Final Deals Elusive as NY Lawmakers Aim for Adjournment

ALBANY (AP) -

New York lawmakers lumbered toward adjournment Thursday, seeking final deals on proposals to extend Mayor Bill de Blasio’s control of New York City schools and rein in government corruption.

Leaders of the Senate and Assembly said they hoped to end the 2016 session by Friday, though lawmakers will need to work briskly through hundreds of bills to make that deadline.

Mayoral control of NYC schools remained the most significant undecided issue Thursday afternoon. Senate Republicans have supported a one-year renewal of the policy first enacted in 2002. Assembly Democrats and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo want a three-year extension.

The Senate offered a three-year extension in exchange for a tax credit for private school scholarships, an issue which would greatly resolve the tuition burden for yeshivah and catholic school parents. The Assembly rejected it immediately.

Efforts to rein in corruption continued to get short shrift in the session’s final days, though the Assembly is expected to consider a state Constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters, would strip the pensions of lawmakers convicted of corruption. The measure has already passed the Senate. Because it would revise the Constitution, the proposal would need to pass both chambers again next year.

Among the many bills making progress Thursday was a measure requiring public schools to test their water for lead. Schools built after 2014 would be exempt, and facilities that find lead would get financial help.

Deals have already been struck on bills to combat opioid addiction, expand cancer screening and allow bars and restaurants to sell alcohol before noon on Sundays. Those bills began working their way through the Legislature Thursday evening.

The measure will restrict opioid prescriptions to seven days and expand treatment options while changing insurance rules to make it easier for addicts to seek help.

Several high-profile bills are not expected to get votes, including permitting ride-hailing services including Uber to expand upstate and legislation requiring the labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.