Politics and Government

Political news

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New York lawmakers are returning to Albany this week to begin their work for 2017. This year's agenda includes proposals to modernize the state's voting rules, address government corruption and permit the ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft to expand upstate.

Other prominent proposals include legislation to allow the terminally ill to request life-ending medication from a physician and a bill to end the state's practice of prosecuting 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to take his yearly State of the State address on the road this year, instead of delivering the speech to lawmakers in Albany. That is not sitting well with Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse).

DeFrancisco says traditionally the message is supposed to be given the first full day of the legislative session, which this year would be January 4. Cuomo, though, won’t be offering his view of how New York State is faring to lawmakers that day. Instead he’s taking the legislative message to six regions across the state, starting Jan. 9.

Tinted car windows now must pass NY state inspection

10 hours ago
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A new state law has now gone into effect that will require annual vehicle inspections to test car windows and how much they are tinted. Critics say the law will be burdensome to drivers and auto shops.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

When Sen. Charles Schumer becomes Senate minority leader January 3, he will be one of the most powerful Democrats in the nation, at a time when the party is the weakest it’s been since the Great Depression. But the New Yorker says he has a plan to pull the party back into power.

Schumer doesn’t mince any words when it comes to rehashing Democratic losses on Election Day.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

Politically, central New York will have something new when it comes to Congressional representation this year. For the first time in a decade, the 24th District, which represents Syracuse and surrounding areas, will have someone other than a freshman member of Congress representing it.

TaxCredits.net

A wide range of organizations across New York state are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to push for a state-administered workplace retirement savings option, as part of his 2017-2018 state budget proposal next month.

Two-thirds of New York’s small businesses want the state to set up a privately managed retirement savings plan for their employees, according to a study by AARP New York, since many of the companies said they can not afford to offer a plan on their own.

Matt Ryan / New York Now

A state lawmaker from the Capital Region has pledged to introduce a bill to require Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stay in Albany when he delivers his State of the State message next month. Earlier this weeek, the governor announced that he plans to bring his annual address on the road.

Under the state constitution, the governor must address the legislature once a year. It’s typically served up as a State of the State speech at the beginning of the session to inform lawmakers of the governor’s agenda.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Rep.-elect Claudia Tenney from the 22nd Congressional District says she is going to keep an open mind as the administration of incoming president Donald Trump takes shape. Tenney supported Trump during the election, but the Republican has some doubts about some of his decisions thus far.

WRVO Public Media

In 2017, Republicans will have control of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House. But one central New York Republican is warning his party not to get too cocky.

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) says the GOP needs to learn a lesson from the Obama administration.

"I think Obama overreached with a Democratic House, Senate and White House in his first two years in office. And he overreached with Obamacare and Dodd-Frank and some other things,” said Katko, referring to the financial regulation law more commonly known as Dodd-Frank.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego Common Council President Shawn Walker calls 2016 the most productive year for the city he's seen in his nine years on the council. The city's leaders tackled several issues in the past year that had previously been kicked down the road.

Lawsuit calls New York taser ban unconstitutional

Dec 28, 2016
J Sibiga Photography / Flickr

New York’s ban on electronic weapons is being challenged by a federal lawsuit filed earlier this month.

Matthew Avitable, the mayor of Middleburgh, and the Firearms Policy Foundation are suing the state on the grounds that the ban violates the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and New York State Police Superintendent Lt. Col. George Beach are listed as defendants in the case.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The next representative from the 22nd Congressional District, Claudia Tenney, is supportive of president-elect Donald Trump's approach on foreign policy matters thus far. And as his inauguration day approaches, she says more Americans need to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Courtesy Tom Dadey

Central New York is closely watching how President-elect Donald Trump is molding his administration, and now has one central New Yorker with a seat at the table.

Onondaga County Republican Party Chair Tom Dadey was named to Trump’s transition team last week. He was an early supporter of Trump, and ultimately became the co-chair of Trump’s New York state campaign. He says the transition appointment puts him in the position of helping fill thousands of lower level jobs in the Trump administration.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

After 18 years, Onondaga County Legislator Kathleen Rapp is stepping down. Rapp reflected on her time in the Legislature and the many accomplishments she has seen and also what she believes can be improved.

Rapp said the county's economic and job development over the years including Hancock Field and the Tech Garden, is unprecedented.

She said she feels great about the transformation that has taken place at Onondaga Community College and Onondaga Lake.

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An ethics reform proposal quietly circulated between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders for a possible special session that also could include a pay raise is getting blasted by the state’s attorney general as possibly unconstitutional.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Advocates for the homeless say the governor and legislature don’t need to call a special session to free up more money to help create more housing for those in need. They say political leaders could simply sign an already printed memorandum of understanding and start helping people now.

Kevin O’Connor, director of Joseph’s House in Troy, read the names of homeless clients who have passed away in the past year – people he said died too young.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

A bill that would have helped elevate Fort Ontario and the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum in Oswego to National Park status has died in the U.S. Senate. 

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is bringing charges against a former portfolio manager in the state’s pension fund, saying he accepted bribes — that included prostitutes and illegal drugs —from two hedge fund brokers.

Matt Ryan / New York Now

In Albany’s own version of Groundhog Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are still keeping open the possibility of a special session before the year ends that could include legalizing ride-sharing services statewide and a pay raise for lawmakers.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

For the last four years, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said she has been trying to create five food hubs to help centralize food processing and distribution upstate. Gillibrand said one food bank in Rochester is stepping up its operations and she wants one in Syracuse to do the same.

Gillibrand said the Foodlink regional food bank in Rochester has a commercial kitchen and food processing machines. Instead of only repackaging and sending out food, Foodlink can also clean and slice produce which makes them attractive to commercial food distributors in New York City.

WRVO News File Photo

Oswego Common Councilors decided to not override Mayor Billy Barlow's first veto last night. The issue concerned a sewer contract that had implications for an off-campus private student housing complex.

The Common Council voted last week to rescind a contract with the town of Oswego to handle its sewage. several councilors had claimed they were not aware that sewer contract would include a private housing complex for SUNY Oswego students that's still in development.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Common Council has approved a tax settlement agreement with the developers of Symphony Tower in downtown Syracuse. The deal brings developers one step closer to turning the property into a Hyatt Hotel across from the Marriott Downtown Syracuse.

Councilor Nader Maroun was the only one who voted against the agreement. He said it is not good policy to be giving Symphony Tower what he describes as a precedent setting deal.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called it unacceptable and a serious crime the allegations that Russia hacked Democratic and Republican organizations to influence the 2016 election. Gillibrand said she believes it is necessary President Barack Obama responds proportionately.

“It’s a wake-up call," Gillibrand said. "We need to harden our assets. We need to make sure we protect all our businesses. This kind of crime can really undermine people’s confidence and the companies they do business with and our democracy.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner heads to Albany Monday, one of 29 New York state electors who have pledged to vote for Hillary Clinton, when the Electoral College meets to validate the November presidential election. And the vote is taking place under the shadow of potential Russian influence on the election.

Miner and several other mostly Democratic electors demanded an intelligence briefing regarding potential Russian meddling in the November presidential election.

Matt Ryan / New York Now

Discussions over a December special session has turned to finger pointing, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Republicans blame each other over lack of progress.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s some personnel shuffling going on in the higher echelons of Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s lame duck administration.

The new man in city hall will be former Onondaga County Court Judge Joseph Fahey. He’s coming out of retirement to become Miner’s top legal advisor, as corporation counsel, and expects to weigh in on a number of things.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County passed its 2017 budget last night, with no increase in the tax rate. The legislature also voted to increase the salary for several county administrators.

The 14 percent raises for the county clerk, treasurer and sheriff will be phased in over a four-year period. Many legislators agreed that the raises were overdue, but the Democrats wanted the four raises to kick in after each election rather than all at once. That amendment was defeated along party lines.

Majority leader Shane Broadwell says the raises make up for years of delayed increases.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

State Department of Transportation officials said it is possible a tunnel could be reconsidered as an option for the I-81 reconstruction project in Syracuse. But I-81 project director Mark Frechette made it very clear at a public meeting why the tunnel option was eliminated.

-JvL- / Flickr

If Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers hold a special session next week, they are likely to consider whether to allow ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate outside of New York City. 

Ride-sharing services have stepped up their lobbying and ad campaigns in hopes of winning approval to expand into upstate and on Long Island by the end of the year, including a $1 million campaign by Uber. The ad, in part, says, “There’s one thing New Yorkers really want for Christmas this year. And it isn’t a one-horse sleigh.”

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council and mayor are fighting over a proposed housing complex for students at SUNY Oswego that may now be in jeopardy. The council voted Monday to rescind a sewer agreement with the town of Oswego that would have affected the project. But now the mayor has vetoed the council's move, adding to what is already a contentious battle.

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