Andrew Cuomo

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s labor commissioner is likely in the next few days to finalize a phased in hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast food workers. That action dismays some business groups, who say it will have some unintended consequences.

The governor, after unsuccessfully trying to raise the minimum wage further through the legislature, appointed a wage board, which voted in July to increase the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour over the next several years. Cuomo spoke to jubilant fast food workers and union leaders when the vote was announced.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

The controversial state ethics commission is in the midst of a review by a panel appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature. Government reform groups say they’ve already been asked to give their opinions on how to fix some of the commission’s problems.

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New York’s first openly gay state legislator says it’s time to appoint an LGBT person to the state’s highest court.

When Assemblywoman Deborah Glick was first elected to her job nearly a quarter century ago, she was the first state lawmaker to publicly disclose that she’s a lesbian. Back then, there was no same-sex marriage, and there was not even a law against discriminating against New Yorkers based on their sexual orientation. Glick helped that law get passed in 2002.

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There’s been an unusual focus on upstate New York among top state politicians from the downstate area in recent weeks.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a speech in Utica Thursday, says downstate lawmakers -- who numerically dominate  the legislature -- have been unified in seeking aid and programs for New York City and Long Island. But he says upstate lawmakers are more balkanized and have been largely unsuccessful.

“There is no place called upstate,” said Cuomo, who said New Yorkers tend to identify with the city they leave nearest, like Syracuse or Buffalo or Rochester.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he doubts that there will be  federal sanctions for schools that have high rates of students who boycotted standardized tests this spring.

Twenty percent of students statewide boycotted the controversial exams associated with the Common Core learning standards, with higher rates upstate and on Long Island. Federal officials had the power to sanction schools with high opt our rates by withholding funding, and the state’s education commissioner said a few days ago that she was talking to officials and would not rule out the sanctions compete.

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A new school year is starting soon, and education officials say they will try to reverse a growing movement of parents having their children opt out of standardized tests.  The boycott could jeopardize a new system of teacher evaluations that are based on the exams and were supposed to begin later this fall.

NY Assembly Video (file)

The speaker of the New York State Assembly says any talks about convincing General Electric executives to relocate their headquarters back to New York should include discussions on the company’s Superfund cleanup of PCBs in the Hudson River that’s about to end.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been talking to GE executives, trying to lure the company’s corporate headquarters back to New York, according to a report by Politico New York.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

As the fourth anniversary of the devastating storms Irene and Lee approaches, the Cuomo administration says it’s more ready than ever for hurricanes, floods, and other adverse weather events .

Since Gov. Andrew Cuomo took office in 2011, there’s been a succession of severe storms, including hurricanes Irene and Lee that brought massive flooding to upstate and Superstorm Sandy in 2012 that flooded beach front communities on Long Island and submerged portions of the New York City subway system in corrosive salt water.

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Health care advocacy organizations are calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill on his desk that would help ensure doctors have the ultimate say over what medications their patients take.  

If your doctor prescribes a medication, your insurance will cover it. Right? That concept is called “provider prevails.” In other words, the medical provider gets to be the judge about what drugs the patient should take.

That authority particularly matters for people living with AIDS, epilepsy, and certain mental health conditions who take expensive medications.

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New Yorkers will get their first chance in 20 years to vote on whether to hold a convention to change the state’s constitution in November of 2017. But groups advocating for an informed vote on the issue say it’s not too early to start getting the word out.

A constitutional convention, dry as it may sound, has the potential to make big changes to New York’s government. Delegates could decide to switch to a unicameral legislature, or require that lawmakers be full time. They could also tighten what critics say are lax campaign contribution laws.  

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

The Designated AIDS Center at Upstate University Hospital has won a state grant that will expand treatment programs. 

The idea is to make sure people infected with the HIV virus continue treatment that keeps the virus at bay.

Program director Kelley Flood says they will target people who might not follow up on the care they need to corral the virus that can lead to AIDS.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’ll try to get the state legislature to broaden an increase in the state’s minimum wage beyond fast food workers, but the newly appointed deputy majority leader of the state Senate is throwing some cold water on that plan.

Cuomo, who used his executive powers through a wage board to phase in a $15 an hour rate for fast food workers, says next he wants to try to get a similar increase through the state legislature next year. Earlier, he spoke about his desire to increase the minimum wage for all workers.

Bret Jaspers / WSKG News File Photo

New York’s political world is focused on a race in the Southern Tier that could help determine the future of the state Senate.

The Deputy Majority Leader of the State Senate, Tom Libous, was convicted of lying to the FBI over obtaining a politically connected job for his son, and had to resign his seat in late July. The Binghamton based Senate district has held by Republicans for the past 100 years, and has included former Senate Leader Warren Anderson.

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A fiscal watchdog group says it’s uncovered what it calls a “secret slush fund,” used by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators to fund pet projects around the state, but the governor’s budget office says the grants are subject to oversight.  

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

District attorneys around New York are still trying to clarify a recent executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The order appoints the state attorney general as a special prosecutor in cases where unarmed suspects are killed by police, or when there is a question about whether a suspect was armed or not.  Earlier this week Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the first such case he would take on.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

Counties across New York are concerned over reports that sales tax collections are plummeting, they are asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax department for a more detailed explanation.

The New York State Association of Counties, dismayed over a report by the state comptroller that sales tax collections have slowed to half of what they were last year, are asking Cuomo’s tax department for more information, says the group’s Steven Aquario.

Kate O'Connell / WXXI News

President Barack Obama’s plan for national standards to curb power plant emissions is based, in part, on a type of cap-and-trade program already existence in New York.  

Conor Bambrick, with the group Environmental Advocates, says he thinks the president's plan , billed by the White House as the “first-ever national standards” to curb carbon pollution from power plants has some of its roots in New York.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Two more lawmakers, a former Senate Leader and the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, were convicted of corruption in the past week. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to say it would not be a good idea to call state lawmakers back to the Capitol to enact more ethics reform measures.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

Supporters of paid family leave in New York say they hope 2016 will be their year, but business groups are urging caution.

A measure to allow all workers in the state 12 weeks of paid leave to take care of a new baby or sick family member was approved in the New York State Assembly, and two measures gained support in the New York State Senate, but the issue fell by the wayside in the end of session rush to pass bills and adjourn for the summer.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

SUNY faculty and students are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would mean more money for the state university system.  

Michael Lyon, professor at Upstate Medical University, knows what it’s like to be buried in student debt.

"I finished paying for my education when my first adult child started college. So it was a never-ending payment,” said Lyon.

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A state wage board has voted to phase in an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour, making New York the first state in the nation to increase the wage for a single segment of the work force.

New York State Senate

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act saw some successes in the legislature in 2015, after the most controversial of the measures -- an abortion rights provision -- was separated out from the rest of the items.

Eight of the of the 10 provisions in the Women’s Equality Act passed in 2015, including anti-human trafficking laws, protections for pregnant workers, broadening anti-sexual harassment laws  in the workplace, and making it easier for women to sue for equal pay, says the co-chairwoman of the Women’s Equality Coalition, Suzy Ballantyne. 

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A wage board convened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to vote to raise the hourly minimum rate for fast food workers in New York state from the current $8.75 cents an hour to as high as $15 an hour when it meets on Wednesday.

The board was appointed by Cuomo when Republicans in the New York State Senate did not agree to raise the minimum wage any higher than the current phased-in increase, which will bring the minimum wage to $9 an hour by the end of this year.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

In the legislative session that recently ended, Governor Cuomo saw the state legislature reject a number of agenda items he’d been pushing. The governor, perhaps taking a cue from President Obama, has used his executive powers to advance some of the proposals anyway.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the first time as governor, has an approval rating below 50 percent in a new Siena College poll that also finds only 39 percent of New Yorkers think he’s doing a good job in office.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached a key milestone that he might not be happy about. Cuomo, for the first time as governor, has an approval rating below 50 percent in a new poll.

Siena College, which conducted the poll, found Cuomo's popularity to be at 49 percent. Siena pollster Steve Greenberg says 50 percent is considered a “magic number” in the political world, that politicians strive to stay above.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

New York state’s new education commissioner, in her first address since beginning the job just over one week ago, told the rural schools association meeting in Cooperstown, that she intends to be more inclusive to teachers. 

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

A legislative session that featured the arrest of both of the top leaders of the legislature on corruption charges, saw no new ethics improvements included in the end of session agreements on a host of measures. One reform group is calling on the governor and legislature to meet in a special session to address the state’s on going scandals.

Matt Ryan / New York Now

The state’s lieutenant governor, in an interview with New York State Public Radio and TV,  says she’s not harboring ambitions to be the state’s first woman governor.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says she doesn’t know when the state’s proverbial glass ceiling will be broken, and New York will have a woman in charge of the chief executive post,  but she says it’s unlikely that it will be her who reaches that milestone.

“I don’t harbor higher ambitions,” Hochul said.

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Rochester became the “Capital for a Day” on Thursday.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his cabinet visited the city to learn more about that part of western New York. New York's Secretary of State Cesar Perales sat on a panel that heard from people who work with the area’s immigrant and refugee communities.

The secretary of state says even though the legislature hasn’t passed the Dream Act — legislation that would assist children whose parents are in the country illegally go to college — the governor is committed to the proposed legislation.

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