Law & Order
Wheeling and Dealing
The first of the slew of deals expected to be made in Albany tonight is done. Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos announced an agreement that will expand the state’s DNA databank to include samples from every person convicted of a felony or penal misdemeanor. Expanding the databank was one of the main initiatives in Governor Cuomo’s 2012 agenda.
“It is a proven fact: DNA helps solve crimes, prosecute the guilty, and protects the innocent,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement announcing the deal. “This bill will greatly improve law enforcement’s ability to keep New York communities safe and bring justice to victims of violent crimes, as well as those who have been wrongly convicted. For too long, a limiting factor to our ability to solve crimes through DNA was the fact the law did not encompass all crimes. This new law will right those wrongs. I commend Majority Leader Skelos and Speaker Silver for their leadership on this issue and thank the members of the Legislature for putting New Yorkers first.”
Law & Order
On the eve of the court deadline for the Legislature to present their progress on state legislative redistricting, lawmakers in Albany are set to announce deals on the new boundaries and nearly every other major issue on the table tonight. A member of the Assembly told The Politicker lawmakers are in conference and the precise details of the various deals are still being worked out, but somethnoing will definitely emerge this evening.
“We’re going to be doing something tonight,” said the lawmaker, who didn’t want to have his name published, adding it is expected to be a late night.
A staffer in the Legislature familiar with the machinations behind the dealmaking told The Politicker Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to get a slew of his pet projects passed; a DNA databank, pension reform and a constitutional amendment legalizing casino gambling, in exchange for allowing the Legislature to draw their own redistricting lines.
“The Governor’s holding redistricting over their heads,” the staffer said. “It probably had to do with a few things like DNA or pension reform in exchange for getting redistricting.”
The State Senate passed the DNA Databank Expansion Bill yesterday, which would expand New York’s databank to include samples from anyone convicted of a felony or penal law misdemeanor.
Governor Cuomo promptly issued a statement calling the bill “an important step in protecting New Yorkers and modernizing the state’s criminal justice system.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave his verdict on the ambitious slate of plans for New York Governor Cuomo presented in his annual State of the State address in a press conference following the speech today. Overall, the mayor called it a “very good speech.”
“I thought the governor’s speech left us all walking out thinking it was a great hope for the state, the state is going in the right direction and it’s a challenge to all of us to put our nose to the grindstone and actually do the work,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
Mayor Bloomberg expressed support for most of Governor Cuomo’s ideas, but he did take issue with Governor Cuomo’s plan to end New York City’s program of fingerprinting food stamp applicants. Despite the disagreement, Mayor Bloomberg once again insisted the rumors of tensions between City Hall and the Governor’s Mansion are greatly exaggerated.