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Lawmakers remain busy as state budget deadline approaches

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At the Capitol, the budget is still very fluid, but at least three bills have already been printed.

Those bills deal with a wide variety of topics, including transportation, environmental protection, criminal justice, and education.

“Education is printed,” explained Senator Neil Breslin. “But we still don’t know what each school district is getting, and we don’t know the exact amount of foundation aid.”

While negotiations are still taking place, Senator Breslin said he not only hopes but expects that at least $1 billion will go towards increasing education aid.

The senator also added that aid to municipal governments, known as AIM, is included in this year’s budget.

According to sources, a deal has been reached regarding criminal justice which will prohibit booking information and mug shots from being released, as well as a deal to change jail sentencing for certain misdemeanor convictions from 365 days to 364— which could potentially end automatic deportation of undocumented immigrants.

Thursday night, a plan was made to ban plastic bags, which will include an opt in fee of five cents for paper bags.

With the Democrats in the majority, some assembly republicans are starting to feel frustrated with the budget process after they were called in Friday morning.

“We haven’t seen anything, yet; that’s some of the problem. So we are waiting for them to get the budget in print, so we can actually look at it and figure out what we are going to debate, what areas we are okay with,” explained Assemblyman Christopher Tauge. “So it’s gonna be a long weekend.”

The budget is due April 1st.

Friday afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state leaders discussed his “non-negotiable” items for the budget. Click the images below to hear them explain: 

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