Every year, a huge number of bills get passed in the final days of the legislative session.  In addition to committees (including committee staff) having taken time to study issues that may be complex or controversial, delaying action until the last minute, there is also, frankly, a good bit of horse trading going on. Legislative staffers work around the clock, and both the Assembly and Senate are scheduled to meet every single day this week (June 13-17), plus next Monday.  Now is the time to watch what is called the “active calendar”– the list of bills that are scheduled to be brought to the floor– to see which bills are likely to move.  It is also a time to closely attend to which bills are picking up sponsors, as legislators tend to add their sponsorship when a bill is headed for the floor.

At this point, it is particularly important to watch the Senate.  In general, the Democrats, and thus, the Assembly, where the Democrats are in the majority, have been more assertive about moving bills related to hydrofracking.  Republican leadership has, for the most part, advocated no legislative action until the DEC is finished with the draft SGEIS document.  The Senate active calendar can be found here. [Note regarding active calendar link: to get today’s version, you must replace the date in the URL with today’s date]  Bills are listed in numerical order, but the number has little significance– you must read through to find bills by bill number and sponsor (and, yes, there are always a lot of bills on the active calendar at the end of session– they move through pretty quickly).

For today, Monday June 13, the Water Withdrawal bill, S3798-2011 , sponsored by Environmental Conservation Committee chair Senator Grisanti, is scheduled to be considered.  A same-as bill has already passed in the Assembly.  While there has been significant controversy about this bill in the environmentalist community (more  on that, including links, here ), there has been little controversy about this bill in the Assembly.  It will be interesting to see if the Senate passes it– typically, once a bill is on the active calendar, it is headed for the Governor’s desk.

UPDATE:  Thanks to Gerri Wiley, who points out the following bill, also on today’s active calendar in the Senate.  The “same as” in the Assembly, A7300A , is in the Environmental Conservation Committee.

  • Calendar: 343 / Sponsor: LIBOUS / Printed No.: S3137A-2011
    Title: Authorizes counties to lease county land for natural gas exploration, development and production for 5 years or as long as gas is produced
  • This legislation has been requested by Chenango County, to allow them to
    enjoy the same benefits the Charter Counties are entitled to.

UPDATE, 6/14/11: The Water Withdrawal bill did not come to the floor for a vote yesterday, but is expected to soon.  For more info, see: http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20110613/ANOCAT/106130361/New-York-plan-water-use-bogs-down?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE