- Thanks to this post on the State of Politics website, it is now out in the open that there are 78 supporters of the bill within the Democratic conference. Speaker Carl Heastie had put the threshold at 76 to trigger a floor vote, and with the bill surpassing that number, things can progress to the next stage.
- What exactly is that stage? While not a definitive list of everything that will be discussed, there's a calendar posted that lays out what pieces of legislation will be tackled on that particular day. Here's the first one put up for today. Don't be alarmed that the MMA bill isn't on there - it could be added to a later version, or not at all thanks to something called the "Big Ugly".
- The Big Ugly is a mishmash of pieces of legislation put together by the governor as a package deal that's rammed through the legislature. For instance, mixed in with the legalization of pro MMA could be something completely unrelated on education reform, or something to do with banning smoking in churches, or whatever. Because there's a law that requires a three-day waiting period on bills before they can be considered, the governor issues something called a "message of necessity", and then BAM! There's an immediate vote on it.
- Why would the governor do this for the MMA bill? Consider this: With 78 supporters in the Democratic conference, there is a majority of the majority who want the sport sanctioned in New York. To hold the bill back now in the Assembly would be a clear and indefensible perversion of the process, and really, just whose toes would he be stepping on to bring the majority - and the public - what they clearly want? (Note: Another upside to the governor's Big Ugly is that it provides an "out" for those who've fought against the bill for so long. The sport's detractors would have the perfect opportunity accept that the battle is lost, wave the white flag, and exclaim, "Well. we tried. It's out of our hands now.")
The bottom line to all this is that the bill has more than enough supporters, that it can be pushed through the Assembly today or tomorrow and get approved, and if it's not, the Big Ugly can be brought into play.
Despite yesterday's relative radio silence, we're still in a very good place.