ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The New York Legislature adjourned its 2018 session Thursday, with several big-ticket items left undone.
As CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, some might say it was the “do nothing” party that prevailed in Albany.
But why get down to business when there are pranks to be played? As Kramer reported, some Republicans thought it would be fun to tape Sen. Simcha Felder – a Democrat who votes with Republicans — to his chair, apparently wanting him to still feel wanted in conference next year.
“They should be ashamed of themselves,” said Amy Cohen, whose young son, Sammy, died in a traffic accident.
She was furious that while lawmakers had time for the fun and games, they refused to renew speed camera authorization in New York City.
Cohen had just come back from an Albany lobbying trip, with an inside look at what it’s like to try to talk to lawmakers. On the speed camera bill, Felder was a particular target, because to win him over could have meant the bill would pass. She followed him down the hall, trying to talk to him.
“Hundreds and hundreds of your constituents have written you letters. We hope you will take the time to read them,” she said.
Felder refused to take the letters, so Cohen threw them into the elevator after him.
“I’ve read some of those,” he said.
But her efforts were futile. The bill was not re-authorized, leaving New York City turn off cameras in 140 school zones next month.
“Heartbroken, angry, frustrated. I join with Mayor de Blasio, with the city’s police commissioner, with the schools chancellor to call on the Legislature to come back in session,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
The city said the speed cameras have meant 17 percent fewer injuries and 55 percent fewer deaths.
“These cameras have been life-saving,” Trottenberg said. “People could die.”
On a conference call, the governor said the Senate was the road black to speed cameras and the cameras need to be in place before school starts.
“I think it would be an atrocity if the Senate doesn’t make sure that the speed cameras aren’t renewed by September,” he said. “I will bring them back at any time on a moment’s notice.”
“I think the Senate is 100 percent wrong. It is an abrogation of their responsibility,” he added.
A spokesperson for the Senate Republicans said the mayor is to blame for not renewing speed cameras, saying that not once did de Blasio call the Senate majority leader to have a conversation about his priorities.
As for Felder, he told Kramer he would be willing to come back for a special session to address speed cameras and other issues.