Karen DeWitt

Karen DeWitt

As the fourth anniversary of the devastating storms, Irene and Lee, approaches, the Cuomo administration says it’s more ready than ever for hurricanes, floods and other adverse weather events.

Times Union Website Crime Confidential Blog

A fiscal watchdog group says it’s uncovered what it calls a “secret slush fund,” used by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators to fund pet projects around the state, but the governor’s budget office says the grants are subject to oversight.  

Counties across New York are concerned over reports that sales tax collections are plummeting and they are asking Governor Cuomo’s tax department for an explanation.

Karen DeWitt


The state’s new education commissioner, in her first address since beginning the job just over one week ago, told the rural schools association, meeting in Cooperstown, that she intends to be more inclusive to teachers in New York.


  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the legislature say they’ve finally settled all of their differences and have voted on the final piece of legislation to end the session.


The legislative session is expected to  continue for another day, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders remain gridlocked on extending New York City’s rent laws, and have not settled a host of other issues.

Karen DeWitt

More than 10 days after two convicted killers escaped from a state prison near Plattsburgh, some state lawmakers are considering new legislation and holding hearings to correct what they see as flaws in the state’s prisons system that  may have contributed to the break out.

One of the ethics reforms agreed to in the state budget has still not been passed by State Assembly Democrats, and minority party Republicans say they are worried that the bill will be delayed, or watered down.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Senate Republicans are trying to modify New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to require full disclosure of law clients in legislators’ outside business.

Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, who works part time at a private law firm, says he expects to agree on a “robust” new disclosure law, but concedes that it may only apply to new law clients, not existing business arrangements.

Skelos blamed any hold up on Assembly Democrats, saying they are dragging their feet on a new teacher evaluation plan.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Once the President’s week break is finished, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature will have to start discussing the 2015 budget.  But the traditional style of budget making in New York, known as "three men in a room," is coming under criticism, by among others, the U.S. Attorney currently investigating corruption at the Capitol.  Some are wondering whether it’s time to end the secretive practice.


Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will end his long reign as the head of the Assembly on Monday, say the Democratic members of the Assembly who announced they’ll hold a new election for Speaker on February 10th.

Assembly Democrats are planning to huddle behind closed doors again in Albany today, trying to decide their next move after they decided Monday that they no longer have confidence in their in their present Speaker Sheldon Silver.

The state capitol in Albany.
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Three weeks after it was originally scheduled, today is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address. It was pushed back after the death of his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo, on New Year’s Day. The speech set for 1:30 in Albany is being combined with the governor’s annual budget message. WAMC’s Ian Pickus got a preview from Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, his democratic running mate Kathy Hochul and other women’s rights advocates spoke to a cheering crowd of union members and local elected officials, as part of a three city upstate bus tour to promote a 10 point women’s rights plan.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is reaching out to moderate Republicans to try to win over their vote in next month’s elections. His efforts have been bolstered by a new ad featuring Larry Rockefeller.

Blair Horner
C.W. McKeen / The Post - Standard, 2006

A member of a government reform group says it’s OK if New York Governor Andrew Cuomo uses his campaign coffers to finance this week’s trip to Israel if the visit is for political, rather than government purposes.

Blair Horner, with the New York Public Interest Research Group, says it’s preferable for Governor Cuomo to use funds from his $35 million  campaign fund to pay for his visit to Israel than for state taxpayers to foot the bill.  Horner says by using the campaign money, Cuomo is also signaling that the trip is more of a political event than official government business.

Wikipedia Commons

Government reform groups are split over whether an amendment on the November ballot to change the way legislative district lines are drawn is an improvement, or will make only make gerrymandering worse.

Times Union Website Crime Confidential Blog

For the first time in several years, New York has a surplus of $3-$4 billion. Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s still looking at options on how best to use it.

The state has recently been the beneficiary of a windfall from major lawsuit settlements with several banks and insurance companies. After years of running a debt or breaking even, New York now has over $4 billion, says Governor Cuomo. Cuomo says he’s still thinking about the best use for the money.

ballot box
Wikimedia Commons

The state board of elections approved the language for a ballot amendment that would change the way redistricting  is done in New York. But not everyone is happy with the wording, or the amendment.

The November ballot amendment would permit the Senate and the Assembly to appoint members to what the amendment describes as an “independent” commission to redraw legislative district lines every ten years, as required by the census.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Governor Cuomo confirms that the US Attorney, Preet Bharara, sent a warning letter to the lawyer representing the now disbanded Moreland Act Commission on ethics, as first reported in the New York Times. In it, the paper says, Bharara threatened to investigate the governor’s aides and maybe even Cuomo himself for “possible obstruction of justice or witness tampering.”


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s not concerned about reports that the casino gambling industry may not be all that healthy. The negative news comes as the state is considering authorizing four new gambling centers in the next few months.


Advocates for a higher minimum wage are urging for better wages for workers who rely on tips. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to create a committee to consider raising the minimum rate for the workers, and the groups say they have evidence that an increase is needed.

Dr. Sandra Steingraber, Ithaca College

A group of health care professionals are seeking a meeting with Governor Cuomo’s health department, saying they have compiled a compendium of new and on going research that highlights numerous health risks associated with hydro fracking.

Matt Ryan, New York Now

Governor Cuomo’s running mate, Lieutenant Governor Nominee Kathy Hochul, is keeping an unusually low profile during the first months of the election campaign. The lack of public campaigning by Hochul is starting to raise some questions.

Kathy Hochul, a former one term Congresswoman and former Erie County Clerk, appeared with Governor Cuomo at the Democratic State Convention in May, one day after she was chosen to run as Lieutenant Governor.

Hochul promised the audience that she would  “carry our message of hope and optimism across this great state”.


The Democratic Primary challenger to Governor Andrew Cuomo , Zephyr Teachout, expects to file more than 40,000 signatures late Thursday to obtain a place on the ballot for the September voting.

The Republican candidate for Governor is petitioning to run on a new ballot line that capitalizes on public opposition to the new Common Core learning standards.


The Republican candidate for New York governor weighed in on criticism of Governor Cuomo’s running mate, Kathy Hochul, who has kept a low profile since the political conventions in May.

Governor Cuomo's Office

New York is now the 23 state to allow medical marijuana, now that Governor Cuomo has signed a bill into law. But, as Karen DeWitt reports, it will be some time before patients will have access to the drug.


Two Democratic factions in the State Senate say they are joining to form what could be a strong Democratic Majority in the Senate, leaving Republicans, who up until now have ruled the chamber in a coalition government, out of power.

Pre-K Expansion To Be Low In September

Jun 24, 2014
Office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Fewer than 20 percent of school districts outside of New York City have expressed interest in expanding their pre-kindergarten programs. Critics say the number falls far short of the goals of a program billed in the state budget as universal pre-K.