Politics and Government

3:52pm

Fri April 25, 2014
Politics and Government

Valesky believes IDC-GOP coalition will stay together

New York State Sen. Dave Valesky of Oneida.
nysenate.gov

State Sen. Dave Valesky, a founding member of the Independent Democratic Conference believes a recent Siena College poll  gives credence to the coalition between the IDC and Senate Republicans.

The poll shows that 58 percent of New Yorkers like the way the coalition is running the New York State Senate. The Senate is controlled by minority Republicans and the IDC -- a system created a few sessions back, after a problem-filled term when Democrats controlled the Senate.

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6:57am

Fri April 25, 2014
Politics and Government

Astorino undeterred by low poll numbers

Rob Astorino talks with Karen DeWitt about his plan for this fall's gubernatorial election.
Matt Ryan, New York Now

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is 30 points behind incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the polls. But Astorino says he is undeterred, and has identified a path to victory in the fall elections.

Astorino, in an interview with New York State Public Radio & Television, says he’s already been through a race where he was behind by double digits, with a voter base that was two-thirds Democratic. And he says he won that contest, for Westchester County executive, and was recently reelected to a second term.

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11:44am

Thu April 24, 2014
Public Radio Presents

America Abroad - Afghanistan After Karzai

A recent town hall meeting was held in Washington D.C. on the future of Afghanistan after Hamid Karzai
americaabroad.org

Join us on Sunday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. as we bring you a conversation on the future of Afghanistan. With Afghans currently choosing a successor to President Hamid Karzai, America Abroad, DC public radio station WAMU 88.5 and Afghanistan channel TOLOnews connected audiences, along with a panel of experts in Washington and Kabul, for an international town hall.

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6:44am

Thu April 24, 2014
Politics and Government

State conference focuses on future storm prep

An Oneida man's backyard shows damage to his property from flooding last June.
Gino Geruntino WRVO/File photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo gathered local leaders from around the state to talk about reaction to past storms, and to plan for future ones.

Cuomo invited government leaders from Long Island, the North Country, central New York and other locales that experienced damage from Hurricanes Irene, Lee and Sandy. They gathered to praise their past efforts to react to the storms, and to report on the steps they are taking to prepare for future disastrous weather events.

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7:01am

Wed April 23, 2014
Politics and Government

Moreland fallout continues for Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (file photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

A new poll finds that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is still feeling the fallout from the demise of his Moreland Commission, a panel that was investigating corruption in the legislature. Cuomo disbanded the commission as part of the state budget deal.

The Siena poll finds Cuomo’s decision to end the Moreland Commission, in the midst of a corruption probe, doesn’t sit well with voters. Since the budget was settled, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has said he’ll continue with the investigations, and has asked for and received all of the paperwork on the probes.

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6:50am

Tue April 22, 2014
Politics and Government

New poll shows Cuomo vulnerable on the left

Zack Seward WXXI

A new poll finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo with a double digit lead against his Republican opponent for the fall elections. But the survey finds that ratio changes if a progressive third party candidate emerges.

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7:43pm

Tue April 15, 2014
Environment

Groups call growing oil shipments in NY Cuomo's "Keystone" moment

Environmentalists protestor oil transportation through New York state in Albany Tuesday.
Karen DeWitt/WRVO News

National environmental groups are trying to focus the spotlight on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, over the issue of the growing international oil distribution center, located just blocks from the state Capitol, at the Port of Albany.   

A small band of demonstrators chanted and held signs Tuesday to protest a confluence of events that has turned upstate New York into a major center for oil distribution.

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5:31am

Tue April 15, 2014
Politics and Government

April 15 marks assault weapons registration deadline

Mike Saechang Flickr

April 15, besides being tax day, is the first day that owners of semi-automatic weapons will be required to register their guns with the state police. 

The head of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, a gun owners and pro-Second Amendment rights group, says his members don’t like the new requirement that they register any assault weapons they own under the state’s gun control laws.  

Tom King says while he’s not advising gun owners about whether or not they should register, he says those that want to comply are finding the new rules hard to navigate.

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7:42pm

Mon April 14, 2014
Politics and Government

On budget victory lap, Cuomo says best is yet to come

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

Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued his publicity tour Monday on the recently passed state budget with a stop in Syracuse.

Cuomo, a Democrat, was a late edition to the agenda at the annual meeting of CenterState CEO, a business development group. About a thousand business owners and local leaders attended the luncheon at the OnCenter.

The governor praised CenterState CEO's president, Rob Simpson, and Onondaga County's "phenomenal" Executive, Joanie Mahoney.

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6:19pm

Sun April 13, 2014
Politics and Government

Susan Wood and Thomas Drake on The Campbell Conversations

Susan Wood and Thomas Drake speak with Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher

In a continuation of last week's conversation about government whistleblowing, host Grant Reeher talks this week with two actual whistleblowers, both of whom tell powerful stories about their experience.  Susan Wood blew the whistle on the Food and Drug Administration's political stonewalling on the approval of the morning-after pill "Plan B," and Thomas Drake blew the whistle on the National Security Agency's "Trailblazer" data collection project, and was later charged with espionage, bef

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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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