After weeks of closed-door negotiations, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders announced late this past Wednesday night that they had reached an agreement on the 2013-2014 state budget.
The Speaker of the State Assembly says a portion of New York’s gun control laws, set to take effect April 15th, may be postponed while talks continue on how to amend the provision.
Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders are talking about amending the state’s gun control laws to reverse a ban on the sale of 10 bullet magazines. They say the law as written presents a conflict because the 10 round magazines are still allowed at shooting ranges and sporting competitions, but under the impending ban, gun owners would no longer be allowed to buy them in New York for those purposes.
Lawmakers originally planned to be passing bills by now, ready to wrap up the state budget and leave on a three week break beginning on Thursday.
But, instead of an agreement early in the week, each day lawmakers have found themselves discussing new issues , some of them totally unrelated to the spending plan. Most recently, talks have turned to whether to decriminalize public possession of marijuana in New York City, and walking back a provision of the recently enacted gun control laws.
New York State lawmakers are close to agreeing on a new state spending plan that would include a deal to raise taxes on the wealthy, and raise the minimum wage. They failed to seal a pact Monday night, but say they will be back Tuesday morning to try again.
Senate Co-Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein , after a closed door leaders meeting, say they are hopeful that up to $700 million dollars in tax cuts for business and the middle class could be in the state budget.
Governor Cuomo made a big show last week of marking Sunshine Week - a national initiative launched in 2005 by the American Society of News Editors to highlight the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy.
As New York State budget talks reach their final days, and perhaps even hours, a group of Hispanic lawmakers is pushing for the inclusion of the Dream Act in the budget, It would offer college aid to children of undocumented immigrants who were born in the country.
The New York State legislature is fast tracking the budget process, as they try to reach final agreements and get bills printed by the weekend. The negotiations drew protesters to the Capitol, who are demanding that the budget include a minimum wage increase to $9 an hour, with automatic future increases for inflation.
The 50 or so demonstrators directed their ire toward Governor Cuomo and Senate Co Leader Jeff Klein, who they say aren’t doing enough to convince Republicans in the Senate to go along with a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour.