During his Thursday stops in Western New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo fielded questions about issues still pending in the State Legislature, which is scheduled to conclude its current session next week. Cuomo has his wish list of items but questions whether lawmakers are sincerely interested in tackling them.
Following a presentation on continued redevelopment in Niagara Falls, Cuomo met with reporters inside the Conference and Event Center. He was asked if issues of local interest might be solved within the final days of the legislative session. Those issues include legislation needed to clear the way for ride-hailing services, such as Uber and Lyft, to do business in Upstate New York.
"It's possible. It's possible," is all the governor would say on ride-hailing. "The way the Legislature works is they tend to be slow in the beginning and then get a lot done at the very end." Cuomo praised the Legislature for their work getting the budget passed on time and for passing two measures that the governor actively promoted, paid family leave and an eventual 15-dollar-per-hour minimum wage. He also acknowledged that the Legislature has passed many ethics reform measures but he insists there is a lot more work ahead. "They have passed more ethics reform than ever before," Cuomo said. "We now know for the first time ever what clients the attorneys represent who are also legislators." As Cuomo explained it, state lawmakers are thinking in terms of what they have done while he thinks in terms of more left to do. He also remains insistent upon passing legislation to tackle heroin addiction and breast cancer. The governor, while explaining how lawmakers spend long periods of time in discussion and then cramming in a lot of action at the end of the session, suggested that a lack of time to act is merely an excuse. "They can do what they want to do," he said. "The question is what they want to do. It is not a question of time. We've talked all these issues to death." The Legislature's session is scheduled to end on June 16.