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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.