Politics and Government

7:33am

Fri June 21, 2013
Politics and Government

Women rally to demand Senate vote on abortion rights

Women’s groups rallied outside the New York state Senate chamber, demanding a vote on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 10-point women’s equality act -- that includes an abortion rights provision.

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9:09am

Thu June 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo achieves partial win on agenda

governorandrewcuomo Flickr

Deals have been reached between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders on siting new casinos and creating tax free zones at college campuses. But a bill on abortion rights was struggling, and reform measures appear dead for the session.

The agreement on casinos would allow four resort-style gambling centers; one in the Capital Region, one in the Southern Tier, and possibly two in the Catskills, if voters approve the change to the state’s constitution in the fall.

Nassau and Suffolk counties would be allowed to open more slot machines, under the terms of the bill.

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8:45am

Thu June 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Planning departments merger could spur more government consolidation

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney signing an agreement to merge the city and county planning agencies.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The city of Syracuse and Onondaga County planning departments have officially merged. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney signed an inter-municipal agreement Thursday that brings the planning agencies of both governments under one roof.

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4:08pm

Wed June 19, 2013
Politics and Government

Women's groups say abortion rights vote still possible

Women’s groups say they have not given up on an abortion rights bill passing in the final days of the legislative session, now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has introduced the Women’s Equality Act as 10 separate bills.

Tracey Brooks, president of Family Planning Advocates of New York State, says women’s groups are asking Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos to bring the abortion rights measure to the floor as a stand alone bill. Brooks says Skelos pledged two years ago to allow what's known as a vote of conscience on social issues where senators are divided.

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2:30pm

Wed June 19, 2013
Politics and Government

Senate passes bill forcing landlords to pay taxes

The New York State Senate has passed a bill that would authorize public welfare officials to withhold rent from landlords who have not paid their real estate taxes.

In many cases, publicly funded subsidies meant to help families pay their rent are paid directly to landlords through social services programs. In October, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported that two landlords received more than $400,000 in government aid for rent while neglecting to pay over a million dollars in property taxes to the city.

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7:45am

Wed June 19, 2013
Politics and Government

21 arrested as progressive groups protest gridlock on key bills

New York State NOW President Zenaida Mendez is arrested along with 20 others outside IDC leader State Sen. Jeff Klein's office.
Karen DeWitt WRVO

There were several arrests at the state Capitol Tuesday. Advocates took out their anger and frustration on the Cuomo administration and leaders of the state Senate, after it became clear that a progressive agenda that includes abortion rights and public campaign financing is likely dead for the legislative session.

Government reform groups are angry at Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying he is giving up too soon on an anti-corruption agenda that includes public financing of campaigns and greater prosecution powers for the state’s district attorneys.   
     

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9:27am

Tue June 18, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo's agenda in danger as session wanes

There’s three days left in the legislative session, and chances are dimming for a settlement on an abortion rights provision in a women’s equality act, and for reform of campaign financing and other anti-corruption measures. Meanwhile, a new poll finds the public increasingly dissatisfied with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

As the session winds down, it seems that two of the governor’s top agenda items are doomed in the state Senate.

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9:24am

Mon June 17, 2013
Politics and Government

As end of legislative session looms, no deals yet

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing hard for several legislative items, but there are only four days left in the session.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

There are only four days left in the legislative session, and so far no agreements have been reached between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature on major issues like campaign finance reform or a women’s equality act.

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3:06pm

Fri June 14, 2013
Politics and Government

Seneca casino deal releases 100% of disputed revenues, windfall for localities and state

Seneca president Barry Snyder and Cuomo's director of operations, Howard Glaser
nygovernorcuomo

The lengthy dispute over casino royalties was resolved in Niagara Falls on Thursday with the signing of new deal between the state of New York and the Seneca Nation of Indians. 

This deal is the third in 30 days between the state and upstate Indian nations since the governor launched his initiative to push for additional casinos (or as he calls them "resort destinations"), in upstate.

What's in it for the Seneca? Support from Albany to uphold their rights to run exclusive gaming operations in western New York.

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9:29am

Fri June 14, 2013
Politics and Government

Supporters urge Senate vote on marijuana decriminalization

Members of the legislature’s Black and Hispanic Caucus and their allies made a last minute push for a bill to decriminalize the public possession of small amounts of marijuana, saying current laws unfairly target young black and Latino men.

Assemblyman Karim Camara, who chairs the caucus, says the bill to decriminalize public possession of small amounts of marijuana is needed partly to fix an ongoing problem with the New York City Police Department’s Stop and Frisk policy. He and other supporters gathered outside the Senate chamber to call for a vote.  

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9:01am

Fri June 14, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo's abortion rights bill to be amended

Women’s groups have agreed to amend abortion rights language in a women’s equality bill to clarify that the late-term abortion procedure known as partial birth abortion will continue to be illegal in New York.

Several Republican senators said they couldn’t support a proposal to codify into New York state law the abortion rights afforded to women in the federal Roe v. Wade decision. They said they feared it would promote late term abortions, including partial birth abortion, which are currently illegal in the U.S.

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9:21am

Thu June 13, 2013
Politics and Government

State legislature moves one step closer to dissolving Peace Bridge Authority

The Peace Bridge
Ashley Hassett/Innovation Trail

A bill that could bring the dissolution of the bi-national peace bridge authority one step closer has passed through the New York State Assembly and Senate.

Under the bill proposed by Sen. Mark Grisanti and Assemblyman Sean Ryan the Peace Bridge Authority will have until July, 2014 to get its affairs in order. Ryan says the bill also brings the authority back in line with similar state entities.

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8:58am

Thu June 13, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo campaigns across state for agenda with one week to go in legislative session

It’s getting down to the wire for major pieces of legislation as the end of session approaches in Albany, including women’s rights and campaign finance reform. There are no agreements yet, but that’s not unusual in a government that operates on last-minute deals.

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6:14am

Thu June 13, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo stumps for campaign reform with stop in Syracuse

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Syracuse Wednesday to stump for campaign reform.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

As a recent poll shows his approval rating continuing to slide, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a trip through upstate New York Wednesday with a stop in Syracuse to push for his newly released campaign reform package.

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4:09pm

Wed June 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Schumer calls for action on student use of stimulative drugs

Sen. Charles Schumer called on New York state education officials to curb the abuse of stimulative drugs used to help get students through all-night study sessions.

Schumer asked SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and Committee on Independent Colleges and University President Laura Anglin to take steps to stop abuse of drugs he calls addictive and dangerous.

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4:04pm

Wed June 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Critics of Cuomo's tax-free initiative speak out

At a rally Tuesday in Albany, labor advocates protested Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest economic development program. The program, Tax-Free NY, is a new spin on an old economic tool.

“I think tax-free zones are a horrible idea right now. I think that these programs have been tried in the past. We’ve called them empire zones, job incentive programs, we know through history that these simply do not work,” said Ron Deutsch from the left-leaning New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness.

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8:40am

Tue June 11, 2013
Transportation

Syracuse lawmakers take up the I-81 debate

Arleen Fordock told the Syracuse Common Council I-81 should be rebuilt through downtown, but wider.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Just a handful of Syracuse residents turned up to the Common Council's first public hearing on the lengthy and divisive debate over the future of Interstate 81 through the city's core.

Previous public forums hosted by transportation planners brought out hundreds of people and generated an equal number of comments and different opinions.

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12:29pm

Mon June 10, 2013
Politics and Government

Bob Frye on The Campbell Conversations

Bob Frye is the producer and director of a new documentary on the nuclear arms race and disarmament. Frye is a former producer for ABC News.  In this conversation with Grant Reeher, he discusses his personal motivations for the film and whether we've lost touch with the dangers posed by nuclear arsenals.

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9:06am

Thu June 6, 2013
Politics and Government

Silver, Cuomo slide in new poll

A new poll finds a slim majority of voters think Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should step down from his leadership post, following two reports that were critical of his handling of a sexual harassment case.

Assemblyman Vito Lopez has already resigned and is facing record fines for allegedly sexually harassing four women on his staff. Speaker Silver was criticized in an ethics report and a report by the Staten Island District Attorney for initially mishandling the accusations. Silver has apologized.

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9:05am

Thu June 6, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo pushes for women's rights in Seneca Falls

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Seneca Falls, N.Y. Wednesday to stump for his Women's Equality Act.
Greg Cotterill WEOS Geneva

Gov. Andrew Cuomo used the spot where the women's rights movement was born to lobby for his proposed Women's Equality Agenda.

Cuomo, a Democrat, concentrated on the nine parts of the plan that attacks things like workplace discrimination and the pay inequity between men and woman, while protesters outside focused on the abortion portion of the plan.

The Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls is a noteworthy place in the history of the women's rights movement, and it was here the governor won a standing ovation from the women's groups supporting his agenda.

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6:40am

Wed June 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse & Onondaga County combine planning offices

Onondaga County lawmakers have taken the first step towards creating a new joint city of Syracuse-county planning agency. Current city and county offices that both have planning duties will be combined into one.

Legislator Kathleen Rapp says the consolidation of the two planning departments will streamline the current planning process, easing the regulatory burden for businesses that deal with zoning issues.

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5:38am

Wed June 5, 2013
Politics and Government

After weeks of waiting, Cuomo releases women's equality bill

Actress Cynthia Nixon addresses a Women's Equality Act rally at the state Capitol Tuesday
Karen DeWitt WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is finally releasing legislation for his 10-point women’s agenda. It includes a provision to codify the abortion rights in the federal Roe v. Wade decision into New York state law. The governor says he’s been offered no assurances that it will pass the legislature.

Hundreds of women from a long list of women’s groups came to the Capitol for rally featuring actor Cynthia Nixon, among others. The governor’s plan includes a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment, equal pay provisions, and greater protections for victims of domestic violence and women forced into sex trafficking.

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5:33am

Tue June 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Public campaign financing, abortion, tax free zones top end-of-session list

This audio is pending

There’s three weeks to go in the legislative session, and advocates are pushing hard for two of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s agenda items -- translating the federal abortion rights in the Roe v. Wade decision into New York state law, and enacting public financing of statewide political campaigns.

The governor, meanwhile, is focusing on his proposal to bring tax free zones to upstate public college campuses.

Advocates for public financing of campaigns and advocates of abortion rights are entering the final push for passage of the measures, and are using a variety of tactics to spur action in the state Senate.

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8:49am

Fri May 31, 2013
Politics and Government

Ad war starts over Cuomo's tax free zone plan

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been traveling the state, promoting his plan to create tax free business zones at college campuses. He’s also running ads, paid for by the New York State Democratic Party. Now, one of the state’s largest unions is countering that effort with its own message.

Cuomo has gathered local government leaders and business groups to the Capitol to demonstrate support for his idea to create the tax free zones at public colleges, some private universities and some state-owned properties.

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9:12am

Thu May 30, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo says tax free zones proposal not distracting him from other key priorities

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says many of his key agenda items are still in play in the legislature, even though he’s been spending most of his time lately promoting tax free business zones at some state college campuses.

Cuomo held his sixth event in a week to highlight a plan to create tax free business zones at public and private colleges, as well as on some state owned properties. But he insists he’s still actively pursuing his other end of session priorities -- including public financing of political campaigns, a women’s equality act, the siting of three upstate casinos, and a board to help distressed upstate cities.

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9:06am

Thu May 30, 2013
Politics and Government

Hundreds rally for stalled public campaign finance bill

Fair elections rally at the Capitol in Albany Wednesday
Karen DeWitt/WRVO

Hundreds gathered at the state Capitol to rally for public financing of political campaigns. The measure remains in limbo in the state Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces questions on whether he’s working hard enough for the proposal to pass.

They came in buses from all over New York to give state lawmakers their message -- big money is corrupting politics. They say the state should adopt New York City’s public campaign finance system, which allows candidates to match every dollar they collect in small donations with seven dollars of government funds.

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8:59am

Wed May 29, 2013
Politics and Government

Questions over what will get done in last four weeks of session

The steady drumbeat of scandal after scandal in the New York State Legislature has led many to wonder whether lawmakers can focus on passing any major bills by the end of the session, which is fast approaching.

The legislature returns Wednesday and has just four work weeks to act on items ranging from campaign finance reform to abortion rights, to economic development plans.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, before the legislature even returned from its Memorial Day break, gathered local government leaders from across the state to ask for help in passing a plan to create tax free zones for new businesses at college campuses.

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8:51am

Wed May 29, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo seeks help from local leaders to pass tax free zone plan

governorandrewcuomo Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked local government leaders from around upstate New York help him convince the legislature to approve his tax free zone plan.
 
Cuomo wants to create tax free zones for new businesses who locate at state-run and some private college campuses around the state. All taxes, even for employees, would be waved for a decade. The governor says he may even increase the plan to 20 other state-run sites.

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5:41pm

Tue May 28, 2013
Politics and Government

NY state Sen. Savino explains IDC governing strategy

A key member of the New York State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference says the group does not foresee joining with the rest of the Democrats to overcome Republican resistance to a number of end-of-session issues, including public financing of campaigns.
 

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5:53am

Tue May 28, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo's 'Tax-Free Zones' proposal draws mixed reviews

Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his stop in Syracuse to promote his tax free zones.
Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been traveling the state promoting a plan to allow new businesses to go tax-free for up to a decade if they locate near a State University of New York campus.  The plan, which is yet to be drafted into bill form, has raised some questions.

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