The legislature returns next Tuesday for the final push in a session that ends in late June. Government reformers say with a burgeoning scandal involving potential violations of campaign limits in Democratic Senate races in 2014, and the scheduled sentencing of the two former leaders of the legislature in early May, it’s time to focus on ethics fixes.
Government reform groups say you can add one more item to the long list of reforms that they believe are needed in Albany. They say limits are needed on campaign contributions to county political committees. The committees collection and distribution of money factor into a growing criminal case against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, and upstate Senate races in 2014.
Two special elections were also held Tuesday, to fill the seats vacated by the two former legislative leaders, who were both convicted of felony corruption and had to resign. The Assembly race was won by a Democrat, in the Senate, Republicans are asking for a hand count of paper ballots , while the Democrat has declared victory.
A quirk in the newly enacted minimum wage increase could mean that in upstate New York by the early 2020s, fast food workers could be paid significantly more than other low wage jobs, like being a home healthcare worker or a cashier in a grocery store.
Fracktivists, as anti hydrofracking activists are called, hope to play a role in New York’s presidential primary. They are asking Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as well as Republican candidates, to take a stand against the Constitution pipeline and other natural gas pipelines that if approved could criss- cross the state.
Prior to holding a rally at the Cohoes high school, Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held an event in New York City with Governor Cuomo and top state Democratic lawmakers, to celebrate the state’s passage of an increase to the state’s minimum wage.
State lawmakers in Albany went down to the wire on meeting the state budget deadline Thursday. A phased-in minimum wage hike and paid family leave are among the highlights of the $150 billion spending plan.
Governor Cuomo and Legislative leaders said they hoped to have final agreements on the state budget by evening, and could possibly print bills Tuesday night, to begin voting on Thursday. But by late Tuesday afternoon they were still working on reaching final agreements.
When the state budget is approved next week it will likely not include a discount for frequent users of the New York State Thruway. The legislature has rejected Governor Cuomo’s plan to use some of the state’s surplus to subsidize tolls.
Supporters and opponents of a $15 minimum wage in New York are blasting reports that Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers have reached a compromise that could stretch out the phase in period, and exempt farmers from the higher pay requirements.
The newly elected Chancellor to the Board of Regents, Betty Rosa, expressed grave doubts about the state’s use of standardized tests in the schools, saying if she were not on the Board of Regents, she would join the opt-out movement and not permit her children to take the tests.
Governor Cuomo concedes that ethics reform is unlikely to be a part of the New York State budget, despite the conviction of the two legislative leaders on major corruption charges. Cuomo blames the legislature for lack of will to enact changes.
People with developmental disabilities and their caretakers held a rally at the New York State Capitol Wednesday to ask Governor Andrew Cuomo for financial help if he’s successful in pushing through a $15 minimum wage.
The Assembly and Senate have released budget positions that focus on taxes and spending policies, but very little on ethics reform, even though both former leaders of the legislature face prison sentences over corruption convictions.