get huge donations by staying formally autonomous from the person they are backing.

“The last days of New York’s yearly legislative sessions are typically stressful times, when state lawmakers hash out last-minute deals on issues such as taxes and abortion rights. This year, they are haggling over whether to permit drinking before noon at Sunday brunch,” according to a news report published by WSJ.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo listed his priorities for the end of the session in a news release Monday that his office said also was sent to the state Legislature. The list includes mostly topics of broad agreement: fighting heroin addiction; increasing access to breast-cancer screening and treatment; improving railroad safety; and revising state alcohol laws.

One ethics proposal appears to take aim at New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Mr. Cuomo is pushing to strengthen disclosure requirements and other regulations around independent expenditure committees, fundraising arms that can receive big donations by remaining officially autonomous from the person they support.

According to a report in NY Post by Kirstan Conley, “In a letter to lawmakers, the governor listed his top issues as ethics reforms, a measure to combat the opioid epidemic, increased treatments for breast cancer, tighter regulations of super PACs, safer rail crossings and even a relaxation of blue laws that limit liquor sales to after noon on Sundays.”

State Sen. Majority Leader John Flanagan announced last week that he won’t approve anything beyond a one-year extension — and only with a special state monitor to oversee the city system.

That would force de Blasio to return to Albany again next year — in the middle of his re-election campaign — to seek another extension.

There was no immediate comment from either Cuomo or de Blasio, who have been in a running political battle for months.

A report published in Record Online informed, “New York is poised to expand access to breast cancer screening under an agreement reached by top state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who made combating the cancer a priority after the successful cancer treatment of his girlfriend, Food Network star Sandra Lee.”

“When Sandy was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was lucky to have caught it early,” Cuomo said in a statement concerning breast cancer screenings. “But not all women are that lucky, and many are not fortunate enough to have the flexibility in their schedule or the resources to fight this disease head on.”

It also eliminates annual deductibles or co-payments for mammograms used to screen for cancer, as well as cost-sharing for diagnostic imaging such as ultrasounds and MRIs for women who need more than a standard mammogram.

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