Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As legislative session winds down, Atlantic Yards governance bill moves forward in Assembly, but not in Senate

The state Legislature was supposed to end its session yesterday, but the term was extended so the Democratic-controlled Assembly, Republican-controlled Senate, and (Democratic) Gov. Andrew Cuomo could negotiate some major issues, notably a tax cap, rent regulation, and gay marriage.

The New York Times this afternoon reports on one major sticking point:
But the Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, said his caucus had not yet decided whether to bring to a vote the most contentious issue facing the Legislature: A bill introduced by Mr. Cuomo and approved by the Democratic-controlled Assembly to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. Thirty-one state senators have endorsed the marriage measure, one vote short of the number needed to pass in the 62-member senate.
Movement in Assembly

Meanwhile, the bill to reform Atlantic Yards governance--to authorize the Empire State Development Corporation to create an ongoing subsidiary to oversee the project, as with nearly all sizable projects--yesterday passed the Assembly's Rules Committee.

"The Rules committee voted favorably for the bill yesterday, and it is now on the floor of the Assembly and eligible for passage," Brooklyn Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries said today. "I am working on a full Assembly vote before the end of session. However, the prospects for passage in the Senate remain unclear."

Senate depends on Skelos

In the Senate, Skelos, the Chair of the Rules Committee, will decide whether the companion bill reaches the floor, but it first must go through Finance and Rules.

The longer the Legislature remains in Albany, the more chance for passage of the Atlantic Yards governance bill, as well as other bills that have gained less attention in recent months, according to Jim Vogel, a spokesman for Brooklyn Sen. Velmanette Montgomery.

BrooklynSpeaks has set up a link for constituents to lobby Skelos, who also can be reached via his web site.

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