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Key New York State Senator Lowers Expectations On Reunification

Hans Pennink
Sen. Liz Krueger, D-New York, speaks to members of the New York State Senate during opening day of the 2017 legislative session at the Capitol in January in Albany, N.Y.

A leading Senate Democrat says if a planned unification between rival factions in the State Senate occurs, don’t expect any immediate action on key items like women’s reproductive rights, public financing of campaigns, and transgender rights.

Senator Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat who is the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, says under the current plan, the reunification would not happen until late in the legislative session, and there likely won’t be time to act on the bills.

“We will have a few weeks, maybe five weeks when we are officially the majority,” Kruger said, in an interview with public radio and television. “So no one should imagine we will turn around the state legislature and pass every bill we’ve been hoping to pass in our first five weeks. That’s a ridiculous set of assumptions.”

In order for the factions to reunite, the governor needs to call special elections for two vacant Senate seats. And Cuomo has said he won’t call the elections until after the budget is done, sometime in the spring. Krueger say she supports holding the elections in early March, before the budget is due.

Senator Krueger says she expects Democrats to pick up seats in the November 2018 elections. She says it’s more realistic to expect the Democrats to make progress on the bills starting in the 2019 session. Republicans have said they believe they will hold or pick up seats next year.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.