Capital Region News

The online edition of The Atlantic is running an article entitled "Can Google Predict the Impact of Racism on a Presidential Election?" It focuses on a study that tries to make a case for linking Google searches for racially-sensitive terms with election results to "reveal what Americans truly think." Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas spoke with two community leaders to find out "what THEY truly think" about racism.

The legislative session that’s concluding in Albany seems to be more about what’s not getting done that what is getting accomplished. As Karen DeWitt reports, agreements were not reached on several key issues.   

Governor Andrew Cuomo at this time last year was intensely lobbying lawmakers to pass a bill to legalize gay marriage. This year, he has taken a more hands off approach to the end of the current legislative session.

The governor introduced a bill on how to make teacher evaluations public, but said he would not push the legislature to approve it.

Governor Cuomo is telling the legislature to ‘take it or leave it’ over a new bill he’s released new bill outlining how to make teacher evaluations public.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…  

Governor Cuomo says he introduced legislation on the publication of teacher evaluations just before his own self imposed deadline of midnight Monday in order to clarify his position on the issue.  He says it’s up the Assembly and Senate whether they want to pass it, exactly as is, or not.  

WAMC's David Guistina gets an update on the region's headlines from Judy Patrick, managing editor of the Daily Gazette.

As the legislative session in Albany draws to a close, WAMC's David Guistina gets the morning headlines from Mike Spain, associate editor of the Albany Times-Union.

The Assembly and Senate have passed legislation they say will curb abuses against disabled people in state care.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports… 

Supporters and opponents of a plan to allow limited hydrofracking in New York’s Southern Tier region confronted each other at the state Capitol.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…

For months, the Cuomo Administration has been signaling that it might permit the gas drilling process known as hydrofracking in a few areas in the Marcellus Shale region where the majority of people in communities want the gas drilling process to begin.

A hearing by Senate Democrats explored the influence of the controversial lobby group known as ALEC in New York State. Those who testified say more light needs to shine on the secretive group and even urged the state ethics commission to start an investigation.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…

WAMC Photo Composite by Dave Lucas

Veterans of the Iraq, Afghanistan, Persian Gulf, Vietnam and Korean wars joined with World War Two Veterans in Latham over the weekend for the second annual "D-Day Revisited: Day of Recognition and Remembrance" - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report

The three Republicans running in a primary to take on Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are meeting voters around New York, rounding up endorsements and lobbing critiques at the incumbent.

But with primary day looming June 26, are people paying attention?

Polls show most voters still don't know much about lawyer Wendy Long, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos or U.S. Representative Bob Turner. Low turnout is expected on primary day for an election among candidates still trying to build name recognition.

The head of the state ethics commission, Janet DiFiore, says she has “done nothing wrong”, after allegations she used her influence as Westchester County DA to obtain welfare benefits for her maid.  DiFiore spoke after a lengthy closed door session of the ethics commission.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…

Governor Andrew Cuomo is attempting to revive New York’s iconic ‘I Love New York’ tourism promotion campaign with some new ads.  The governor says the state not been aggressive enough in its promotions in recent years.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…

Governor Cuomo’s popularity with New York voters continues- in the latest poll he has the highest ratings of any New York governor since the dark days after September 11th.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…

Mickey Carroll, with Quinnipiac University, says Cuomo’s favorability numbers are the highest for a governor since the days after September 11th, 2001, when then Governor George Pataki received an 81% approval rating. Cuomo’s numbers stand at 71%, the highest yet for the consistently popular governor, says Carroll.

A federal judge has set February 4 to start the retrial of former New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno on fraud charges and imposed a gag order on the lawyers. More from WAMC’s Dave Lucas…

U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe says Tuesday the case will be tried in court, not the press, while acknowledging he imposed the same rule at the 2009 trial, where Bruno himself held daily press conferences on the courthouse steps to say he was innocent while his lawyers stood quietly by.

WAMC's David Guistina gets the morning headlines from Mike Spain, associate editor of the Albany Times-Union.

Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a rousing speech at a meeting of the State Democratic Party, but stopped short of endorsing a democratic take over of the State Senate. At the meeting, the new co chairs of the party, chosen by Cuomo, were introduced.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports...

The State’s second most powerful Democrat, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was among the warm up acts for Governor Cuomo’s address before a meeting of the State Democratic Party.

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says the state’s pension fund has “successfully weathered” another economic storm. He reports returns are the highest since global market meltdown of 2008.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says despite another volatile year in the markets, the pension fund for the hundreds of thousands of state worker retirees performed at a rate of 5.96%. The total fund is valued at $150.3 billion dollars, the highest since before the Great Recession.

Drug overdoses are a significant problem across New York State with data from New York City showing more than 900 fatalities caused by accidental overdoses in 2003, nearly 70 percent of which involved the use of opioids like heroin.

In 2006, state law went into effect to allow non-medical personnel to administer Naloxone   (na-LOX-own), also known as “Narcan,” a nasal spray which can reverse the symptoms of opioid overdose. While the state has made progress by training lay-people, many areas of the states still do not have trained overdose responders.

Governor Cuomo has taken the reigns of the troubled New York Racing Association Board, saying he needs to “restore the public trust” in a rapidly changing gaming industry.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports… 

Governor Cuomo announced Thursday that he’s rescinding a state regulation that requires food stamp recipients be fingerprinted, saying the poor and hungry are not criminals.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports… 

Governor Cuomo, speaking by phone to a gathering of advocates for the poor, says he’s rescinded a 14-year-old state regulation that required food stamp recipients be subject to fingerprinting before receiving benefits. 

“Poverty and hunger are not crimes,” said Cuomo. “So we shouldn’t treat the poor or the hungry as criminals.”

Governor Cuomo is pleased with the outcome of Tuesday’s state wide school budget vote, but teachers and school board leaders see some disturbing trends.

This year’s school budget vote was the first to take place after Governor Andrew Cuomo convinced the legislature to adopt the property tax cap. The governor says the tax cap imposed “fiscal discipline.” He says he’s pleased that few schools attempted to override the cap, and that most schools kept tax increases to a minimum, and were approved by voters. He says tax payers, as well as state government, are tapped out.

WAMC's David Guistina speaks with Judy Patrick, managing editor of the Daily Gazette, about NYRA's turmoil and the school budget vote.

A new Siena College poll finds that New Yorkers are starting to feel more positive about the state legislature- but they still don’t want to see Senators and Assembly members receive a pay raise.   Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…

For the first time in many years, New Yorkers actually view the State Senate favorably, by a 46% to 43% margin,  and the State Assembly is close to evenly split, with 42% viewing them positively, and 44% negatively.

NYS Ethics Commission Pursues Complaint against Libous

May 15, 2012

On the heels of former New York State Senate leader Pedro Espada’s conviction, the state’s ethics commission is pursuing a complaint against one of Albany’s most prominent lawmakers.  WAMC's Tristan O'Neill reports...  

The Albany-Times Union reports (http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Libous-the-target-of-ethics-inquiry-3558178.php) that the recently-created Joint Commission on Public Ethics has sent a letter to Deputy Senate Majority Leader Thomas Libous.   

A teacher who exercised her First Amendment Rights to stand up for her beliefs at rallies and actions held by Occupy Albany could be facing repercussions for her actions. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

 

What led to the sudden change in President Obama’s itinerary last week in the Albany area? The president came to the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale science and Engineering, even though the original choice was GlobalFoundries’ plant in Malta in Saratoga County. At the time, the reason given for the change was “logistics,” but James Odato of the Albany Times Union is reporting today it was the Cuomo administration that lobbied for the venue change, he spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

Opponents of natural gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing are planning a big day of action in Albany, culminating with a star-studded concert at the Empire State Plaza.  WAMC's Ian Pickus reports...

New Yorkers Against Fracking, a new coalition of organizations calling for a fracking ban, plans a rally and multi-media concert Tuesday afternoon and evening. The event features actors Mark Ruffalo and Melissa Leo acting as hosts of the concert at the Egg Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets range from $40 to $150.

The American Cancer Society and other health groups are pressing for a law in New York State that would ban anyone under the age of 18 from using a tanning salon. They argue the growing risk of cancer to young people is too great a threat to ignore.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…

Supporters of the law cite statistics that show all forms of skin cancer, and particularly melanoma, which can sometimes result in death, are on the rise among young people.

Most parents and teachers would be skeptical to hear that young people should spend more time in front of video games to do better in school, but there are some who say that is the case. Clark Aldrich is a leading interface designer and one of the top educational simulator creators in the world. He will moderate a gaming summit tomorrow at Excelsior College in Albany on how serious video games can be used in higher education. Aldrich tells WAMC’s Brian Shields that parents and teachers should be open to serious video games as a good way to learn.

Governor Cuomo, who won national praise and attention for championing the passage of same sex marriage in New York, calls President Obama’s support of gay marriage a “major advancement for equal rights in this country.”  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…  

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