Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday set a detailed agenda for a potential special session of the Legislature in December if lawmakers plan to again push for pay raises for themselves, although neither the Senate nor the Assembly has agreed to return to Albany.
Cuomo put pressure on the Legislature during a press event upstate saying that if legislators hold a special session to reauthorize a pay raise commission that would lead to higher pay in January, they will also be confronted with several measures that Cuomo wants done.
“I’m saying to the Legislature, that’s great to come back to reauthorize the pay commission and get a raise,” Cuomo told reporters in Hornell. “What’s even better is if you do the peoples’ business when you come back because we have a number of things that are critical to get done now for the people.”
Hours later, the Senate’s Republican majority confirmed talks are underway that could lead to a special session, but said no decisions have yet been made.
“A number of issues have been raised,” said Scott Reif, Senate GOP spokesman. “There have been discussions.”
There was no immediate comment from the Assembly’s Democratic majority.
The pay commission appointed by Cuomo and legislative leaders was expected to enact a pay raise following the legislative elections in November. But lawmakers blame Cuomo’s appointees for blocking the panel’s recommendation that would have triggered raises Jan. 1 without lawmakers having to make the politically dicey vote to raise their pay. Lawmakers are paid $79,500 in base pay for the part-time positions, although most make six figures with leadership stipends and per-diem expense checks.
Cuomo said he wants the Legislature to release $2 billion in housing aid to get the homeless off the streets this winter, to enact tougher hate crime sanctions in the wake of a rise in threats statewide after the election of President-elect Donald Trump, and to change procurement statues in at the public university systems.