- Associated Press - Saturday, April 15, 2017

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - In this week’s New York state government news: ethics reforms and changes designed to make it easier to vote were left out of the state budget but could resurface when lawmakers return from spring break.

Mayoral control of schools in New York City is another big item remaining on lawmakers’ to-do list.

Legislators are now on a two-week break following approval of the new budget.

A look at some of the top issues they’ll face when they return:

MAYORAL CONTROL



One of the biggest items left out of the recently approved state budget is the renewal of the law giving Mayor Bill de Blasio control of New York City schools.

Last year, lawmakers granted the Democratic de Blasio only a one-year extension of the policy, despite pleas from the mayor for a longer renewal.

Democrats in the Assembly are likely to support a multi-year extension but the Republicans in the state Senate have blocked similar proposals in the past.

Either way, it’s unlikely lawmakers will let mayoral control of schools lapse entirely. The policy was implemented at the behest of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who argued it made sense to give City Hall control over public education in the nation’s largest city.

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ETHICS REFORM

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed tighter campaign finance limits, term limits and restrictions on how much lawmakers can make from outside jobs, but none of those government reform ideas made it into the budget.

While the broader debate over Albany corruption will almost certainly resurface when lawmakers reconvene the outlook for ethics reform hasn’t improved much.

Significant changes have been proposed for years, only to languish.

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ELECTION CHANGES

Cuomo, Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and several lawmakers wanted the state to authorize early voting and easier voter registration following widespread complaints during last year’s election.

New York is one of a minority of states that doesn’t allow early voting, and the state has some of the most restrictive registration rules in the country. Critics of the state’s election laws say the antiquated and hard to understand rules are the main reason why the state regularly has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the nation.

Early party enrollment deadlines prevented many people from casting a primary ballot last year, including two of President Donald Trump’s children.

Nonetheless, reforms were left out of the budget, prompting advocates to hope for another chance this spring.

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