With the 2013 legislative session scheduled to end this coming Thursday, a number of high-profile issues remain under consideration.  Among the unresolved issues are casino gambling, an economic development initiative that would create tax-free business development zones in conjunction with colleges and universities throughout the state, a women’s equality bill, public financing of campaigns, reform of the state’s marijuana possession laws, and addressing local government financing issues.

Last week, supporters of the Women’s Equality Act – which includes a controversial provision relating to abortion — proposed changes that would make clear that the Women’s Equality Act would have no effect on the current federal law that bans the medical procedure commonly known as “partial-birth” abortion.  A spokesperson for Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos made it clear that while his conference supports the bill’s other nine provisions, the inclusion of abortion-related language is a non-starter.

Unshackle Upstate does not have a position on casino gambling, but we do have an issue with a specific provision in the Governor’s bill that would require private casino developers to pay prevailing wages and use a PLA for all construction of the said new casinos.  This is another step the state is taking – forcing a private company to pay higher-than-market wages – in order to build and operate the facility.  Let’s be clear: this is a complete overstep by the Governor and a gift to the construction trades.  Under no circumstances should the government dictate to a private company the terms and conditions of their construction contracts.

We oppose this provision, EVERY lawmaker should oppose this provision, and will be working to keep it out of any final casino siting law.