Politics and Government

Political news

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse delivered an emotional appeal to state senators Wednesday after they learned that the Senate did not put the Child Victims Act into their budget plan. The measure would offer more opportunities for survivors to gain justice in the court system.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

A federal jury found Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide Joe Percoco guilty on three counts of bribery and conspiracy to commit honest service fraud in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday.

Percoco, who has been described as being like a “brother” to the governor, was found guilty of participating in two bribery schemes, where he netted nearly $300,000.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide Joe Percoco has been found guilty on three counts of bribery and conspiracy to commit honest service fraud by a federal jury in Manhattan today.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to impose a tax on manufacturers of prescription opioids to help pay for state programs that assist people who are addicted to them. But some say it will be patients who ultimately will have to pay the price.

Cuomo laid out the opioid tax proposal in his state budget address nearly two months ago, saying it’s only fair that the makers of the pain pills shoulder some of the financial burden of treating people who became addicted to the medicines.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The city of Syracuse is embarking on a series of pubic meetings to get final input on a project that reworks the city’s dated zoning ordinance and zoning map.

The last time the city’s 100-year-old zoning laws were updated was 1967. City Planner Owen Kerney said no one in the 1960s foresaw things like micro-breweries and doggie day cares opening up in the city; so the old ordinances can create roadblocks for certain projects.

"The community has changed a lot since then, but zoning laws haven’t,” Kerney said. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

As a jury continues to deliberate in the bribery trial of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide, Cuomo has been keeping his focus on other matters, including appearing with former Vice President Al Gore to talk about energy and the environment.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A school safety task force met in Syracuse recently to discuss procedures that can prevent or reduce the damage of a school shooting. Teachers and students want to know how safety in schools can be improved immediately, before a longer list of recommendations is made in August.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

This November's Congressional elections may be the most important midterms in a generation. This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks to Dana Balter, the Democratic Party's endorsed candidate to challenge Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) for central New York's 24th Congressional District seat. They discuss her campaign, her policy positions, and her case against Katko.

-JvL- / Flickr

Things got heated on the New York State Senate floor this week over a debate on bills that majority party Republicans say will improve school safety. Meanwhile, the state Assembly on Tuesday passed its own set of gun control bills.

New York already has some of the strictest gun control measures in the nation, known as the SAFE Act. But since the shootings in Parkland, Florida, lawmakers from both major parties say there’s more to do to prevent school shootings.

New York State Senate

During a debate in the New York state Senate on enhanced school safety measures Monday, Democrats asked the Republican majority to support a bill to ban teachers from having guns in schools.

Rich Mitchell / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former closest aide, Joe Percoco, is waiting to find out whether he’ll be convicted of bribery and other charges as a jury continues to deliberate in federal court.

Government reform groups say regardless of the verdict, the trial highlighted some questionable but legal practices in New York that they say taint the governor’s reputation and need to be fixed. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said he wants to address the issue of mass shootings, especially in schools., and there are some measures Katko is signaling he could support.  

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Victims of childhood sexual abuse are hoping that the #MeToo movement will help them enact the Child Victims Act in New York. The measure extends the statute of criminal and civil limitations for victims beyond the current age of 23 to age 50 and adds a one-year look back window to file civil suits.

One man who says he is a former victim, and is now an advocate, said this is the year for the act’s passage.

New York State Police

Oswego County Legislator Shawn Doyle (R-Pulaski) has been charged with forcible touching, sexual abuse in the third degree and endangering the welfare of a 15-year-old child. All are misdemeanors. State Trooper Jack Keller says the investigation into his actions began last September.

"Parents of a 15-year-old reported what they believed at the time was inappropriate relationship between their son and Mr. Doyle and a Mr. Maroney," Keller said. 

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Democrats in the state Senate tried to force a vote on gun control legislation Wednesday, to put Republicans on the spot over some GOP senators’ resistance to the bills.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Residents in the city of Syracuse recently weighed in on what they want the city to do about snow covered sidewalks. Now the city has outlined options to address the problem.

Corey Driscoll Dunham, Syracuse’s director of operations, said the feedback from the city’s snow safety summit shows people want the city to take a more active role in sidewalk snow removal and they said they are willing to pay a fee for it. Dunham said the city has three options: citywide municipal sidewalk snow removal, priority area snow removal, or an enhanced ordinance and city approved contractors.

stgermh / Flickr

Advocates who want the Child Victims Act passed in New York are stepping up pressure on Republicans in the state Senate. Some GOP senators are the final holdouts on the bill that would extend the statute of limitations and open up a one-year window for victims to file civil lawsuits.

Ken Hawkins / Flickr

The head of the state’s largest teachers union said arming teachers won’t make schools safer, but he said schools should have more protection. 

Andy Pallotta, president of New York State United Teachers, said he’s heard from teachers since the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Florida high school, and many have expressed alarm about the idea of arming teachers.

“And to put an additional burden on them,” Pallotta said. “I don’t think our teachers would want this.”

Davis Staedtler / Flickr

A case that was heard Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court and will be decided later this year could have a big impact on public worker unions in New York.

The case, known as Janus v. AFSCME, was brought by Mark Janus, a public employee in Illinois who is challenging his state’s policy of requiring that he pay union dues to the Illinois branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees even though he does not want to be a member.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Deputies with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office have been going through active shooter training for the past few months. Officials said they are also open to training civilians on how they should react to such an event.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Legislation that would require interior inspections of rental properties in the city of Syracuse is being held. Some on the Syracuse Common Council are divided on the issue.

Councilor Khalid Bey said Mayor Ben Walsh’s administration asked him to hold the legislation so the new corporation counsel could become versed on it over the next two weeks.

“The next agenda, we’ll be right back talking about it," Bey said. "We’ll gage where the administration is. By then, I would think that they will have determined if they need three months, six months to prepare.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Over the weekend, the Onondaga County Democratic Committee chose Syracuse University professor Dana Balter as their congressional candidate in the 24th District.

Balter won overwhelmingly with 73 percent of the vote. She also carried the designation for Oswego, Cayuga and Wayne counties earlier this month. The district seat is currently held by Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who has an advantage of about $1 million over Balter in fundraising. Balter said she will not accept money from corporate PACs and she said she is interested in small dollar donations.

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

The tide may be turning in the long-running feud between the city of Watertown and its local firefighter union. The new city council continues to take steps toward resolving the legal battle has dragged on for nearly four years.

Ted Marmor

The Medicare program remains widely popular, but how well is it understood? What about the program works well, and doesn't work well? And is it under threat in the current political climate? This week on The Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Yale Emeritus professor Ted Marmor, a leading and longstanding expert on Medicare and the politics surrounding it. 

Interview Highlights

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Protests outside of central New York Republican Rep. John Katko’s Syracuse office have been ongoing this week, including a rally on gun control. Following last week's high school shooting in Florida, some of the protesters were teachers who said Katko is doing nothing to fix the problem.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) is facing a backlash regarding a statement she made Wednesday on a radio talk show that “so many people who commit mass murders end up being Democrats.” But Tenney wouldn’t go into detail about it at a media event in Onondaga County Thursday, regarding the impact of tax reform on businesses.

Mike Saechang / Flickr

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The governors of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island have created a coalition of like-minded states on gun control, promising to expand existing efforts to share information on illegal guns, and ultimately make progress on gun safety measures where they contend the federal government has faltered.

The four Democrats announced the formation of “States for Gun Safety” on Thursday. They plan to urge other governors to join the group at a National Governors Association meeting this weekend in Washington, D.C.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) said Wednesday that “many” people who commit mass murder turn out to be Democrats.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Facebook Page

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is hosting public classes known as C.R.A.SE. or Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, which teach how to survive an active shooter situation. The curriculum, adopted from Texas State University, is a mix of training videos and case studies of prior active shooter incidents.

Dpt. Sheriff Carrie Mangino said there has been a reignited interest in the classes among the community following last week’s high school shooting in Florida.

Mike Saechang / Flickr

Democrats in the New York state Senate say they will push harder for gun control bills in the wake of the Florida shooting that left 17 dead and are even considering proposing the measures as hostile amendments.

Before they left for the Presidents week break, Senate Democrats pushed for more measures to strengthen gun control in New York. The state already has one of the strongest gun laws in the nation. Known as the SAFE Act, it was passed shortly after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut at the request of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.