New York state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul in the coming days are set to approve several packages of measures meant to tighten gun control laws in the state as well as guarantee access to abortion services, taking on two polarizing issues that have captured national headlines in recent weeks and ahead of the start of the full-swing campaign season.
But Hochul, who is completing her first full legislative session since taking office last August, is also pushing for measures meant to make housing more affordable, as well as a multi-year extension of mayoral control, clashing with some fellow Democrats in the process.
It promises to be a jam-packed ending to the scheduled session for the state Senate and Assembly, which is due to conclude on June 2.
"It's not unusual to have a mountain of work to do in the final weeks," Hochul said on Tuesday after signing a bill meant to make it easier for adult survivors and victims of sexual assault and abuse to file lawsuits. "It's the nature of Albany."
Lawmakers are expected to approve several measures addressing a potential Supreme Court ruling that could overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Hochul has previously announced money meant to expand facilities that provide abortion services as well as bolster security for them.
Some legislators want a fund to provide women who live in states where abortion would be outlawed once Roe is overturned access to money to travel to New York for the procedure. At the same time, a broad-based constitutional amendment guaranteeing abortion access, along with gender equality, will likely receive first passage by next week.
Hochul is also pushing for a package of gun control measures following the mass shooting in Buffalo and, most recently, the shooting at an elementary school in Texas.
Hochul, speaking prior to the Texas shooting, said she is "looking at specific weapons and how they're used." She previously announced support for a pistol microstamping bill, as well as efforts to tighten the red flag law, which is meant to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed to be too dangerous.
The governor is expected to be in the Albany suburb of East Greenbush later Wednesday to discuss gun violence issues with a regional task force.
And then there are the issues not capturing the nation's attention, but those Albany must deal with: an extension of mayoral control of New York City schools. Hochul wants a multi-year committment; some restive Democratic lawmakers want changes and even only a year extension while they study new school governance models.
Hochul wants progress on affordable housing measures statewide and an extension of the 421a tax break for developers in New York City, which Democrats are hesitant to do.
She called the controversy over cryptomining, a process that involves a large amount of energy to generate digital tokens, amid a call for a moratorium from advocates in the Finger Lakes region.
"There is a balancing act that's involved here. I understand the passion on both sides of the issue here," she said. "We have to balance the protection of the environment, but also protect the opportunity for jobs that don't see a lot of activity. managed energy properly."
Elections loom over the proceedings: All 213 legislative seats are up for election this year as lawmakers also assess running for different offices following the release of newly drawn district lines.
Hochul herself is competing in a three-candidate Democratic primary on June 28.