Politics and Government

Political news

State lawmakers have missed a deadline to come to an agreement on the redrawing of Congressional district lines, likely leaving a federal judge's plan as the one that will be instituted.

A State Assembly spokesman said Sunday night that an agreement could not be reached and they await the judge's revised plan, which is due out Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann's first draft removes Oswego County from Democrat Bill Owens's district. The county would be split, with half going to Republican Ann-Marie Buerkle and half going to fellow Republican Richard Hanna.

Marcus Matthews is the Resident Bishop for the Upper New York Area of the United Methodist Church. In this conversation he discusses the relationship between religion and politics, and how that relationship plays out in the Bishop's desire to see his churches have a greater presence and impact in their communities.

There are conflicts, and then there are conflicts.  Peter Coleman, director of the international center for cooperation and conflict resolution at Columbia University, has identified a category of our seemingly most intractable conflicts—the five percent—and has studied them systematically. 

He’s the author of The Five Percent:  Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts.  What leads individuals, groups, and even entire nations to fall into the five percent trap, and what can they do to get out of it?  Find out on this edition of the Campbell Conversations.

Ann Wright and Kathy Kelly were both in Syracuse this week to be sentenced for their part in the protests against the MQ-9 Reaper drones in Afghanistan, which are being flown remotely from Hancock Field. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

U.S. Representative Ann Marie Buerkle will run for a second term in congress, but the day she made that official was marked with protest.

Staffers for the representative got in a brief scuffle with demonstrators at the event to kick-off the re-election campaign.

It became the buzz inside her christened campaign office on Erie Boulevard in Syracuse as dozens of supporters awaited her arrival Saturday afternoon.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy has been beating a path back and forth across upstate New York, as he campaigns for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget initiatives.

Duffy made his second stop in Syracuse this week on Thursday, this time to drum up support for changes to pensions and Medicaid funding.

But this time he brought some friends.

Duffy led a hearing of the 11-member Mandate Relief Council [PDF], made up of members of Cuomo’s administration and elected lawmakers. The group heard testimony from central New York government and business leaders at Le Moyne College.

The Campbell Debate
Post Standard

The Campbell Public Affairs Institute at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University presents The Campbell Debates, a debate series on timely issues of public importance with a fresh, provocative format.

The Leader of the State Senate says an Assembly bill to hold state legislative primaries on June 26th is dead on arrival in his house, making it more likely that the state will hold three separate primaries this year.

A new bi partisan coalition of former elected officials,  business and civic leaders, is endorsing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for campaign finance reform.  

The redistricting process in New York State is in the home stretch.  A second round of hearings finishes up this week after the release of legislative district lines that many called political attempts to keep incumbents in office.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s trying to make government more efficient by taking pre audit oversight powers away from the State’s Comptroller in his state budget proposal.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli criticized Cuomo’s proposal, saying the pre audits have saved millions of dollars by flagging potential problems in the contracts. Cuomo says he’s not taking away the comptroller’s authority but trying to speed up an inefficient procurement process. He says the Comptroller and others are simply resisting reform of what he says is an “historically dysfunctional government”.

The New York State Assembly has introduced a bill to hold all of the state’s primary elections on June 26th, to correspond with a court order requiring that congressional primary contests be held then.  So far, the State Senate wants to hold the state primaries on a separate date, in late August.

A State Senator from Western New York was back at work at the State Capitol Monday, following an incident over the weekend at a Niagara Falls Indian Casino where he and his wife were involved in a fight.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney works on the front lines of the "unfunded mandate" issue, a phrase we've been hearing with increasing frequency at all levels of political discussion.  What exactly is the problem with unfunded mandates? 

Perhaps no one is better suited to evaluate President Obama’s new investigative and prosecutorial unit on abuses in the mortgage industry than former governor and attorney general Eliot Spitzer.  As a prosecutor and attorney general, he was known for his aggressive pursuit of financial abuse; he warned us about the ultimate financial collapse; and he has written about these topics extensively since the crisis in 2008. 

The New York State legislature’s proposed redistricted lines have been finally been released to the public. The plans for Senate districts are drawing the most fire,  for the addition of a newly created 63rd district and configurations that pit some incumbent minority party Democrats against one another.

Mayors from across the state came to the Capitol to testify to a joint legislative fiscal committee on Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget. While New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg went out of his way to offer support to the governor and for his budget plan, Mayors of upstate cities begged for a bail out. 

Karen Dewitt

Actress Debra Winger and Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox were among hundreds of anti fracking protesters who descended upon the State Capitol Monday, in one of the largest demonstrations against the natural gas drilling process so far.

Governor Cuomo has released a bill to amend the state’s constitution to legalize casino gambling in New York.

Cuomo's Entrepreneurial Government Model

Jan 18, 2012

As Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his 2012 budget proposal in Albany, he talked a lot about what he calls "entrepreneurial government" - a model in which the state sets the stage for private investment.

The question now is whether that private money will materialize:

Marie Cusick/WMHT


Governor Cuomo released a state budget plan that closes a $2 billion dollar gap, recommends a phased in state takeover of county health care costs, and offers an ultimatum to schools to accept a teacher evaluation program or lose increased school funding.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is set to release his state  budget plan on Tuesday, as New York faces a $2 billion dollar budget gap.  

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver offered his support to lobbyists for more school aid funding, and offered a subtle criticism to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The New York State legislature, on its first official day of business, acted in a show of bi- partisanship, to divest the state of investments in Iran, but Democrats and Republicans in the Senate continue to argue over redistricting. 

Governor Cuomo, in his state of the state message, called for public financing of campaigns, based on a model currently in use in New York City. Proponents, including those who have studied the model as well as public finance systems in other states, believe it can work.

It's an entirely political discussion on this week's Campbell Conversations, as Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle and political consultant Scott Armstrong consider the Republican presidential field in light of the Iowa Caucus results.  Among the questions they consider are:  What surprised them?  Is the party dangerously fractured as it heads toward the general election?  What could unite it?  Are the norms of the Republican Party changing in important ways?  Is Romney still the nominee apparent?  And what are the calculations about a vice presidential candidate at this point?

Governor Cuomo, by all accounts, had a successful first year in office accomplishing many of his top goals laid out last January. He implemented his fiscally conservative agenda, including closing a gaping $10 billion dollar budget deficit without imposing any new taxes at the time, and getting the spending plan done on time, a rarity in Albany. Cuomo also convinced skeptical lawmakers to agree to a 2% property tax cap.

One of the biggest and most controversial issues facing New York in the New Year is hydrofracking.  Governor Andrew Cuomo’s environmental department is conducting a review process and is likely to begin issuing permits sometime in 2012.

2011 has not been a good year for Congress. Just last week, the House narrowly passed an extension on a payroll tax cut. Earlier this year, a government shutdown was avoided after a battle over the debt ceiling. 


2011 has not been a good year for Congress. Just last week, the House narrowly passed an extension on a payroll tax cut. Earlier this year, a government shutdown was avoided after a battle over the debt ceiling.