Rachel Silberstein reports in the Albany Times Union
that the more things change in the state capitol, the more they stay the same. For years, a group of Democrats called the Independent Democratic Conference voted with Republicans in the State Senate, which meant that only centrist or bipartisan bills could be passed. The election last November swept in enough Democrats to take over the chamber, and for the beginning of the legislative session this year, Democrats, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, got many bills made into laws. Now, though, with the session ending June 19, Senate Democrats say that Cuomo and a few senators from Long Island are blocking several issues such as rent control, marijuana legalization, and bills to combat climate change. "The governor has created an IDC on Long Island that he basically controls. ... The Long Island six are undermining Andrea Stewart-Cousins," said Jeremy Saunders, co-director of Vocal NY, a group in favor of marijuana legalization. Cuomo, interviewed June 6, seemed to agree. "What you have is the clash of the New York City Democrats ... but then you have Long Island where you have more moderate Democrats, upstate where you have more moderate Democrats," Cuomo said. Sen. Liz Krueger, who is sponsoring the marijuana legalization bill in the Senate, said three-way talks between the Cuomo administration and the Senate and Assembly on the issue have not happened since April. "It would be amazing if the governor would come to the table on this and we could get this done before we go home," Krueger said. Read more about this story in the Albany Times Union.