The state legislative session is in its final week, and is set to end on Wednesday.
On Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appeared on one of his favorite venues — WAMC — to list the session’s accomplishments.
“I really believed we were going to have the most progressively productive session in American history,” Gov. Cuomo said. “With the recent conversations I think that’s for certain.”
The governor already has some major wins from the session, including a range of new gun control laws, updates to the state’s laws on abortion, adding gender identity to the list of protected classes in the human rights law and more.
Speaking on WAMC, Gov. Cuomo said he thought a number of other priorities would make it past the State Assembly and Senate. Among these was ending the statute of limitations on second- and third-degree rape, ending the gay panic defense, updating sexual harassment laws, mandating equal pay for women, and extending the minority and women owned business program.
Perhaps most significantly, the governor said he thought the legislature had reached an agreement on the Climate & Communities Protection Act (A.03876A/S.02992-A), which plans to make the state carbon neutral by 2050, and the Farmworker’s Fair Labor Act (S. 2837/A. 2750). This last piece of legislation would allow farmworkers to unionize and provide one day off a week, overtime pay and other labor protections
“That’s all phenomenal progress,” Gov. Cuomo said.
The major question marks are adult use recreational marijuana use, pregnancy surrogacy and an expansion of the prevailing wage.
Gov. Cuomo said the issue with the marijuana legalization was stuck on issues of local control, while surrogacy — which he framed as a reform for LGBTQ couples and others who cannot carry their own children — has received push back from some women’s rights advocates, included noted feminist Gloria Steinem.
“I think she didn’t have the facts, I know she didn’t have the facts,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Asked about limiting solitary confinement, another progressive goal, Gov. Cuomo hedged, saying he did not want to have to build more cells even as he shuttered prisons.
“I agree we have to do reforms, it’s gone way too far,” he said.