As the 2013 legislative session approaches its scheduled June 20 end, attention is focusing on the Senate’s Majority Coalition. The Senate’s 30 Republicans have joined with one Democrat (Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn) and the four Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) members to form the Senate Majority Coalition.
Advocates are pressuring the IDC to have three of the Governor’s priority issues brought to the Senate floor for a vote before the legislative session comes to an end – public financing of campaigns (read our Op-Ed on the subject here) a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, and the 10-point Women’s Equality Act.
Gov. Cuomo continues to focus his attention on his Tax Free NY proposal, which would “entice companies to invest in Upstate New York by offering new businesses the opportunity to operate completely tax-free – including no income tax for employees, no sales, property or business tax – for a decade, while also partnering with the world-class public and private higher education institutions.” Read the Governor’s recent newspaper editorial in support of Tax Free NY.
Last Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo finally released the bill text on his 10-point women’s equality plan. The bill includes a number of anti-discrimination provisions, but its most controversial aspect is language that codifies federal abortion rights into state law.
The bill includes language that, according to the Governor, would guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion as established by Roe v. Wade, and also ensures a right to late-term abortions when the health of the pregnant woman is at risk or when the fetus is not viable, as determined by a doctor.
Because of sensitivity to the issue of abortion, it’s unclear whether this bill will be approved before the end of session.
Also last week, he released his Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act, which — if the state constitution is amended to permit commercial casino gambling — will authorize the siting of up to three “destination resorts” that include casino gambling in the state outside of the New York City area.
Unshackle Upstate does not have a position on casino gambling (but we are not at all happy about the provision calling for the use of Project Labor Agreements and the application of Prevailing Wages on what will be private projects), but we are pretty confident that it will not save the Upstate economy. We need real state regulatory reform, tax relief, and local government mandate relief. Destinations resorts might be a nice place to visit, but for most of us, they will not provide any benefits.