New York State Assembly

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A bill to make it legal for terminally ill patients to end their lives is being debated in the New York legislature. While many have compelling personal cases for allowing the practice, others, including the Catholic Church, remain opposed.  

Amy Paulin, an Assemblywoman from Westchester, is sponsoring a bill to allow what’s become known as Aid in Dying, after the wrenching experience of her sister’s battle with stage four ovarian cancer.

Under proposed legislation, motorists could be fined for not cleaning snow off their vehicles. But there are plenty of objections to this bill.

Western New York Assemblyman Mickey Kearns says if the bill comes to the floor, he'll vote no.  

"I think it's basic common sense. I don't think we need to legislate common sense," Kearns said.

The bill, which already has been debated in committee, calls for fines for any moving vehicle with three or more inches of snow on it. 

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Local governments and schools say they are struggling over a property tax cap that will allow what amounts to a zero percent increase in tax levies in the coming year. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo says they’ll likely have to stick with those rules.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The issue of whether to tax the wealthiest New Yorkers at a higher rate is once again a topic at the State Capitol. Assembly Democrats are out with a tax plan that would redistribute some tax revenue from the richest to the poorest New Yorkers.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The New York State Assembly approved a one-house bill to establish partial paid family leave in New York as Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled he will amend his proposal to provide more money to those who take the leave.

Advocates of paid family leave, who have been lobbying on the issue for years, say movement on the matter from the Assembly Democrats and Cuomo has given them new hope. Donna Dolan leads a coalition.

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Assembly members are vowing to expand funding for treatment for opioid addiction in New York. The Assembly Minority Task Force on Heroin Addiction presented their report Monday in the assembly chamber.

Three Republican Assembly members are credited with writing the report that proposes solutions based on a series of local hearings about the heroin addiction problem in New York state.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

It’s been more than 40 years since the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing a women’s right to choose an abortion, but advocates say New York lawmakers have yet to translate the provisions of the landmark Supreme Court decision into law in the state.

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A budget watch dog group is giving Gov. Andrew Cuomo a mixed grade on his budget proposals, saying he’s done a good job reigning in spending, but is making a mistake by shifting some significant costs to New York City.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

One day before Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address, where he is expected to address ethics issues after the criminal convictions of the two legislative leaders, some state legislators are already demanding reforms that would break up the power of the leadership.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The opening day of the legislative session featured talk of ethics reform, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo chose to be elsewhere, putting off his traditional State of the State message for another week, and giving speeches in Syracuse and New York City instead.

The Senate and Assembly convened  for the first time since both leaders of the legislature were convicted of multiple corruption charges in late 2015 and now face potentially decades in prison.

Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter Facebook

Central New York’s newest member of the Assembly is launching citizen advisory committees meant to keep the lines of communication open between residents and state government

Democrat Pam Hunter says one thing she realized after campaigning for the 128th Assembly District is that residents want their concerns and ideas heard in Albany. So she’s started up advisory committees in the towns of DeWitt, Onondaga and Salina, as well as the city of Syracuse, for residents to let her know what’s important in their particular neighborhoods.

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The second of the state legislature’s two former leaders has now been convicted on multiple corruption charges after a jury lost no time in finding former Senate Leader Dean Skelos and son Adam guilty on all eight counts.

The Independent Democratic Conference is calling for state ethics reform once again. In past years, the group of breakaway Democrats have proposed a new system for campaign contributions and limits on outside income.

Now, the IDC is hoping the conviction last week of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will lead to change in next year's legislative session.

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Prisons around the state continue to face closer scrutiny following last summer's escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. State and federal probes are already underway. But a growing number of lawmakers now say violence behind bars and the breakdown in security mean more oversight is needed.

Beatings, escapes, attacks on guards, and an alleged murder

-JvL- / Flickr

The conviction of Sheldon Silver on corruption charges is not the end of legal proceedings for the former assembly speaker. He and his lawyers are expected to provide details of their appeal of the case as well as ask the trial judge to override the jury’s conclusions and retroactively acquit Silver.  

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the current legislative leaders have downplayed efforts for new reforms in Albany following the conviction of the former Assembly Speaker on seven counts of corruption. 

Former Speaker Assembly Silver is now facing up to 20 years in prison for illegally gaining millions of dollars through his outside employment. Former Senate Leader Dean Skelos is in the midst of another federal corruption trial, accused of misusing his influence to gain jobs and money for his son.

New York State Senate

 


Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke publicly for the first time since the former leader of the Assembly was convicted on seven counts of corruption for abusing his powers to earn outside income. But, Cuomo said he does not think it’s the right time now for a special session on ethics reform.

azipaybarah / Flickr

Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted Monday on charges that he used his power to illegally earn more than $5 million in bribes and kickbacks. The federal jury came back with the guilty verdict after a three-week trial. 

Local elections were held around the country last Tuesday, and while the Syracuse region did not contain the drama of the Kentucky governor’s race or the Houston equal rights ordinance, there were nonetheless some local results of note, and some tea leaves embedded in the details of expected outcomes.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher mines those with two local political reporters, Teri Weaver of the Syracuse Post-Standard and Ellen Abbot of WRVO Public Media. 

The departure of State Assemblyman Sam Roberts for a cabinet post in state government created the need for a special election this November.  Two of the candidates vying for the 128th district seat are Democrat Pamela Hunter, a Syracuse Common Councilor and Republican John Sharon, an attorney.  On this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations, the two share their views on Syracuse's poverty problem, the proposed increase in the minimum wage, the Common Core, and I-81, among other topics. 

Closed anti-poverty meeting held in Rochester

Aug 25, 2015
Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Members of the New York state Assembly are on a statewide tour to hear from people living in poverty and local elected officials who are trying to address the issue. The first stop was Rochester, which was given money in this year's budget to establish an anti-poverty task force.

The round table discussion was closed to press, but a statement says the meeting was an opportunity for leaders to discuss the impacts of poverty on the community.

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The chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee says an education tax credit bill pressed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not appropriate for the state at this time.

stgermh / Flickr

The legislature will be finishing up its work in the next couple of weeks with two new legislative leaders; one in his third month, the other in just his second week on the job.

Now that the state Senate has stabilized, after weeks of turmoil over corruption charges, legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are looking at what they can reasonably finish with just five weeks left in the session.

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With just a few weeks left in the legislative session, education issues continue to dominate. Some lawmakers want to fix a recently passed law that requires a fast turn around for new teacher evaluations, while others would like a tax break for donors that would help private schools.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has seen much of his ambitious legislative agenda for 2015 stall, as first the Assembly Speaker, and then the Senate Leader, were charged with corruption and had to resign their leadership posts.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

Earth Day 2015 is also the day the New York State Assembly began its transition to a paperless system. Assemblymembers have been given iPads to read bills electronically, and supporters say it will save millions of dollars, and trees.

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle announced the change on the Assembly floor.

“Today we begin officially with tablets,” Morelle said.

Getting rid of the piles of paper that clutter members’ desks each day required a Constitutional Amendment, which voters approved last fall. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the speaker of the Assembly say they hope the state Senate will sign on to their joint proposal for ethics reform, as a new poll finds the governor with dropping job approval numbers.

Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie took the unusual step of calling their ethics measure a deal, even though they need the Senate to agree to the plan in order for it to become law.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle says real ethics reform is coming to Albany.

Morelle, a Rochester-area Democrat wouldn’t say whether he thinks former Speaker Sheldon Silver is guilty of a crime. But Morelle said that Silver should have been forced to disclose the source of his outside income.

azipaybarah / Flickr

Former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was indicted Thursday on federal fraud and extortion charges. Silver was arrested in January and charged with taking nearly $4 million in kickbacks. 

stgermh / Flickr

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.

-JvL- / Flickr

The race to replace disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver seems all but over, with the Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie amassing the most support. Silver’s resignation is effective at midnight Monday, and a vote for the new speaker could be held as early as next week.

Morelle announced on Friday that he would drop out of the race and back Heastie. Morelle, while at home in the Rochester area this weekend, told reporters that Heastie is a close friend and that that the two of them had kept in close contact throughout the process.

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