Lawmakers Work Through Night to Pass Several Bills

March 15, 2012 Updated Mar 15, 2012 at 7:07 PM EDT

By WKBW News

March 15, 2012 Updated Mar 15, 2012 at 7:07 PM EDT

Albany, NY (WKBW)- State lawmakers spent Wednesday night and early Thursday morning hammering through several issues and bills that were lingering in Albany. The legislature approved a redistricting proposal, creating new Senate and Assembly districts. Before its passage, the Senate Democratic Conference walked out of chambers and several Democrats say the new districts split up some urban areas with heavy minority communities and give Republicans an advantage. Some local Republicans disagree.

"I think under the plan, they satisfied all Federal and state requirements. As a matter of fact, because of the loss of population many of the minority groups were strengthened so I think the opposite is the case," said State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer.

The Senate and Assembly also passed a measure to amend the state's constitution, to help expand casinos in New York and allow them to operate on Non-Native American land.

"We remain skeptical of this initial decision. We still have concerns for our $1 billion business, the people of our Nation, our 5,000 employees, our vendors and customers and protecting our $900 million investment in this region," said Seneca Nation of Indians President Robert Odawi Porter. "We do, however, expect the state will do the right thing and honor the 2002 compact. As a matter of existing state law, we have 13 years remaining on the guarantee of our zone of gaming exclusivity."

Thirdly, a pension reform plan was passed that the governor says will save state and local governments and New York City more than $80 billion over the next 30 years. The plan calls for increasing the retirement age, salary reform, and other provisions for future state workers.