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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Cuomo: Don’t count on mayoral control, child victim deals

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the safest bet is that the Legislature will adjourn the regular legislative session next week without agreement on the remaining major issues including mayoral control of New York City schools, and will probably have to return to Albany later in the year to act.

“It could change, but that’s what I would bet right now,” Cuomo told reporters Friday in a teleconference. More private negotiations, however, are expected over the weekend before the Legislature returns to Albany Monday for the final scheduled week of session.

Such pessimism and stalemate is common in Albany near the end of session, yet most years end with large deals struck in closed-door negotiations in the final days. Cuomo’s predictionmay also put pressure on lawmakers, who try to avoid returning to Albany after the regular session.

“We’re optimistic we can have a strong finish to the legislative session and resolve any outstanding issues, including an extension of mayoral control and reforms that ensure every child receives a first-class education,” said Scott Reif, spokesman for the Senate Republicans.

Reif added that the Assembly must “come to the table and negotiate in good faith.”

Assembly majority spokesman Michael Whyland said there would be no reason for the Assembly to return because it has already passed its bills. Without a compromise, it will be up to the Senate to approve those bills or have no deal, Whyland said.

“Three days in Albany time is a long time,” said Candice Giove, spokeswoman for the Independent Democratic Conference that shares power in the Senate. “The IDC remains optimistic that everyone can come to the table to negotiate priority issues like mayoral control by the end of session,” she said.

Cuomo said there is no agreement between the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democrat-controlled Assembly on how long to extend mayoral control of city schools.

The Assembly has also refused to approve a series of routine bills that give upstate counties and New York City the authority to continue local sales and income taxes.

The Assembly had tied the reauthorization of local taxes — sought by the Senate GOP at the urging of local government leaders — to its mayoral control bill as a tactic to get the Senate to accept the Assembly’s bill. The Assembly bill does not include any help for charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately run public schools supported by the Senate GOP and some of its wealthiest campaign contributors.

The Assembly, Senate and the Senate’s IDC also have failed to agree on a proposed Child Victims Act. The proposal that has been pushed in Albany for a decade would extend by years the statute of limitations to bring criminal or civil action in a case of child sexual abuse. Several proposals, including one by Cuomo, differ on how long to extend the period and whether to have a “look-back” period to pursue cases in which the statute of limitations has already lapsed.

“I’m not highly optimistic about passage of the Child Victims Act,” Cuomo said.


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