Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he wants to see the state Legislature pass a hike in the minimum wage and legislation that would decriminalize posession of small amounts of marijuana before he will even consider signing on to legisaltive pay raises.
â€śWe have a legislative agenda that has not been passed, which is the priority for me,â€ť Cuomo said today at a graduation of the newest class of State Troopers. â€śIf there is an opportunity for the Legislature to act, Iâ€™m going to be looking for them to act on the peopleâ€™s agenda. I understand they may have an interest in a pay raise. Iâ€™m interested in a peopleâ€™s agenda and thatâ€™s what the session would be about. â€ś
A special session of the Legislature after the Nov. 6 elections has long been rumored. Legislative pay raises have been a crux of those rumors as well as campaign financing reform and other hot topics. State legislators haven't had a raise since 1999.
Senate Republicans have been steadfastly opposed to a minimum wage hike and the marijuana decrimilization effort. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos called the minimum wage hike "a jobs killer" and made this memorable remark about Cuomo's plan to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana: â€śJust being able to walk around with 10 joints in each ear and it would only be a violation â€” I think thatâ€™s wrong,â€ť
Cuomo hasn't exactly been gung-ho on a minimum wage hike up until this point. It has mostly been Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's baby, and Silver is currently a bit hamstrung by the Vito Lopez scandal.