Friday, May 28, 2010

News Flash!! All NYS Parks to open!!

Save The Victoria Pool Society wishes you all:

Happy Memorial Day weekend. Honor and thank all our service men, women and veterans.

Thanks to all for your letters, emails, phone calls, petition signing and lots of other efforts to our governor and Elected Officials. You did it!!! All New York State Parks are open. Let's make sure it never happens again. power to the People.

Senate passes bill, NY State Parks to open this weekend
Posted: May 28, 2010 2:40 PM EDT Updated: May 28, 2010 3:33 PM EDT

ALBANY, N.Y. -- It appears all of New York's state parks and historic sites will be fully open for the Memorial Day weekend and the rest of the year.

The State Senate passed their version of the bill to open the sites this afternoon, in a 32-27 vote. It provides $11 million for the parks and campgrounds while reducing the Environmental Protection Fund by $78 million to help close this year's $9.2 billion deficit.

The vote was mostly along party lines, with Democrats voting for the bill and Republicans voting against.

The issues for most Republican senators were taxes and fees they say came with the bill. For other Republicans, they argued the bigger problem in New York State was the lack of a balanced budget.

The Senate began voting on the bill shortly around 2 p.m. Friday. They were expected to convene at 9 a.m., but did not enter the chamber until nearly 3 hours later.

Prior to the parks vote, the Senators dealt with other business, including a resolution honoring Jay Gallagher, a newspaper reporter who covered Albany politics for decades. Gallagher passed away earlier this week after a long batter with cancer.

On Thursday, the Assembly worked late into the night on their version of the parks bill, finally approving the closed sites to reopen around 3 a.m. Friday, in a 86-47 vote.

The bill will now head to Gov. Paterson for his final approval.

While the parks and historic sites will be open for the Memorial Day weekend, the DEC says the campgrounds won't and it may take a couple of weeks to open some of them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Before the vote, Senators explained why they voted the way they did. These are quotes and paraphrases taken from our WTEN Twitter account:

Sen. Malcolm Smith: The parks will be open

Sen. Libous: Let's spend Memorial Day honoring those who serve our country instead. Votes "no"

Sen. Libous: Even if the bill is passed today, parks would not even be ready for the weekend. Bigger issue is that there's no budget.

Sen. Libous (R - Broome Co.): If you really wanted to open the parks, you would have passed the budget on April 1.

Sen. Parker stumbles, accidentally says "voting no" when he meant "yes" ... hoots, hollers echo throughout chamber

Sen. Parker (D - Kings County): Either you want parks open, or you don't. Tourism too important to NY to keep parks closed. Votes "yes".

Sen. Larkin (R - Orange, Ulster Co.): This is a lie. This is not about parks, it's about raising taxes. Votes "no"

Sen. Adams (D - Kings Co.): All this arguing over no budget - tell that to a family of 4 who needs to do something this wknd. Votes "yes".

Sen. Lanza (R - Staten Island): State Parks bill is a "Trojan Horse", bringing taxes and fees with it. Votes "no"

Sen. Thompson (D - Erie, Niagara): We still have work to do, it's not pretty. Hopefully when we pass budget, we will repay EPF. Votes "yes"

Sen. LaValle (R - Long Island) calls state park bill "hodge podge" and not positive for the environment

Sen. Hugh Farley (R - Schenectady, Niskayuna) votes "no" on bill to reopen state parks

Marcellino: Instead of working until 3 a.m. to find out how to open state parks, we could have worked until 3 a.m. to pass a balanced budget

Sen. Marcellino (R - Nassau, Suffolk) says bill to open state parks not transparent, made in secret without GOP input. Votes "no".

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