Speaking briefly to a pair of reporters, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said today there’s still no deal on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bill to revamp the state’s care for the disabled, and that the independence of a new oversight entity is still a stumbling block.
Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, has expressed concern about Cuomo’s proposed “Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs,” an agency that would have oversight and prosecutorial power over various state entities that offer care for disabled or vulnerable populations. Specifically, Silver has called for greater outside oversight of the agencies, which have been the subject of a New York Times series documenting abuse.
When asked if the Assembly planned to take up an altered version of the bill this week, Silver was succinct: “No.”
“There’s a lot of talk, a lot of discussion,” Silver said, when asked if there has been any progress in negotiations with the Senate (which passed the governor’s bill) or Cuomo himself.
Cuomo has hinted he may keep lawmakers past the scheduled end date of the 2012 session in order to get the Justice Center bill done. The session is set to end June 21.
Aside from the Justice Center bill and a handful of other measures (such as a bill to decriminalize small amounts of pot), there aren’t too many loose ends left to tie for the 2012 session. Silver said that’s because of the major legislative deals that have been accomplished over the past two sessions.
“Well, I think we’ve done a lot of things,” he said. “Look over the last two years, or 18 months of it, we’ve done a tremendous amount in terms of budget, in terms of millionaires tax, in terms of all of the things we did with the budget — that was a highlight. Now, we’re going out and finishing up smaller items.”