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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Legislators bide time on 'big ugly,' soon due for unveiling

ALBANY - As rank-and-file legislators on Thursday awaited their first look at details of the "big ugly" agreement announced Tuesday by leaders, the internal betting pool on the end of session foreshadowed a long night.

"I've got 2 a.m." one legislator said Thursday.

"I've got 2:30 a.m. in the pool," said another.

The Assembly's Democratic majority was expected to present details of the unfinished final bill Thursday morning. The Senate's Republican majority was scheduled to go into their closed-door conference to discuss the bill just before noon.

The framework agreement includes many disparate issues tied together in a huge bill negotiated by leaders behind closed doors over recent weeks. The bill will include extending tenant protections in a New York City rent control law, extending the property tax cap, extending a tax credit for developers mostly in New York City, and many smaller issues that might not have a chance of getting voted into law on their merits.

But details -- such how much a property tax relief measure will benefit taxpayers -- have been guarded secrets since Tuesday's announcement.

"That's so it doesn't get picked apart," said Assemb. Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn).

He referred to the long established Albany practice of secretly negotiating major bills then releasing them quickly for a vote while suspending the constitutional requirement of three days' public review for passage of bills before they could be unraveled by lobbyists and lawmakers.

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