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Albany theatrics continue
The most obvious result of the absence of Republican Tom Croci from the State Senate, leaving it in a 31-31 deadlock between Democrats and the GOP, has been the inability of the chamber to move any legislation other than noncontroversial, mostly local bills.
But the situation has had one other consequence now that Republicans cannot pass any bills without Democratic help.
“We have to recruit Senate Dems,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. Like many other advocates wanting action, Esposito has been in Albany pitching a variety of bills — including a program for the safe disposal of pharmaceuticals and a ban on offshore oil drilling.
And while they always met with some Senate Democrats on lobbying trips, Esposito said, “We’re working with them more aggressively. They’re a bigger part of the strategy now . . . because now we’re in a different world.”
While the lobbying largely went well, she said some Senate Democrats, the vast majority of whom are from New York City or upstate, were confused by a fishing bill important to Long Island that would ban the use of large nets to catch huge amounts of bait fish called menhaden, vital to whales, striped bass and other prized species.
For Senate Dems, a new world means broader horizons.
Worse than usual
Trying to get a bill through the State Legislature in the last month of its session is never easy.
This year, even more so.
Just ask Bill Ferris, the state advocacy director for AARP, which has pushed a relatively simple bill to expand consumer protections for those at risk of foreclosure. It passed the Assembly unanimously, and easily moved through the State Senate committee process. It doesn’t have any clear opposition from, well, anyone.
But now it’s stalled — waiting for a vote in the Senate, which is stalemated by a tie between the Republicans and Democrats due to the absence of Sayville’s Tom Croci, who left for active duty in the Navy.
“There will always be chaos,” Ferris told The Point, as he described the end of session in Albany. “But there’s all the more chaos this year.”
So, that means Ferris and his AARP members have to take their efforts to the next level, this week holding a news conference and passing out flyers outside the Senate chambers. Next week, Ferris said, more than 50 volunteers, including more than a dozen Long Islanders, are expected to head to Albany. That likely means more news conferences, and more flyers papering the Senate halls.
Randi F. Marshall
Put to the test
All politics is Broadway
Sunday’s Tony Awards are a great opportunity to escape the incessant news cycle for a world of musicals and magical theater productions — but partisan politics is always present on Broadway, too.
Hillary Clinton made the Great White Way her second home after losing the 2016 presidential race, taking in musicals like “The Color Purple” and solemn fare like “The Humans.”
President Donald Trump is a musical man himself, often playing pieces from “Cats” at rallies. He announced his candidacy in 2015 at Trump Tower with music from “The Phantom of the Opera” blaring.
When Vice President Mike Pence tried to see what all the Broadway fuss was about after the election, he got a little lecture from the cast of American history blockbuster “Hamilton.” Naturally, Trump demanded an apology. But liberal Broadway never exactly relaxed the cold shoulder to the Trump administration: See “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda telling Trump he’s going “straight to hell” for what he said was the president’s lack of attention to hurricane-struck Puerto Rico.
Alas, that means a Broadway ticket is the one thing Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt is unlikely to try to get for free. We probably won’t see trade warrior Larry Kudlow take his seat at Tony winner “Come From Away,” a musical about the greatness of Canada. First daughter Ivanka Trump saw that musical with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last year, though now the U.S.-Canada relationship might be better described by Tony nominee “Mean Girls.”