With two weeks to go until the scheduled end of the 2014 legislative session, how’s it looking? Despite the fact that the governor and state lawmakers will face the voters this November, increasingly the session looks like it will end with a whimper, not a bang.
There are even rumors that lawmakers will throw in the towel and just wrap things up this week instead of next week as scheduled.
Even though there has been a lot of public debate on important issues, it appears that lawmakers will hit the campaign trail without resolving them.
The nation’s success hinges on the skills and knowledge of its people. Over the past century, the United States had advanced to the world’s leading nation – in terms of technology, finance, and in the broad accessibility to education. But in order to maintain its advantages in entrepreneurship, technological prowess and civic engagement, the nation must continue to invest in its future generations.
As Albany begins its post-budget agenda, it is remarkable how little the governor and state lawmakers discuss environmental issues. There are the occasional news releases – lip service really – about green initiatives, but little about policies that seek to reduce the pollution.
The US Census published a report on voting in America last week that was the usual – the nation’s voters don’t go to the polls as often as they should and in some parts of the country, like New York, and for some age groups – mainly young voters – the turnout has been dreadful.
A recent report by the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) took a close look at how companies weigh some of the non-driving related factors when they provide price quotes to consumers. What NYPIRG found was startling. All else being equal, for three of the top five insurers in New York, a low wage worker with a high school degree could pay anywhere from 19%-41% more than a college educated professional for the exact same coverage.
Once again, New Yorkers have had to hope that federal prosecutors can clean up Albany. When Governor Cuomo unceremoniously pulled the plug on the Moreland Act Commission Investigating Public Corruption as part of a deal with legislative leaders in exchange for weak ethics reforms, even the most optimistic New Yorkers were left depressed.
The nation hit a milestone last week: the deadline for signing up for coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act. Despite an unbelievable torrent of mistakes, criticisms, deceptive ads, and outright lies (remember the claims of so-called “death panels”?), enrollment in newly-created health marketplaces hit an estimated 7 million enrollees – the goal set by the Administration last June.
Once the state's political leaders got past the congratulatory "atta-boys" and backslapping on their most recent effort to reform Albany, the public was left to dig through the details of the legislative agreement.