Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways To Connect

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

  Governor Andrew Cuomo is promising police and firefighters in New York City a better deal on their disability benefits, as a budget watch dog group warns against the proliferation of end of session bills that give union workers more benefits.

Cuomo made a rare appearance at a rally held by firefighters and police union members from New York City to support their push for better disability benefits.

One of the ethics reforms agreed to in the state budget has still not been passed by State Assembly Democrats, and minority party Republicans say they are worried that the bill will be delayed, or watered down.

  The Chair of the New York State Assembly Education Committee says an education tax credit bill pressed by Governor Andrew Cuomo is not appropriate for the state at this time.

About two dozen tenants rights activists, as well as several Democratic State lawmakers, were arrested at a protest on the lack of action so far on reforming New York City’s rent laws, which expire on June 15th, to include more protections for tenants.

Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, who has been in office for forty years, says he has not been arrested for civil disobedience since the 1990s, but feels it’s important to make a point now, as there’s been little movement on changing the rent laws, less than two weeks before they sunset.

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In the final weeks of the legislative session, groups are lobbying for some of the major remaining issues still on the table, including the Mayor of New York and groups who want a property tax break for homeowners struggling to hold on to their houses. And both accuse Governor Andrew Cuomo of not taking an active enough role.

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  A near-record number of school budgets were approved around the state in Tuesday’s vote. Many are attributing the relative lack of controversy to the three year old property tax cap that limits tax levy increases, as well as an increase in state aid.

99.7 percent of school budgets that stayed within the state’s property tax cap were approved in this week’s vote, according to the New York State School Board Association. The School Board’s Dave Albert says the tax cap, enacted by the governor and legislature three years ago, has played a role, but is not the only factor.

  The legislature will be finishing up its work in the next couple of weeks with two new legislative leaders—one in his third month, the other in just his second week on the job.

Now that the State Senate has stabilized, after weeks of turmoil over corruption charges, legislative leaders and Governor Cuomo are looking at what they can reasonably finish with just five weeks left in the session.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

  With just a few weeks left in the legislative session, education issues continue to dominate. Some lawmakers want to fix a recently passed law that requires a fast turn around for new teacher evaluations, while others would like a tax break for donors that would help private schools.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has seen much of his ambitious legislative agenda for 2015 stall, as first the Assembly Speaker, and then the Senate Leader, were charged with corruption and had to resign.

The new leader of the State Senate, John Flanagan, replaced Dean Skelos, who is facing corruption charges. On Day Two in office, Flanagan says he does not expect any major new reform legislation to happen before the end of the session.

Senate Leader John Flanagan says he does not think that further ethics reform will be enacted in the remaining weeks of the legislative session, despite an ongoing corruption scandal that cost his predecessor his job.

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