New York State Legislature

As always, there are plenty of major issues for the New York state legislature to tackle when it returns to Albany in January. Republican state Senator Betty Little represents the 45th district, which stretches north from Queensbury to the Canadian border and west from the Vermont border into St. Lawrence County.  While in Plattsburgh this week, Senator Little discussed a number of issues with WAMC North Country  Bureau Chief Pat Bradley, including Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s decision not to hold a special session to act on a chief judge.

Blair Horner: Ethics Stays In The News

Aug 10, 2015

When Albany is in the dog days of summer, it is usually quiet at the state Capitol.  Lawmakers are doing whatever they do during the summer and, in recent decades, the governor is usually downstate.

Last week, a Siena Research Institute poll reported that 90 percent of New Yorkers thought that government corruption is a serious problem.  When 90 percent of New Yorkers agree on anything, it’s amazing.  So you’d expect that elected officials would get the message and respond.

The dust hasn’t completely settled yet, but the 2015 legislative session is in the books and New Yorkers can draw some conclusions about the activity of their representatives. 

When Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders announced a new rebate check for property taxpayers, they touted it as a significant “real” benefit to average homeowners. But fiscal watchdog groups say the program is severely flawed, and the money could be better used on something else.

The 2015 legislative session wrapped up last week, one week later than scheduled.  During the last 2 weeks of session, nearly 540 bills passed both houses.  But the big story was the last bill approved – the “Big Ugly.”

Karen DeWitt

The legislature continued negotiating and printing legislation Wednesday, one day after a framework deal was announced by legislative leaders and Governor Cuomo. The session limped to a close, after a year that’s seen the resignation of both leaders of the legislature over corruption scandals, and ongoing federal probes.

Governor Cuomo endured many personal obstacles. His father, the former Governor Mario Cuomo, passed away January 1st. His long- time partner, chef Sandra Lee, underwent a double mastectomy for breast cancer.

“This was a very difficult year,”  Cuomo admits.

Karen DeWitt

Nearly one week after the New York State legislative session was supposed to end, Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have announced a deal on all major end of session issues, including renewal of New York City’s rent laws and a related property tax cap, as well as a new tax rebate program for property owners.

The schedule called for the New York State Legislature to be home for the summer by this week, but lawmakers are still in Albany as legislative leaders and Governor Andrew Cuomo try to reach agreement on a number of major issues, including making the 2 percent tax cap permanent, and changes to the charter school limit. While those are education issues, Tim Kremer, the Executive Director of the New York State School Boards Association, says everything has been tied to just one issue.

  The fourth and final hearing was held by a board specially appointed Governor Andrew Cuomo to consider raising the minimum wage for fast food workers in New York.

Outside, supporters of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour held a rally.