Andrew Cuomo

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For the first time in months, the New York’s highest court has all seven judges on the bench, now that the state Senate has confirmed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s two newest choices on the court.

The confirmation of Judge Eugene Fahey and Judge Leslie Stein to the Court of Appeals sailed through the Senate, after Cuomo put off announcing his choices, and the Senate delayed scheduling hearings, despite state laws requiring that vacancies on the court be filled promptly.

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Supporters of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education tax credit were at the Capitol to persuade lawmakers that the credit, which would benefit donors to private and charter schools, should be approved as part of the state budget.

Karen DeWitt/WRVO News

 

Republicans in the New York State Senate are in talks with Gov. Andrew Cuomo about legislative ethics reforms as demands for changes mount after the recent arrest of the former Assembly speaker.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos of Long Island said Tuesday that the goal of the negotiations with Cuomo is "full transparency and strong ethics laws" modeled on effective laws in other states.

The debate hinges on possible limits on the income lawmakers can make from outside jobs - an idea popular with Democrats but opposed by Republicans.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Central New York educators are galvanizing support as they oppose Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed education policy.

Cuomo is proposing sweeping education reforms as part of his 2015 budget. They include stricter teacher evaluations, tougher tenure rules and expansion of charter schools. In his State of the State message, he tied it all together with money.

"If the legislature passes these reforms, I propose a 4.8 percent increase in the budget. A $1.1 billion investment in education, because it will be the right education system," Cuomo said.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

With less than two months before the state budget is due, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and education groups remain at odds, with the state teacher’s union calling the fight a “war,” and Cuomo calling the teachers and their allies a bloated bureaucracy.

 New York State United Teachers, the state’s largest teachers union, uses military terms to describe the escalating argument with Cuomo. In a video, NYSUT President Karen Magee says it’s the governor who has declared war on the union and the entire profession of teaching.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing his latest plan for ethics reform in appearances all around the state, following the arrest of the former Assembly speaker on corruption charges. But questions remain whether he will have any more success this time than a deal last year that ended in the shuttering of a corruption commission. Cuomo is once again crusading for stronger ethics laws, now that former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, charged with running a massive corruption scheme, has resigned from his post and been replaced.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a stop in Syracuse Wednesday he cares more about upstate New York than previous administrations.

Cuomo says investments in nanotech in Albany and the Buffalo Billion are paying off for those regions. He’s put forward a competition plan for other regions, like Syracuse, to compete for a half billion in aid. And he wants to expand broadband internet coverage across upstate.

Cuomo spent a significant amount of his speech at SUNY-ESF talking about education reform.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The mayor of Syracuse says her city’s high poverty rate is always on her mind, even if she didn’t mention it in her 2015 agenda.

A third of Syracuse residents live in poverty and half of Syracuse’s children are poor. That has ripple effects like a high school graduation rates that hovers around only 50 percent.

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Carl Heastie was elected unanimously by Democrats in the Assembly to be the next speaker, less than two weeks after former Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested and charged with running a massive multi-million dollar corruption scheme.

Heastie, the first African-American speaker in the Assembly’s 237 year history, gave a brief speech to the chamber, where he focused on moving on from the scandal brought on the Assembly by his predecessor.

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The New York State Assembly is poised to elect Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie as the next speaker, as Sheldon Silver resigned in disgrace over serious corruption charges.  Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to hold up the state budget if lawmakers don’t agree to a number of key reforms.

Assembly Majority Joe Morelle confirms that Democrats, meeting behind closed doors, have decided unanimously that Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie will be the next speaker.

WBFO file photo

Some New York state lawmakers would like the conversation about education reform and funding to focus on getting rid of the gap elimination adjustment. State Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) is one of those who wants to repeal the state’s formula for cutting some funding for local school districts over the last few years.

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Lawmakers in Albany are trying to get back to work on the state budget after last week's arrest of state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was charged with four counts of corruption and accused of taking more than $4 million in kickbacks. This week on The Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher speaks with WRVO's Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt. Here's some of what you can expect this Sunday at 6 p.m. on the program.

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Update: 9:10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27 --

Assembly Democrats are planning to huddle behind closed doors again in Albany today, trying to decide their next move.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

In last week's State of the State Address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour across the state and $11.50 in New York City by the end of 2016. The increase isn't a done deal though.

State business leaders criticize the measure they say would force them to slow hiring and cut hours.

Sharon Stiller, a Rochester-based employment law expert, says any change will affect state businesses.

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is expected to present a plan to Assembly Democrats Monday, in which he would temporarily relinquish his power as Speaker to a small group of Assembly Democrats.  

Credit Diliff / Wikimedia Commons

In his annual budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing to make changes to the state’s power grid.

The changes to utility regulation are meant to make it easier for local, small-scale producers to get their power to customers. In Cuomo’s budget is a 10-year $5 billion investment in a Clean Energy Fund.

David Chanatry / New York Reporting Project

Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address in Albany. But unlike years past, one thing was missing. Anti-fracking protestors used to show up each year at the speech to voice their opinion at the high-profile event. This year, they had a different message.

Unlike the thousand or so activists who lined the Empire Plaza hallways in years past, this group was smaller and in better spirits. After Cuomo banned hydrofracking in New York, the protesters wanted to give him a shout out.  

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

Government watch dog groups say the arrest of one of the two most powerful men in the New York legislature on fraud and corruption charges highlights the need for better state laws against wrong doing. Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitted that the charges against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are “a bad reflection on government."

Silver faces five federal counts, including bribery and conspiracy. He was released on $200,000 bail Thursday.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out a series of proposals for reforming the state’s criminal justice system, in response to heightened tensions over the death of an unarmed Staten Island resident after an encounter with police, as well as the recent murder of two police officers

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his joint State of the State and budget message, proposing a $141.6 billion spending plan that in part sets up a show down with teachers and education advocates.

The governor wants 100 more charter schools and an overhaul of teacher evaluations, which he says are “baloney,” because virtually all teachers are rated as adequate.

“Ninety-eight percent of the teachers rated effective,” Cuomo said. “Who are we kidding, my friends?”

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out a sweeping agenda for 2015, in today’s joint State of the State and budget address. The two yearly presentations were combined following the death of Cuomo’s father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo on Jan. 1.

Many of the proposals the governor emphasized in his speech, have been rolled out in recent weeks, like the $1.7 billion tax relief proposal, and the $500 million project to expand broadband across the state.

Cuomo offered a shout-out to one central New York institution, the New York State Fair, which he said needs a state-supported update.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he supports a plan that would keep teenagers out of New York's adult prisons. A commission appointed by Cuomo released a scathing report yesterday that found too many young people in state prisons are being assaulted or victimized.

Right now 800 teenagers are held in adult jails and prisons across New York. The vast majority -- 82 percent -- are black and Hispanic, according to the State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued the roll out of his 2015 agenda Tuesday with details of an infrastructure plan that includes upgrading New York City region airports to providing broadband for upstate rural areas.

The governor also offered clues to another key item, education, where he seems determined to take on the status quo.

Raising awareness of North Country human trafficking

Jan 19, 2015
Julia Botero

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced new efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking in New York. It's an underground crime that traps men, women and children against their will. Many are forced to work hard labor without pay, or become prostitutes.  Last week, state experts on human trafficking spoke at a taping of a discussion on the topic at the WPBS studios in Watertown.  

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo gives his budget address next Wednesday, the state will begin the year with a $5 billion surplus -- a big change after years of budget deficits.

When Cuomo first came into office, the state was facing a $10 billion budget gap. Now, in 2015, the state has a $5 billion surplus, the largest since the 1940s.  The money is a one time windfall from various bank settlements over charges of improprieties during the financial crisis.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to invest $1.5 billion to help the struggling upstate economy, but there’s a catch -- regions will have to compete for the money.

Cuomo says his budget plan will include an upstate revitalization fund, but it won’t be distributed to all of the state’s economically depressed regions. Instead, the seven regions will be competing for a share of the funds. The rules are: only three will receive grants of $500 million each.

“Why the competition?” Cuomo asked rhetorically. “Because I believe in competition.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Calling it the major problem facing the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to reduce New York’s highest in the nation rate of property taxes for some homeowners, but the program was not received with open arms by everyone.

Under Cuomo’s proposal, homeowners who pay six percent or more of their annual paychecks in taxes will get a credit on their tax bills. Renters will also receive an equivalent credit.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO

Hundreds of school children, parents, union organizers and leaders came to the Capitol in Albany to rally for more money for New York’s schools. The event was part of what’s become known as the Moral Monday movement.

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Up to 1,000 people, including the president of New York’s NAACP, Hazel Dukes, will hold a rally at the Capitol today to try to convince state  lawmakers to fulfill a 2006 court order to spend billions more dollars on New York’s schools each year.

The groups say to fulfill the court order, schools need an addition $6 billion a year, with a greater share going to the poorest schools

Karen DeWitt/WRVO News File Photo

The New York State Senate and Assembly met in Albany to choose new leaders and begin outlining their plans for the 2015 session. The year begins with Republicans in full control of the state Senate, but with a group of breakaway Democrats still enjoying special status.

The State of the State has been delayed for two weeks, due to the funeral of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, the father of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. But under New York’s state’s constitution, the legislature is still required to convene.   

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