Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways to Connect

The state capitol in Albany.
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

The issue of whether to tax the wealthiest New Yorkers at a higher rate is once again a topic at the State Capitol. Assembly Democrats are out with a tax plan that would redistribute some tax revenue from the richest to the poorest New Yorkers.

State Assembly Approves Paid Family Leave
Karen Dewitt

The State Assembly approved a one house bill to establish partial paid family leave in New York, as Governor Cuomo signaled he will amend his proposal to provide more money to those who take the leave.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

 

A poll finds that voters overwhelmingly support a number of Governor Cuomo’s priorities for 2016, but New Yorkers still hold mixed views about the governor himself.

Marc Nozell Flickr

  Governor Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden headlined a pep rally to pass paid family leave in New York, but some question whether the governor’s plan is enough.

Some lobbyists, as well as government reform groups, say a new rule approved by the state’s ethics commission that would require them to report contact with the news media in some cases, violates first amendment rights and would have chilling effect.


Mary Ellen Elia
Karen DeWitt

New York State’s education commissioner Mary Ellen Elia spent nearly four hours before the legislative budget committees. Though there is a moment of calm as the state pulls back from some of the more controversial parts of the Common Core standards, her testimony revealed potential trouble later in the school year if the test boycott movement continues.

Tensions between upstate senators and the mayor of New York City were highlighted during a budget hearing on aid to local governments in Albany, when lawmakers questioned the mayor for over five hours.

Lt. Gov Kathy Hochul
Karen DeWitt

It has been more than 40 years since the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing a women’s right to choose an abortion, but advocates say New York lawmakers have yet to translate the provisions of the landmark Supreme Court decision into law in the state.

Reform groups are giving Governor Cuomo an A for effort on his ethics proposals, but they say some of them need to go further, and Cuomo needs to follow through and actually get the plans enacted into law.

A budget watchdog group is giving New York Governor Andrew Cuomo a mixed grade on his budget proposals, saying he’s done a good job reigning in spending, but is making a mistake by shifting some significant costs to New York City.

Janet DiFiore
janetdifiore.com

New York State has a new Chief Judge, now that the Senate has confirmed  Governor Cuomo’s nominee Janet DiFiore to lead the Court of Appeals. Capitol Correspondent Karen Dewitt reports... 

Janet DiFiore
janetdifiore.com

The New York State Senate held a confirmation hearing for Governor Cuomo’s choice for the state’s Chief Judge, Westchester DA Janet DiFiore. Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo appointed another nominee to fill the final vacancy on the court- Michael Garcia, who, as US Attorney, brought down a former governor, Eliot Spitzer.

classroom
en.wikipedia.org

Eight years after the stock market crash and the start of the Great Recession, the State’s Senate Leader say it’s time to get rid of a law that limits funding to some schools. The measure was created when the state had a $10 billion budget deficit. Now, the state is running surpluses.

Times Union Website Crime Confidential Blog

Governor Andrew Cuomo released his State of the State message and $143 billion budget spending plan, including $1 billion more for schools next year, and ethics reforms. 

Times Union Website Crime Confidential Blog

  Governor Cuomo is scheduled to give his State of the State speech on Wednesday. The governor has already spent the past week rolling out a lengthy agenda for the New Year.

..::WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas::..

The opening day of the legislative session featured talk of ethics reform, but Governor Cuomo chose to be elsewhere, putting off his traditional State of the State message for another week, and giving speeches in Syracuse and New York City instead.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

  Governor Cuomo says he’ll increase funding to environmental projects as well as state parks, in his 2016 budget. The news was applauded by environmentalists, as well as some business leaders.

nycourts.gov

  As of December 31,  New York State has no chief judge of the Court of Appeals. It’s the second time in recent years that either Governor Cuomo or the state Senate have missed a deadline to fill the slot.

Former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos
Karen DeWitt

The second legislative leader to be convicted of corruption has now filed his retirement papers, and is eligible for an annual pension that could nearly reach six figures.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

2015 saw the fall of two of the three most powerful people in state government, and the rise of one U.S. Attorney. 

Times Union Website Crime Confidential Blog

  Governor Cuomo this week announced plans for mass pardons of young people who commit non violent crimes. It’s the latest in a string of actions Cuomo has taken in the past year in an attempt to get around opposition from some factions in the state legislature and to further some progressive issues.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Cuomo continues to say that he will propose major reforms in the New Year, in the wake of the conviction of the two top legislative leaders on multiple corruption charges. But the governor, in a radio interview, says there’s only so far that he can go to reign in campaign donations.

An upstate business group is seeking tax cuts for small businesses in the New Year, and opposing Governor Cuomo’s plan to phase in a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour. Unshackle Upstate’s Greg Biryla says while portions of  the economy have improved somewhat, including the Albany and Buffalo regions, wide swaths of the Southern Tier, North Country, and Mohawk Valley continue to stagnate, and have lost jobs.

Pixabay/Public Domain

  Advocates for paid family leave in New York say they hope 2016 is the year that the state finally provides a program to allow workers to take time off to care for a child, or a sick elderly relative.

  A study by a reform group finds that if New York were to ban outside income for lawmakers, it would actually effect only a small number of legislators.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Now that the two leaders of the legislature have been convicted on multiple counts of corruption, government reform groups are looking to the remaining politicians at the Capitol for reform. And polls show that the public is with them.

wikipedia commons

The state’s education commissioner says no new laws are needed to reverse a proposal in this year’s state budget tying teacher performance reviews more closely to standardized tests. At the December Board of Regents meeting, members voted to postpone the effects of the tests on teacher evaluations until for at least four more years.

Karen Dewitt. WAMC

Governor Cuomo made anti sexual assault legislation on college campuses a key part of his agenda in 2015.  Six months after signing what’s called the “Enough is Enough” legislation, college officials say it’s helped accelerated a trend toward better awareness and reporting of incidents.

The latest Siena College poll finds that most people agree with the corruption conviction of the state’s former longtime Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was found guilty on seven counts two weeks ago.

Regional Economic Development Council
Regional Economic Development Council website

  Three of seven regions in competition in upstate New York were awarded $500 million each in economic development money, in a contest by Governor Cuomo that critics have called the “Hunger Games.”

Pages