‘Lobby Day’ held at the Capitol

Posted at: 05/21/2013 6:58 PM
By: Bill Lambdin


ALBANY - Tuesday is known as lobby day when the State Legislature is in session.

It's the day when thousands of ordinary citizens join regular lobbyists patrolling the halls of the Capitol, trying to influence legislation.

Prime lobbying time seems to run from 10:30 until 1:30. Before that, legislators and key staff may not be in. After that, session and committee meetings are likely.

March of Dimes volunteers gathered at the Hilton to map strategy.

“This legislation is related to critical congenital heart defects,” said Amy Kramer

At the same time, gun rights activists were in East Capitol Park, demanding repeal of the recently enacted Safe Act. They say they have 400,000 signatures.

Move forward to 11:30, where three different groups are holding events and inviting our coverage.

There's a push for limits on the number of patients per nurse, arguing too few staff may be good for hospital profits, but not patients.

“A friend who is having a stroke or a heart attack, you want a nurse who is going to be able to devote all of their attention there but right now we're spread so thin,” says Kris Kolden.

Common Cause and the New York Public Interest Research Group were explaining the dangers of soft money given to so-called political housekeeping accounts.

At the same time, pro-choice New Yorkers were pushing for the Women's Equality Agenda.

A short time later, the Capitol's stairways got a workout. Doctors and others were outside the Assembly pushing for single payer, universal healthcare similar to Canada.

On the other side of the building, the Million Dollars Staircase was filled with advocates for the Dream Act, which would provide for private scholarships and state financial aid for immigrants going to college, even the undocumented.

Unlike the other six groups today, these folks received immediate, although partial success.

“The Assembly this afternoon will take up and we intend to pass the Dream Act,” says Sheldon Silver.