Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways to Connect

The state’s ethics commission released the top spending lobbyists to try to influence state government during the 2015 legislative session, and found that education and real estate groups were the biggest spenders.

The top spenders so far in 2015 correlate with the top issues this year, fights over the future of public education and New York City’s rent regulations.

Jenna Flanagan, Innovation Trail

 The state’s  legislative leaders crossed paths literally this week, when both scheduled a stroll at the same time along the walkway over the Hudson River. In addition to taking in the view, they had a lot to say about priority issues, including raising the minimum wage and funding public transit and road and bridge repairs. 

A panel commissioned to review practices at New York’s troubled ethics commission held its one and only public hearing Wednesday, as its Chair says lack of staff and excess of paperwork may make it difficult to meet the group’s November 1st deadline.

Hydrofracking has been banned in New York State for nearly a year now,  but opponents of the natural gas extraction process have other concerns, including new pipelines.

Times Union Website Crime Confidential Blog

Governor Cuomo shot down rumors that he might call a special session in December on raising the minimum wage to $15.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

    

Governor Cuomo, who has been somewhat reticent about speaking out on the national stage, has lately been talking about the issue of gun violence, saying it should be a key topic in Congress and in the 2016 campaigns.

Matt Ryan

Questions continue about economic development practices by Governor Cuomo’s Administration, including the proposed sale of valuable piece of land from one state agency to another state entity for a dollar.

US Attorney Preet Bharara is reported to be probing  contracts awarded as part of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion project, with questions over the timing of campaign contributions to the governor, as well as criteria used to choose the vendors.

Prison Bars
Gemma Longman Flickr

A New York comedian who is also an activist on prison rights issues is drawing attention to the state’s practice of investing a small amount of its pension fund in the private prison industry.

classroom
en.wikipedia.org

Teachers say they hope Governor Cuomo’s newly appointed education commission will fix problems with the controversial Common Core learning standards. But they say a lot has to change, including the unpopular tests associated with the standards. 

Cuomo named his new panel in a web video.

The Task Force will include educators, teachers, parents, officials from the State Education Department and the teacher’s unions,” Cuomo said in the pre recorded message.

  Fixing the state’s troubled ethics commission will be the subject of two hearings in Albany on October 7th and in New York City on October 17th. Reform groups say they are ready with suggestions.

The panel, created by Governor Cuomo in May, is tasked with looking at ways to improve the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE, which has been widely criticized as secretive and ineffective. It was created by Governor Cuomo and the legislature during the governor’s first months in office back in 2011.

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