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Corruption, scandal lead to little work at Capitol
ALBANY -- The 2013 legislative session could go down as the least productive, in terms of the number of bills passed, in the history of New York State.
According to the New York Public Interest Research Group, NYPIRG, as of June 16th just 194 bills had passed both the senate and the assembly. That is 31 fewer than this time last year and 181 fewer than this time in 2011, research shows.
For this current legislative body to avoid the least productive stigma they will need to approve 378 bills by Thursday June 20th, the scheduled last day of session.
The fewest number of bills passed, all time, occurred in 2012 when just 571 were approved by the senate and assembly, NYPIRG research shows.
Many lawmakers said Monday they believe the corruption and scandals slowed progress this year.
"I think it has gotten us off track," said Assembly member Steve McLaughlin, R- Melrose.
"It has been the focus of this session if you will. It has been the focal point of what is going on here," McLaughlin added.
Many lawmakers agree with McLaughlin both in his own house and in the senate. Lawmakers from both parties also agree with him.
"I absolutely do, I think people are more anxious to go home," said Senator Neil Breslin, D-Delmar.
Since the beginning of session lawmakers have been answering questions about scandals. It all started in August of 2012 when it was made public Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver approved a taxpayer funded cash settlement to two of former Assemblyman Vito Lopez's staffers.
Four women in all accused Lopez of sexual harassment.
Also in this session five state lawmakers were arrested and charged with various crimes from bribery to extortion to embezzlement.