DeFrancisco: Cuomo's abortion rights provision a "non-starter"

Jun 11, 2013

A top Senate Republican says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s abortion rights provision in a women’s equality bill stands little chance of passage in the chamber.

Senate Finance Committee Chair John DeFrancisco, from Syracuse, is one of the leading members of the Senate GOP conference. He says it’s unlikely that his house will pass Governor Cuomo’s proposal to codify into New York law the abortion rights in the federal Roe v. Wade decision.

He says New York already has the most “liberal” abortion laws in the nation, and believes most women don’t see changing the state’s laws as a big priority.

DeFrancisco, speaking to public broadcasting, says Republicans could accept the other nine points in the governor’s plan, including pay equity and anti-sexual harassment measures.

“To me the average women in this state would be ecstatic with the other nine portions in the bill,” DeFrancisco said. “And not even lose a night’s sleep about expanding abortion rights, which to me is a non-starter in the Senate.”

But Cuomo, speaking in Seneca Falls as part of a tour to promote the women’s equality act, said he would veto any attempts by the legislature to separate out the items in order to avoid voting on the abortion rights provision.

DeFrancisco's comments have drawn rebuke from women's rights groups.

The governor says the women’s groups who back the 10 point plan won’t let him accept less.

Here is a clip of DeFrancisco's interview with Karen DeWitt discussing abortion rights:

DeFrancisco also talked about other topics, here are some of those:

Tax-free zones

DeFrancisco thinks tax cuts should be more broad-based than the governor’s proposed tax-free zones.

Governor Cuomo wants to offer tax breaks to companies that startup on a SUNY campus. But DeFrancisco says the program shuns businesses that are already here.

"Just because they got here earlier, or they’re staying here in difficult economic times and maintaining their jobs," he said, "why should they not get similar benefits, or some benefit, anyway?"

DeFrancisco says it’s better to help as many people or businesses as possible.

He says he doesn’t think the tax-free zones is "the greatest of ideas." but he doesn’t doubt the governor’s ability to get the program passed.

Albany corruption

The Syracuse lawmaker says recent scandals in Albany aren’t affecting the Senate as much as the Assembly.

In the past few months it’s come to light that lawmakers have been wearing wires. There have also been arrests. And the Assembly Speaker has been criticized for how he handled a sex scandal involving an assemblyman.

DeFrancisco says that the corruption cases aren’t weighing down the session in the higher chamber.

"It’s so frustrating to me because there’s a lot of good people trying to do the right thing," he said. "And no matter how much you say it that you shouldn’t do this, people will still paint everybody with a broad brush."

Governor Cuomo has made similar decrees.

There are a number of proposals still before the Legislature. The session ends June 20.