Gov. Cuomo, lawmakers agree on heroin plan, brunch bill

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Brunch-goers may soon be allowed to buy alcoholic drinks at restaurants and bars in the state beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays under a compromise worked out by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and top lawmakers.

The proposal, called the Brunch Bill, would allow a limited number of establishments outside New York City to begin serving alcohol at 8 a.m. Current regulations prohibit sales before noon. Additionally, the state would eliminate some regulations and fees for alcohol manufacturers under a broader effort, launched by Cuomo, to reform antiquated liquor laws.

“We’ve worked hard to cut red tape, lower costs and roll back burdensome regulations to help New York’s craft beverage industry thrive and create jobs as well as some of the best beer, wine, cider and distilled spirits in the world,” Cuomo said Tuesday in a statement announcing the proposal’s details.

The proposal comes as Cuomo and top lawmakers negotiate final agreements on several key items before the Legislature’s adjournment later this week. Earlier Tuesday Cuomo and lawmakers announced a deal on a plan to combat heroin addiction that limit many opioid prescriptions to seven days to address a dramatic increase in overdoses.

Additionally, the heroin proposal would require insurance companies to cover more of the cost for rehab and recovery programs and enhanced treatment services. Prescribers would be required to complete addiction training, and the state would increase funds for programs to help recovering addicts get housing, education and employment.

More than 1,800 New Yorkers died from heroin- and opioid-related overdoses in 2014.

Combating the heroin and opioid epidemic has emerged as a top priority for state leaders, with Cuomo announcing Monday that passing a comprehensive heroin and opioid plan was his top goal for the remainder of the session. The state budget contains $189 million in spending on addiction treatment.

“Lives are being lost and families destroyed by the scourge of heroin and opioid abuse,” said Senate Leader John Flanagan, R-Long Island.

The push to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports picked up two new lobbyists Tuesday: former NFL quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Vinny Testaverde, who met with lawmakers as negotiations continue over proposals to regulate the popular online contests. The games were disrupted last year when Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said they amount to illegal gambling.

“I’d say 80-85 percent of all my friends play fantasy sports,” said Kelly, who played for the Buffalo Bills for 11 seasons. “… In this world today, with all the things that are going on, I think we need to have a little more fun.”

Kelly and Testaverde, a former New York Jets quarterback, say the games are entertaining diversions for a wide range of fans. Both said they were paid to appear at the Capitol.

Lawmakers working on the bills say a vote on regulations should happen before the session ends later this week.

The largest commercial fantasy sports operators, FanDuel and DraftKings, agreed in March to stop taking bets in New York as lawmakers took up the issue.

Negotiations over other top priorities continue. Still unresolved is a plan to permit Uber and Lyft to expand their ride-hailing car services upstate and Democratic New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to extend mayoral control of schools.

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