John DeFrancisco

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Advocates for the disabled in central New York aren’t standing still for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s veto of legislation that would have improved the working conditions of the professionals that take care of disabled New Yorkers. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

One top Republican New York state lawmaker doesn’t think there is any kind of new law that will end the public corruption in Albany.

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse), who is deputy Senate majority leader, says he hears all the time from New Yorkers who say state laws should be changed to stop public corruption in Albany. But DeFrancisco notes that recent cases of corruption all involved elected officials or aides breaking the current laws.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner faced an intense grilling from lawmakers Wednesday at a joint hearing on how the administration handled water contamination in the eastern New York village of Hoosick Falls.

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After a 10-year fight, legislation that toughens penalties for those convicted of boating while intoxicated, has been signed into law in New York state. Now, when judges decide on sentencing in boating while intoxicated cases, they must consider previous driving while intoxicated.

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) says Tiffany Heitkamp’s law will mean stiffer penalties for anyone convicted on a BWI charge who also has a DWI history.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Republican Party has opened up a political headquarters for the Donald Trump presidential campaign in Syracuse. Elected officials, volunteers and Donald Trump fans crowded into an Erie Boulevard office space to get a pep talk from state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox as the area’s Trump headquarters officially opened on Friday.

"The momentum is on our side, the big mo. And by the way, what does that mean? Come November 8, we’re going to have a Republican President of the United States, Donald Trump,” Cox said. “And that’s what it’s all about.”

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State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) said a report released late last Friday only deepens his skepticism about Start-Up NY, the Cuomo administration’s economic development program that offers tax breaks to companies that set up shop in certain educational zones. A report on the multi-million dollar program was released three months late and showed just over 400 jobs were created in two years. Defrancisco said a lack of transparency about the program is one of the problems.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Central New York lawmakers are celebrating the state legislature's decision to shift payment of indigent legal services from the counties to the state. It's one of many so-called unfunded mandates that have long been a source of contention for local governments, which are left to pay picking up the tab for the decisions that are made at the capitol.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

Several bills in the New York state legislature would extend or eliminate the criminal and/or civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse.

Kathryn Robb with Massachusetts Citizens for Children, is a survivor of child sex abuse and an advocate for removing the criminal and civil statute of limitations.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse), the second highest ranking member of the state Senate, is weighing in on what ethics reforms may or may not get passed before the end of the legislative session in June. There are a number of reforms DeFrancisco said he would support as long as there are no exceptions.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has become the target of political flak from both Democrats and Republicans in published reports this week. Miner, a Democrat, sees it as hyper partisanship run amok.

The first complaint comes from the central New York Area Labor Federation, AFL CIO. Leaders criticized the mayor for not publicly challenging fellow Syracusan and Republican State Senator John DeFrancisco for his opposition to the proposal to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour.  

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.

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.  

This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with two veteran Syracuse area lawmakers about the upcoming legislative session, and about the governor's influence over the legislature--and what his overall political agenda has been.  State Senators John DeFrancisco and Dave Valesky offer contrasting views about the governor's use of executive orders, and the need for legislative reform, but largely agree on what the session is likely to focus on, and share an optimistic view of the state budget being passed on time. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A recent poll shows the Republican candidate ahead in the all-important race for state Senate in the Binghamton area. Republicans across the state are keeping a close watch on a special election that could tip the scales of power in Albany.

The Time Warner Cable News/Sienna College poll shows 59 -percent of voters polled are ready to support Republican Fred Akshar, with only 31 percent prepared to vote for Democrat Barbara Fiala. That’s good news for Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco of Syracuse.

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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Syracuse-area state Sen. John DeFrancisco is pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation he has sponsored that would give a tax break for renovations that makes housing more accessible for those with limited mobility.

Agnes McCray, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, is an advocate for the legislation.

“It's not so much about disability but the capability and the success of us all,” McCray said. "We cannot rest until there is equal opportunity for all no matter where we are in this community.”

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Lawmakers are struggling to reach end of session deals, as the corruption scandals and on going federal investigations seem to be hampering their progress.  

With just over one week left until the session is scheduled to end, lawmakers seem far apart on many key issues. New York City’s rent regulations expire next week, along with a property tax break for real estate developers who agree to set aside some of their project for affordable housing, known as 421a.  

State Sen. John DeFrancisco is Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and was involved in the leadership battle in the Senate when former leader Dean Skelos resigned as Majority Leader after being arrested on federal corruption charges. DeFrancisco ultimately lost the leadership role to Long Island Sen. John Flanagan. On this episode of the Campbell Conversations, DeFrancisco speaks with host Grant Reeher about this year's state budget and legislative agenda, the current state of affairs in Albany, the issue of upstate versus downstate, and more. 

nysenate.gov

Senate Leader Dean Skelos has resigned his post, over a corruption scandal, and Republicans have elected Sen. John Flanagan, currently chairman of the Education Committee to be his successor.

Flanagan, a Republican from Long Island, a GOP stronghold in the Senate, became the new leader of the Senate with a unanimous floor vote from his Republican conference.

Matt Ryan / WMHT

Dean Skelos has resigned his position as New York State Senate majority leader after his arrest on federal corruption charges. He becomes the latest leader to lose his power in a state government marred by corruption.

Sen. John Flanagan of Long Island was elected by his fellow Republicans, beating out Syracuse-area Sen. John DeFrancisco.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

State Senate Republicans have been huddling behind closed doors, trying to resolve a leadership crisis now that Majority Leader Dean Skelos has lost the support of his GOP members, after being charged with six federal counts of corruption.

Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Syracuse-area Republican who’s been running to replace Skelos, says first, the leader would have to resign, and that is not yet guaranteed.  

“I have not talked to Dean; not anybody that I’ve talked to has a clear answer on that,” DeFrancisco said.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was arrested last week on federal corruption charges, is expected to step down from his leadership position later today, according to multiple reports. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse-area state Sen. John DeFrancisco says he would be shocked if the uncertainty over the leadership of the New York State Senate lasts another week.  Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos was arrested Monday on federal corruption charges.  

Initially, lawmakers agreed to support Skelos. Since then, there has been a growing number of Republican senators publicly calling for him to resign his leadership post.

Matt Ryan / WMHT

Major newspapers in New York state have posted editorials calling for Senate Leader Dean Skelos to resign after the senator and his son were accused of running a corruption scam. But so far, Skelos is hanging on and Republicans are trying hard to carry on business as usual.

Mixy Lorenzo / Flickr

After several weeks of delays, the Cuomo administration’s so-called email summit is scheduled for later this month. It’s in response to criticism of an administration policy that purges most emails of state employees after 90 days.

Syracuse-area state Sen. John DeFrancisco suggests the administration just start saving emails for a longer period of time, and be done with it.

Durrie Bouscaren / WRVO File

Some observers of this year's state budget negotiations in Albany thought that the process was more complicated than in recent years. And they're not alone. Syracuse-area state Sen. John DeFrancisco says it's amazing the budget ever got done on time.

As the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, DeFrancisco was intimately involved in the budget talks. The Republican says this year was different because Gov. Andrew Cuomo added legislation like education and ethics reform to the state spending plan.

Chris / via Flickr

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the recently approved state budget took an important first step towards fixing water systems across the state. 

Miner was happy to see a $200 million fund earmarked for fixing water and sewer systems in the spending plan. Getting state support to fix aging infrastructure, is something she, other municipalities and a statewide coalition have been vocal about for months.

DeFrancisco weighs in on education, ethics debates

Mar 9, 2015

After four on-time state budgets, this year's debate over in Albany over the spending plan seems particularly contentious. Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Republican from the Syracuse area, has had some choice words for the governor, a Democrat. DeFrancisco is also chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Durrie Bouscaren / WRVO File

Among the debates in Albany this budget season -- what to do with $5.4 billion in surplus money from a state settlement with banks. Much of that discussion has come down to two options for spending a portion of the cash --either on economic development or infrastructure.

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