The agreement includes provisions that will increase penalties for
the distribution of illegal drugs, make it easier for addicts to get
treatment, and create a public awareness campaign.
"Denial is not an option and we should not deny the problem we
currently have with heroin. It is growing. It is growing
exponentially," said Cuomo, who called the bill his top priority for
the current legislative session, which ends on Thursday.
The Democratic governor said New York now accounted for one-third of
all heroin seizures made in the country.
With the session winding down, it was not clear if a series of bills
seen as liberal priorities, including medical marijuana, a ban on
gay conversion therapy and a minimum wage increase, would be brought
to a vote in the state Senate, where a breakaway group of Democrats
have a power-sharing agreement with Republicans.
In some cases, the bills are seen as potential casualties of a power
struggle in the state capital. Republicans are fighting to maintain
their control of the Senate, and Cuomo, who is up for re-election in
November, faces mounting pressure to help restore his party to power
in that chamber
Jason Elan, a spokesman for the Senate's independent Democratic
conference, which shares power with Senate Republicans, said the
bills remained "under negotiation."
The medical marijuana bill, which would allow doctors to prescribe
the drug to a limited group of severely ill patients, has met
opposition not just from Senate Republicans, but from Cuomo.
[to top of second column]
Advocates and the bill's sponsors say negotiations with the governor
A bill to protect minors from practices aimed at changing their
sexual orientation or gender identity, which was passed by the
Democratic-controlled Assembly on Monday, also faces an uncertain
future in the Senate.
Just two other states, California and New Jersey, have passed a
A proposed increase in the state's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour
from $8, which was introduced by Cuomo, might also die in this
(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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