ALBANY - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders are discussing settling the four currently most high-profile issues at the State Capitol -- possibly as soon as Wednesday.
Administration officials and key lawmakers said they could potentially strike deals on redistricting, public-employee pensions, the criminal DNA database and a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling this week.
The negotiations are occurring as legislators are trying to beat a federal deadline to wrap up redistricting. New York lawmakers are planning to vote on an agreed set of Senate-Assembly maps Wednesday -- a day before they must give a federal judge a status update.
Cuomo has said he might approve the redistricting plan if lawmakers agree to change the process in the future. While redistricting is in limbo, Cuomo has pushed lawmakers to reduce pension benefits for future government hires, expand the DNA database and give first passage to a casino amendment.
Wednesday is D-Day for determining if all the issues get settled at once, one Cuomo administration official said.
"I think we're very close. I think we can conclude a lot of issues this week," Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said. He added that the governor is negotiating with "unions, us, everybody" to strike a pension deal.
"We're having meaningful discussions on them all," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) added.
One of the controversial components of Cuomo's pension plan is to offer future hires the choice of a 401(k)-style savings plan or a traditional pension with less lucrative benefits than those current employees receive. Skelos has said he believes the 401(k) option could be abandoned if it helps forge an agreement.
The state budget is also on the table. Cuomo and lawmakers are also seeking to wrap up the spending plan as soon as next week. With Ted Phillips