Gina Lieneck has been trying to get a vote in the state Senate that would bolster boater safety in New York, requiring operators to receive a classroom safety course before going out on the water. But the bill is one of dozens mired in legislative gridlock.
"It's just frustrating, you know, to have so much support and not be able to get it to the floor for a vote," Lieneck said.
The legislative session is sputtering to a close in Albany with few major accomplishments to show for it. Bills regulating sports gambling and reforming teacher evaluations won't be approved. The sticking point: extending a speed camera program in New York City.
"They want to have speed cameras extended, and so far, the Senate hasn't been willing to respect that," said Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle. "They want us to respect their local governments, but not local governments represented by people in our conference."
The Senate is currently evenly split, with the Democratic and Republican conferences at 31 members each. But it takes 32 votes to pass anything. Democrats blamed Republicans who retain control of what bills come to the floor for a vote.
"They refuse to accept the reality that right now the Senate is evenly split. And if things are to move, they have to move in a bipartisan fashion," said Sen. Mike Gianaris (D - Queens). "They can't pick and choose which bills to bring to the floor and only bring those bills to the floor."
Republican lawmakers blamed Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term this year, saying he's engaged in politics more than governing.
"He's politicized everything now," said Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb. "Everything he does is all about politics, whether it's his gubernatorial re-election campaign or he's looking ahead to 2020."
For Lieneck, the boater safety issue is a personal one. Her 11-year-old daughter died in a boating collision. But despite the frusatrations, she urged New Yorkers to not give up when they want to make a difference in state government.
"Yes, it's been very frustrating here, but don't give up. Let your voice be heard," Lieneck said.
Lawmakers have insisted they have no plans, for now, to return to the Capitol later this year.