Carl Heastie

Wallyg / via Flickr

The New York legislative session is due to end in three weeks, but some state lawmakers are talking about leaving a week early because they believe they will accomplish so little in that time. 

Political gridlock in the state Senate and worsening relations between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and majority-party Senate Republicans have led some lawmakers to say that perhaps they should end the session early.

But Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said his Democratic members are staying until at least June 20, the scheduled end of the session.

-JvL- / Flickr

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he still needs to consult with the other legislative leaders before he can set a date to vote on a replacement for former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to serve out the remainder of the term, which ends Dec. 31.

Heastie was noncommittal about when the Legislature will appoint a successor to Schneiderman.

“When we come back on Tuesday, we’ll talk to the members and see what they want to do,” Heastie said.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Budget talks are stalled shortly before a self-imposed deadline of March 30 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature. Meanwhile, groups left out of the deal expressed their dismay.

Calling themselves the “coalition of the shafted,” the groups – including advocates for access to birth control, bail reform and better voter access – stood on the “Million Dollar Staircase” to criticize the direction of the budget talks.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Talks on the state budget were stalled just days before the April 1 deadline, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers continued negotiations. Groups pressing for additional issues that are in the governor’s budget plan still have not given up hope.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will detail his proposals to help New Yorkers affected by changes to the federal tax law. But Republicans who rule the state Senate are cool to the ideas, including one that creates a payroll tax instead of a state income tax.

NYS Assembly

In the midst of a national debate on immigration, the New York State Assembly this week passed a bill to give children of undocumented immigrants access to financial aid for college.

The measure, which is separate from federal legislation and would apply only to New York state, would allow undocumented students to be eligible for funds from the state’s Tuition Assistance Program if they attended high school in New York state or received a general equivalency diploma and have applied to a college or university within the state.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing an increase in school aid of $769 million, a rise of about 3 percent over last year, but some say that’s not enough to meet school districts’ rising costs.

The hike is about half of the increase that schools ultimately received in last year’s budget. Cuomo, in his budget presentation to the state Legislature, said he anticipates some blowback.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his budget Tuesday, and the news is not expected to be good.

The state faces an over $4.4 billion budget gap, as well as funding cuts and policy changes from Washington that could cost New York and some of its taxpayers billions of dollars.

The governor set the tone in his State of the State speech earlier this month, saying, “2018 may be the toughest year New York has faced in modern history.”

“We have unprecedented challenges ahead on every level,” Cuomo said. 

New York State Senate

Republicans in the State Senate say that, despite the over  $4 billion structural deficit, taxes need to be cut further and a property tax cap must be made permanent.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his State of the State speech this week, floated the idea of converting the state income tax to a payroll tax to help reverse the new federal law that limits deductibility for state and local taxes. Many support the concept, but businesses say it’s not so easy to make the change – and it could bring unforeseen complications.

nysassembly.gov

A state Assemblyman has been sanctioned by the Assembly Ethics Committee for allegedly sexually harassing a staff member. Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin denies the charges and has asked for a criminal investigation of the ethics committee itself.

The complaint against McLaughlin stems from a June 2016 complaint from a female staffer, who said the Republican from Rensselaer County made lewd comments to her and asked to see nude photos of her. McLaughlin also is accused of releasing the name of the staff member, then lying about it.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

New York’s leaders are continuing to struggle with actions in Congress on the federal budget and tax overhaul that could adversely affect the state’s finances. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said it’s possible he’ll call a special session to address potential gaps in the state budget that could total several billion dollars. But he said the uncertainty over what will happen in Washington on health care funding and on major tax changes is making it hard to plan.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie started a tour of upstate New York this week, with several stops in the Syracuse area.  

Heastie, a Democrat from the Bronx, admits that while he was just an Assembly member, he didn’t make it much out of the confines of New York City. But since he’s taken a leadership position in state government as the most powerful member of the Assembly, he says it’s part of his job to take a broader view of the state.

-JvL- / Flickr

There was a flurry of activity — along with threats and ultimatums — on Monday at the state Capitol, but there were no agreements on major issues as the session draws to a scheduled close on Wednesday.

Victims of childhood sexual abuse remain hopeful that there could be a vote in the state Senate on a measure to extend the statute of limitations to age 28 for criminal proceedings and age 50 for civil proceedings.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins urged the majority coalition of Republicans and breakaway Democrats to allow the bill on the floor for a vote.

Marco Varisco / Flickr

The New York State Legislature is approaching its final week of the 2017 session, and agreements on outstanding issues, including mayoral control over the state’s largest school system, remain elusive. 

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

Legislative leaders are dug in on remaining issues in the 2017 session and are accusing each other of unfairly linking unrelated items to renewal of mayoral control over New York City schools. Time is running out for scheduled meetings.

The renewal of mayoral control of New York City schools faces a hard deadline. It expires at the end of the month.

stgermh / Flickr

The New York state legislative session is drawing to a close, and Democrats and Republicans are digging in on the remaining issues of 2017. Among them is a measure to extend the New York City mayor’s control of the public schools, which has now been linked to a number of diverse issues affecting people in the rest of the state.

Games of chicken are common at the Capitol whenever a deadline like the budget or the end of session draws near. This time, it was the state Senate’s turn to go first.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

With less than two weeks left in the legislative session, some New York lawmakers are pressing for reform of the state’s economic development contracting process in light of a scandal that’s led to federal corruption charges against several former associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Supporters of a constitutional convention in New York say the amendment deserves prominent placement on the November ballot. Opponents say the entire idea is too risky, and that the state should skip it.

Every 20 years, New Yorkers have the chance to vote on whether the state should hold a constitutional convention. If it’s approved, delegates are elected from each state Senate district, and they meet to decide on potential changes to the state’s constitution.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

One of the top issues remaining before the state legislature adjourns for the summer is fixing problems in the state’s economic development contracts. That’s after a scandal led to federal corruption charges against nine former associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

A bill by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to reinstate the comptroller’s ability to oversee economic development contracts is gaining momentum in the legislature.

stgermh / Flickr

New York voters get a chance to decide in the fall whether the state should have a constitutional convention. Both state legislative leaders, however, say they are against it.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Leader John Flanagan appeared together Tuesday at a forum sponsored by the Albany Times Union’s Hearst Media Center.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

A bill that could address corruption in Albany is progressing in the state Legislature, but it might not be the measure that Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to become law.

Several former Cuomo associates, including a former top aide, face federal corruption trials on charges of bribery and bid-rigging in connection with the contracts for some of the governor’s signature economic development projects, including the Buffalo Billion.

Marco Varisco / Flickr

New York state will avoid a government shutdown after lawmakers approved a two-month stopgap spending plan.

New York State Senate

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers missed the midnight budget deadline after they failed to solidify deals on state spending and taxation, as well as some unrelated items like permitting ride hailing services outside of New York City.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is warning that the state might not be able to add more money for schools this year because of uncertainties in Washington over federal funding.

Just days before the state budget is due, Cuomo is urging the state legislature to pull back on additional spending for school districts beyond the $1 billion increase he’s already proposed, saying there’s too much uncertainty over federal funding right now.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Several proposals in Washington could mean multi-billion-dollar budget gaps for New York state. With the budget due in one week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders think that at the very least, they may have to come back later in the year to revise the spending plan.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The next two weeks at the New York State Capitol are going to be very busy as lawmakers face the deadline for a new budget. Several issues remain unresolved.

Matt Ryan / New York Now (file photo)

The state legislature’s one-house budgets make some changes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $163 million proposal to offer free tuition at public colleges in New York to some middle-class students.

Cuomo’s plan would have the state pay the tuition at public colleges and universities for students who have a combined family income of up to $125,000 a year when the plan is fully phased in in two years.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The New York State Senate and Assembly will release their one-house budgets this week, as the March 31 deadline for a new spending plan draws near. They’ve already given some hints as to what the plans will include.

Senate Republicans are rejecting, for now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s extension of a tax on millionaires. They say they also are against pretty much all of the other taxes and fees in the governor’s budget, including a proposed new tax on internet purchases, a surcharge on prepaid cellphones and higher fees at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The state budget is due in 3 1/2 weeks, but the biggest push at the Capitol is for a change that is not a spending item. It’s a measure to treat 16- and 17-year-olds as children, not adults, when they are charged with serious crimes.

Many leading legislators say, for them, the issue is personal.

Those who support raising the age when New Yorkers are treated as adults in the criminal justice system from 16 to 18 held a rally Tuesday at the Capitol. Many of the leading Democrats in the Legislature spoke, including Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

Pages