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Governor "pocket vetoes" bill that would study broadband expansion

Posted at 11:31 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 12:05:56-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Now, more than ever, high-speed internet is critical for business and education.

"I hear the stories that parents have to drive their kids to a fast-food parking lot in order for their kids to access school work," said State Senator George Borrello. Borrello represents Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties in Albany.

He was a co-sponsor to a bill that was nearly universally supported by Senators and Assemblymen, The Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act. It would make the New York Public Service Commission see exactly who has access to high speed internet, and who doesn't. And where it's reliable and where it's not.

The bill sat on Governor Andrew Cuomo's desk for a month and he made no decision. This is called a "pocket veto." It also means the bill cannot be overruled by the legislative branch.

Richard Azzopardi, a senior aide to Governor Cuomo sent this statement when asked why the bill wasn't signed.

"This self-described fiscal conservative should check his facts. The legislation had a $3 million fiscal cost that occurred outside of the budget, thus it wasn't acted upon. However, we agree with it in concept and will be including a proposal in the budget‎. The Governor has invested $500 million in expanding the availability of broadband to 98 percent of this state and is advancing legislation this year to drastically increase its affordability."

Borrello believes the bill should have passed now.

"To delay this any further, I don't even care if this is one day, it is a delay that is going to basically have a negative impact, and a traumatic impact, on tens of thousands of New Yorkers," added Borrello.

The governor spoke about broadband in this year's state of the state, he called for $15 high-speed internet for low income families.