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Back in majority, Little sees influence swell

With the state Senate back in Republican hands, Betty Little will sit on one of the two most influential committees in the legislative body's upper house.

After speaking at a legislative breakfast hosted Friday by the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, the Queensbury Republican confirmed that she has been appointed to the Senate Finance Committee.

"We have a say on the budget and I think we're actually going to cut costs in the Senate because we're not going to be there four days a week until we do the budget," she said. "It was really inefficient. You'd be there through January and wouldn't even start passing bills until February."

Any bill that costs money must pass finance before reaching the floor.

Legislators from the committees on rules and finance have influence over almost every piece of legislation that moves through the Senate.

The Senate Finance Committee will be chaired by the powerful Syracuse-area Republican John DeFrancisco.

Little has asked to chair the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism and Parks and Recreation.

"I have some ideas on how to work throughout the state about how to better coordinate activities," she said.

With Little leading tourism entities like the state Olympic Regional Development Authority could see more secure funding streams.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is expected to announce the appointments to the lesser committees early next week.

Little said she's optimistic that a tourism chair appointment could come her way.

"Well, they haven't told me I didn't get it," she said. "That's a good thing."

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