Matthew Hamilton reported in Capitol Confidential
that there were more discussions in Albany Dec. 19 about a possible special session of the legislature before the end of the year, but nothing definite. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie would both only stress that it's "the people's business" that should bring legislators to Albany, not a pay raise. "All of the questions seem to be about the pay raise, but it's really about are we going to come back to do things that are important for the people of the state of New York, that's the most important thing," Heastie said. "If the pay raise or the commission (to recommend a raise) is a part of that, so be it. But it's not a trade. We're not making trades. It's, 'Are we going to come back to do the business of the people of the state of New York?'" Local Assemblymember Pete Lopez, who represents Greene County in Albany, explained the situation in a statement to consituents: "As Albany leaders wrangle with the Governor over [a] special session, I believe they will attempt to force a vote that includes the controversial pay raise in the same bill as much needed and expected ethics reforms. This omnibus bill will inevitably include a message of necessity from the Governor, using the Hanukah and Christmas holidays as additional pressure points to move the bill before the first of the year. The pay raise issue will likely be advanced as an extension of the failed Commission which many feel was manipulated by the Governor to wring concessions out of the legislative leadership, particularly Speaker Heastie and his conference." Read the full story in Capitol Confidential.