Gov. Andrew Cuomo has gone outside the legislative process in recent weeks to appoint a special prosecutor for police killings, create a wage board for fast-food workers and suspend a yet-to-launch database for background checks on ammunition sales.
But one of those things is not like the others, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Tuesday.
In an interview on public radio’s “The Capitol Pressroom,” Heastie, D-Bronx, said Cuomo’s move to suspend the ammo database isn’t the same as he other executive actions because the SAFE Act — the 2013 gun-control law that authorized the database — was negotiated by the governor and the Legislature.
Jim Malatras, a top Cuomo aide, and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this month that requires the Senate GOP to sign off on a plan that would allow the database to launch. Until the database launches, background checks on sales of ammunition in New York won’t go into effect.
Host Susan Arbetter asked Heastie if he thought Cuomo “crossed a line” by entering the agreement, which did not include the Assembly.
“I guess that’s a question you’d have to ask him,” Heastie said. “I didn’t agree with it. We’ve talked about it. He has said to me that when the technology is ready for the database, it will be done.”
The database had not launched since the SAFE Act was signed into law, with Cuomo’s administration citing issues regarding cost and technology.
Heastie, who toured Syracuse Tuesday, said Cuomo maintains the database will launch when those issues are resolved, but he acknowledged Senate Republicans now have power over the process.
“That was one of the things I did say to the governor,” he said. “It does give the Senate Republicans the opportunity I guess to have veto power over it. So it was something that — we weren’t too happy about that. He still says when it’s ready it will be done, and I just think that’s something the (public) will have to hold his feet to the fire on.”