Andrew Cuomo

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Supporters and opponents of a $15 minimum wage in New York are blasting reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers have reached a compromise that could stretch out the phase in period, and exempt farmers from the higher pay requirements.  

With the March 31 deadline looming, and the Easter holiday in between, Cuomo and the Senate and Assembly are trying to negotiate a compromise on the governor’s proposal to phase in a $15 minimum wage for New York state.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Top State University of New York officials say they want a tuition freeze at the state’s colleges and universities, and are asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature to adequately fund SUNY in the budget  so that they don’t have to raise rates for students . The request comes as lawmakers are scrambling to meet a March 31 budget deadline.

SUNY Board Chair Carl McCall says the university board and it’s chancellor don’t want to raise tuition, and they want Cuomo and the legislature to help them avoid it.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’s working on a proposal to give New York farmers a break should the State Senate agree to a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Cuomo says he’s putting together a “special modification” for the agricultural industry to help offset potential costs of increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“There are special conditions on farms, we understand that,” Cuomo said  after an event in Niagara Falls. “And we’re putting together a special package for farmers. Because they pose a unique problem.”

fightlaunch / Flickr

New York becomes the last state in the nation to legalize mixed martial arts, following a 113-25 vote in the Assembly Tuesday. The bill was placed on the floor for a vote after a majority of Democrats backed the legislation.

During debate on the Assembly floor, opponents urged the state to continue the ban on mixed martial arts, also known as ultimate fighting. Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffe, from the Hudson Valley, says the activity is “sanctioning violence for profit” and has no place in New York .

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The newly elected chancellor of the Board of Regents, Betty Rosa, expressed grave doubts about the state’s use of standardized tests in the schools, saying if she were not on the Board of Regents, she would join the opt-out movement and not permit her children to take the tests.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo concedes that ethics reform is unlikely to be a part of the New York state budget this year, despite the conviction of the two former legislative leaders on major corruption charges. Cuomo blames the legislature for lack of will to enact changes.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

 

People with developmental disabilities and their caretakers held a rally at the state Capitol Wednesday to ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo for financial help if he’s successful in pushing through a $15 minimum wage.

Providers to people with developmental disabilities say they want their employees to earn more money. Steve Kroll, with  NYSARC, says many of its staffers earn less than $15 an hour right now.

“We support giving them pay hikes, because their work is incredibly  important,” said Kroll.

Jenna Flanagan / Innovation Trail/WMHT

Lobbying for and against the minimum wage is intensifying in Albany, with just over two weeks to go until the budget deadline.

Union workers gathered at a rally outside the Capitol, where the main speaker was Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“We’re going to get a $15 minimum wage passed!” Cuomo shouted.

The governor has been traveling the state to events packed by local Democratic leaders and union members, entering the rallies on a bus paid for by the health care workers union 1199.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The New York State Assembly and Senate have released budget positions that focus on taxes and spending policies, but very little on ethics reform, even though both former leaders of the legislature face prison sentences over corruption convictions.   

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Five years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, protesters in Syracuse are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stop supporting nuclear and invest in renewable energy instead. The protest was organized by the Alliance for a Green Economy.

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Three new regents elected by the legislature this week are expected to help lead an ongoing reversal in education policy in New York to less emphasis on controversial standardized tests.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Senate Republicans say their version of the state budget will include a 9-year phase in of tax cuts that would eventually total a 25 percent reduction for middle class taxpayers.

GOP Leader John Flanagan said when the Senate majority releases it’s budget plan later in March, it will include a phase in of over $4 billion in tax cuts. They include an extension of a temporary tax cut for middle income earners, which would gradually be reduced to a rate of just over 5 percent for those who make $300,000 a year or less.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

A call by government reform groups for an open leaders meeting on ethics reform tuned into a spat between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the groups themselves.

The New York Public Interest Research Group, Citizens Union, the League of Women Voters, and Common Cause, are calling for an end to the long Albany tradition of closed door meetings between the governor and legislative leaders where they make key decisions on the budget and other issues, known as three men in a room. They want a leaders meeting, open to the public, to discuss ethics reform.

Dimitris Kalogeropoylos, Flickr Creative Commons

In the state of New York, more than 2,000 people died of heroin overdoses in 2014. The highly-addictive drug is surging in nearly every county in the United States. Its negative effects are becoming harder to hide. Last week, a fender-bender in Watertown brought the reality of heroin abuse in the North Country into every day life.

Sixty-two year-old Randy Petrie was waiting at a red light in Watertown when he was rear-ended by a pickup truck. Lt. Joe Donoghue with the Watertown City Police heard the call at 2:30 p.m.

Entergy

If the owner of the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant refuses to keep the facility open, can the state force it to? That's the question after FitzPatrick owner Entergy has rejected several offers to help keep the financially stressed plant from closing in January. The company says it's too late, but some think the state may not need Entergy's approval.

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In less than a month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers will get the chance to make major ethics fixes as part of the state budget. But,  so far, there’s been little focus on responding to corruption scandals that led to the two legislative leaders facing long prison terms.

It seems a unique moment ,tailored for major reforms in the way Albany works. Both the leader of the Senate and the Assembly have been arrested, tried and convicted in the past year, on major corruption charges, and the U.S. Attorney may still be investigating others.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A proposal to raise New York’s minimum wage is taking center stage in this year’s budget negotiations in Albany. And with just over three weeks left before a budget deadline, the stakes are getting higher and noise on both sides is getting louder.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s breast cancer initiative wants to increase the number of women that undergo mammography by 10 percent over the next year. But doctor's say there is room for improvement in screening for the second leading cause of cancer-related death for women in New York state.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

ACR Health in Syracuse is lobbying hard for proposed state legislation that would allow children under the age of 18 to get access to HIV prevention medication without parental consent.  

Marissa Rice runs the youth services program at ACR Health. She says there’s a certain population in central New York that could really benefit from access to PrEP, a drug which prevents transmission of HIV -- lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens between the ages of 15 add 18, who have been forced into sex trafficking.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo took his $15 an hour minimum wage tour to Onondaga County on Wednesday. He is trying to drum up support for his proposals before Albany hammers out the details of this year’s budget. 

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

New Yorkers will soon get a chance to decide whether to hold a constitutional convention in New York, but some government reform groups say there needs to be some major changes made first - including banning double dipping by state lawmakers who might become delegates.

In about a year and half, November 2017, a vote will be held on whether New York should hold what could be the first constitutional convention in over half a century.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Groups that serve the disabled say there’s inadequate funding in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget to place thousands of adults with developmental disabilities into group homes. And they say a proposed $15 an hour minimum wage will have a “devastating financial impact” for not-for-profits that serve that community.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

A bill to make it legal for terminally ill patients to end their lives is being debated in the New York legislature. While many have compelling personal cases for allowing the practice, others, including the Catholic Church, remain opposed.  

Amy Paulin, an Assemblywoman from Westchester, is sponsoring a bill to allow what’s become known as Aid in Dying, after the wrenching experience of her sister’s battle with stage four ovarian cancer.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Home health care agencies are the latest group to come out against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The Association of Health Care providers, which represents around 350 home health care agencies across New York, says many of its members can’t afford to pay workers $15 an hour, which represents around a one-third increase to the current average pay of between $10 and $11.50 hour. The group says the state should help by upping Medicaid allotments so that people won’t lose their home care services.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been spending more time on the road than at the State Capitol in recent weeks, on an election style campaign to promote his ideas, including a $15 an hour minimum wage.

It may be the height of the budget season at the State Capitol, but Gov. Cuomo seems more in campaign mode. He’s been traveling the state to promote his plans to raise the minimum wage, and paid family leave.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Mental health groups say they are being left out of a massive reshuffling of the state’s Medicaid program, and that people with mental illness transitioning back to their communities will suffer.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The New York State comptroller has issued an audit finding that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has dropped the ball on some aspects of policing nursing homes.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli took the unusual step of holding a press conference to highlight an audit which concludes that the Cuomo administration is not adequately  fining or enforcing violations at nursing homes.

“Families need to know that their loved ones have safe accommodations and that providers are being held accountable when problems are found,” Di Napoli said.

Anthony Tassarotti / WMHT

A New York congressman recently announced that he’s taken the first steps toward running for governor in 2018. Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican, would likely face Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, who’s already said he wants to seek a third term. Karen DeWitt sat down with Gibson at his home to ask him why he’s starting so early.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The state’s leading business group is warning that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s paid family leave proposal will be costly for employers and difficult for them to manage.

Cuomo’s been holding campaign-style rallies to promote his paid family leave proposal.  

Mike Mozart / Flickr

Cheap gas prices are making consumers happy at the pump, but not everyone is benefiting from the lower prices. New York’s counties, who impose a sales tax on gasoline, have lost over $200 million in revenues.

The state of New York also charges a gasoline tax, but it’s a uniform rate of 8 cents per gallon. Counties charge a 4 percent sales tax on the price of gas.

Stephen Aquario, with the New York State Association of Counties, said they see less revenue when the price plunges from $4 a gallon to $2 a gallon, which is the average rate right now.

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