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Assembly, Senate reject Cuomo’s limo protections

ALBANY — The “one-house” budget bills approved Wednesday by the state Senate and Assembly rejected Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s sweeping proposals to dramatically increase oversight of the state’s limousine industry — proposals that were offered in response to the tragic Oct. 6 limousine crash in Schoharie that killed 20 people.

The language of the budget legislation gutted every new safeguard proposed by Cuomo — although legislators did keep intact a new $120 inspection fee for the largest stretch limos.

While their absence from the one-house budget bills do not preclude Cuomo’s proposals from reappearing in the final bills at the end of the standard closed-door negotiation process, it indicates an increased likelihood that they’ll fall off the bargaining table. The current state fiscal year ends March 31.

Cuomo’s original package of proposals, unveiled in January, included an outright ban on stretch limousines and increased powers for the state departments of Transportation and Motor Vehicles to take illegal limos off the road and punish rogue operators. The governor also wanted to increase civil and criminal penalties for limo operators who try to evade the law.

Prestige Limousine, the owner of the stretch 2001 Ford Excursion involved in the Schoharie crash, failed to obtain the …read more

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