Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways to Connect

A commission is considering granting as much as a 47% pay raise for New York state lawmakers, and the proposal is generating some backlash, including, from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

  Education groups, dismayed by the federal education secretary’s threat to punish schools in New York with high opt-out rates for standardized tests, say he’s re-igniting controversy that state education officials have been trying to calm for the past year.

  A routine oversight hearing by the state Assembly turned testy when Governor Cuomo’s Economic Development Czar, Howard Zemsky, endured over two hours of questions about Governor Cuomo’s economic development programs, which are currently under federal investigation.

Senate Democrats hope once again to take leadership of the Senate away from Republicans in the 2016 elections. The chief engineer of strategy for the Democrats says the Presidential candidates at the top of the ticket will help his candidates win.

 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo got his moment on the convention stage Thursday night before Hillary Clinton’s speech.

  It’s supposed to be Hillary Clinton’s convention, but all of the focus Monday was on her primary challenger Bernie Sanders and his delegates, who continue to stew over a wikileaks release of DNC emails that showed favoritism to Clinton over Sanders.

It’s supposed to be Hillary Clinton’s convention, but all of the focus Monday was on her primary challenger Bernie Sanders and his delegates, who continue to stew over a wikileaks release of DNC emails that showed favoritism to Clinton over Sanders.

The resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz over the release of emails showing that staff  favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders overshadowed other news at the beginning of the Democratic National Convention.  

Now that the Republican National Convention is over, the next step for Republicans, after the Democrats are done with their gathering, is to begin the Presidential election campaign. The head of Trump’s New York campaign say he expects the state to be in play.

Rudy Giuliani
Karen DeWitt

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in a speech to New York’s delegates, assailed Hillary Clinton for her husband’s extramarital affairs when he was President in the 1990s, saying Hillary tried to shut the women up. 

New York’s delegation to the RNC is the national spotlight for casting the votes to put Donald Trump over the top for the Presidential nomination in Cleveland this week. But not all of the state’s politicians are in agreement over some of Trump’s most controversial foreign policies.

The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate running against Democrat Chuck Schumer, Wendy Long, faces great odds in her campaign against the powerful and popular third term Senator.  Long addressed the New York delegation Tuesday.

Pictures of Donald Trump in a store window in Cleveland.
Karen DeWitt

The Republican national convention begins in Cleveland Monday.

Flickr/wadester16

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has offered only lukewarm support in  the past for his fellow Democrats in their quest to take over the State Senate, this week said he would back Democratic candidates in Senate races.  Cuomo also somewhat reluctantly offered support to his former primary rival, Zephyr Teachout, who is now running for Congress.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo , who has offered only lukewarm support in  the past for his fellow Democrats in their quest to take over the State Senate, this week said he would back Democratic candidates in Senate races.  Cuomo also somewhat reluctantly offered support to his former primary rival, Zephyr Teachout, who is now running for Congress.

Mohawk Valley/Central New Yorkers for Trump leader Jim Zecca, left, and volunteers organize before a press conference in Utica's historic train station in March.
Payne Horning / WRVO News

Supporters of the two outsider candidates in the Presidential race are finding obstacles to attending the national conventions in Philadelphia and Cleveland, held during the next couple of week.

Saint-Gobain's plant in Hoosick Falls
Lucas Willard

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Administration is facing greater scrutiny over handling of the Hoosick Falls water crisis. In recent days a Congressional committee opened an inquiry, and both the state Assembly and Senate will hold hearings. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo riding a motorcycle.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo | Flickr

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to focus on positive actions in his public events in recent days as a federal investigation into his administration’s economic development programs continues.

Bernie Sanders speaks at the Egg in Albany
Karen DeWitt

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, made the second stop in his ‘Where Do We Go From Here’ tour in Albany Friday afternoon, where he told a small but loyal group of supporters that he’ll fight to get key items into the national Democratic Party platform, including a nationwide $15 minimum wage, and has been in talks with Hillary Clinton’s campaign over a greater focus on progressive issues.

  Some Homeless advocates are dismayed by what they say is Governor Cuomo’s failure at the end of the legislative session to follow through with promises to fund five years worth of new supportive housing and other services for the homeless. Their complaints come as the State Comptroller issues a scathing report on the state of homeless shelters across New York. 

The Capitol
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Business leaders, particularly those in Upstate New York, say the 2016 legislative session, which recently concluded, was the worst for small businesses in quite some time.

Business leaders, particularly those in Upstate New York, say the 2016 legislative session, which recently concluded, was the worst for small businesses in quite some time.

United Soybean Board | Flickr

The New York State Farm Bureau is inserting itself  into a legal fight over whether farmworkers can be allowed to unionize.

Flickr/wadester16

What began in January as an ambitious reform package to address a wave of corruption at the Capitol, proposed by Governor Cuomo, dwindled to just two proposals by the time the session closed in the pre dawn hours of Saturday morning.  Here’s a look at what happened.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

New Yorkers will now be able to order a drink, or two, with their brunch, or in some cases breakfast, at bars and restaurants on Sunday morning.  The current law forbids sale of alcohol before noon on Sunday. But starting when Governor Cuomo signs the bill into law, alcohol will be available starting two hours earlier.

The Capitol
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

The legislature was closing down on an end of session  deal that would strip convicted lawmakers of their pensions, extend mayoral control of New York City schools for one more year, and legalize Daily Fantasy sports gambling.

With hours left in the 2016 legislative session, lawmakers have agreed on some items like permitting drinking at Sunday brunch, while some others, like ethics reform, are still unresolved. 

Flickr/wadester16

Hoosick Falls residents came to the Capitol on Wednesday to demand hearings on the after crisis that has revealed high levels of a toxic chemical in many people’s bloodstreams. They did not get hearings but did get a private meeting with a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Taxi Drivers Protest Against Uber
Karen DeWitt

With the legislative session down to the wire, groups for and against bills including expansion of Uber ride services and ethics reform came to the Capitol to make their voices heard.

Senator Kathy Marchione promotes bill to extend the statute of limitations to sue for toxic contamination, with, right to left, Hoosick Falls resident Michele Baker, Assembly sponsor John McDonald, and Environmental Advocates' Liz Moran
Karen DeWitt

As part of the push to end the legislative session by Thursday, state lawmakers representing the PFOA contaminated village of Hoosick Falls want to extend the statute of limitations to bring lawsuits against polluters.

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