Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

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Bret Jaspers, WSKG

New York’s political world is focused on a race in the Southern Tier that could help determine the future of the State Senate.

The Deputy Majority Leader of the State Senate, Tom Libous, was convicted of lying to the FBI over obtaining a politically connected job for his son, and had to resign his seat in late July. The Binghamton based Senate district has held by Republicans for the past one hundred years, and has included the former Senate Leader, Warren Anderson.

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A fiscal watchdog group says it’s uncovered what it calls a “secret slush fund,” used by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators to fund pet projects around the state, but the governor’s budget office says the grants are subject to oversight.  

  President Obama’s plan for national standards to curb power plant emissions is based in part on a cap and trade-type program already existence in New York. 

Conor Bambrick, with the group Environmental Advocates, says he thinks the Presidents’ plan, billed by the White House as the “first-ever national standards” to curb carbon pollution from power plants has some of its roots in New York.

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Schools across the state are bracing for a potential zero percent growth in their tax levy next year. While the latest provisions of an ongoing tax cap won’t take effect until the 2016 school year, the state schools boards association says schools are starting to worry now.

According to projections from the State Comptroller, the rate of inflation will rise by less than a percentage point over the next year. The state’s tax cap limits increases in property taxes to 2 percent or the rise in inflation, whichever is lower.

  Two more lawmakers, a former Senate Leader and the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate were convicted of corruption in the past week. But Governor Cuomo continues to say it would not be a good idea to call state lawmakers back to the Capitol to enact more ethics reform measures.

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Supporters of paid family leave in New York say they hope 2016 will be their year, but business groups are urging caution.

A measure to allow all workers in the state 12 weeks of paid leave to take care of a new baby or sick family member was approved in the State Assembly, and two measures gained support in the State Senate, but the issue fell by the wayside in the end of session rush to pass bills and adjourn for the summer.

The Senate sponsor of a two-house bill, Joseph Addabbo of Queens, says he thinks it’s not a question of if the measure will pass, but when.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, for the first time as governor, has an approval rating below 50 percent in a new Siena College poll that also finds only 39 percent of New Yorkers think he’s doing a good job in office.

Governor Cuomo recently wrapped up a rocky end of the legislative session, and has been feuding with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as well as the teachers union. Siena College poll spokesman Steve Greenberg says the falling numbers, which have now reached a key milestone, are a trend that’s been developing for several months.

Karen DeWitt

    

The state’s new education commissioner, in her first address since beginning the job just over one week ago, told the rural schools association, meeting in Cooperstown, that she intends to be more inclusive to teachers in New York.

Kathy Hochul
Karen DeWitt/New York Now

  The state’s lieutenant governor, in an interview with public radio and TV,  says she’s not harboring ambitions to be the state’s first woman governor.

Lieutenant  Governor Kathy Hochul says she doesn’t know when the state’s proverbial glass ceiling will be broken and New York will have a woman in charge of the chief executive post,  but she says it’s unlikely that it will be her who reaches that milestone.

“I don’t harbor higher ambitions,” Hochul said.

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 A legislative session that featured the arrest of both of the top leaders of the legislature on corruption charges, saw no new ethics improvements included in the end of session agreements on a host of measures. One reform group is calling on the Governor and legislature to meet in a special session to address the state’s on going scandals.

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