Politics and Government

Political news

NYS Attorney General's Office / Flickr

The state Legislature began interviewing candidates to replace Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned over a domestic violence scandal.

Up first was the current acting attorney general, Barbara Underwood, who is the favorite to win the appointment.

“I think it’s an understatement to say that none of us expected to be sitting here today for this purpose,” Underwood told senators and Assembly members gathered Tuesday at a meeting room in the state Capitol complex. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

A dramatic spike in the use of a particular type of electronic cigarette among middle and high school students has local parents, educators and activists, clamoring for action. Sen. Charles Schumer is putting pressure on federal agencies to move swiftly on the issue.

The craze among kids these day is called Juul. The ads for it claim that one pod of the sweet tasting liquid, contains the amount of nicotine equal to an entire pack of cigarettes. Baldwinsville mom Amy Delia said the dispensers don’t emit vapor, and look like an everyday item.

Sen. Pam Helming

A group of Finger Lakes residents took a bus to Albany Tuesday to continue their fight against a proposed 48-acre trash incinerator facility that would burn solid municipal waste brought in by truck and or rail.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

The New York State Assembly is set to interview potential replacements Tuesday for former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned May 8 in a domestic violence scandal. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also trying to put his stamp on the selection process.

The initial list of 16 names is dwindling over fears that being viewed as the insider candidate might hurt their chances to win voters in a primary or general election later on this year.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

The race for the Republican nomination for the state Senate seat being vacated by longtime Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) is heating up.

Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonocci has sent a letter to Onondaga and Cayuga County Republican Party members announcing his intention to run for the 50th state Senate district seat, which covers parts of Onondaga and Cayuga counties.

Antonocci believes he has the skill set to make a difference in Albany.

Airbnb

The village of Cazenovia is considering regulating short-term online rentals like Airbnb, after complaints from residents pressured the village board to do something. The board is trying to find a balance between bringing in outside visitors and protecting the quality of neighborhoods.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Sales tax receipts are up in Onondaga County. Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said it shows there has been a return on the investment in things like the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

A recent executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo has opened a path to voting for 35,000 ex-felons on parole. What are the arguments for and against this restoration of voting rights, and what are political arguments regarding citizenship and the formerly incarcerated? Joining Grant Reeher to discuss these issues are Marsha Weissman, a senior policy fellow and former executive director for the Center for Community Alternatives, and Elizabeth Cohen, a professor of political science at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and is the author of "The Political Value of Time."

Nassau County District Attorney's Office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that he’s appointed Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas as a special prosecutor to look into the domestic violence accusations against disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Singas, who formerly ran a special prosecutorial unit for women who are victims of violence, said she’ll leave “no stone unturned” in her investigation of the allegations against the former attorney general detailed in the New Yorker magazine, which include alleged hitting, slapping and choking of four women.

New York State Attorney General's Office

Disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was known as a longtime champion of women’s rights. That’s why leaders of women’s groups are still trying to make sense of the allegations that he was a serial domestic violence abuser.

New York State Attorney General's Office / Flickr

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced plans for an open interview process for the legislature to appoint a new state attorney general, now that Eric Schneiderman has resigned over domestic violence allegations. 

Heastie says public interviews of candidates to fill the vacant attorney general’s seat will take place May 15 and 16, and are open to anyone who submits a resume and cover letter by the end of the day on Friday.

Heastie said the process could also help clarify viable candidates before the state party conventions happen on May 22.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Local Republican members of Congress are united in supporting President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement. Rep. John Katko, Rep. Elise Stefanik and Rep. Claudia Tenney said the deal was flawed and gave too many concessions to Iran.

WRVO News File Photo

Solicitor General Barbara Underwood became acting attorney general on Tuesday, taking over for the disgraced Eric Schneiderman, who resigned after a New Yorker article detailed four women who accused him of numerous instances of physical violence.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse’s new corporation counsel said she is looking forward to the creation of a Municipal Violations Bureau to lighten the law department’s workload. The new bureau would be responsible for taking on less serious cases of code enforcement.

Syracuse Corporation Counsel Kristen Smith said the bureau would consist of administrative law judges who could review violations and issue fines. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Green party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins is calling for an expansion of public housing in New York State. At the same time, Hawkins is criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s housing investment strategies.

Hawkins decried the decline of public housing options in Syracuse, standing between two weed infested vacant lots.

“In this case both on this side of the street, and the other side, there was once over 400 units of affordable housing,” Hawkins said. “But no affordable housing has been built since this project was torn down in 2013.”

James Tedisco / Twitter

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers is pushing for an anti-bullying measure that would require schools to tell parents when their child is being bullied, or if their son or daughter is behaving like a bully toward others.

The measure, Jacobe’s law, is named after Jacobe Taras, a 13-year-old from the North Country town of Fort Edward who committed suicide in 2015 after he was bullied at school.

His father, Richard Taras, said Jacobe often stuck up for other children who were bullied, and as a result, he was the target of bullying himself.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing lawmakers to approve a ban on the plastic bags that are ubiquitous in grocery stores and the state's landfills. The goal is to remove the bags from the waste stream because of their damaging environmental effects and the expense to get rid of them. It's a policy Madison County lawmakers tried and failed to pass last year.

Former-Syracuse parks commissioner Lazarus Sims pleaded guilty to stealing money from the city. Sims, who was suspended in March, resigned from his position earlier Monday.

In an apology letter, Sims admitted to taking $5,400 after falling on hard times financially. He apologized to those he hurt, including young people who looked up to him as a role model. Sims said he hopes to someday regain the trust of the community.

Sims was hired as parks commissioner in 2015, and was a Syracuse University basketball player in the 1990s.

Marco Varisco / Flickr

Update 6:25 a.m Friday

Democratic candidate Cynthia Nixon announced Friday morning that she would release her 2017 federal and state tax returns later in the day Friday. 

Original story

Marc Molinaro, the presumptive Republican candidate for governor, released his tax returns for 2017, but his opponent, incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, raised the stakes, saying his GOP challenger should release 10 years of tax returns.

Sheila Sicilia

Immigration activists in Syracuse have been filming federal border patrol agents questioning the citizenship status of travelers at the Regional Transportation Center. But U.S. Customs and Border Protection said those agents are following the law.

timlewisnm / Flickr

Teachers wouldn’t be evaluated based on their students’ standardized test scores any longer under a measure approved by the New York State Assembly.

It’s a reversal of a controversial policy that helped lead to a widespread boycott of the third- through eighth-grade tests associated with the former Common Core program.

But the measure faces an uncertain future in the state Senate.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is pushing for legislation that would provide more access to funding for employee-owned businesses. Gillibrand said there is an urgency to create more opportunities for retiring baby boomer business owners.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Tuesday that would temporarily take away the guns of people accused of domestic violence. 

Cuomo organized a signing ceremony that included a student from the Parkland, Florida, school where the Feb. 14 mass shooting occurred, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

The governor said taking guns away from domestic violence offenders helps to diffuse potentially deadly situations.

“Common sense, if you have domestic violence perpetrators or you have a person with an order of protection, take away the guns,” Cuomo said to applause.  

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The newly reunited Senate Democrats held their first press conference, where they focused on what they said was their No. 1 priority — a package of bills making it easier to vote.

Senate Democrats conducted a survey of eligible voters in New York on their voting patterns. Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said it confirms what she already knew: New York’s voter participation rate is abysmal. The state ranks 41st of all 50 states in the 2016 elections, with a voting rate of 57 percent.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

Hearing officers with the New York State Board of Elections have ruled that Democratic congressional candidate Juanita Perez Williams has enough signatures, by a slim margin, to be on the primary ballot. This comes after more than half of the signatures collected by Perez Williams in the 24th congressional district race were invalidated by the board of elections.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The New York State Department of Labor is holding hearings across the state to gather input on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to eliminate minimum wage tip credits. Many restaurant workers who attended a hearing in Syracuse said they are against the plan.

azipaybarah / Flickr

NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s former assembly speaker returns to federal court Monday to listen as prosecutors accuse him for a second time of collecting $4 million in illegal kickbacks from a cancer researcher and real estate developers.

This will be the second criminal trial for Sheldon Silver, 74, a Democrat who was once among the most politically powerful people in the state.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Monday is the last chance for Syracuse residents to attend a public meeting where they can offer their input on what criteria they want for a new chief of police. Some at the meetings said they hope the next chief will bring change to the department.

A group of women sit around a table at the Southwest Community Center in Syracuse. There are surveys with questions asking what experiences and qualifications should a new police chief have in order to be successful. Anna Morris said she wants to know the person’s character.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

Politics in Albany seems plagued by corruption. Could more transparency of information help? This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Brett Orzechowski, a professor of Management and Media at Utica College, and the author of "FOIL: The Law and Future of Public Information in New York.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the second key European leader to visit the White House this week. President Trump and Chancellor Merkel are not thought to have the personal rapport that was in evidence in meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.

But Trump and Merkel are still holding a joint news conference and taking questions from reporters, which is expected to start just after 1:30 p.m. Once the press conference starts, you can watch live below.

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