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In an 11th-hour rebuke, Assembly Democrats rejected Assemb. Earlene Hooper's bid to win passage of her controversial bill to hand over the Freeport Armory to a church-affiliated nonprofit to which she's tied.
Hooper (D-Hempstead) got a similar bill approved in 2013 and 2014, only to be vetoed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo citing community opposition.
Aware of the circumstances, many Assembly Democrats hit the "no" button at their desk when the bill came to the floor as one of the last votes of the year. Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester), clasping his hands together in prayer, walked around to a few asking them to change their vote. Some did but others declined. After 15 minutes of stalling, officials pulled the bill from the floor rather than see it go down.