Politics and Government

5:35am

Tue July 29, 2014
Transportation

Area lawmakers say Congress is failing voters by avoiding long-term solution to highway funding

Doug Kerr via Flickr

Despite a bipartisan bill making its way through Congress to keep road and bridge projects funded, there’s still concerns about the long-term health of the highway fund. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives has passed short-term funding that was based on a budget gimmick. The Senate is expected to take it up soon. But several lawmakers in the region say Congress is failing voters by avoiding a long-term solution.

While more fuel-efficient cars and trucks may be good for your wallet and the environment, they may not be so good for roads.

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7:11pm

Mon July 28, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo makes first comments on ethics commission controversy

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Buffalo Monday talking about StartUp NY before answering the media's questions about the Moreland Commission controversy
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his first public appearance since a potentially damaging news story about allegations his staff tampered with an ethics probe, tried to change the subject by talking about economic development.  But the story continues to dog the governor.

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5:30am

Mon July 28, 2014
Politics and Government

Long-term impact of Moreland Controversy on Cuomo unknown

Zack Seward WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not held any public appearances since a potentially damaging New York Times story that reported that his top aide interfered in a corruption probe when it focused on Cuomo donors. But on Monday morning, the governor is scheduled to visit the University of Buffalo, where the press will try to ask him questions about the Moreland Act Commission and his office's involvement.

Cuomo’s political challengers leaped on The Times story, that alleges a top aide to Cuomo squelched subpoenas to the governor’s donors and associates.

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4:32pm

Sun July 27, 2014
Politics and Government

State Senator Dave Valesky on the Campbell Conversations

State Senator Dave Valesky (D-Oneida), left, speaks with Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher

When the New York State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference joined in a majority coalition with Republicans in 2012, it claimed that the arrangement would provide more up-or-down floor votes on progressive legislation.  In announcing a new intention to caucus with Democrats following this November’s elections, the IDC is claiming that the arrangement will provide….more up-or-down votes on progressive legislation.  How can both claims be true?  That question and others related to political power-sharing arrangements are explored with this week’s guest on the Campbell Conversations—IDC

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5:01am

Fri July 25, 2014
Politics and Government

Moreland Commission controversy raises questions on role of attorney general

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the Moreland Commission in July 2013
Karen DeWitt/WRVO News (file photo)

The fallout continues over whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide interfered with an ethics commission probe, with some now saying that state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman could have done more to protect the integrity of the investigations.

Schneiderman’s opponent in the fall elections is one of those raising questions about whether the attorney general, who was key to the formation of the ethics commission, could have been more involved and done something to stop alleged interference in probes by Cuomo’s aides.

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9:12pm

Wed July 23, 2014
Politics and Government

Fallout for Cuomo over report his aides interfered with ethics probes

Gov. Andrew Cuomo named the Moreland Commission on public corruption in July 2013
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

One of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’ s political opponents is calling on Cuomo to hold an explanatory press conference, and  another is demanding that the governor to resign after an in-depth account in The New York Times reports that the governor’s top staff repeatedly interfered in an ethics commission investigation.

Cuomo created the ethics commission under the state’s Moreland Act a little over a year ago amidst rampant corruption rampant in the legislature, that included a string of indictments, resignations and jailings of lawmakers.

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3:54pm

Wed July 23, 2014
Politics and Government

Duffy will keep thoughts to himself on Moreland Commission

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy Wednesday in Syracuse.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy says he had no direct knowledge of alleged meddling by his boss into an ethics commission the governor set up.

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5:25am

Mon July 21, 2014
Education

Teachers union not ready to reverse no confidence vote in education commissioner

New York State Education Commissioner John King
Ryan Delaney WRVO/file photo

The president of the state’s teachers’ union says members are not yet ready to rescind a vote of no confidence in state Education Commissioner John King, despite improved relations in recent months.

New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee was elected in April amid deep dissatisfaction over education policy in New York.  Magee ousted a three-term incumbent, and teachers held a symbolic vote of no confidence in King, over what critics call a botched roll out of the new Common Core learning standards.

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5:54am

Fri July 18, 2014
Politics and Government

Hochul explains past anti-immigration views

Kathy Hochul/Facebook

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul, is explaining why she now feels differently about undocumented immigrants. Hochul, the former Erie County clerk, once wanted to turn immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally over to federal authorities.

Hochul has been meeting privately with key Latino leaders since her nomination in May. She says it was a different time and place back in 2006, when she was Erie County clerk and opposed to then Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s plan to issue drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants.

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5:30am

Fri July 18, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo creates fourth ballot line for reelection

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul during the Democratic Party's nomination convention. (file photo)
Matt Ryan, New York Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is creating another ballot line for the November elections -- the Women’s Equality line.

Kathy Hochul, Cuomo’s running mate, lieutenant governor candidate and former western New York congresswoman, announced the formation of the new ballot line at a press conference with women supporters near a statue of Eleanor Roosevelt on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

“It’s time we organized our own movement led by our own political party,” Hochul told the cheering crowd.

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5:30am

Thu July 17, 2014
Politics and Government

Oversight board approves Cuomo's loan request for Tappan Zee Bridge

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R- Syracuse), in the center, asks pointed questions before ultimately voting yes on the loan request for the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

A key oversight board approved half of the amount Gov. Andrew Cuomo had sought for a loan from a clean water fund to help pay for the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge. But the meeting included accusations from a board member that Cuomo administration officials are trying to hide bad news about future toll hikes on the bridge and the rest of the New York State Thruway.

Public Authorities Control Board member, state Sen. John DeFrancisco, cast the deciding vote to go ahead with the loan that was reduced from around $500 million to just over $250 million.

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5:36am

Wed July 16, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo says private market will decide future of NY's casino industry

Matthew Powell/flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’s not concerned about reports that the casino gambling industry may not be all that healthy. The negative news comes as the state is considering authorizing four new gambling centers in the next few months.

One third of Atlantic City’s casinos, including one run by Donald Trump, have announced plans to close, and Moody’s investor rating services has downgraded the casino industry from stable to negative citing “declines in comparable monthly gaming revenue.” 

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5:30am

Wed July 16, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo far outraises GOP gubernatorial opponent

Ryan Delaney WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is already ahead of his Republican challenger in name recognition. Now, according to required campaign disclosure filings with the state Board of Elections, Cuomo is far ahead in fundraising as well.

Cuomo, who already had more than $33 million in his campaign war chest, took in an additional $8.4 million during the first six months of the year and spent around $6.5 million, leaving him with a balance of more than $35 million.

Rob Astorino, the GOP candidate for governor, faces an uphill battle against the incumbent governor.

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6:26am

Tue July 15, 2014
Politics and Government

Groups urge no vote on Tappan Zee Bridge loan

Peter Iwanowicz, with Environmental Advocates, urges a no vote by a state oversight board for a loan of clean drinking water funds to help finance the Tappan Zee Bridge
Karen DeWitt

Environmentalists are urging a key review board to vote no on a request from the Cuomo administration to help finance the rebuilding of a major Thruway bridge with a fund designed for municipal clean water projects.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration wants to use money from a revolving loan fund, designed to help local governments keep their sewer and water treatment systems up to date and their drinking water clean, to instead help pay for the massive Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project.

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6:25am

Mon July 14, 2014
Politics and Government

Tipped workers seek pay increase from Cuomo wage board

William Hartz

Advocates for a higher minimum wage are urging for better wages for workers who rely on tips. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised to create a committee to consider raising the minimum rate for the workers, and the groups say they have evidence that an increase is needed.

Currently, tipped workers in New York are not covered under a new law that allows the state’s minimum wage to increase to $9.00 an hour by 2016.  The minimum wage for workers like waiters and pizza deliverers who receive tips is still set at $5.00 an hour.

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7:13am

Thu July 10, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo primary challenger predicts she'll have 45,000 petition signatures by Thursday deadline

Zephyr Teachout and Timothy Wu announce their intent run a primary race against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (file photo)
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Zephyr Teachout, the Democratic primary challenger to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, expects to file more than 40,000 signatures late Thursday to obtain a place on the ballot for the September primary voting.

Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor, says she’ll file her petitions in the final hours before the deadline, at around nine Thursday evening.

“We have over 40,000 signatures of registered Democrats, and we expect to have 45,000 signatures,” Teachout said.

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5:30am

Thu July 10, 2014
Politics and Government

Lieutenant governor candidate Hochul keeps a low profile

Kathy Hochul joins Gov. Andrew Cuomo to announce their candidacy during the Democratic state convention in May.
Matt Ryan, New York Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s running mate, lieutenant governor nominee Kathy Hochul, is keeping an unusually low profile during the first months of the election campaign. The lack of public campaigning by Hochul is starting to raise some questions.

Kathy Hochul, a former one-term congresswoman and former Erie County clerk, appeared with Cuomo at the state Democratic convention in May, one day after she was chosen to run as lieutenant governor.

Hochul promised the audience that she would “carry our message of hope and optimism across this great state.”

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5:30am

Wed July 9, 2014
Politics and Government

GOP candidate for governor will also run on anti-Common Core ballot line

Rob Astorino, the GOP candidate for governor, at a press conference opposing the Common Core learning standards Tuesday.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

The Republican candidate for governor in New York is petitioning to run on a new ballot line that capitalizes on public opposition to the new Common Core learning standards.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is gathering signatures to run on a third ballot line in November. In addition to the GOP and Conservative party slots, Astorino has begun a new ballot line called Stop Common Core. He admits it could give Democrats and others who are reluctant to vote for the Republican Party another option.

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1:32am

Tue July 8, 2014
Politics and Government

Medical marijuana becomes legal in New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs the medical marijuana bill into law on Monday.
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York is now the 23rd state to allow medical marijuana, now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill into law. But, it will be some time before patients will have access to the drug.

New York will now permit patients with diseases like cancer and AIDS to have access to some forms of medical marijuana. Cuomo, who in the past opposed the idea, came around  after several new regulations and restriction guarantees were written into the legislation.

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6:23am

Fri June 27, 2014
Politics and Government

Senate IDC leader says group will maintain independence

IDC leader state Sen. Jeff Klein
Karen Dewitt WRVO file photo

Senate Independent Conference Leader Jeff Klein says even though his group now plans to realign with the Democrats in the Senate, he won’t rule out working with Republicans in the future.

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6:25am

Thu June 26, 2014
Politics and Government

Two state Senate factions will form Democratic coalition

New York State Senate floor
-JvL- Flickr

Two Democratic factions in the New York State Senate say they are joining to form what could be a strong Democratic majority in the Senate, leaving Republicans, who up until now have ruled the chamber in a coalition government, out of power.

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6:15am

Tue June 24, 2014
Politics and Government

Reform groups urge no vote on redistricting ballot amendment

Blair Horner of NYPIRG, Susan Lerner of Common Cause, and Jesse Laymon of Effective New York present mock awards for most gerrymandered districts in the NYS legislature
Karen DeWitt

Government reform groups are beginning their push early to convince voters to reject an amendment on redistricting that will be on the state’s November ballot. They say it’s a sham that does not offer the changes it promises.

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8:17am

Mon June 23, 2014
Politics and Government

Hanna, Tenney to face off in Congressional primary Tuesday

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld)
Credit RichardHannaforCongress.com

Some national conservative political pundits are comparing the Republican primary in the 22nd Congressional District in New York state tomorrow to the Virginia primary race that saw a Tea Party candidate beat an established Republican Party leader.

The race has some of the same themes as that Virginia primary, with a moderate main street Republican looking to keep his seat, in the wake of a challenge from a more conservative Tea Party Republican.

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7:27am

Mon June 23, 2014
Politics and Government

Senate sponsor of medical marijuana bill gratified by large number of 'yes' votes

After a lengthy debate of several hours, the medical marijuana bill was approved in the Senate , and now goes to the desk of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has said he'll sign it.   

Sponsor Diane Savino says she’s “gratified” by the larger than expected number of yes votes, including some surprise votes from traditionally conservative Senators.

Savino says she hopes the wide support can serve to make the vote in New York, the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana, a tipping point for the federal government to change its policies against the drug.

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4:16pm

Sun June 22, 2014
Politics and Government

David Holwerk on The Campbell Conversations

David Holwerk, left, speaks with Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher

On this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with the David Holwerk, Director of Communications for the Kettering Foundation and a long-time print journalist, about the problems with American democracy and constructive citizen engagement, and what the Foundation is doing to try to address them. 

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3:29pm

Fri June 20, 2014
Politics and Government

State Senate passes medical marijuana bill

dank depot via Flickr

Updated, 3:50 p.m.:

After a lengthy debate of several hours, the medical marijuana bill was approved in the state Senate, and now goes to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has said he'll sign it. 

Sponsor Sen. Diane Savino says she’s "gratified" by the larger than expected number of yes votes, including some surprise votes from traditionally conservative senators.

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8:20am

Thu June 19, 2014
Infrastructure

More federal money sought for rural bridges

Sen. Charles Schumer wants to add about $50 million to funding that comes to New York for upkeep and repair of rural bridges.

The federal government provides the state with $71 million a year right now to maintain the thousands of bridges that don’t fall under federal purview. That number is tied to a 2009 transportation bill.

There are efforts in Congress to continue to cap that amount through 2020. The Democrat says continuing to cap the fund will lead to further deterioration of rural bridges. 

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6:15am

Thu June 19, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo, legislative leaders agree on heroin bills, still discussing medical marijuana

Medical marijuana advocates demonstrate in the hallway outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo's offices.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have agreed to a package of bills combating heroin addiction, and say they are still discussing other issues, including medical marijuana, as the legislative session draws to a close.  

Cuomo calls the measures to curb the heroin abuse epidemic his top priority for the end of the 2014 session. He says the legislation will require health insurance companies to pay for more treatments.

“Insurance companies, frankly, can’t play games and decide who gets treatment and who doesn’t get treatment,” said Cuomo.

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5:26am

Wed June 18, 2014
Politics and Government

Medical marijuana bill sponsors hold private meeting with Cuomo

Medical marijuana legislation sponsors Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried talk with reporters.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Sponsors of a medical marijuana bill continued to negotiate with Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the governor’s objections to many of the measure’s provisions, but say they are hopeful that a deal can be reached in the next couple of days.

State Senate Co-leader Jeff Klein is optimistic about the chances for a medical marijuana law in New York.

“My prediction is we’re going to end this session on a high,” Klein quipped after a lengthy closed-door meeting with Cuomo and the Senate and Assembly sponsors of the bill.

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7:17am

Tue June 17, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo could get a primary challenger

Zephyr Teachout and Timothy Wu announce their intent run a primary race against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo might have a primary challenger. Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham University law professor and activist, announced she’s collecting signatures to be on the September Democratic primary ballot.

Teachout was first promoted by the left-leaning Working Families Party as an alternative candidate to Cuomo, but in the end the minor party dropped her in favor of the governor. Teachout says she volunteered for Cuomo’s 2010 campaign for governor, but has grown disenchanted, and believes that he’s become too concerned with raising money for his political campaign.

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