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Southampton hospital wins last-minute approval from lawmakers

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ALBANY — A bill to help jump-start a new Southampton hospital won legislative approval at almost literally the last minute.

The proposal, which would permit the hospital to execute a land lease for a new facility, was the second-to-last bill the State Assembly voted on before banging the gavel late Wednesday night and adjourning for the year.

Despite some anxious moments for supporters who worried time would run out before the bill was called, the proposal sailed through, 130-0.

“The reality is, we were concerned and we’re just so pleased that it was able to happen,” Robert Chaloner, chief administrative officer of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, said Thursday. “It went to the eleventh hour and we’re thrilled with the results.”

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital wants to move its entire facility from Southampton Village to Stony Brook University’s Southampton campus and build a new hospital “in the next five to 10 years.” It’s part of a plan that grew out of Southampton’s decision to join Stony Brook Medicine last fall.

The hospital proposal was one of a number of Long Island bills whose fate hung in the balance as state legislators slogged through a 14-hour day Wednesday to approve hundreds of bills before closing the 2018 legislative session.

Legislators approved a measure that would allow Nassau County to charge commercial property owners an annual fee to pay future commercial property assessment refunds. Requested by County Executive Laura Curran, the measure also would provide flexibility to access the more than $150 million in the county’s “Disputed Assessment Fund to distribute the refunds.

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Like all the bills winning approval Wednesday, it now will go to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for signature or veto by the end of the year.

But the Republican-led Senate wouldn’t go along with a related Curran proposal to double the debt limit for the county’s financial control board, the Nassau Interim Finance Authority. Republicans in both houses balked after the county legislature declined to support a “home rule message” for the debt-ceiling proposal.

Mike Martino, a Curran spokesman, said the outcome was disappointing but “we will try again next session.”

The State Legislature passed a bill to allow some public employees in Nassau to receive “step” raises even when county wages are frozen — a measure Cuomo vetoed one year ago as undermining NIFA.

Separately, Cuomo failed to nominate anyone to a seat dedicated to Nassau on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board. The current appointee, John Molloy, 72, the retired CEO of the H2M Companies, is voluntarily stepping down.

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