Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways To Connect

Democrats in the State Senate are attempting to close a loophole in the state’s campaign finance laws, while a new poll finds New Yorkers want lawmakers to take more steps to quell corruption.

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  Less than a month after it was enacted, Governor Cuomo’s new teacher evaluation plan seems to be in jeopardy, with the Regents Chancellor calling for a year’s delay and a key Senator saying the legislature needs to revisit the issue.

When Cuomo convinced the legislature to approve a new teacher evaluation system that relies more on standardized tests, his administration said that the State Board of Regents would have very limited power to make any changes including compliance with a November deadline to come up with new performance reviews.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

  Earth Day 2015 is also the first day that the New York State Assembly is transitioning to a paperless system. Assemblymembers have been given I Pads to read bills electronically, and supporters say it will save millions of dollars, and trees.

Majority Leader Joe Morelle announced the change on the Assembly floor.

“Today we begin officially with tablets,” Morelle said.

Getting rid of the piles of paper that clutter members’ desks each day required a constitutional amendment, which voters approved last fall.  

Karen DeWitt

The Speaker of the Assembly is defending himself against a newspaper report that he profited from his late mother’s embezzlement crimes.

The final stretch of the legislative session began as more accusations arose about potential wrongdoing by top legislative leaders.

The New York State Legislature returns for the second half of the legislative session, once again under a cloud of corruption, and with numerous unsettled issues.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature approved some significant changes to the state’s education system and how teachers are evaluated going forward. But, before all that can be implemented, the new system faces a big test, literally, later this month.

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  The New York legislature completed an almost on-time budget, around 3 a.m. on the first day of the state’s fiscal year. One of the final pieces to come together was an ethics reform package, which will provide greater disclosure of lawmaker’s outside income. But critics say it does not go far enough.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers finalized deals on education and ethics and passed the budget by the deadline.

Legislators began passing the final budget bills in the late afternoon, with only a few hours left until the deadline.

The final sticking points of the spending plan, resolved Tuesday, include a new teacher evaluation plan and changes to teacher tenure.

  Governor Andrew Cuomo began the budget season with an ambitious agenda than included a wide array of items that he tied to the budget, including raising the minimum wage, the Dream Act, and reforming the state’s grand jury process. In the end, the governor was forced to retrench on nearly every measure.

Cuomo spent a week in January rolling out his ambitious budget agenda, which contained plans for a new criminal justice system for teens who commit serious crimes, and a major upstate economic development program.  

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