ALBANY – New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is looking to capitalize on a democrat controlled senate to increase education spending, legalize pot, and pass the Child Victims Act.
During the speech at the Hart Theater in Albany, Cuomo led by highlighting his accomplishments in 2018.
“We have the National Comedy Center that just broke ground, just opened up about five months ago, already you have visitors from 49 states going to Jamestown, New York to our comedy center, isn’t that amazing,” said Cuomo.
After calling marijuana a “gateway drug” about a year ago, governor is backing the legalization of adult-use marijuana, estimating $300 million in revenue.
Adult-use marijuana would be limited to those over age 21 and local governments would be allowed to opt out.
Cuomo wants to permit personal use as well as retail sales.
Marijuana would also be subject to taxes at the cultivation and wholesale level as well as a 20 percent tax on retail sales.
The governor said he also wants the state to expand the bottle bill to include 5-cent deposits on most non-alcoholic containers such as sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable beverages, and ready-to-drink bottled tea and coffee.
Dairy milk, milk substitutes, infant formula, syrups, and flavorings would be exempted.
Cuomo said the state should ban the use of single-use plastic bags at stores across New York and add a 5-cent deposit to most non-alcoholic beverages not already included in the state’s bottle bill.
His effort to get a plastic bag ban passed last year was shot down by the then-Republican-controlled Senate.
The Governor also is calling on more money for education.
Cuomo said he wants to increase aid by $956 million for a total of $27.7 billion, including another $338 million in Foundation Aid, which is the general operating funding for school districts.
The total for Foundation Aid is far short of what education advocates are seeking to fund schools.
Finally, Cuomo said he will pass the Child Victims Act in 2019.
Cuomo said the legislation ensures those who abuse children are held accountable criminally and civilly and that survivors of childhood sexual abuse have a path to justice.
The Governor advocated for passage of the Child Victims Act last legislative session but the bill was unable to pass in the Senate.
“In the old days too many good ideas went to the State Senate to die,” said Cuomo. “Now good ideas will go to the Senate to be born.”
Under current law, child sexual abuse offenses cannot be prosecuted after five years from their occurrence and civil lawsuits for this conduct must be brought within three years from the victim’s 18th birthday.
The Governor also vowed to combat currption. WNYNewsNow will have more on his speach tomorrow on WNYNewsNow.com.