In his State of the State address on Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo did what most politicians do laying out their report card– boast past accomplishments and lay out future priorities.
Cuomo credited himself for bringing the state back from the brink of an abyss: “We did what we said we were going to,” he said. “We changed the direction of the state for the better.”
In his speech, he also delivered a broad election-year agenda that advocated for modernizing New York City’s airports, passing the Women’s Equality Act, legalizing medical marijuana and increasing funding for education.
Cuomo wants the state to take over from The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey construction projects at LaGuardia Airport and Kennedy International Airport . He suggested upgrades to modernize both airports and bring retail shopping, restaurants and free Wi-Fi.
Cuomo also pushed for the passage of his bill outlining measures extending women’s rights: “Discrimination against women still exists. It’s just been another year when government has failed to act and protect women. Stop playing politics with women’s rights, and pass the Women’s Equality Act this year,” Cuomo said.
He also revealed new details of a plan to allow 20 hospitals statewide to prescribe marijuana to patients with cancer and other severe ailments, although his plan will be more restrictive than programs in some other states, such as California.
Senator Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn/Manhattan), who is the Senate sponsor of legislation to reform the in-plain-view marijuana statute, said, “The Governor’s medical marijuana proposal represents a real step toward addressing our broken marijuana policy.
“That’s why I applaud the Governor for moving medical marijuana forward, and urge action on in-plain-view as well.”
Cuomo also said he plans to use as much as $2 billion to upgrade public schools and provide them better equipment, as well as award top teachers with performance bonuses.
Brooklyn Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley said that although he applauded the governor’s commitment to strengthening New York’s gun laws and economically revitalizing the upstate region with bold initiatives, there was still a lot left to accomplish.
“Comprehensive criminal justice reform, increased commitments to protecting workers rights, and new gateways to education through the Dream Act and universal pre-K in the downstate region all can and should be passed into law this legislative session,” said Mosley. “As Brooklyn and New York City continue to face disproportionate unemployment rates, hospital closures and skyrocketing costs of living – I respectfully urge Governor Cuomo to make all working families throughout New York State a real priority.”