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Singas confirmation vote on for Tuesday, despite pocket of opposition

After a confirmation hearing where progressives voiced their opposition,

After a confirmation hearing where progressives voiced their opposition, citing Madeline Singas' past as a prosecutor, Newsday interviewed the Nassau County district attorney just before she was confirmed as a judge to New York State's Court of Appeals. Credit: Newsday / Jeffrey Basinger, Faith Jessie

ALBANY — Despite opposition from some progressives, the nomination of Madeline Singas to become a judge on New York’s top court is on track to be voted on Tuesday, officials said Monday.

Singas, the Nassau County district attorney, is slated to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a noon hearing. The full Senate is expected to vote on her nomination as well as for Anthony Cannataro to fill two vacancies on the state Court of Appeals, a source said.

The Senate is rushing to complete a raft of judicial nominations to lower courts as well in the final week of the 2021 legislative session. Lawmakers also are eyeing dozens of high-profile bills before they are slated to adjourn Thursday.

Among the bills considered "in play" are measures regarding "ghost guns," parole for older inmates, prosecution of adolescents, phony vaccinations cards and discrimination in real-estate practices.

Last week, Singas’ opponents launched a website and a Twitter campaign to persuade senators not to appoint another prosecutor to the state Court of Appeals.

The court, led by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, a former Westchester County district attorney, has delivered far more victories for prosecutors than defense attorneys over the last decade.

Singas’ opponents said the addition of another prosecutor to the seven-member bench would "undo years of criminal justice reform and reverse victories for tenants and workers."

But as of Monday, just three of the 43 Democrats in the Senate majority said publicly they would vote against Singas.

Singas, 55, and Cannataro, 55, if confirmed, would be appointed to 14-year terms on the seven-member court.

Many of the other issues remained in limbo Monday.

Many Democrats and advocates were pushing for the houses to agree to approve several parole bills.

Among those that officials were more optimistic about were the so-called Less is More, which advocates said would limit the incarceration of parolees for "technical parole violations" such as missing an appointment with a parole officer or missing a curfew.

But it was less clear whether the "elder parole" bill — which would grant an intermediate parole interview for inmates who are 55 and older who have served at least 15 years of their sentence — would be approved before the Legislature adjourns.

Also still in limbo was a measure to temporarily suspend the statute of limitations to allow adult survivors of sexual assault to file civil lawsuits.

One Long Island measure that gained approval from both houses would bolster municipalities' efforts to pool buying power among residents and businesses to seek outside energy suppliers. The bill would set dates by which the state Public Service Commission must establish the "community choice aggregation" program on the Island, according to Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor).

The Assembly and Senate also approved a bill that would direct any businesses that have 10 or more employees but no pension plan to automatically enroll workers in New York’s "secure choice" savings plan, a type of individual retirement account. It would allow employees to put away money through a pretax payroll deduction.

Current law requires such businesses to offer the savings plan to employees but not automatically enroll them.

Lawmakers also were optimistic about reaching a deal on a new law to make it a crime to forge vaccine cards. The Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-North Hills), carries a maximum penalty of 1½ to 4 years in prison.

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