Gov. Andrew Cuomo today essentially ruled out the passage of a bill by Thursday to reduce certain marijuana penalties, while saying one limiting the disclosure of teacher evaluations appears unlikely to receive approval.
In a news conference earlier this afternoon in the Capitol’s Red Room, Cuomo said he isn’t currently willing to compromise on his position on revealing the job-performance ratings of teachers.
The governor introduced a bill just before midnight last night—the deadline for introduction in order for the Legislature to vote by Thursday—that would allow parents to view the rating of their child’s teacher. In addition, most teachers’ ratings would be published on the state Education Department’s website, although without attaching the teacher’s name to them.
The state Legislature’s last scheduled day at the Capitol this year is Thursday. The Assembly has indicated it will pass Cuomo’s proposal, while the Senate GOP said it is currently reviewing the proposal. Cuomo said he believes it likely won’t be passed this week.
“The reason we sent up the bill on the disclosure of teacher evaluations is more I want my position clear, and I want my specific position to be known,” Cuomo said. “This is a topic that has been discussed and debated and argued. There have been a lot of editorials on it. There have been very few facts on it.”
Cuomo said his marijuana proposal is an even longer shot to get done by Thursday. Cuomo has proposed reducing the penalty for the public possession of less than 25 grams of pot, asking lawmakers to bring it down to a violation from a misdemeanor.
The issue is primarily a New York City one. Due to the city’s stop-and-frisk policy, people have been charged with misdemeanor possession when asked by a police officer to empty their pockets for another violation.
Assembly Democrats were on board with Cuomo’s proposal; Senate Republicans had offered stiff opposition.
“Some issues are a little bit more complicated. They go on for a longer period of time, and they take more time to … explain, more time to discuss,” Cuomo said. “I think the quote-unquote decriminalization of marijuana is one of those issues.”
Here’s Cuomo discussing the teacher-evaluation bill: