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Legislature OKs bill requiring reporting on unresolved Sandy cases

ALBANY -- Aiming to expedite aid to superstorm Sandy victims, the State Legislature gave final passage Monday to a bill that would require the Cuomo administration to report quarterly on unresolved cases and unpaid disaster claims.

Two freshman Long Island lawmakers, Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) and Sen. Tom Croci (R-Sayville), spearheaded the legislation.

"This operates on the principle that having to report every three months will create more efficiencies and get things moving more quickly," Kaminsky said after the Assembly approved the measure Monday. "I think getting everybody home is our top priority and if this law helps expedite cases and helps get storm victims help more quickly, then it's worth it."

The Senate approved the measure Wednesday. It will be sent to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for signature or veto, though the timetable for doing that isn't certain.

In a memo supporting the bill, Croci and Kaminsky said more than 5,000 Long Island households that qualified for disaster aid following the 2012 storm still haven't received it from New York Rising, the state's recovery agency.

"We don't even know the number of outstanding claims because when we ask, we aren't given the numbers," Croci said. "We've cobbled together estimates by talking to . . . [legislators] across the Island."

To say claims are being handled too slowly "is an understatement," Croci said. "It's been two-and-a-half years," he said, "and that's long enough."

Cuomo officials didn't immediately comment.

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