New York State Government

Governor Cuomo recently unveiled a new effort to rein in independent expenditure “Super PACs.”  Independent expenditure “Super PACs” have run amok nationwide in the wake of the now infamous US Supreme Court case, Citizens United.  These Super PACs allow individuals and interest groups to spend as much as they want to help elect candidates or political parties, as long as they do not coordinate with the candidate or the political party. 

Another week, another series of ethics controversies in New York.  The week began with the leak of a confidential report by the state’s elections enforcer that alleged that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had engaged in an illegal effort to circumvent campaign contribution limits in his 2014 push to bolster the re-election prospects of some sitting state Senate Democrats, who presumably would be more favorable to the democrat mayor’s city agenda in Albany.

Buried in Governor Cuomo’s $154 billion state budget plan is an appropriation of $1 million to establish a commission to consider the possibility of a state constitutional convention.  The governor’s commission, if approved, would be charged with developing a blueprint for the process of running a constitutional convention, if one is called by the voters in 2017.  

Blair Horner: The Next Phase Of The Ethics "Debate"

Feb 22, 2016

Lawmakers return to Albany this week to tackle an agreement on the upcoming budget.  The state’s fiscal year starts on April 1st.  As part of his budget, and in reaction to the political crime wave that has swept the Capitol, Governor Cuomo included ethics reforms.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's call for a $15 minimum wage in New York continues to dominate legislative discussions in Albany.

The 2016 legislative session kicked off quietly last week.  Typically, the governor unveils his legislative program on the first day.  His State of the State address serves as the legislative curtain raiser for the session.  This year, the governor has chosen to postpone his address for one week and has used that time to make daily announcements highlighting his upcoming initiatives. 

State lawmakers said a few years ago that they would  no longer permit the controversial member item program to continue, but  critics say the old system, which gave taxpayer money to legislators’ pet projects, is being revived in a new form.

After a brief hiatus, Albany’s ethics are once again in the media.  Last week, two Assemblymembers were sentenced to prison for their ethics crimes and Governor Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” economic development program was reported to be under scrutiny by federal prosecutors.

When Senator Skelos was arrested for alleged corruption on May 4th, a clock started ticking.  In previous arrests, Governor Cuomo would weigh in with a raft of ethics changes within a couple of weeks.  When former Assembly Speaker Silver was arrested on January 22nd, the governor waited until the Assembly sorted itself out and then gave a major speech to advance ethics measures on February 2nd – ten days later.

Like many areas of the governor’s proposed $141 billion-plus state budget, his higher education plans include items that help and others that hurt.

(Airs 1/10) The Legislative Gazette is a weekly program about New York State Government and politics. On this week's Gazette: Governor Cuomo delivers an election year state of the state address, our political observer Alan Chartock will share his thoughts on the speech, and we’ll also take a look at the annual people’s state of the state address.

From the first days of Watergate, to pay-to-play in the Massachusetts state legislature, to the most recent allegations of sexual harassment and a subsequent secret settlement in New York, politicians just cannot seem to stay out of trouble.

On today’s edition of Vox Pop, we will try to answer the question of whether those electeds who end up in hot water would’ve found themselves in a similar situation had they not held public office.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has come under increasing scrutiny for practices that appear to contrast his campaign pledge of historic transparency.

Last week, it was reported that Cuomo does not use email for official correspondence, relying instead on proprietary blackberry pin-to-pin messages, which leave no paper trail.