New York lawmakers wrapped up an eventful session this week. Over the past couple of weeks, they passed legislation that included a reorganization of NYRA and a teacher evaluation bill. Nick Reisman takes a look at the just completed session.
NEW YORK STATE -- It's a rare sight in New York politics. The state's fabled three men in a room actually getting along instead of bickering. The regular 2012 legislative session ended with the Governor, Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Leader praising each other.
“This legislative session, in fact, the last eighteen months, forms a record of leadership and achievement unparalleled in recent memory and this is due in no small part to Governor Cuomo,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, too, had nothing been kind words to say about the popular governor.
Skelos said, “We made the people of New York State proud of their government and they’re proud of the government because of the leadership you've shown, the leadership that all the members of the Legislature have shown, so I'm very proud to be part of this process.”
Cuomo has had an unusually productive first year and a half of his four-year term. He's sitting on a 70 percent approval rating along with a deep well of political capital.
Naturally, he touted this legislative session's highlights, which include a new pension tier, an overhaul of reporting for the developmentally disabled and an expansion of the state's DNA database.
“I believe that this legislative session is one of the most successful in modern political history,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo took control in 2011, at a time when the state seemed utterly unfixable. In that time since, he's managed to assume broad authority over different operations of the state and expand the reach of the governor's office. Cuomo says it's all about making the state hospitable to businesses once more.
“The effort to make government work is so that you make the state work, right? So that the state's business climate is better, so that jobs are coming back to New York so that New York works,” Cuomo said.
And more than two years before his own re-election, the governor can tout that he already achieved much of his campaign promises, including the legalization of same-sex marriage. Listen for this phrase or some variation of it to be repeated through the next two years.
“We did what we said we would do,” Cuomo said.