ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - This week in state government news, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo breaks with tradition and takes his state of the state address on the road and lawmakers return to Albany for the second week of the 2017 session.
Instead of a single address to lawmakers, Cuomo will deliver six speeches in different locations throughout the state this week, beginning Monday in New York City and Buffalo.
Top lawmakers are skipping the events, however, in a sign of the tension between the Democratic governor and the Legislature.
Instead, they’ll be in Albany to begin the second week of the legislative session.
A guide to what’s coming up in the Capitol:
CUOMO SPEAKING TOUR
Governors typically deliver a single state of the state address to lawmakers in Albany, a speech that lays out the executive’s priorities for the coming year.
This year’s road trip is intended to “communicate directly with the citizens,” according to Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.
“Our goal has always been to bring the issues to the people, to develop the public support and then have it communicated to the elected representatives,” he said.
Top lawmakers are skipping the events. Senate Leader John Flanagan declined an invitation, with his spokesman saying he will be in Albany “fulfilling his duties.”
Many lawmakers blame Cuomo for killing a proposal to raise their pay last month. Lawmakers now make $79,500 and haven’t seen a raise in 18 years.
The speeches continue Tuesday on Long Island and in Westchester County and Wednesday in Syracuse and Albany - coincidentally on a day when the Legislature won’t be in town.
Lawmakers are scheduled to be in Albany on Monday and Tuesday for the second week of their 2017 session.
The work has gotten off to its usually slow start, with lawmakers only working a single day in the capitol the first week.
Flanagan, a Long Island Republican, said the year’s focus must be on job creation. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, said his chamber will look for ways to enhance educational opportunities, housing and boost the economy while protecting safety net and health care programs against any efforts to cut federal spending by President-elect Donald Trump or other Republicans in Washington.
Cuomo has made a habit of including details of his state budget proposal in the state of the state, but this year’s changes mean lawmakers may have to wait a little longer to get the details of the spending plan.
A few budget ideas have trickled out, including Cuomo’s proposal to make state university tuition free to middle-class students.
The pace of the session inevitably picks up once the governor releases his plan for the state’s finances. Cuomo and lawmakers hope to adopt a budget before April 1.
Some new laws passed last year are just now taking effect.
Beginning Saturday, it is illegal for restaurants or fish markets to label any fish as “white tuna” unless it comes from a tuna species. The rule is intended to prevent oilfish and escolar from being mislabeled as tuna. Escolar has been known to cause digestive problems.
Starting Jan. 17, car insurance companies will be required to include a disclosure in repair estimates letting the owner know they have the right to take their car to any repair shop they choose.
Another new measure going into effect that day requires motorists to slow down and pull over when passing stopped volunteer firefighters or ambulance workers.
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