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State legislative session ends with last minute agreements


State lawmakers wrapped up the 2016 legislative session at around 5 a.m. Saturday morning, agreeing to take steps to cancel the pensions of convicted lawmakers in the future, legalizing daily fantasy sports and extending New York City’s mayoral control law for another year.

Legislators, in an all night session, took the first step to change the state’s constitution to require lawmakers convicted of a felony to forfeit their pensions, in answer to public outcry over dozens of Senators and Assembly members, including the two former leaders of the legislature keeping healthy pensions even though many have been sentenced to prison. Reform groups say Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislators did the bare minimum to answer the Capitol’s wave of corruption.

In the final hours of the session, legislators agreed to extend mayoral control over New York City schools another year, after Mayor Bill deBlasio agreed, among other things, to allow some high performing charter schools to be regulated by the state, not the city.

Schools will also be required to test their drinking water for lead. And New Yorkers made sick from chemicals in a Superfund site will have an additional three years to sue.

Legislators also moved to extend drinking and gambling in New York, alcohol will be available at 10 a.m. on Sundays, and, if signed by the governor, daily fantasy sports betting will become legal.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.