State lawmakers may not meet again before legislative session ends in June

Normally, state lawmakers would be starting off this new work week in Albany, but with two months to go in their session, the state Capitol is empty and legislators may not be meeting again.

News 12 Staff

Apr 13, 2020, 7:24 PM

Updated 1,559 days ago


State legislators are on a weeklong break for Easter and Passover, but there are questions whether they'll return to Albany at all this year.
State Sen. Phil Boyle says there's a good chance he and the other 200-plus legislators will not be back in the state's capital this year. He says after passing the state budget earlier this month, all other items have taken a back seat.
"I think the epidemic puts everything else to the side," says Boyle. "There's been other discussions about legalizing marijuana and things like that. But I think we all know that that can wait."
In New York, the state legislative session lasts from January to June. The first half is dominated by the budget, which was due April 1. The rest is spent debating and passing other bills and proposals. But because of social distancing, no one's meeting inside the Capitol building, and there are no public hearings or committee meetings.
Meanwhile, legislators say they have their hands full back in the district offices. They say they're getting inundated with phone calls from constituents about things like filing for unemployment and getting small business loans.
Government watchdog groups like New York Public Interest Research Group say there are some important issues lawmakers shouldn't ignore. They say Albany needs to figure out a way to continue their session.
"Presumably, some form of webcasting would be the way members would remotely log in and comment and vote on bills in committee," says Blair Horner, of NYPIRG. "So I think there's a number of challenges legislators are going to have to figure out, that's what we pay them for."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo did recently say that the legislative session is "effectively over," but left it up to legislative leaders whether or not to reconvene.

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