BUFFALO, N.Y. — Some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continue to call for the state Legislature to return to Albany for a special session.
There’s a number of issues the Legislature could address if they return to Albany. However, the top priority on the docket would be dealing with the more than a 100,000 migrants that have arrived to New York City and subsequently other parts of the state, and the costs and challenges associated with the population.
In Buffalo, where Gov. Kathy Hochul spoke Friday morning before heading to Rochester, Democratic Assembly Member Jon Rivera, D-Buffalo, said he's ready should the speaker and Senate majority leader agree to call lawmakers back. He said he's hopeful he and his colleagues can find solutions soon.
"It's my not just thought but it's really my hope that we do go back,” Rivera said. “At the end of the day, people have elected us to do this kind of work so we, I know I can't speak for all my colleagues, but for a lot that I've spoken too, we are ready to go back to Albany.”
Hochul said what individual members call for is their own prerogative, but it won't dictate her decision. There are mechanisms either for her or the Senate and Assembly leaders to call an extraordinary or special session, but she said they make those decisions in concert.
Hochul said they have had a conversation about what that would accomplish. She said they agree there is a need for emergency appropriations in addition to the $1 billion that was in the budget to support communities receiving migrants.
However, the governor said that doesn't mean lawmakers need to come back right away. Hochul said what would make a difference right now is the White House giving Venezuelan asylum seekers temporary protective status.
"If they receive this designation as other nations have received, they could start work almost immediately, and what a game-changer that would be,” she said. “I don't need to go back to the Legislature for that. That would take 40% of the people with a path out of the shelter or the system or the need to be receiving assistance for the taxpayers.”
The governor said she was on a call again with the Biden administration until late Thursday night. Hochul has also discussed the possibility of the state implementing its own emergency work authorization for migrants, although the White House is discouraging states from taking that kind of action.