State lawmakers have returned to Albany for the first day of the 2017 legislative session. Senator John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) was re-elected Senate Majority Leader, and Assemblyman Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) was re-elected Assembly Speaker.
In his speech to open the 2017 session, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said that the Assembly Majority’s priorities include the DREAM Act; college affordability; enacting “sweeping criminal justice reform,” including raising the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18; codifying Roe v. Wade in state law; and extending the millionaires tax. (Read the Speaker’s full remarks here.)
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said that the Senate Majority’s priorities will include job creation and improving the state’s tax policies and regulatory environment. He also seemed to set a different tone than in prior years, saying that the Senate would demonstrate its independence from the executive branch. He said that the Senate will raise questions about how the Governor’s economic development programs are being run.