Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways To Connect

  There’s word that the commissioner of the state’s environmental agency is leaving, just two days after Joe Martens issued the final environmental impact statement banning hydrofracking in New York. The final report on fracking is a signal for others to move on as well. Anti-fracking groups say they are using New York’s stance to help convince other states, and even countries to ban the gas drilling process.

When Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders announced a new rebate check for property taxpayers, they touted it as a significant “real” benefit to average homeowners. But fiscal watchdog groups say the program is severely flawed, and the money could be better used on something else.

A wage board appointed by Governor Cuomo, speaking before a packed crowd of fast food workers, says it will authorize a “substantial” raise for fast food workers, but would not say when or even if the increase would be the $15 an hour that many groups are seeking.

A three-member board picked by Governor Cuomo to examine whether fast food workers need a raise say they are in agreement that the current wage of $8.75 an hour needs to be much higher.


  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the legislature say they’ve finally settled all of their differences and have voted on the final piece of legislation to end the session.

Karen DeWitt

The legislature continued negotiating and printing legislation Wednesday, one day after a framework deal was announced by legislative leaders and Governor Cuomo. The session limped to a close, after a year that’s seen the resignation of both leaders of the legislature over corruption scandals, and ongoing federal probes.

Governor Cuomo endured many personal obstacles. His father, the former Governor Mario Cuomo, passed away January 1st. His long- time partner, chef Sandra Lee, underwent a double mastectomy for breast cancer.

“This was a very difficult year,”  Cuomo admits.

  The fourth and final hearing was held by a board specially appointed Governor Andrew Cuomo to consider raising the minimum wage for fast food workers in New York.

Outside, supporters of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour held a rally.

  It turns out the legislative session will not be ending as planned and will continue on for at least another week.

After a week of gridlock, Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders decided to take a break and adjourn for five days. Before they left, they renewed New York City’s expired rent laws, but only for five days, until Tuesday.


The legislative session is expected to  continue for another day, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders remain gridlocked on extending New York City’s rent laws, and have not settled a host of other issues.

Karen DeWitt

More than 10 days after two convicted killers escaped from a state prison near Plattsburgh, some state lawmakers are considering new legislation and holding hearings to correct what they see as flaws in the state’s prisons system that  may have contributed to the break out.

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.

When the state budget was approved in late March, Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders announced some reform measures, including changing the state’s constitution to deny government pensions to lawmakers convicted of felonies.