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Cuomo unveils first three agenda items ahead of State of State

WBFO file photo/Chris Caya

He will offer his State of the State Address in Albany shortly after the start of the new year. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already revealed some of what he'll pursue when he delivers his annual fiscal and legislative wish list.

As of Monday afternoon, Cuomo had announced three agenda items, the first coming over the weekend. Under the proposal unveiled Sunday, individuals who commit "serious crimes" would be denied the ability to obtain a gun license in New York State.

These offenses include certain domestic violence misdemeanors, forcible touching and other misdemeanor sex offenses, and unlicensed possession of a firearm. Current law forbids New Yorkers convicted of such offenses from acquiring a gun license but anyone who committed such crimes outside the state are not covered. Cuomo's proposal would also deny renewals to anyone currently holding a gun license who have committed qualifying crimes outside state lines.

His second proposal bans fentanyl analogs, drugs created to mimic the original, by granting the New York Health Commissioner the ability to outlaw any new copycat drugs added to the federal list of controlled substances. The idea is to help keep the state from falling behind when new fentanyl analogs come to the public.

"The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that continues to ravage too many communities across this country," said Cuomo in a prepared statement. "In New York we have taken aggressive action to combat this disease, and we are seeing results with the first reduction in opioid deaths in 10 years. Despite this progress, drug dealers have turned to lacing opioids and other illicit drugs with fentanyl analogs — a deadly synthetic opioid that current law does not ban. This two-pronged proposal will tackle that problem by banning these dangerous fentanyl copycats and providing treatment to people suffering from opioid addiction before it's too late."

This agenda item also includes a proposed expansion of access to treatment medication in harder-to-reach communities.

Cuomo's third agenda item would mandate automatic recounts in close elections. The procedure, if passed, would be put into effect for margins of 0.2% in statewide races or ballot propositions and margins of 0.5% for all other elections. These recounts would be conducted manually.

Cuomo's State of the State Address is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 8.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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