Albany lawmakers wrapped up their legislative session after a marathon voting session that extended into the weekend.
Albany Lawmakers Wrapped Up Legislative Session
In the early hours of Saturday morning, Albany lawmakers diligently passed a series of bills before adjourning their legislative session for the year, Daily Gazette reported.
Although this session lacked the fervor of previous years, with Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders focusing on smaller policy items, it still saw significant activity.
The legislative session also witnessed changes to the state’s public campaign finance laws. Although the original bill aimed to empower small donors, the passed legislation allows taxpayer money to supplement larger donations.
Notably, some Democrats broke party lines to vote against this bill, which narrowly passed the Senate.
Additionally, the state Legislature approved moving most town and county elections to even-numbered years, a move criticized by some who argue it favors higher Democratic voter turnout.
Albany Lawmakers Passed Series of Bills
Among the key bills on the agenda of the Albany Lawmakers was the Clean Slate legislation, which seeks to automatically seal criminal records from public access after a specific period.
While this bill garnered controversy, it ultimately passed both the Assembly and the Senate.
Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, a vocal opponent of the bill, expressed disappointment, arguing that it prioritized the rights of criminals over addressing the affordability crisis.
In response to concerns about elections, the Legislature passed a bill expanding early voting by allowing all voters to vote by mail. This proposal resembles a constitutional amendment for no-excuse absentee balloting that was rejected by voters in 2021.
Local lawmakers also celebrated the passage of significant bills.
State Senator James Tedisco‘s long-standing advocacy for a Veterans Internship Program finally bore fruit, enabling honorably discharged veterans to participate in the state Legislature’s paid internship program.
Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner‘s bill mandated the development of a statewide plan and financial estimate to ensure sufficient power transmission and distribution grids for EV charging stations, aligning with the state’s climate change objectives.
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara championed a bill granting a $250 tax rebate to qualifying property owners in Schenectady County with a School Tax Relief exemption, emphasizing the financial relief it would provide during challenging economic times.
These bills, along with numerous others, now await Governor Hochul’s decision to sign or veto them. With the year drawing to a close, any bills left unsigned by the deadline will automatically be vetoed.