A coalition of good-government organizations on Monday urged lawmakers to take up a bare-bones budget that excludes big policy measures that have little to do with revenue and spending.
NYPIRG, the League of Women Voters, Citizens Union, and more, in a joint statement, said the top priority right now for lawmakers should be addressing the coronavirus and passing a state budget.
"Lawmakers must remain focused on that goal alone, and not try to cram through unrelated policy issues as part of the budget," wrote the group. "With all of the confusion and uncertainty around COVID-19, sunshine and clarity in areas we have control over is more vital than ever."
On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo again urged lawmakers to pass a complete budget, including decisions on big policy items such as marijuana, paid surrogacy and more. Calling them soldiers in a war, he says the duty of lawmakers is more important now than it has ever been before.
However, both the Senate and Assembly postponed their legislative sessions until at least Wednesday. Two Assembly members tested positive for the coronavirus over the weekend and others have decided to self-quarantine when they return from Albany, such as Assemblyman Pat Burke from Buffalo.
"I wouldn't look at it as a robust budget; it's probably a budget that's going to be lacking in many of the policy items, but at the end of the day we're in uncertain times financially," Assemblyman John McDonald said. "We don't know where the revenues are going to be, and we need to very conservative in our estimates."
When they return, lawmakers are also expected to pass paid sick leave legislation, which was amended to include 14 days of sick time for employees who are quarantined.