A bill to legalize mixed martial arts is on the move—but it’s still on uncertain ground in the Legislature.
The Senate passed a bill to drop New York’s ban on the sport late last month in a bipartisan, 48-12 vote. An Assembly committee is expected to pass the bill in a June 7 meeting.
Still, one of the bill’s most vocal opponents doubts it will advance.
“It’s a dead issue for this session,” said Assemblyman Bob Reilly (D-Latham), who has decried the sport as being too brutal and violent.
“There’s less than 10 days of session left, and I don’t think it’s sufficient time to vet this subject as needed,” Reilly added, noting that the session ends on June 20.
Other of Reilly’s Assembly colleagues said it’s not clear how the majority of Democrats would vote—or whether any Republicans would join supporters of the bill. Democrats hold a 99-51 margin in the chamber.
“There is a healthy controversy. There are very concerned members of the majority who can’t support it this year, as they could not support it in years past,” Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Long Island) said on Thursday.
Englebright is sponsoring the bill. He also chairs the committee on tourism, arts and sports development, which will consider the mixed martial arts bill next week. Englebright said he has the votes to pass the bill out of his committee.
Last year, a similar bill cleared Englebright’s committee after also clearing the Senate in a tight 32-29 vote. Assembly leadership decided not to bring it to the floor for a vote.
“I imagine we’ll have similar blockage or stoppage,” Englebright said. “But, you never know. There are quite a few new faces in the chamber this year. I haven’t seen a sea change, but I have seen subtle changes.”
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New York based MMA reporter Jim Genia had a more balanced take on the current situuation:
Member Since: 1/1/01
Reilly paints a different picture than what i heard. there's about a 60% chance it gets done this session. it will pass if it makes it to the floor. the only roadblock is getting is through two more committees (which can be done in less than a day) and getting sheldon silver to call it to the floor for a vote.