New York State Legislature

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

This year's state legislative session has produced no agreements on ethics reform, even though Albany is in the midst of a what some call a corruption crime wave. Capitol correspondent Karen DeWitt (who is recovering from a cold) spoke to longtime League of Women Voters lobbyist Barbara Bartoletti about the lack of action.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

State lawmakers have passed legislation that could provide financial relief for those affected by Lake Ontario flooding. The new bill was approved after weeks of debate between the state Senate and Assembly over how much to spend and whom should be be eligible

-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.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr

The state budget’s been in place for just less than two months, and already there are signs that tax revenues may be significantly lower than expected. Anticipated federal tax reductions later this year may be one of the reasons.

Late on the Friday before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget division released its financial analysis of the new state budget approved in early April.

If you look closely at the numbers, they show that tax revenues reported in May declined by just over $600 million from projections made as recently as February.

Catherine Loper / WRVO News

The New York State Legislature is back at the Capitol for three weeks of meetings before the session ends later in June. A number of advocacy groups say there’s an opportunity for lawmakers to act to address some of the harm that they say President Donald Trump’s policies are causing. But divisions in the Legislature may hinder any chance of achievements.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

New York lawmakers want fewer elections. They say they can save millions of dollars by consolidating primaries for state and federal offices into one day, but they can’t agree on when that day should be.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

State legislators from central New York are sounding off on what they would like to see the Legislature accomplish before the legislative session ends in June. One item includes funding for damages incurred from flooding along Lake Ontario and other New York waterways.   

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) is sponsoring a companion piece to the Senate’s flood relief bill that would include expanding funding for properties damaged along Seneca Lake, Seneca River, Oswego River, Oneida River and Cross Lake.

DeFrancisco says state Senate stipends allowed by law

Jun 1, 2017
Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Republican state Sen. John DeFrancisco is weighing in on some big topics facing the Senate before its session ends in June. DeFrancisco said the question of stipends being paid to Democratic and Republican senators has become a huge issue.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

State lawmakers are moving to provide grants to property owners affected by the flooding from Lake Ontario and this year's high rainfall, but they disagree about how to best address the situation.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

There are reports that state senators who received payments for chairing committees that they actually did not chair are now under a probe by the state attorney general and at least one U.S. attorney.

Several Republican and independent Democratic senators were paid stipends allocated to chairs of Senate committees. But the senators weren’t actually the chairs; they had all been designated as vice chairs, a relatively new title. There is no provision in state law to pay stipends to vice chairs.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Water levels on Lake Ontario are still going up and still have not yet peaked, but property owners already have been assessing the damage. 

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.

Gage Skidmore / via Flickr

Several New York state lawmakers are sponsoring a bill that they say would force President Donald Trump to make his state tax returns public.

Trump broke with a more than 40-year tradition of presidential candidates and presidents voluntarily releasing their tax returns. Trump has said he can’t release his returns because he is under audit.

In the 1970s, President Richard Nixon began the practice of releasing the tax filings, even though Nixon himself was under federal audit at the time. Since then, every president has voluntarily released his tax returns.

Catherine Loper / WRVO News

State legislators are due back at the Capitol Monday, following a break for Easter and Passover after they passed the new state budget. It contained numerous non-spending items -- like free public college tuition for some middle class students and an expansion of ride-hailing services. So what, if anything, do lawmakers still need to do before adjourning in June?

The Senate and Assembly are scheduled to meet for around two more months this year, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking a week after the budget was approved, told reporters that there isn’t much left to do.

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.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick has joined other law enforcement officials across the state in recent days who are criticizing "raise the age" legislation that’s being debated in Albany.

Raise the age would take 16- and 17-year-olds accused of certain crimes out of the adult justice system and into family court. Advocates say dumping teens into the adult criminal justice system makes it much harder for them to get their life back on track.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Some Mohawk Valley lawmakers are trying to form a bipartisan alliance to more effectively advocate for their region in the state legislature.

Utica Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi says he already talks with his Republican Mohawk Valley colleague, Sen. Joe Griffo, on a daily basis. Now he wants to expand those powwows to other representatives from counties like Oneida and Herkimer. He says this informal Mohawk Valley coalition would model itself after other regional alliances.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s acting tax commissioner took heat Tuesday from Democrats and Republicans in the state Legislature over delays in the STAR rebate program. The hearing was interrupted by protesters who want higher taxes on millionaires.

Lawmakers changed the rules of the STAR school property tax rebates so that new homeowners would get their rebates by the end of September to use them toward their tax bills. That was September 2016. Five months later, some senators and Assembly members say they are hearing from constituents who still have not received their money.

Matt Ryan / WMHT File Photo

Lawmakers grilled Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development chair Wednesday at a budget hearing, as some of the programs are embroiled in a corruption scandal that’s led to charges against several former associates of the governor.

Nine people have pleaded guilty or been indicted in connection with alleged bid-rigging and other corruption charges involving some of Cuomo’s economic development programs. They face trial later this year.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told a crowd of cheering Planned Parenthood advocates that he’s proposing an amendment to put protections from the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade into the state’s constitution.

Onasill ~ Bill Badzo / Flickr

One of the chief arguments over the state budget will be whether to renew an income tax surcharge on New York’s wealthiest.

The state is facing a $3.5 billion deficit, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to add a billion dollars to the state’s public schools. He also wants to offer free tuition at public colleges for families making less than $125,000 a year.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is due to release his budget on Tuesday, and agencies that work with those with intellectual disabilities are among those hoping for more funds. They say they need help to pay workers the new higher minimum wage.

New York’s minimum wage is going up over the next few years, to $15 eventually in New York City and lesser amounts upstate. Groups that provide services for the developmentally disabled rely on Medicaid reimbursements to pay their workers, and they say they’ll have a hard time meeting the higher wages without more money from the state.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ended his six-city State of the State tour, speaking for nine hours total, according to his estimates, and traveling over 1,200 miles — with one emergency helicopter landing thrown in for good measure.

But the departure from the traditional speech before lawmakers at the Capitol has its advantages and its drawbacks.

The governor began the multi-day rollout of his agenda right after the winter holidays during an appearance with Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who is still popular among New Yorkers on the left after his presidential campaign.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

While many state lawmakers were not in attendance at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s regional State of the State speeches, one person who is tagged along to all the six speeches, is state Republican Party Chair Ed Cox.

Cox says he’s always gone to the State of the State speeches in the past. And even though he’s not allowed in the regional events that are taking the place of a State of the State in Albany this year,  Cox is offering his opinion to reporters after speeches are over, this particular time in Syracuse.

File Photo
governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doing something different with the State of the State this year. Instead of delivering a speech in Albany to lawmakers who will have to approve his proposals, he’s giving six mini speeches in three days all around the state. Legislative leaders will not be attending.

New York State Senate

The new year for the state legislature has begun in discord, with an absent governor and Republicans in the Senate vowing to take a harder line against Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

The year began without Cuomo, who abandoned the tradition of conducting a State of the State speech on the first day of the session in favor of giving a presentation on airport renovations to a group of business leaders in New York City. He’ll do speeches across the state later. 

Is aid-in-dying right for New York?

Jan 5, 2017
Jo Naylor / Flickr

Susan Rahn's doctors first discovered cancer in her back a few years ago. They traced its to her breast, and she's now at Stage 4 -- a terminal diagnosis. Rahn changes her medication every three months to fight the pain.

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