Big-ticket items like the legalization of marijuana may take a back seat in the state budget to containing and mitigating the coronavirus.
State lawmakers, instead, have been focusing on a paid sick leave proposal mandating five days for workers in New York as thousands of people self-quarantine themselves to avoid the spread of the virus.
"I think we are appropriately focused on what is really happening in our state and the country," Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told reporters on Wednesday. "Obviously we are doing business, but the focus is on what's happening in so many of our communities across the state."
A vote for the paid sick leave measure could come as early as next week. At the same time, the budget negotiations may face adjustments that will incorporate the potential revenue loss as a result of the financial market flucutations due to the spread of the virus.
Less than a month ago, lawmakers were fielding questions on marijuana legalization, a change to the state's bail law, whether an amendment needed to be made to measure allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses and a bill legalizing gestational surrogacy.
Those issues have largely been drowned out by the growing public health crisis in the country and around the globe. The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared coronavirus is a pandemic.
For now, there are no plans to cancel the remainder of the session after the budget is approved, Stewart-Cousins said.
"I think we have to focus on our priorities and of course our priorities are always going to be public health and trying to make sure in the absence of any easy solutions is make sure we can weather this storm," Stewart-Cousins said. "We're trying to do everything, but I think this certainly on everyone's mind."