Assembly Democrats Tuesday said approving an additional $35 million in flood relief for Lake Ontario property owners is a priority. But it's not clear when that funding may be given the OK by the full Legislature.
“The quickest that we are all back in here, I believe that will be one of the things that's on the agenda whether it's in a special session or if we come back in January,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) said.
Assembly Democrats returned Tuesday at the Capitol to meet privately for several hours.
The meeting followed multiple comments about a possible special session from Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the last several weeks, with flood relief among the items being considered.
“Hopefully whenever we reconvene, we'll get the money into the hands of people who need it to rebuild their communities,” Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle (D) said.
Lawmakers and Cuomo earlier this year approved $45 million for communities hit hard by the rising waters of Lake Ontario. But that was half the amount lawmakers had originally sought.
“It was certainly more art than science because we didn't know the level of interest would be and the level of damage would be, so we talked about that if the dollars were sufficient, coming back and doing another appropriation,” said Morelle.
Meanwhile Cuomo has also suggested the Legislature may need to return to contend with federal budget cuts to public welfare hospitals and children's health insurance unless Congress acts.
“I think we're fine, but if some severe federal action comes, I think it will be a larger conversation between the Assembly, Senate and the governor. But if nothing else happens, we may not have to come back,” said Heastie.
For now, no date has been formally set for a special session.