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Assembly speaker on special session: Depends on what Washington does

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in recent weeks has talked up the possible need for a special session of the Legislature to deal with such issues as federal funding cuts and additional bailout funds for victims of Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River flooding.

Assembly Democrats returned to Albany Tuesday to huddle in a private conference to discuss a range of issues coming up in 2018, and perhaps returning to the Capitol sometime in November or December.

But Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said several GOP-proposed changes in Washington that would affect health care and other programs — digging into the state's budget — have either not been enacted or still are being negotiated.

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With rank-and-file members in both houses not jumping at a special session, the Bronx Democrat said a return to Albany likely will occur if “some severe” federal action occurs that affects the state’s finances.

“As long as nothing else really bad happens, we may not have to come back,’’ Heastie said after meeting with his colleagues at the Capitol.

Lawmakers noted that the Senate and Assembly earlier this year agreed on a $90 million aid package for homeowners and businesses affected by flooding along Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shorelines. The final deal pushed by Cuomo reduced the aid package to $45 million.

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Cuomo more recently has proposed another $35 million for the communities affected by this year’s flooding. Heastie said both houses and Cuomo agree more aid is needed. He said that will either occur in a special session or soon after lawmakers return in early January.

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