A new year means a new legislative session starting in Albany on Wednesday morning. And with Democrats taking control for the first time in 70 years, there are a lot of proposals that might have more of a chance to become reality here in New York.
One of the primary measures right of out the gate could be legalization of recreational marijuana. And with State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples Stokes as majority leader we have an idea of how they might proceed to set it up just like some other states. She says, "I think the model they use in Massachusetts and some other places across the country would be the one most favorable, and that's a combination of state taxation, state liquor authority, and state health department that would come up with the regulations and actual implementation."
The Child Victims Act has been effectively blocked in the past but it may have even more momentum now in the legislature following the explosive revelations. and the increasing list of Catholic priests cited for alleged abuse.
The measure would extend the statute of limitation regarding child sex abuise crimes so that any victim up to age 50 could file a lawsuit against the abuser and any institution which enabled them. That raises the current age limit of 23 and a a one-year lookback window. Governor Cuomo has told us he is on board "If you were abused by a member of the clergy, or someone else, you deserve to have that acknowledged. And that's what the child victims act is all about."
Then there seems to be a new stronger push to tackle the issue of corruption after 30 lawmakers since 2000 have left office with criminal or ethics allegations against them.
There is a plan for a new independent ethics commission. That could replace the two existing panels which are under the control of the Governor and lawmakers who can easily shutdown investigations.
Another bill would cut off campaign funding to lawmakers convicted on a corruption charge within two years of that conviction. There have been similar efforts in the past which never really got off the ground. But a new session perhaps brings a new chance for progress on this issue which obviously frustrates taxpayers.