New York governor to push voting access, budget fixes in State of State

On the same day that Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives planned to move toward removing Republican President Donald Trump from office after a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, Cuomo will turn a spotlight on expanding voter access in New York.

Reuters | Updated: 11-01-2021 21:45 IST | Created: 11-01-2021 21:45 IST
New York governor to push voting access, budget fixes in State of State

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday will unveil proposals intended to right a state economy listing from COVID-19 shutdowns and to expand voter access, an issue at the center of a national debate over the future of democracy in the United States.

In his State of the State address, Cuomo will lay out details of his plan to employ online sports betting and recreational marijuana to help close a multibillion-dollar budget hole in New York, once the epicenter of the pandemic that has killed more than 370,000 people in the United States. On the same day that Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives planned to move toward removing Republican President Donald Trump from office after a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, Cuomo will turn a spotlight on expanding voter access in New York. The Democratic governor's proposals include adding time for early voting, broadening availability of absentee ballots and speeding up vote counting.

"Our election system, on which our democracy is built, has, and continues to be under attack by those seeking to undermine the founding principles of our nation and we must not only protect it, but ensure it can be accessed by all," Cuomo said in a statement. Trump at a rally last week urged thousands of his supporters to march on the Capitol, repeating his false claims that his resounding election defeat was illegitimate. A mob attacked the Capitol, scattering lawmakers who were certifying Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's election victory and leaving five dead, including a Capitol Police officer.

In a brief preview last week, Cuomo said he would push ahead with his third attempt to legalize recreational cannabis, which was expected to eventually generate more than $300 million in tax revenue. This time, the governor is proposing a new Office of Cannabis Management to devise adult-use recreational programs, which would run parallel to the state's existing medical marijuana programs, according to local media.

In 2019, Cuomo signed legislation to decriminalize unlawful possession of marijuana. Online sports betting in New York could bring in another $500 million a year, said Cuomo, who for years has resisted its legalization.

Neighboring New Jersey has legalized both recreational marijuana and mobile sports betting, with New Jersey's sports betting handle, or total amount wagered, in November amounting to $931.6 million. At the same time, New Jersey's sports books recorded $50.6 million in revenue and $6.2 million in taxes. An estimated 20 percent of New Jersey's sports betting revenue comes from New Yorkers who cross bridges and tunnels to bet.

Under a proposal Cuomo previewed last week, the New York State Gaming Commission would select a sports operator or platform that has partnered with an existing licensed casino.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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