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Albany’s ‘clean-up bill’ quietly swept away

ALBANY _ Remember that “clean-up bill” Albany was negotiating behind closed doors for days, but wouldn’t talk about publicly?

Never mind.

A day after reporters questioned Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders about the contents of the bill which a good-government advocate warned could include stealthy favors for special interests, the issue was quietly dropped.

On Wednesday, Cuomo defended the clean-up bill as a way to fix mostly minor elements of the state budget adopted March 31, as well as some “stray cats and dogs,” which he wouldn’t identify. He said then it was premature to discuss the bill or even to identify the issues being discussed with legislative leaders in closed-door meetings.

Cuomo didn’t comment on why the effort was dropped Thursday.

“It’s been an extraordinarily secretive process, typical for Albany,” said Blair Horner or the New York Public Interest Research Group. “For all the promises of openness and sunlight, it’s still a dark place.”

Horner raised concerns about the bill on Wednesday, citing a history of “clean-up bills” which have included spending and policy often favoring special interests.

“At the end of the session, clean-up bills can be the dirtiest bills in Albany,” Horner said.

Thursday was the final day of the scheduled 2014 session. The next time the measure could be addressed in regular session is January.

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