State government moves along, despite nearly-vacant Senate floor in Albany

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Social distancing is in action among state leaders in Albany, leaving the Senate chamber nearly empty – even to vote on the state’s new sick leave bill. Lawmakers have changed the voting rules so that legislators only need to physically be in the chambers if they vote no.

 The sick leave bill requires employers to pay most workers quarantined because of the coronavirus.

State leaders say they are also concerned about making sure there are enough hospital beds for the wave of patients not expected to crest until the beginning of May.  With that in mind, New York is allowing hospitals to pack in as many beds as they can while looking to the federal government to fill the gaps.

State Sen. Shelley Mayer says there’s also another coronavirus concern that has started to emerge – layoffs.  She says she's already getting calls about people losing their jobs.

She voted yes on the sick leave bill but admits that's just the start.

"This is a terrible economic catastrophe for our communities. And ultimately for the country. We are at the front end. We need national leadership to help stem the tide,” she says.

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