Three days remain in the 2016 legislative session. While lawmakers have been in session since January, quite a number of outstanding issues may ultimately pass as part of the long standing tradition of cramming. 692 bills have been introduced or amended since June 1st. Here are some of the issues still on the table during the last week of session:
Ethics: The sides appear to be furthest along on an agreement to change the State Constitution to strip government pensions from officials convicted of felony corruption-related cases. It would need statewide voter approval, which could not come until November 2017 at the earliest.
Heroin: More treatment and additional training for doctors who prescribe painkillers appear increasingly likely to be approved. The Assembly does not appear to support Senate demands for additional criminal sanctions to deal with exploding sales of potentially lethal drugs such as fentanyl.
Health care transportation: Legislation was introduced in the Senate last week, matching an earlier Assembly bill, that would permit hospital outpatient clinics and diagnostic and treatment centers to send health professionals into the homes of patients to provide care. The measure is intended to reduce costly and often burdensome ambulance trips for home-bound patients. The legislation also covers care by a hospital to a patient in a nursing home.
Fantasy sports – Governor Cuomo and lawmakers are weighing whether to legalize daily fantasy sports contests, such as DraftKings and FanDuel. Racetrack-based casinos, as well as several commercial casinos now under construction in three upstate areas, want the right to be licensed to offer fantasy sports contests instead of the online companies.
“Brunch” bill – The bill would allow restaurants, bars and other places with on-premises alcohol licenses to sell alcoholic beverages earlier on a Sunday morning. The laws now ban those sales until noon. Measures on the table would allow sales to start as early as 8 a.m. A compromise of 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. is likely.
Lead testing for water – Lead found in school water has been a growing concern across the state and the nation, and there is a bill that would require schools to regularly test water for lead.