We’ve provided updates on education, infrastructure, housing, health, good government, energy, criminal justice and organized labor – and we’re not even finished! Here are a few more items that lawmakers are debating as the session winds down.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OVERSIGHT
Ever since the news broke of an investigation into corruption involving state economic development funds, lawmakers have been calling for more oversight of those programs. Even though Joe Percoco, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former right-hand man, and other Cuomo associates are at the center of the scandal, the governor has rejected efforts to impose greater oversight. Nonetheless, state lawmakers are still pushing legislation that would renew the state comptroller’s ability to monitor state procurement and contracting.
CATCHING A RIDE
One major policy change included in the state budget this year was the authorization of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft in upstate New York. The measure initially was set to go into effect on July 9, but lawmakers subsequently passed legislation that would allow for the service to begin 10 days earlier in order to be available for Independence Day. The governor signed the legislation, and the state Department of Motor Vehicles released new industry regulations.
One policy measure that Cuomo did not pass in the budget is a ban on child marriage. In response to an existing law that allows minors as young as 14 to marry, lawmakers in both houses introduced legislation this year that would raise the age of marital consent to 18 – and the marriage of 17-year-olds would receive stricter scrutiny. The bill has already passed unanimously in the state Senate, and the Assembly followed suit this week. In February, the governor introduced his own version of the legislation, which would make it a misdemeanor to issue a marriage license for anyone under the age of 18 without parental and judicial written consent. He is expected to sign the measure that passed both houses.
State policy on gambling hasn’t been in the headlines much since the state legalized full-fledged commercial casinos a few years ago, but one measure on the table again this year is online poker. A bill that would legalize online poker – by classifying it as a game of skill rather than as a game of chance – advanced to the floor of the state Senate, but it remains in the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee.
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