Albany nearing end of session
While there was a flurry of activity in the final week of the legislative session in Albany, several major pieces of legislation stalled in the Capitol. YNN's Zack Fink looks at what did and didn't get done Wednesday.
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NEW YORK STATE -- The Assembly and the Senate passed legislation to protect nearly a million people with disabilities under state care.
The legislation would create a Justice Center with an independent prosecutor who could pursue claims of abuse and neglect.
"The top priority for me in this last stretch recently was the establishment of the Justice Center, which should have been the top legislative priority for the legislature also," Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday.
But advocates for the disabled have criticized the Justice Center Bill for giving the governor too much control.
"They are saying basically that they are going to have an independent protection and advocacy agency. And guess who is going to appoint who that is? Governor Cuomo. So right off the get go, there are major problems there,” said Michael Carey, an advocate for the disabled.
Legislators say the Justice Center will be more independent than the governor's office originally proposed.
"The governor sent us a good bill. We made it a much better bill. Through sitting and the governor was very amenable to hearing the concerns of our members and changing the bill to address a lot of those concerns," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Meanwhile, there is still no deal on what portion of teacher evaluations should be made public. A bill favored by the governor and the Assembly would disclose evaluations but without teachers names attached. Some Republicans are opposed.
"When you are talking about the release of personally identifying information. The way it is structured, there is some concern that someone may be personally identified anyway if you do it by class, by subject, by grade. I think it’s a legitimate question," State Senator John Flanagan said.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been very supportive of Senate republicans with his wallet, wants evaluations made completely transparent.
Bloomberg said, "Nobody is going to create a fight between the Governor and me. My hope is that we come to some agreement that would be acceptable to everyone and if we can't, there will be plenty of time in the fall when the legislature comes back to address the issue again. This is not an issue that is going away."
Lawmakers are also expected to give final approval to a takeover of the New York Racing Association or NYRA. Essentially, the state would take control of the organization, but it would eventually revert back to private control.