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The latest on SUNY Empowerment

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Albany/HV: The latest on SUNY Empowerment
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Lawmakers left Albany last week with a framework in place for a deal on SUNY empowerment. Those deals have not yet been made public just yet. Our Kaitlyn Ross has more on where the plan stands.

NEW YORK STATE -- "To the public, there are only two speeds to the legislature. Too fast or too slow," said Assemblyman Jack McEneny.

And to McEneny, the SUNY Empowerment legislation was pushed by the Senate and the Governor far too fast for his liking.

"All in all, this popped up near the end and deserves a thorough vetting and an agreement from everyone," McEneny said.

During last week's special session, the Senate tried twice to pass the Governor's version of SUNY Empowerment, ultimately pulling it from the floor before a final vote could be recorded because they didn't have support from 32 senators. The whole exercise was just for show, because the Assembly had made it clear that they had no plans to take the bill up. And many Democrats in the lower house were vocally opposed to the plan, including Assemblyman McEneny.

"SUNY Empowerment has problems and one of the problems is, is our commitment to providing a quality education to those middle income, or those less fortunate than us, are we backing off that or not?" McEneny said.

But SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher says providing that protection for lower income students is a top priority.

"This is the same protection we've been offering for years. This is at the core of what the State University of New York does," Zimpher said.

And while Zimpher admits she was frustrated a deal didn't go through before the end of session, she's hopeful they'll be able to reach some sort of agreement.

"I don't place blame, I think this is a journey. I think we had a lot of work to do," Zimpher said.

The Assembly is planning to come back to session after the 15th of September to talk about the SUNY plan and a number of other issues on the table, including power for jobs legislation and the Governor's tax cap.

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