(“Reach into my back pocket there and take out that envelope marked, ‘Housewarming gift for Senator Robach.’”)
State senators voted 42-18 today in favor of passing a bill that could lead to mixed martial arts being sanctioned in New York. The bill will now go to the New York State Assembly where a final vote on the matter will be cast by members of the group that includes opposition stalwart Bob Reilly.
To put things in perspective, last year’s New York Senate vote on the same themed bill passed with a vote of 32-26. Two other legalization bills have made it to various levels of state legislature before stalling for various reasons. The one last year was brushed aside by senate Democrats due to “budget concerns.”
The overwhelming majority of those in favor of the bill who spoke at today’s debate pointed to the increased safety measures that have been implemented since the introduction of the then-no-holds-barred sport more than 15 years ago, as well as the economic boost events will give the local economy across the state as the reasons why they supported the bill.
No date has been set for the Assembly vote, but even if it passes, a 90-day waiting period would need to be observed before an event could be held in the state, which means that it’s unlikely New Yorkers will be able to attend a show at home before the end of the year. Still, there is hope that we could see another of the few remaining holdout states approve the sport before 2011.