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It has been three months since Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave his State of the State Address and announced a 10-point plan to address injustices facing women in today's society.
Since then, Cuomo has successfully passed major gun law changes and enacted a state budget.
Supporters of the plan expectthe legislation will resemble the already-proposed Reproductive Health Act that would take abortion out of New York's penal code and make it part of health law. But the wide-ranging proposal was also supposed to deal with human trafficking, pay discrepency and sexual harassment.
Cuomo indicated earlier this week on Susan Arbetter's The Capitol Pressroom radio show that he is in no hurry to introduce precise bill language on the issue.
“Oftentimes they don’t want the bill to come to the floor for a vote because they don’t want to take the position,” Cuomo told Arbetter, adding, “What we need to do is strip away the devil is in the details as just an excuse.”
Despite not introducing actual bill language, Cuomo told Arbetter that legislators are ducking the details. "Legislators sometimes don’t want to take the votes that will clarify: choice, corruption, public finance. Raise your hand! Yay or nay!” Cuomo told Arbetter. “The quote-unquote IDC coalition, they’re either going to end up going to be a facilitator of transparency and progressive politics or an enabler of obfuscation. I think all of this is going to be for the positive.”
Sen. Dean Skelos said Cuomo's act would legalize late-term abortions.
The question seems to be whether, at this late point in the session, how much political capital Cuomo wants to spend on his women's agenda with Albany fixated on ethics reform and anti-corruption measures thanks to a number of recent arrests. Cuomo hasn't made it exaclty clear what he wants from legislators on that either.
But it is likely he will have to expend quite a bit of energy molding legislators to his will on ethics issues.
The National Organization for Women held a press conference in Albany yesterday and pushed for actual legislation. Sen. Diane Savino indicated at the press conference that she was looking for bill language sooner rather than later. "We're waiting for the governor to give us direction," Savino told reporters.
State Government Editor of The Gotham Gazette