John DeFrancisco

5:34am

Mon June 30, 2014
Politics

GOP senators say Democrats will neglect upstate

Senate Republicans have a new strategy in what’s shaping up to be an election battle for control of the New York state Senate. They say now that a group of breakaway Democrats is abandoning them and rejoining the rest of the Democrats, the Senate will be dominated by New York City liberals who won’t care about upstate and Long Island.

The five-member Independent Democratic Conference  announced it would break its nearly two-year-old  alliance in ruling the Senate with the Republicans, and plans to join the Democrats in a coalition government after the November elections.

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6:23am

Fri June 27, 2014
Politics

DeFrancisco says upstate New York will suffer, following IDC decision

Durrie Bouscaren WRVO File

Upstate will be the big loser if a new power change in the state Senate goes through, according to one high ranking state Senate Republican.

Syracuse-area state Sen. John DeFrancisco says if history tells us anything, it’s that upstate New York doesn’t fare well when downstate Democrats control all branches of government in New York state.

"Upstate will be shafted, to put it in the vernacular, if New York City is running everything again," DeFrancisco said.

He says voters need to know how upstate will be affected by the power shift.

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3:29pm

Fri June 20, 2014
Politics and Government

State Senate passes medical marijuana bill

dank depot via Flickr

Updated, 3:50 p.m.:

After a lengthy debate of several hours, the medical marijuana bill was approved in the state Senate, and now goes to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has said he'll sign it. 

Sponsor Sen. Diane Savino says she’s "gratified" by the larger than expected number of yes votes, including some surprise votes from traditionally conservative senators.

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3:19pm

Thu June 12, 2014
Politics

Cuomo says medical marijuana bill isn't dead yet

Brett Levin Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that there's still a chance the state legislature could pass a medical marijuana bill that he would sign.

Only five days remain in this year's session, and the governor had previously said that he it was unlikely any major issues would pass by then. But in an interview today with the public radio show "Capitol Pressroom," Cuomo declared that medical marijuana legislation is not dead.

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5:31am

Wed June 4, 2014
Politics and Government

Is Cuomo deal with Working Families Party good for upstate?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (file photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The fallout from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new alliance with the progressive Working Families Party continues at the state Capitol, with those who say they represent upstate interests dismayed at the development.

Brian Sampson, with the business friendly group Unshackle Upstate, had planned to begin his organization’s final push on several items they wanted to see passed in the legislature. But he arrived at the Capitol just after Cuomo struck a deal with the progressive Working Families Party to help Democrats take over the state Senate.

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5:49am

Mon April 28, 2014
Politics and Government

State Senate is sticking point for legalizing medical marijuana

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse)
Durrie Bouscaren WRVO File

State lawmakers go back to work in Albany this week as the second half of the legislative session gets underway. The debate over legalization of medical marijuana could become one of the high profile issues lawmakers tackle.

At this point the closest plan to legalizing medical marijuana in the state is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to use executive power to  allow doctors to prescribe it in 20 hospitals across the state to patients with certain conditions.

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7:47am

Fri April 25, 2014
Regional Coverage

State senator and local boxing coach entering the ring for charity

Ray Rinaldi (left) and state Sen. John DeFrancisco weigh in for Saturday's fight.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

A boxing match this weekend between a state senator and the founder of a youth program in Syracuse will raise money and the profile of the North and West Area Athletic and Education Centers. State Sen. John DeFrancisco and local boxing coach Ray Rinaldi will be the only ones on a fight card that’s meant to raise money and promote awareness for a program that keeps inner city kids out of trouble.
 

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6:47pm

Sun March 16, 2014
Politics and Government

Senate public finance provision raises questions

The New York state Senate for the first time includes Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan for public campaign financing in its budget resolution.  The sparsely worded proposal has left supporters and opponents trying to sort through the political tea leaves.

The inclusion of public campaign financing would seem to signal an abrupt change of policy for Republicans, who co-lead the Senate. The GOP has long maintained that a matching small donor plan using public funds is a waste of the taxpayers’ money, and would only lead to more annoying robo-calls.

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10:00am

Mon February 24, 2014
Education

Could N.Y.'s new homeland security college land in Syracuse?

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse)
Credit Durrie Bouscaren / WRVO File

New York state plans to create the nation’s first college dedicated to homeland security and emergency preparedness, which backers say is a necessary measure given the major storms and terrorist threats the state has dealt with.

And there are efforts to headquarter that new college in Syracuse.

State Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Republican from Syracuse, says the idea to create a homeland security and emergency preparedness college came from him and the state Senate, which he pitched to the governor.

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11:37pm

Thu January 30, 2014
Transportation

Final decision on I-81's future is 18 months away, DOT says

Ryan Delaney WRVO

New York’s transportation commissioner says a final decision about the future of the elevated stretch of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse will be made in a year and a half.

DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald discussed the future of the aging raised highway at a budget hearing today in Albany. "It's not an easy project," she said.

McDonald says her department will be out in March with more information on what impact to other roadways changes to I-81 could create, then it's on to the next step.

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8:53am

Fri November 29, 2013
Politics and Government

Senator DeFrancisco says Cuomo's Moreland Commission is a risky proposition

The commission that’s been delving into public corruption in New York state will release a preliminary report to Gov. Andrew Cuomo this weekend. The Moreland Commission, appointed by Cuomo, has held several hearings on the issue, and has been investigating the connection between private money and public officials, with an eye towards making policy proposals. One high ranking New York state senator has concerns though whether the commission’s work will be tangled in a question of separation of powers.

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3:43pm

Mon November 25, 2013
Regional Coverage

Cellphones for vets program starts 6th season

State Sen. John DeFransisco kicks off the sixth season of a cellphones for veterans collection program.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

For the sixth year in a row, State Sen. John DeFransisco is asking central New Yorkers to go through their junk drawers to help someone in the military.

“You got some old cellphones," DeFransisco said Monday, "don’t let them gather dust.”

Instead DeFransisco is asking people to turn them in to locations across central New York bearing the "Cellphones for Soldiers" logo.

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7:27am

Wed September 25, 2013
Regional Coverage

New series of public meetings being held to decide I-81's future

A series of neighborhood meetings will help the Department of Transportation decide I-81's future.
Zack Seward WXXI

New York state is holding another round of meetings regarding a topic that could change the face of Syracuse. The Department of Transportation begins a series of neighborhood sessions on Wednesday meant to get more feedback on the future of the Interstate 81 viaduct through downtown Syracuse.

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4:05pm

Tue September 24, 2013
Health

Geriatric ER at Upstate University Hospital helping more seniors

Since it opened in July, the geriatric emergency room, known as GEM Care, at the Upstate University Hospital Community Campus is getting more seniors in the emergency department compared to a year ago.

GEM Care Director Dr. Jaime Ciacco said the new emergency department has achieved the goal of having fewer seniors admitted to the hospital after those visits.

He also said one thing they are finding at the facility, is that they're fixing the small things that can often be overlooked in a senior's health care.

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4:30pm

Fri September 20, 2013
Business

N.Y. regulations like 'death by a thousand cuts,' say manufacturers

The Senate Majority Coalition public forum on regulatory reform at Syracuse City Hall.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The one phrase that kept coming up at Friday's New York State Senate hearing on regulatory reform in Syracuse, was "death by a thousand cuts." Manufacturers were the focus today as lawmakers travel around the state trying to identify regulations that are getting in the way of business.

One of the regulations State Sen. John DeFransisco called asinine at today's hearing, springs from the Wage Theft Prevention Act. Employers are required to provide employees with a yearly notice regarding their compensation, information that is already on their paycheck.

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6:21am

Thu September 5, 2013
Politics and Government

NY Senate hearing places focus on special tax breaks

Members from several progressive groups hold signs during a press conference.
Karen Dewitt/WRVO

Senate Republicans held a hearing on how to cut taxes, while also questioning whether some targeted special tax breaks are worth the money. Meanwhile, some groups complained that they’d been unfairly excluded from the discussion.

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2:30pm

Wed June 19, 2013
Politics and Government

Senate passes bill forcing landlords to pay taxes

The New York State Senate has passed a bill that would authorize public welfare officials to withhold rent from landlords who have not paid their real estate taxes.

In many cases, publicly funded subsidies meant to help families pay their rent are paid directly to landlords through social services programs. In October, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported that two landlords received more than $400,000 in government aid for rent while neglecting to pay over a million dollars in property taxes to the city.

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11:37am

Tue June 11, 2013
Politics

DeFrancisco: Cuomo's abortion rights provision a "non-starter"

State Sen. John DeFrancisco says the governor's abortion rights provision is a "non-starter."
Durrie Lawrence WRVO

A top Senate Republican says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s abortion rights provision in a women’s equality bill stands little chance of passage in the chamber.

Senate Finance Committee Chair John DeFrancisco, from Syracuse, is one of the leading members of the Senate GOP conference. He says it’s unlikely that his house will pass Governor Cuomo’s proposal to codify into New York law the abortion rights in the federal Roe v. Wade decision.

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6:01am

Tue June 11, 2013

9:21am

Mon June 3, 2013
Regional Coverage

Proposed state legislation would double littering fines

Fines for littering would double if a bill approved by the New York State Senate passes the Assembly. The idea is to crack down on the people who dump trash on the side of roads.

It poses driving hazards and costs a lot to remove. And Syracuse-area Sen. John DeFrancisco says litter that lines the highways just looks bad.

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3:48pm

Mon May 6, 2013
Politics and Government

D.A. Fitzpatrick supports unsealing juvenile records involving sex crimes

Juvenile records are automatically sealed in New York state, so they don't prejudice a prosecutor or judge, but state Sen. John DeFrancisco is proposing an exception. He wants those records be available to court officials if they involve sex crimes.

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5:14pm

Fri March 15, 2013
Politics and Government

Area state senator wants Medicaid reform

No state spends more on Medicaid than New York, earning it the nickname of the Cadillac of Medicaid programs. But that may soon end. One of the reasons the state spends $54 billion a years on the federal health care program for the poor, are 31 optional services that the state can sign on for -- ranging from transportation, to prescription drugs, to private nurses.

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9:42am

Mon March 11, 2013
Politics and Government

DeFrancisco thinks state lawmakers can deliver budget on time - again

The hearings are over; the New York State Assembly and Senate have put together their respective spending plans. Now this week, lawmakers in Albany get down to the details of hammering out a state budget that both chambers can agree on. Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco of Syracuse believes it can be done before the April 1 deadline.

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10:32am

Fri January 25, 2013
Politics and Government

Miner has some fun with home video before State of the City

Mayor Stephanie Miner poked some fun at her fellow central New York politicians in a video played before Thursday night's State of the City address. Check out the cameos by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), state Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney (R).

7:27am

Mon January 21, 2013
Regional Coverage

State law proposed to withhold state payments to some tax delinquent landlords

Proposed state legislation would allow social services officials to withhold rent payments for low-income housing when the landlords haven’t paid their taxes.

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5:46am

Tue January 1, 2013
Regional Coverage

Cell Phones for Soldiers drive help military overseas

If you have an old cell phone stashed in a drawer that you don't use any more, you can help a soldier overseas keep in touch with home.  Central New York's "Cell Phones for Soldiers" annual collection drive continues, as does the need.

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10:37am

Wed December 26, 2012
Politics and Government

DeFrancisco and Valesky on the Independent Democratic Conference

The new iteration of the New York state Senate will look different in 2013 with the new power sharing agreement in place between Republicans and breakaway Democrats, and two central New York lawmakers will be in the thick of it.

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4:14pm

Wed December 12, 2012
Politics

Will new state Senate coalition be good for upstate NY?

Some supporters of the new state Senate coalition between Republicans and the Independent Democrat Caucus say it will keep upstate New York concerns on the table. Some area politicians believe that wasn't the case when Democrats had control of the New York state Senate in 2009 and 2010.

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5:32pm

Fri November 2, 2012
Politics

DeFrancisco keeps a watchful eye on state Senate elections

State Sen. John DeFrancisco in his Syracuse office.
Durrie Lawrence WRVO

With two Republican state senators retiring, the GOP could lose their slim majority in the New York State Senate on Tuesday. Senator John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) said he doesn’t want Democrats to lead the state Senate, as they did briefly in 2009 and 2010. 

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8:14am

Wed May 2, 2012
Politics and Government

State Senate votes to give more money to schools in Republican represented districts

Republicans in the state Senate Tuesday night brought up a bill that would give $10 million in extra aid to schools. 

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