Andrew Cuomo

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has released a report that it said shows the benefits of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next few years. Business groups charge the study is biased.

Cuomo has been pushing hard for a phased in $15 an hour minimum wage, putting the proposal into his state budget and campaigning for the measure with Vice President Joe Biden.

“Every working man and woman in the state of New York deserves $15 an hour as a minimum wage,” Cuomo shouted at rally last fall.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Local governments and schools say they are struggling over a property tax cap that will allow what amounts to a zero percent increase in tax levies in the coming year. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo says they’ll likely have to stick with those rules.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo offered a rationale for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy over that of Democratic rival Bernie Sanders, saying Clinton’s approach is more practical.

Cuomo, who was HUD Secretary under former President Bill Clinton and who is helping Hillary Clinton’s election efforts in New York, says the former Secretary of State is presenting ideas that are “more realistic” that could actually be enacted if she were president.

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The U.S. Attorney who convicted both of the leaders of the legislature came to Albany Monday to speak to a conference of the state’s mayors. But Preet Bharara was not invited to the State Capitol itself, and he did not meet directly with any lawmakers, even though Bharara and Governor Cuomo attended the same event, the swearing in of the state’ new chief judge.

Bharara addressed mayors from all over the state, gathered for their annual meeting, where he told them the point of his anti-corruption work is to “protect democracy.”

Zack Seward / WXXI

The State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) are drawing criticism from Gov. Andrew Cuomo for their administrative salaries. Some of the highest-paid employees at the publicly funded universities earn more than $400,000, at the same time that tuition is rising. 

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A left leaning thank tank is out with its assessment of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget. They say there’s a lot to like and dislike about it.

Ron Deutsch is with Fiscal Policy Institute, a progressive leaning think tank in part funded by the unions. He said Cuomo deserves credit for pushing a phase in for a $15 minimum wage for all low income earners in the state.

“It would be the first in the nation,” Deutsch said. “We think now is the time to get that done.”

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The issue of whether to tax the wealthiest New Yorkers at a higher rate is once again a topic at the State Capitol. Assembly Democrats are out with a tax plan that would redistribute some tax revenue from the richest to the poorest New Yorkers.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The New York State Assembly approved a one-house bill to establish partial paid family leave in New York as Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled he will amend his proposal to provide more money to those who take the leave.

Advocates of paid family leave, who have been lobbying on the issue for years, say movement on the matter from the Assembly Democrats and Cuomo has given them new hope. Donna Dolan leads a coalition.

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A poll finds that voters overwhelmingly support a number of Gov. andrew Cuomo’s priorities for 2016, but New Yorkers still hold mixed views about the governor himself.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo gathered together the same union coalition who has joined him to back the $15 an hour minimum wage effort in the campaign style rally for his newest cause.

“Now is the time to pass paid family leave,” Cuomo told the cheering crowd.

The governor once again invited Vice President Joe Biden, who said family leave only works if it’s subsidized.  

“The neighborhood I’m from, which is a middle class neighborhood, I don’t know anybody who can go three months without a paycheck,” Biden said.

Ed Uthman / Flickr

Some lobbyists, as well as government reform groups, say a new rule approved by the state’s ethics commission that would require them to report contact with the news media in some cases, violates First Amendment rights and would have chilling effect.

The proposal by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) would require public relations consultants to file periodic reports with the commission detailing their calls to the news media if the purpose of the call is to promote an issue or point of view from a paid client.  

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

 

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia spent nearly four hours before the legislative budget committees Wednesday. Though there is currently a moment of calm as the state pulls back from some of the more controversial parts of the Common Core standards, her testimony revealed potential trouble later in the school year if the test boycott movement continues.

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Tensions between upstate state senators and the mayor of New York City were highlighted during a budget hearing on aid to local governments in Albany when lawmakers questioned the mayor for more than five hours.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

It’s been more than 40 years since the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing a women’s right to choose an abortion, but advocates say New York lawmakers have yet to translate the provisions of the landmark Supreme Court decision into law in the state.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Reform groups are giving Gov. Andrew Cuomo an A for effort on his ethics proposals, but they say some of them need to go further, and Cuomo needs to follow through and actually get the plans enacted into law.

Homeless advocates in Onondaga County say there are no known individuals sleeping outside at this time. 

But while agencies and advocates have gotten homeless individuals to sleep inside during the dead of winter, they have heard that some are moving instead into abandoned buildings. And that is not a good alternative, according to Dan Sieberg, chair of the Housing and Homeless Coalition of Syracuse and Onondaga County.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

A budget watch dog group is giving Gov. Andrew Cuomo a mixed grade on his budget proposals, saying he’s done a good job reigning in spending, but is making a mistake by shifting some significant costs to New York City.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The New York State Senate held a confirmation hearing for  Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s choice for the state’s chief judge, Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore. Meanwhile, Cuomo appointed another nominee to fill the final vacancy on the court -- Michael Garcia, who as U.S. attorney, brought down former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Paul Downey / Flickr

New York's statewide poverty rate is 16 percent, but in upstate cities, that number doubles. In Syracuse, more than 1/3 of the residents live in poverty. Syracuse also ranks the highest nationwide for its concentration of minorities in poverty.

Katie Keier / Flickr

Eight years after the stock market crash and the start of the recession, the New York state Senate leader say it’s time to get rid of a law that limits funding to some schools. The measure was created when the state had a $10 billion budget deficit now that the state is running  surpluses.

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