Politics and Government

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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5:34am

Tue June 17, 2014
Politics and Government

Legislative session could end with a whimper

-JvL- Flickr

The legislative session is scheduled to end on Thursday, and many issues remain unresolved. But a low-key end of session might not matter much to New York’s top political figures.

The chances of passage for several key issues promoted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, including a Women’s Equality Act and public campaign finance appear dim, due to opposition from Senate Republicans.

The end-of-session gridlock grew worse after  Cuomo pledged to the left leaning Working Families Party that he would work to end the GOP’s partial control in the Senate and replace them with Democrats.

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4:23pm

Sun June 15, 2014
Politics and Government

David Cobb of 'Move to Amend' on the Campbell Conversations

David Cobb, left, of Move to Amend, speaks with Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher

One of the fallouts of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has been the emergence of several groups dedicated to amending the Constitution, in order to reverse the case and limit the role of money in politics.  A leader among them has been the group Move to Amend.  On this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with the group’s national spokesperson, David Cobb.  Cobb was also the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2004.

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6:56am

Fri June 13, 2014
Government

Syracuse police union reaches 5-year contract with city

Ken Hawkins Flickr

Syracuse police officers have reached a new labor contract with the city, more than three years after the old one expired.

It's not uncommon for police union contracts to lapse, but this one stretched on for a while, mostly over health care costs and coverage.

The new contract is for five years, but it applies retroactively to when the old one expired at the end of 2010. The 428 Syracuse police officers will have to pay about twice as much for health insurance, but will get two percent raises for 2013, 2014 and 2015.

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6:24am

Tue June 10, 2014
Government

Syracuse nixes smoking in parks; approves alarm fee

The Syracuse Common Council has snuffed out the right to smoke in city parks and publicly-owned downtown gathering areas, like Clinton Square.

The council also formally added the dropping of cigarette butts on sidewalks to its anti-littering ordinance, punishable by a $50 fine.

The laws were written by councilor Bob Dougherty and Khalid Bey, who said they will shift the habits of smokers and protect people in public who don't want to be near second-hand smoke.

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5:45am

Tue June 10, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo downplays chances of end-of-session agreements

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (file photo)
Zack Seward WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is downplaying the chances of any major agreements before the legislative session ends later this month.

The governor, who has already vowed to replace the current Senate leadership coalition of Republicans and breakaway Democrats, says he does not expect any deals on big ticket issues before the legislature leaves for the summer.

“We have some clean up items,” Cuomo said. “I don’t expect us to do any major initiatives.”

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5:30am

Tue June 10, 2014
Politics and Government

Women's equality supporters say fall elections are next battleground

Democrats and their allies in the legislature say there’s little chance anything major can be accomplished in the remaining days of the legislative session. Those pushing a Women’s Equality Act are already looking ahead to the fall campaigns as the next step.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is downplaying expectations for any major agreements in the final days of the legislative session.

“We have some clean up items,” Cuomo said. “I don’t expect us to do any major initiatives.”

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7:31am

Mon June 9, 2014
Politics and Government

Hanna will not debate primary opponent before primary day June 24

Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford)
Credit Claudia Tenney for Congress / claudiatenney.com

As primary day quickly approaches, it looks like there will not be a debate in the 22nd Congressional District race between Republican opponents Rep. Richard Hanna and Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney.

Hanna, who currently represents the district which stretches from Binghamton to Utica to the eastern half of Oswego County, says challenger Tenney has been dishonest in her campaign.

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6:53am

Mon June 9, 2014
Politics and Government

Hanna not happy with deal that released Army sergeant in exchange for Taliban prisoners

Utica-area Rep. Richard Hanna (R)
house.gov

Days after the U.S government exchanged five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the American solider who reportedly left his post in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban, the decision doesn't sit well with Utica-area Rep. Richard Hanna. He says he's trying to make sense of the situation, but says it's difficult to understand the entire issue without all of the details.

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5:34am

Mon June 9, 2014
Politics and Government

Uncertainty over what legislature can accomplish with 8 days left

Wallyg via Flickr

The 2014 legislative session has just eight working days left to go, with the closing day scheduled for June 20. As lawmakers prepare to return for the final two weeks, there’s uncertainty whether anything will get done, now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has publicly vowed to try to oust the current Senate leadership. 

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7:17am

Thu June 5, 2014
Politics and Government

Wait for a pistol permit in Onondaga County drops

The wait for a pistol permit in Onondaga County has steadily gotten better since a logjam was created in the wake of the passage of the NY SAFE Act.

A year ago, it took 15 months get an appointment with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department simply to apply for a pistol permit.  

"We’ve been able to reduce the wait from over 15 months to three months.  That’s a tremendous improvement,” said Deputy Chief John Balloni.

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7:13am

Thu June 5, 2014
Politics and Government

Green Party candidate says his chances are improving

Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for governor, appears in Albany.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

The Green Party candidate for governor, making a statewide tour, says there’s always been an alternative, left-leaning candidate for governor and he says his chances to win votes are now better than ever.

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5:30am

Thu June 5, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo says he's proud of lack of partisanship in Albany

Wallyg via Flickr

In the aftermath of a political endorsement that has shaken up the Capitol, Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to change the subject with two economic development appearances.

Cuomo has promised the Working Families Party that he would fight to take the Senate away from a coalition of Republicans and Independent Democrats, and give it to the mainstream Democrats. In a video he sent to the party’s convention, he condemned the state’s GOP.

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5:31am

Wed June 4, 2014
Politics and Government

Is Cuomo deal with Working Families Party good for upstate?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (file photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The fallout from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new alliance with the progressive Working Families Party continues at the state Capitol, with those who say they represent upstate interests dismayed at the development.

Brian Sampson, with the business friendly group Unshackle Upstate, had planned to begin his organization’s final push on several items they wanted to see passed in the legislature. But he arrived at the Capitol just after Cuomo struck a deal with the progressive Working Families Party to help Democrats take over the state Senate.

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5:34am

Tue June 3, 2014
Politics and Government

Democrats hopeful, Republicans dismayed over Cuomo's pledge to shake up state Senate

-JvL- Flickr

Democrats in the New York State Senate say they are taking Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his word to help them regain the majority, despite some indications that he might be walking back some of the promises he made at the Working Family Party’s convention Saturday night.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins says she’s holding Cuomo to the promise he made to the Working Families Party, to regain Democratic control of the state Senate.

“He has to,” Stewart-Cousins said.

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6:04am

Mon June 2, 2014
Politics and Government

State Senate will determine fate of medical marijuana

Brett Levin Flickr

The fate of a medical marijuana bill remains up in the air in New York state. The state Assembly has approved a version that would allow patients to obtain the drug for medical treatment, while a similar measure remains hung up in the state Senate.

Advocates cheered as the New York State Assembly approved a medical marijuana bill that would  permit patients to possess small amounts of marijuana to treat approved medical conditions. The legislation also sets up licensed dispensaries to grow and sell the drug to sick people.

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4:37pm

Fri May 30, 2014
Politics and Government

Veto override means Syracuse will get small property tax increase

A 1.5 percent property tax increase will stand in the City of Syracuse after the Common Council overrode Mayor Stephanie Miner’s budget veto today.

Finance Committee Chairwoman Kathleen Joy says the city can’t continue to cut it’s way out of yearly budget deficits, so lawmakers felt the time was right for this increase.

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7:05am

Fri May 30, 2014
Politics and Government

Working Families Party endorsement comes down to the wire

Gov. Andrew Cuomo already accepted the Democratic and Independence Party nominatons earlier this month. (file photo)
Matt Ryan, New York Now

It’s coming down to the wire for a decision on whether the Working Families Party endorses Gov. Andrew Cuomo for reelection or not. Talks are ongoing as the Saturday convention approaches.

The left-leaning minor party was angered when Cuomo failed to win a public campaign financing system for statewide offices in the budget. They were also annoyed by cuts to corporate taxes and wealthy estate owners that the governor championed.

Cuomo has faced opposition from Republicans in the state Senate, who rule in a coalition with a group of break-away Democrats.

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