Politics and Government

4:03pm

Fri April 11, 2014
Politics and Government

Area politicians want smartphone manufacturers to install technology to prevent thefts

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse), New York State Sen. David Valesky (D-Oneida) at news conference in Syracuse Friday.
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Several local politicians, including Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman appeared at city hall in downtown Syracuse to throw their support behind the federal Smartphone Theft Prevention Act.

The act would require smartphone makers to install a “kill switch” on their devices that would allow customers to delete data and deactivate their phone remotely.

Schneiderman says the major manufactures have the technology to do this but are choosing not to.

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10:15am

Thu April 10, 2014
Government

Common Council begins work on Syracuse budget

The Syracuse Common Council is getting its hands on the mayor’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which doesn’t call for a tax increase.

More than half of the city’s $660 million budget goes to the school district.

For the rest of the budget, on the upside, the mayor’s office expects to see increased revenue from sales tax, parking fees and property tax collection -- thanks to the land bank, the agency tasked with handling the cities massive list of vacant properties.

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3:10pm

Wed April 9, 2014
Politics and Government

Area politicians weigh in on federal budget proposal

A small group, organized by the Onondaga County Democratic Committee, protested outside the Onondaga County Republican headquarters in Syracuse over Paul Ryan’s 2015 federal budget proposal. Area Democrats are upset about entitlement cuts while Republicans insist balancing the budget is a good idea. 

About 12 people showed up to protest “Path to Prosperity,” the Republican budget that cuts about $5 trillion of federal spending over the next ten years.

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7:17am

Wed April 9, 2014
Politics and Government

Medical marijuana next big issue for state legislature after lengthy spring break

Now that the state budget is done, the focus at the Capitol is shifting to other priorities, including whether to allow medical marijuana. Advocates came to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers, but the bill is getting bogged down over political skirmishes.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver caused a bit of a stir when he seemed to say that a bill to legalize medical marijuana might be dead for the year, saying he does not think it has a future in the 2014 session.

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6:45am

Tue April 8, 2014
Politics and Government

Comptroller opts out of public campaign finance pilot, says program is flawed

The state’s comptroller says he won’t be participating in a new pilot public campaign finance program agreed to in the state budget, and government reform groups say they don’t blame him.

Saying he won’t be a “convenient sacrificial lamb,” state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he won’t opt in to a test system for public campaign finance that applies only to his office, and would use money from the comptroller’s unclaimed funds to pay for it.  

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6:31am

Mon April 7, 2014
Politics and Government

Report shows record lobbying in New York state

Wallyg via Flickr

A new record has been reached in spending on lobbying in New York, according to a report released by the state’s ethics commission. It finds more than $200 million was spent, mostly by a few top interests, to try to influence government and policy in Albany.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics report finds $210 million was spent by lobbyists to mostly influence state and local governments. That’s nearly $1 million for each of the 213 senators and Assembly members.

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6:45pm

Sun April 6, 2014
Politics and Government

Louis Clark on The Campbell Conversations

Louis Clark, president of the Government Accountability Project
whistleblower.org

The not-for-profit Government Accountability Project has been at the center of many of the nation’s highest profile whistleblower cases—involving nuclear power plants, the Star Wars anti-missile defense system, the World Bank, and the National Security Agency.  This week on the Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher talks with Louis Clark, the Project’s President.  Clark discusses the importance of individual employees going public, and the challenges to them in doing so.  

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7:10am

Thu April 3, 2014
Politics and Government

Protesters say Supreme Court ruling on campaign donations gives rich more power

Michael Messia-Yauchzy and others gather in front of the State Office Building in Syracuse to protest.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Some central New Yorkers rallied last night to oppose yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down certain caps for individuals donating to political campaigns.

Michael Messina-Yauchzy, from Move to Amend of Syracuse and Central New York, believes ultimately it’s going to put more power in the hands of the rich who donate to candidates.

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6:50am

Thu April 3, 2014
Politics and Government

Anti-corruption panel ends following ethics reform deal

The recently enacted state budget also marks the end of a commission that was investigating corruption in the legislature. Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to dismantle the Moreland Act panel as part of a deal on ethics reform.

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2:57pm

Wed April 2, 2014
Politics and Government

Critics speak out against SAFE Act during Albany rally

Donald Trump speaks at to a rally against the SAFE Act in Albany
Matt Ryan/New York Now

A pro-gun rights rally held at the state Capitol on Tuesday drew thousands of supporters and some big names to Albany.

Among those attending the anti-SAFE Act event was real estate developer and TV personality Donald Trump. Trump, who announced that he has a pistol permit, says the law takes away a person's Second Amendment right to bear arms.

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5:55am

Wed April 2, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo, legislative leaders admit some unfinished budget issues

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are touting the virtues of the newly enacted state budget, but the spending plan has its share of critics.

Cuomo says one of the most important accomplishments achieved by him and the legislative leaders is that the budget was passed on time, for the fourth year in a row. And he used a baseball metaphor, complete with baseballs and bats for props, to describe the feat.

“This is the grand slam budget,” Cuomo said. “I’m pleased and proud.”

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7:40am

Tue April 1, 2014
Politics and Government

State lawmakers pass budget before deadline

The New York state Assembly voted to approve the state's budget last night, along with the Senate.
-JvL- Flickr

Lawmakers hurried to complete work on the state budget before the midnight deadline, but the spending plan is not without some controversy.

Legislators held a marathon voting session on several budget bills, in an attempt to beat the April 1 deadline. Some of the legislation was not technically printed until the wee hours of Saturday morning, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent an emergency message to waive the three day waiting period required by law.

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7:43pm

Sun March 30, 2014
Politics and Government

State budget finalized, voting on Monday

Wallyg Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have finalized the details on a $138 billion state budget and say they are on track to meet the April 1 deadline.

The budget includes a multi-step plan that could  lower property taxes, $340 million for schools to start pre-K programs, and a limited test program for public campaign financing.

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5:55pm

Fri March 28, 2014
Politics and Government

Budget negotiations continued at Capitol

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are still struggling to come to a final budget agreement, after the time for an expected announcement came and went on Friday.

Optimistic lawmakers had predicted a final accord on the budget by mid day Friday, but in the end, were unable to achieve that goal.

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7:00am

Fri March 28, 2014
Politics and Government

Budget deal could be reached Friday

Update as of 7:00 a.m. Friday:

Legislative leaders say they expect to have a final agreement on a state budget later today. They need a deal by midday in order to be on schedule for an on time budget when the fiscal year ends on Monday.

Update as of 4:45 p.m. Thursday:

Legislative leaders are less hopeful now that a budget agreement can be reached Thursday because there are too many unresolved details.

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9:24am

Thu March 27, 2014
Politics and Government

Albany budget deal provides little information to the public

When the budget deal is finally reached in Albany, average New Yorkers will have had little access to the details of the important items that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers are discussing. That's because the longtime Albany tradition known as "Three Men in a Room" continues.

The only difference from the decades long tradition of three men in a room budget negotiations is now there are four men in a room. The Senate is led by a coalition of Republicans and breakaway Democrats, and so has two co-leaders.

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8:25am

Thu March 27, 2014
Politics and Government

FBI investigating alleged corruption in state Assembly, Senate

State lawmakers in the Assembly and the Senate are coming under scrutiny from the FBI. The state Capitol offices of an assemblyman were raided, and a state senator gave a tour of her home property in an attempt to debunk allegations from federal investigators that she engaged in an illegal land deal.

Assemblyman William Scarborough's offices were raided by the FBI, over allegations that he overcharged for travel, lodging and meal reimbursements paid to lawmakers when they gather in Albany for weekly sessions.

Scarborough says he's innocent.

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7:01am

Wed March 26, 2014
Politics and Government

Lawmakers come closer to budget agreement

Legislative leaders say they are working together and are close to a budget agreement, after last week's blow up that left the Senate and Assembly leaders negotiating separately with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The legislative leaders, following a two-hour, closed-door meeting with the governor, seemed in high spirits. Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos gave his oftentimes rival Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver a hug.

“Look how much I love Shelly,” Skelos said with a laugh.

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6:39pm

Tue March 25, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo pushes property tax proposal, but admits opposition

Zack Seward WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepped away from budget negotiations in Albany on Tuesday to stump for his plan to consolidate local governments and reduce property taxes, even though he admitted afterward he may not be able to push the plan through those budget talks.

Cuomo told a crowd at the DeWitt community room that after the property tax cap he pushed through earlier in his first term as governor, this was the next step in righting the state's fiscal ship. 

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7:28am

Tue March 25, 2014
Education

Last minute push for school aid amid voter dissatisfaction

Actress Cynthia Nixon speaks at an event in Albany in early June 2013. (file photo)
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Education funding advocates, including actress Cynthia Nixon, made a last-minute pitch for extra money for schools in the state budget. Meanwhile, a new poll finds many New Yorkers think the quality of education in the state is deteriorating.

"Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon has a child entering college as well as one in kindergarten. She says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education policies in New York have increased inequality and led to two separate school systems within public schools, one for the rich and one for the poor.

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7:10am

Tue March 25, 2014
Politics and Government

New Siena poll finds state electorate not optimistic

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

A new poll finds the majority of New Yorkers say they aren't better off now than they were four years ago, but these sentiments do not seem to be hurting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s chances for reelection.

The Siena poll asked voters whether they felt things were better now under Cuomo than they were before he was governor. It found that in several key areas including business climate, taxes, corruption and public education, less than a quarter think the situation has improved.

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7:54am

Mon March 24, 2014
Politics and Government

Advocates, lawmakers lobby for more spinal cord research funding

GreenFlames09 Flickr

Lawmakers joined advocates for neurological research in Albany recently to lobby the legislature to refund a program they say could change the lives of people living with spinal cord injuries.

Heidi Greenbaum’s son Corey was left paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident six years ago. She says people with spinal cord injuries aren’t as permanently broken as some may think.

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3:48pm

Fri March 21, 2014
Politics and Government

Dispute ends budget meeting

Wallyg Flickr

The next several days will be crucial ones in Albany for negotiations on the state budget. Tensions ran high at a closed-door meeting between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders.

Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos abruptly left the final leaders meeting before the weekend early, complaining there was too much emphasis on the needs of the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, at the expense of the rest of the state.

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6:51am

Fri March 21, 2014
Politics and Government

Dozens arrested at Capitol as budget talks continue

Protesters rally at the state Capitol on Thursday.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders continue to meet behind closed doors to hash out a budget deal, while outside the governor’s offices dozens of angry protesters were arrested.

Cuomo is calling legislative leaders into his office for twice-a-day private meetings to hash out details of the $145 billion state budget.

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6:54am

Thu March 20, 2014
Politics and Government

Activists take to their smartphones to webcast Assembly meetings

-JvL- Flickr

Government reform activists took their smartphones into Assembly Committee meetings to live stream meetings that so far have not been available online to the public.

To mark what’s known as Sunshine Week, to promote a more open government, the activists took their smartphones into several Assembly Committee meetings. Using simple software, they pressed record and streamed the proceedings live on the Internet.

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7:04pm

Tue March 18, 2014
Politics and Government

Dream Act supporters vow to fight on

Assemblyman Francisco Moya speaks at a news conference held by supporters of the Dream Act at the Capitol Tuesday.
Karen DeWitt/WRVO News

Supporters of Dream Act legislation say they were “set up,” when a hastily arranged vote on the bill in the New York State Senate chamber late Monday led to the measure’s failure by just one vote.

The focus is now shifting to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Backers say they will try to get the governor to put the measure into the state budget.

Supporters of the measure to give state aid for college tuition to children of undocumented immigrants say they are disappointed and saddened that the measure lost in the Senate by just one vote.  

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8:08am

Tue March 18, 2014
Politics and Government

Syracuse has a comprehensive plan for three decades of planning

The city of Syracuse now has a document to base its urban planning decisions on for the next three decades.

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7:19am

Tue March 18, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo pushes property tax freeze

Gov. Andrew Cuomo brought local leaders from both parties to the Capitol to promoted his property tax plan.
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo enlisted the aid of some local government leaders to promote his tax freeze proposal, which has been losing ground in the New York state legislature.

Cuomo, surrounded by several county executives from across the state, promoted his plan, which is not supported in the state legislature. He says he’s signed up 150 local government leaders as supporters.

“It is a bold proposal, I understand that,” said Cuomo. He predicts the more people hear about it, the more they will support it.

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7:16am

Tue March 18, 2014
Politics and Government

Dream Act dies in New York State Senate

Wallyg Flickr

The Dream Act is dead for now in New York state, after the state Senate voted down the measure that would have granted college tuition aid to the children of undocumented immigrants. The 30 to 29 vote defeating the Dream Act left leaders of rival Democratic factions pointing fingers.

Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein , who is in a ruling coalition with the Republicans, says he’s disappointed that two Democrats joined the GOP to vote no on the bill to allow tuition aid for children of undocumented immigrants.

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5:15pm

Mon March 17, 2014
Politics and Government

Schumer calls for more airline passport checks

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) during his visit to Syracuse Monday.

As the search continues for a missing Malaysian Airlines plane, Sen. Charles Schumer is proposing legislation that would close what he calls a "major gap" in airline security, exposed because of the incident.   
Schumer notes that two passengers on the plane got on board using stolen passports, apparently very easily. And he says most countries don’t require airlines to check the Interpol database to see if passports are stolen.

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