New York State Legislature

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

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.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

It was Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter’s (D-Syracuse) first legislative session in Albany this year. The assemblywoman said while much was accomplished at the end of the session in June, many issues she is still pressing for many issues that were left on the table.

Paid family leave, increasing the minimum wage and requiring schools test for lead in the water are three big issues Hunter was happy to see passed in this year’s legislative session.

-JvL- / Flickr

What began in January as an ambitious reform package to address a wave of corruption at the Capitol, proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, dwindled to just two proposals by the time the session closed in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning. Cuomo had proposed a number of changes in January to react to a wave of corruption that led to the convictions of the two former leader of the legislature on felony corruption charges.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The five Oswego County legislators who failed to fill out their oath of office cards on time will likely not have to run for their seats again this fall. A bill forgiving their mistake passed both chambers of the New York State Legislature and is awaiting the governor's signature or veto.

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

Hoosick Falls residents came to the Capitol on Wednesday to demand hearings on the water crisis that has revealed high levels of a toxic chemical in many people’s bloodstreams. They did not get hearings but did get a private meeting with a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

With the legislative session down to the wire, groups for and against bills — including expansion of Uber ride services and ethics reform — came to the Capitol to make their voices heard.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

As part of the push to end the legislative session by Thursday, state lawmakers representing Hoosick Falls — where water has been contaminated with PFOA — want to extend the statute of limitations to bring lawsuits against polluters.

The bill would extend the current statute of limitations law to allow a three-year window between when a contaminated area is declared a Superfund site and when New Yorkers can file a lawsuit.

The Senate sponsor, Sen. Kathy Marchione, who represents Hoosick Falls, said it’s a top priority for her in the remaining days of the session.

stgermh / Flickr

There are only three more days left in the legislative session, and lawmakers are talking with Gov. Andrew Cuomo about a number of bills — but keeping details close to the vest.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Among the recommendations of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s heroin task force are a few ideas to improve access to treatment.

One idea would end prior authorization. That’s when patients must first get approval from their insurance before they’re admitted to treatment.

Rob Kent, general counsel to the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, said the panel heard from a lot of people who wanted help with their addiction, but had to wait.

Mike Kurtz

 

A bill that will make it easier for military spouses to start working immediately after moving to the state is about to become law. New York is the only state that requires military spouses to re-apply for their professional license after arriving here.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

The state legislature ends its session for the year on June 16, and expectations are low for any major pieces of legislation to be resolved before the adjournment, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration faces increasing scrutiny from the U.S. attorney over economic development projects.

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.

Courtesy of New York State Assembly

Before the state’s legislative session ends in mid-June, local lawmakers are weighing in on what can be accomplished. Democratic Assemblyman Al Stirpe of Syracuse said two big issues at the top of lawmakers’ lists include addressing the heroin and opioid epidemic and ethics reform.  

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The New York State Legislature has been on a three-week break. In their absence, federal investigations into aides close to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have intensified, spurring even more calls for reform. Also, both former leaders of the legislature will be sentenced in the next few days on multiple felony convictions.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has released a report that it said shows the benefits of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next few years. Business groups charge the study is biased.

Cuomo has been pushing hard for a phased in $15 an hour minimum wage, putting the proposal into his state budget and campaigning for the measure with Vice President Joe Biden.

“Every working man and woman in the state of New York deserves $15 an hour as a minimum wage,” Cuomo shouted at rally last fall.

This legislative session New York lawmakers have two bills in front of them that would allow a physician to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a terminally ill patient. Currently, just five states have legalized physician-assisted suicide.

Under the New York bill, a mentally competent patient with less than six months to live could chose to end their life with their doctor’s help. Two physicians would have to agree the patient’s illness is terminal.

sebastien.barre / Flickr

A study by a reform group finds that if New York were to ban outside income for lawmakers, it would actually effect only a small number of legislators.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

The New York State Legislature is seemingly back to business as usual, with majority parties holding planning meetings and the new session set to begin right after the holidays. But there has been little public discussion about a corruption crisis that has led to the two most powerful men in the Legislature both on trial in federal court this month.

It’s almost as though they’re taking place in two parallel worlds. In federal court in Manhattan, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Leader Dean Skelos are both on trial for corruption.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

The controversial state ethics commission is in the midst of a review by a panel appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature. Government reform groups say they’ve already been asked to give their opinions on how to fix some of the commission’s problems.

stgermh / Flickr

A fiscal watchdog group says it’s uncovered what it calls a “secret slush fund,” used by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators to fund pet projects around the state, but the governor’s budget office says the grants are subject to oversight.  

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

Supporters of paid family leave in New York say they hope 2016 will be their year, but business groups are urging caution.

A measure to allow all workers in the state 12 weeks of paid leave to take care of a new baby or sick family member was approved in the New York State Assembly, and two measures gained support in the New York State Senate, but the issue fell by the wayside in the end of session rush to pass bills and adjourn for the summer.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

In the legislative session that recently ended, Governor Cuomo saw the state legislature reject a number of agenda items he’d been pushing. The governor, perhaps taking a cue from President Obama, has used his executive powers to advance some of the proposals anyway.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The New York state legislature passed a law that lets each county determine if they're going to allow sparklers leading up to the Fourth of July weekend. More than 30 counties in New York legalized sparklers including Jefferson, Madison and Cortland counties. The ban on sparklers is still in effect for Onondaga, Oneida, Tompkins and Oswego counties.

 

Joan Dolinak, a burn surgeon at Upstate University Hospital, said most sparkler injuries happen to children five-years-old and younger.

 

Joseph Morris / Flickr

Regulations surrounding the use of electronic cigarettes and the liquid nicotine that fuels them continue to increase in New York state, but anti-smoking activists are hoping for more.

The Clean Indoor Air Act of 2003 prohibited smoking in public places, but that doesn’t automatically apply to the newest trend in tobacco use, e-cigarettes, says American Heart Association Spokeswoman Kristy Smorol.

NY Assembly Video (file)

Legislative leaders continued meeting behind closed doors with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, one day before lawmakers are scheduled to return to the Capitol. The legislature extended its session for another week after failing to reach agreement on how to renew New York City’s rent laws. The laws are temporarily renewed until Tuesday.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, following talks with the governor, says it’s a hopeful sign that he, Cuomo and Senate Leader John Flanagan are still in communication.

“We’re still talking,” Heastie said. “Things are better, but we’re not close.”

-JvL- / Flickr

It turns out the legislative session will not be ending as planned and will continue on for at least another week.

After a week of gridlock, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders decided to take a break and adjourn for five days. Before they left, they renewed New York City’s expired rent laws, but only until Tuesday.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Leaders of all of the state’s local governments, as well as unions representing teachers and public workers, are warning state lawmakers not to simply renew the state’s property tax cap without some changes.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The legislative session is expected to  continue for at least longer than scheduled, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders remain gridlocked on extending New York City’s rent laws, and have not settled a host of other issues. The session was supposed to end Wednesday.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, following a private meeting with Cuomo, says he expects the session to last at least another day, as they continue to struggle with renewing the now expired rent regulations.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is promising police and firefighters in New York City a better deal on their disability benefits, as a budget watch dog group warns against the proliferation of end of session bills that give union workers more benefits.

Cuomo made a rare appearance at a rally, held by firefighters and police union members from New York City, to support their push for better disability benefits.

Pages