New York state lawmakers this week are working to put the finishing touches on a session that could end with sweeping changes to New York's parole laws, how it would fight climate change and further regulation of firearms.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, though, is keeping a public distance from a Capitol that's been largely empty for more than a year due to COVID-19 pandemic guidelines. On Monday, Cuomo said most of his priorities were accomplished two months ago in the $212 billion state budget.
"We did tremendous amount of work in the budget and I think it's fair to say my priorities were done in the budget," Cuomo said on Monday at an unrelated news conference. "I think the majority of the Senate and Assembly's priorities were done in the budget."
Over the last six months, Cuomo has been confronted with multiple controversies ranging from allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct as well as a federal investigation surrounding his administration's reporting of nursing home fatalities. He has had to navigate the pandemic and work on the state's budget.
Now, Cuomo said his key issue over the next several days will be a raft of appointments to state offices, commissions and the courts, including two open seats on the state's top court.
"To me, the main thing to get done are the appointments," Cuomo said.
The legislative session is scheduled to conclude on Thursday. Lawmakers hashing out differences on a range of topics including making it easier for people in prison to gain parole and bills that would crackdown on the spread of untraceable illegal guns that flood into the state.