Politics and Government

8:01am

Thu July 25, 2013
Politics and Government

Deadline extended for public comments on proposed changes to Verizon landlines

The state's Public Service Commission is extending a public comment period on whether it’s a good idea for Verizon to stop providing land line service to some customers and supply a wireless telephone connection instead.

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8:02am

Wed July 24, 2013
Politics and Government

Hydrofracking decision in New York weighs on supporters, detractors alike

Bosc d'Anjou Flickr

New York today enters into the sixth year of a defacto moratorium on whether to allow hydrofracking in the state. Business and industry groups are expressing dismay over what they say is too long a delay.

In the summer of 2008, then Gov. David Paterson and the legislature imposed an actual moratorium in New York on the gas drilling process known as hydrofracking. After it expired, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s environmental agency began an extended review.

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7:25am

Wed July 24, 2013
Politics and Government

Great Lakes funding threatened by Congress

Lake Ontario and the other Great Lakes could face lower funding from Congress
Some rights reserved by **Mary** Flickr

After investing more than $1.3 billion to restore the Great Lakes, one Environmental Protection Agency program may be facing major budget cuts. Republicans in the House of Representatives are pushing a budget that reduces funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from $285 million down to $60 million.

Todd Ambs, with the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, says he was shocked by the House's nearly 80 percent cut proposed.

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4:08pm

Tue July 23, 2013
Politics and Government

The Clean Indoor Air Act a decade later

Sudipto Sarkar Flickr

It's been 10 years since New York passed some of the toughest smoking laws in the country, snuffing out the practice inside many buildings -- including restaurants, businesses and schools. A decade later, the American Lung Association cites the Clean Indoor Air Act as being influential in helping New Yorkers stay healthier.

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8:05am

Tue July 23, 2013
Politics and Government

DiNapoli calls for changes to federal government rules for same sex couples

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is trying to use the power of the pension fund to increase equal rights for same sex married couples, and has written a letter to President Obama.

DiNapoli is asking Obama to add a “place of celebration” clause to federal government rules and regulations that define benefits for married couples. He says that way, if one member of the couple works for a federal government agency or program, same sex marriages performed in New York and other states where it is legal could be recognized in states that do not allow gay marriages.

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6:29pm

Sun July 21, 2013
Politics and Government

Jess Bravin on the Campbell Conversations

Credit Yale University Press

(Note: This interview originally aired April 14, 2013)

One of the many controversial aspects of the post 9-11 war effort is the government’s use of military commissions rather than traditional criminal courts to try suspected terrorists. In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher speaks with Jess Bravin, the Supreme Court correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.

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7:59am

Fri July 19, 2013
Politics and Government

Hanna introduces bill offering tax breaks for emergency responders

Richard Hanna discusses his recently introduced legislation.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

When Mahlon Irish became a Homer volunteer firefighter in 1974, it was common for 60 people to head out to a fire. Now, it can be difficult to get the 12 firefighters national standards call for to a working blaze. The decline in the number of volunteers through the years is blamed on many things -- from extensive training required to changing family dynamics. But the expense of being a volunteer is also an issue, says Irish, using the cost of gasoline as an example.

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9:09am

Wed July 17, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse group protests US involvement in Syria

Protesters in Syracuse have joined a coordinated national demonstration opposed to intervention in the Syrian civil war.  

Derek Ford of the Syracuse chapter of the ANSWER Coalition admits it's been hard to get traction in the anti-war movement when it comes to the war in Syria.

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9:17am

Tue July 16, 2013
Politics and Government

Hanna makes plea for counties damaged by floods

One Oneida resident's backyard was heavily damaged by rapidly rising flood water.
Gino Geruntino WRVO/File photo

While declaring 12 counties disaster areas after recent rains ravaged parts of the Mohawk Valley and upstate New York, the federal government has denied individual disaster aid for people who lost property in the floods.

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7:53am

Fri July 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Eyes on Democratic primary in Syracuse mayoral race

Mayor Stephanie Miner submits her signatures to officially be on the ballot in September
Stephanie Miner/Facebook

The focus in the race for mayor in the city of Syracuse at this point is on a September 10 primary. Three candidates have turned in petition signatures this week to get on the ballot in September. Onondaga County Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says history shows whoever wins that race, will be victorious in November.

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8:54am

Thu July 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Newly formed coalition takes aim at politicians who supported gun control

A coalition of gun rights advocates and others are forming a new political movement to get what they say are disaffected and disenfranchised New Yorkers to vote.

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5:55pm

Wed July 10, 2013
Politics and Government

Schumer comments on wait for federal disaster declaration

While parts of central and northern New York continue to rebuild following last month's massive flooding, Sen. Charles Schumer says there may be a reason the region is still waiting for federal disaster aid approval.

Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was not overly optimistic that Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, Funds will come through. Schumer said the amount of damage in the state is still being tallied.

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9:15am

Wed July 10, 2013
Politics and Government

Gov. Cuomo's Moreland Act Commission follows in father's footsteps

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for a Moreland Act Commission to investigate the legislature is not the first time a governor created a panel to probe state lawmakers. In fact, Cuomo’s own father did it a quarter century ago, with mixed results.

When Andrew Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo, was governor back in the 1980s, he also called on the powers in the now 100-year-old Moreland Act to appoint a commission to look into government corruption.

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5:14pm

Tue July 9, 2013
Politics and Government

Gov. Cuomo talks tax returns, or lack thereof

While many New Yorkers who filed their income tax returns have already received a refund from the state, there are others, mainly those who filed their returns on paper, whose refund has not arrived yet.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week the reason for the delay is not due to an oversight, but rather because of a backlog of tax returns to sort through.

"Ninety-six or 97 percent of the refunds have been already sent out and the tax department is working on the remaining three percent," Cuomo said. "It's just a volume issue that they're working through."

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8:55am

Tue July 9, 2013
Politics and Government

Fracking opponents in New York say 'Gasland' movies help

Monday night brought the TV premiere of "Gasland II," a sequel to the original anti-hydrofracking movie. In New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision on fracking is still on hold, both opponents and supporters of the controversial drilling process say the films have helped frame the debate.

"Gasland" filmmaker Josh Fox is a frequent participant in anti-fracking rallies at the state Capitol that routinely attract hundreds of people.  

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6:36am

Fri July 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Lawmakers passing fewer bills, more Constitutional Amendments, analysis shows

A look at the 2013 New York State Legislature's session by the numbers finds the recently concluded session resulted in the passage of fewer bills, but more constitutional amendments, as well as a wide range of participation by individual lawmakers.

Bill Mahoney, with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), has spent the days since the legislative session concluded analyzing streams of data. He found the Senate and Assembly passed 650 bills, which is one the lowest numbers in decades, and part of a recent trend.

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9:36am

Wed July 3, 2013
Politics and Government

Maffei proposes legislation in response to Renz case

Rep. Dan Maffei in Syracuse Tuesday
Ellen Abbott WRVO

In the wake of the David Renz case, there would be more oversight over federal probation offices if legislation proposed by Rep. Dan Maffei is approved.  The Syracuse-area Democrat is crafting legislation that would keep a tighter reign on suspects being monitored by electronic ankle bracelets.

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8:53am

Wed July 3, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo appoints commission to probe the legislature

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has joined forces with the New York State Attorney General to create a commission with wide ranging powers to investigate corruption in the state legislature. This move follows a legislative session during which nearly three dozen state lawmakers have been indicted, arrested, or jailed.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick was named a co-chair of the commission, and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney will serve as a member of the panel.

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9:02am

Tue July 2, 2013
Politics and Government

Gov. Cuomo cracks down on new drivers texting behind the wheel

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that creates new, stiffer penalties regarding texting while driving for teenaged and new drivers. The law now treats texting as seriously as speeding or reckless driving.

Teenagers just beginning to drive and older new drivers who are caught texting while driving will now see their licenses revoked for sixty days. If they repeat the offense within a half year, their driving licenses will be taken away for another six months.

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9:55am

Mon July 1, 2013
Politics and Government

Gov. Cuomo celebrates legislative victories, says still more to do

Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not get all he wanted during the recently concluded legislative session, as abortion rights and campaign finance reform faltered in the final days of the session. But, Cuomo seems to be putting the best face on what he did achieve and is trying to move on with plans that include an investigation of the legislature.

Cuomo began the session in January with a hefty agenda, including an ambitious plan to make New York’s gun control laws the toughest in the nation; and be the first state to react to the Newtown, Connecticut shootings in December.

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9:57am

Thu June 27, 2013
Politics and Government

Women's Equality Act unfinished business in the Legislature

The state legislature left Albany last week with some unfinished business. They did not agree on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act, and Cuomo says at least one house should return to pass some of the bill’s provisions.

In the final days of the session, the numbers nine and 10 became key points of discussion for Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act. That referred to the debate over whether to pass all 10 or just nine provisions in Cuomo’s proposed legislation.

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9:35am

Thu June 27, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo says announcement of commission to look into campaign donations imminent

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he will be announcing his Moreland Act commission to investigate the campaign donation filings of the legislature in the “immediate future.”

Cuomo failed to get lawmakers to agree on a package of campaign finance reforms in the just-completed legislative session, and says he will now appoint a commission under the powers of the state’s Moreland Act, to investigate campaign filings at the State Board of Elections. The governor says in the end, it might even work out better.

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5:51pm

Wed June 26, 2013
Politics and Government

A.G. Schneiderman reacts to DOMA decision

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called today's Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, a home run.

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5:01pm

Wed June 26, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo, Canada come to terms regarding Peace Bridge

The Peace Bridge
Ashley Hassett/Innovation Trail

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Buffalo today to discuss an agreement made between the state and Canada regarding the Peace Bridge linking Buffalo to Ontario. Cuomo was joined by Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer and outgoing United States ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson.

According to the agreement, several projects on the Buffalo side of the bridge will be prioritized, including widening the U.S. Plaza, accelerating several current projects and implementing a new pre-inspection pilot program.

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9:06am

Wed June 26, 2013
Politics and Government

Ban on campaign contributions by gambling organizations was removed from legislation

When state lawmakers approved a bill to permit new gambling casinos in the final hours of the legislative session, they left something out: a provision to ban campaign contributions to legislators from gambling corporations.

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his plan to create new gambling centers in New York, he said he also wanted to ban campaign contributions from gambling entities to state lawmakers.

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3:27pm

Tue June 25, 2013
Politics and Government

Lt. Gov. Duffy tries to sell START-UP NY to SUNY

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy called the SUNY campus system an economic driver for the state during a visit to SUNY Oswego Tuesday morning.

Duffy discussed the recent START-UP NY initiative, which allows for new and expanding businesses to move on to or near college campuses. Those companies will be exempt from paying state sales, property or business taxes for ten years.

"Everybody is doing everything they can just to transform the economy and put things in place that will keep businesses here and growing, and draw new ones in," Duffy said.

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8:49am

Tue June 25, 2013
Politics and Government

Councilor accuses mayor of misleading about planning merger

Syracuse Common Councilor Lance Denno questions Andrew Maxwell, head of planning for Syracuse, about his department's merger with the county.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

An increasingly disgruntled Syracuse common councilor accused the mayor's office of misleading taxpayers about the city and Onondaga County's merger of their planning departments.

Just as Monday's routine pre-meeting study session was wrapping up, councilor Lance Denno called the mayor's press secretary, Alexander Marion, before them.

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5:00pm

Sun June 23, 2013
Politics and Government

The Campbell Conversations: The Women's Equality Act

The effort to pass the Women's Equality Act raised long-standing conflicts over reproductive rights, and the increased regulation of various business practices.  On this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher discusses the political and policy issues raised by the legislative package with Betty DeFazio from Planned Parenthood of Syracuse and Rochester, and New York State Assemblyman Al Stirpe.

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9:00am

Sat June 22, 2013
Politics and Government

Legislature finishes session without women's agenda passage

The 2013 legislative session ended Friday.
Wallyg via Flickr

State lawmakers were finishing up their session for the year, working to approve a measure to build four gambling casinos upstate and create tax free zones at college campuses.

But the final hours of the session were overshadowed by back and forth skirmishing over a Women’s Equality Act, which ultimately failed.

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7:52am

Fri June 21, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo's Moreland Act Commission -- potential and pitfalls

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, frustrated by what he says is the failure of the legislature to agree to a reform package, says he’ll follow through with a threat to investigate the legislature, using special powers given to him under the state’s Moreland Act. But there are potential limitations built into the act.

Cuomo says he did not want to compromise on a reform package that includes public campaign financing, and new prosecutorial powers for the state’s district attorneys to root out public corruption.

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