"Let's legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all," Cuomo said Monday during a speech outlining his agenda for the first 100 days of 2019.
He did not provide specifics on what such a program would look like.
It was only a year ago that Cuomo opposed legalization, calling pot a "gateway drug."
But that stand began to shift in January, as he headed into his re-election year and was facing a potential Democratic primary from the left. He ordered the state
Cuomo in August the put together a panel to develop possible legislation that could be considered in the 2019 legislative session.
On Monday, he coupled the legalization of pot with other criminal justice reforms, like the end of cash bail, that could help minority communities.
A coalition of black leaders advocating for the legalization of pot said any bill be designed to benefit minority communities that have been hit hardest by the war on drugs, including expunging the records of any non-violent pot convictions,
Cuomo's 2019 agenda also includes calls for congestion pricing to help fund needed subway improvements, more affordable housing, voting and criminal justice reforms, and passage of the Child Victims Act that would make it easier for child sex abuse survivors to seek justice as adults--and he wants it all passed in the year's first 100 days.
"We want to make sure that
Most of what Cuomo laid out in a 50-minute speech that sounded like an early State of the State address at the
But with the
"Today we are called to govern at a time of great social crisis that also threatens the great well being of the nation," Cuomo said in a speech that carried a theme of what former President and
Protesters opposing the deal to bring Amazon to
Cuomo, who is going into his third term, also said for the first time that he wants to keep an expiring tax on the wealthy in place, ban all corporate campaign donations, make a 2% cap on local property tax hikes permanent, declare
He spoke of regulating the "gig economy", including potentially mandating sick days, and said he will push more pro-union and immigration policies, like creation of a state DREAM Act that would provide access to state college tuition assistance programs for the children of undocumented immigrants.
With a recent court order striking down the Obamacare law, Cuomo said he wants to put the state's health care exchange that allows many New Yorkers to purchase more affordable health coverage into law and enact a law making sure those with pre-existing conditions are covered.
He did not, however, mention enacting a single-payer health care plan that many legislative
In addition to calling for passage of a congestion pricing plan, Cuomo called for an overhaul at the MTA.
"We have to change the culture, the numbers that they produce have to add up," he said. "We have to remove and reduce the levels and layers of inactivity and bureaucracy and end the benign neglect.
"No governor, no mayor, no county executive, no state Legislature will fulfill their public obligation this year without addressing this critical need, period," Cuomo added.
Without specifically mentioning the crisis with the
He also called for a reform of the expiring rent laws, including doing away with a provision that allows an apartment to come off the market once it reaches a certain rent threshold and becomes vacant.
Like he did throughout his re-election campaign this year, Cuomo vowed to strengthen the state's abortion laws, enact additional gun control measures, add gender identity and expression to the state's anti-discrimination laws, and continue an aggressive infrastructure program.
Cuomo said having the
In the end,
"Politics and government are not about talk," he said. "It's about action at the end of the day. And there is nothing progressive about a politician that fails to accomplish anything in the name of trying to accomplish everything."
One legislative insider accused Cuomo of co-opting much of the legislative
"It was great seeing a first-term governor laying out a vision like that," the Dem said sarcastically about the third-term governor.
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