Updated 07/19/2012 09:13 PM
Cuomo signs dozens of bills
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed more than 150 pieces of legislation Wednesday night, just before the midnight deadline. Many of those bills were passed in the busy days before the end of the legislative session. Zack Fink has more.
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NEW YORK STATE -- Many of the bills signed by Governor Cuomo are local and specific only to certain areas of New York State.
For example, New York City will now have mandatory kindergarten for five-year-olds. Supporters of the bill, which included members of the New York City Council, say 3,000 kids who were eligible were not enrolling in kindergarten each year. Studies show that early childhood education gives kids a huge advantage when it comes to learning.
"The impetus of this particular legislation was that members of the City Council heard around the city that parents who were registering their kids in kindergarten when their kids were five-years-old were basically being told that they can wait until their kids are six-years-old. Our classes are overcrowded. Basically, they were being shooed away," said Councilmember Robert Jackson.
The Governor also signed legislation banning paraphernalia used for human-orchestrated animal fighting. Specifically, dog fighting.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said, "It includes a breaking stick. A breaking stick allows you to separate the jaw of a dog if it’s caught on to another dog or biting onto another animal."
Another bill gives the city's community boards more input in determining which bars and clubs can obtain liquor licenses through the State Liquor Authority or the SLA. In Hunt's Point, several violent incidents outside nightclubs prompted local leaders to crack down. But under the law, they had little say over what gets licensed. That has now changed.
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo said, "No matter what issues were raised by the community, the SLA simply made a black and white decision based on the applicant's information and not take into consideration the concerns of the community. That has to end and this bill finally recognizes the role of the community in that process."
The legislature passed a total of 571 bills this year. Of those, Cuomo has signed 262 of them, including budget bills. That leaves 309 bills that are awaiting his signature. In this latest round of signings, there were no vetoes.