Politics and Government

Political news

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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.

Mike Saechang / Flickr

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D- N.Y.) is hoping to stop illegal gun trafficking, in an attempt to prevent gun violence.  She has introduced bipartisan legislation that would make gun trafficking a federal crime and give law enforcement more power to investigate and prosecute gun traffickers and their entire criminal network. 

“We’re talking about the easy access that a criminal has who can’t get a weapon if they go into a regular licensed gun dealer,” said Gillibrand.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the first time as governor, has an approval rating below 50 percent in a new Siena College poll that also finds only 39 percent of New Yorkers think he’s doing a good job in office.

Mitch Barrie / Flickr

Gun rights advocates are divided over a recent memorandum of understanding on the SAFE Act -- New York’s controversial gun law.

The memo came out late last week. It suspended the creation of a database of ammunition buyers until the technology and money are available to build it.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s a new park in the city of Syracuse. The new green space is part of a long term plan to revitalize the major corridor on the city’s south side.

The Sankofa Park on South Salina Street replaces an abandoned parking lot with greenery, benches, a sandbox, and a stage. Sankofa is a word that comes from the Akan language of Ghana, which means “reach back and get it.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached a key milestone that he might not be happy about. Cuomo, for the first time as governor, has an approval rating below 50 percent in a new poll.

Siena College, which conducted the poll, found Cuomo's popularity to be at 49 percent. Siena pollster Steve Greenberg says 50 percent is considered a “magic number” in the political world, that politicians strive to stay above.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

A legislative session that featured the arrest of both of the top leaders of the legislature on corruption charges, saw no new ethics improvements included in the end of session agreements on a host of measures. One reform group is calling on the governor and legislature to meet in a special session to address the state’s on going scandals.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Rochester became the “Capital for a Day” on Thursday.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his cabinet visited the city to learn more about that part of western New York. New York's Secretary of State Cesar Perales sat on a panel that heard from people who work with the area’s immigrant and refugee communities.

The secretary of state says even though the legislature hasn’t passed the Dream Act — legislation that would assist children whose parents are in the country illegally go to college — the governor is committed to the proposed legislation.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says upstate New York is reaping the economic benefits of renewed attention from the Cuomo administration.  

Inficon, a company out of East Syracuse that makes scientific instrumentation, has been around for 25 years. And in that time, it’s quadrupled sales. So at this point, there were some tough decisions to be made according to the company’s president Peter Maier.

"It was time for us to either expand here, or somewhere else. Of course we prefer to do it here,” said Maier. “So it was a story of whether we could expand and where we could do that."

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed the state attorney general as a temporary  special prosecutor to over see cases where a civilian is killed by a police officer.

Cuomo, saying there is a “crisis of confidence” in the criminal justice system, signed an executive order to have the state’s attorney general  take over from local district attorneys, anytime a unarmed civilian is killed in an encounter with police, and there are questions about what happened.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

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.”

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill to crack down on sexual assaults on college campuses, saying he hopes other states will adopt similar protections.  

The agreement on the anti-college sexual assault measure was a bright spot in the close of a legislative session that saw lawmakers punt on a number of other key issues.  

Before he signed the law, Cuomo said up until now, students, college administrators and society in general have been in denial about the widespread nature of the problem.

Tom Magnarelli

 

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is cosponsoring a bill called the TREAT Act in Congress that would increase the number of patients that medical practitioners can prescribe medication for treatment of drug abuse from 30 to 100. Katko held a public meeting in Oswego to address the recent rise in heroin addictions in central New York.

 

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.

 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Federal authorities are ratcheting up terror warnings across the country in advance of this Fourth of July holiday weekend.  

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are asking local law enforcement officials to be prepared for any potential terrorist activity. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says this alert reflects a new kind of radicalization.

CREDO.fracking / Flickr

New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced this week that he is leaving that position, just two days after he issued the final environmental impact statement banning hydrofracking in the state.  The final report on fracking is a signal for others to move on as well. Anti-fracking groups say they are using New York’s stance to help convince other states -- and even countries -- to also ban the gas drilling process.

slgckgc / Flickr

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders announced a new rebate check for property taxpayers, they touted it as a significant, “real” benefit to average homeowners. But fiscal watchdog groups say the program is severely flawed and the money could be better used on something else.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

With so-called “swatting” attacks on the rise across the country and central New York, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has introduced a new federal bill to crack down on the practice. Swatting involves deliberate false alarms called into authorities that often cause deployment of a police SWAT team.  

Swatting will become a federal crime Schumer has anything do with it.  

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

A wage board appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking before a packed crowd of fast food workers, says it will authorize a substantial raise for fast food workers, but would not say when, or even if the increase would be the $15 an hour that many groups are seeking.

A three-member board picked by Cuomo to examine whether fast food workers need a raise say they are in agreement that the current wage of $8.75 an hour needs to be much higher.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

New York state legalized gay marriage four years ago. Today, state leaders reacted with enthusiasm to the Supreme Court ruling.

In honor of the court ruling guaranteeing the constitutional right to same sex marriage, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the lights on the World Trade center tower will be lit in rainbow colors on Sunday night.  

Cuomo, who arm twisted state Senators to win the same sex marriage vote in 2011, said in a statement that the court “is on the right side of history."

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the legislature finally settled all of their differences to finalize the legislation to end the session.

The measure, colloquially known as “the big ugly," contains a four-year extension of the rent regulations, and a corresponding continuation of a property tax cap, as well as new rebate checks sent to homeowners just before Election Day 2016.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was in Syracuse this week promoting legislation that will give employers a $5,000 tax credit for training workers in an apprenticeship program in high-demand industries. Gillibrand said as the number of high-skilled jobs increase, employers are struggling to fill them.

 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The legislature ​hoped to pass final end of session bills Thursday, two days after a framework deal was announced by legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The session is limping to a close, after a year that’s seen the resignation of both leaders of the legislature over corruption scandals, and ongoing federal probes.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Nearly one week after the legislative session was supposed to end, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have announced a deal on all major end of session issues, including renewal of New York City’s rent laws and a related property tax cap, as well as a new tax rebate program for property owners.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, and other Republican lawmakers in the state are calling for the confederate flag to be removed from the state capitol. The decision was made after the recent tragedy in Charleston where nine people were killed in an apparently race-motivated shooting in an historic black church.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), speaking in Syracuse Monday, said a national conversation about the inspiration of the attack and the meaning of the confederate flag is needed.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO

The fourth and final hearing was held by a board specially appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to consider raising the minimum wage for fast food workers in New York.

Outside, supporters of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour held a rally.

Inside, dozens of fast food workers were among those who testified at the last hearing held by Cuomo’s wage board, which is examining whether to raise the state’s minimum wage beyond the current rate of increase to $9 an hour by the end of 2015.

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.”

Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

With a Supreme Court ruling expected in the coming days, the future of the Affordable Care Act is in the hands of the justices. One local lawmaker expects there will be changes to the controversial health care law, one way or the other.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) says he has no idea which way the court will come down on King v. Burwell. That’s the case that could cripple the law, especially in the 36 states that aren’t subsidizing health care on their own, but letting the federal government do it.  

-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.

Baldomero Fernandez

  What has been the role, not of liberalism, but of the genuine Left, in recent American politics?  What is its agenda, and its future?  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with The Nation's editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, on the magazine's 150th anniversary.  They cover domestic politics and policy, inequality, and America's role in the world.  They also look at the curre

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