The New York State legislature now has eleven unfilled seats, after one Assemblyman resigned over a sexual harassment scandal, and another was expelled after being convicted of a felony. But it could be another year before those seats are filled.
In recent days, Assemblyman Eric Stevenson of the Bronx was automatically ousted from the Assembly when he was convicted on felony bribery charges. Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak of Cheektowaga resigned under pressure after seven women accused him of sexual harassment.
An Assemblyman from the Bronx has been convicted of corruption charges, meanwhile an Assemblyman from the Buffalo area resigned over accusations of sexual harassment.
On the first formal day of the legislative session, Assemblyman Eric Stevenson was convicted of bribery by a federal jury after he took $20,000 from adult day care developers in exchange for promising favorable legislation. Under state law, Stevenson is automatically removed from office.
Governor Cuomo, in his State of the State speech, once again called for a reform package to address corruption in the legislature. Last year, bills to crack down on bribery and enact public campaign financing were never passed.
The legislature failed in 2013 to act on any of the governor’s reform proposals, despite several arrests, indictments, and imprisonments of lawmakers.
Governor Cuomo officially called for limited access to medical marijuana in his State of the State address. But sponsors of a bill to allow the illegal drug to be used for some medical treatments say Cuomo’s plan is outdated and won’t work.
Governor Cuomo will use powers under a law created three decades ago that is designed to give New Yorkers with cancer, glaucoma, and other serious conditions access to marijuana as a medical treatment.