New York State Legislature

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.

  It turns out the legislative session will not be ending as planned and will continue on for at least another week.

After a week of gridlock, Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders decided to take a break and adjourn for five days. Before they left, they renewed New York City’s expired rent laws, but only for five days, until Tuesday.

Times Union Website Crime Confidential Blog

The final week of New York’s legislative session begins Monday, and so far, Governor Cuomo and lawmakers have still not come to agreement on a number of major laws that expire.  

New York City’s rent laws, which impact over one million apartments, sunset at midnight. They are tied, through legislation, to a property tax cap important to suburbanites and upstaters. Also set to expire, a tax break for large real estate developers who agree to set aside some of their projects for affordable housing, and mayoral control of the New York City schools.

  The legislature will be finishing up its work in the next couple of weeks with two new legislative leaders—one in his third month, the other in just his second week on the job.

Now that the State Senate has stabilized, after weeks of turmoil over corruption charges, legislative leaders and Governor Cuomo are looking at what they can reasonably finish with just five weeks left in the session.


Ethics was, once again, Albany’s big news last week.  Another lawmaker, long-time Assemblyman Bill Scarborough, pled guilty and faces prison, and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos joined his former counterpart Assembly Speaker Silver in having to defend himself against charges of corruption.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his first public comments since the leader of the State Senate was charged in an extortion and bribery scheme, says if true, he finds the accusations “disturbing.”

Cuomo, speaking in Syracuse, commented for the first time since Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was charged with six counts of public corruption.

“If the charges are correct, it’s deeply disturbing” Cuomo said. “And the narrative that the papers present is deeply disturbing and troubling.”

Karen DeWitt

The state legislature’s Black, Hispanic and Asian Caucus is reacting to events in Baltimore and is calling for swift action on a package of criminal justice reforms that have been stalled in the State Senate.

The caucus members say they’ve grown weary of incidents where African Americans die after encounters with police. Assemblyman Michaela Blake represents portions of the Bronx.

“Baltimore is happening in the Bronx, “ Blake said. “It can happen anywhere.”

Blake says the young people involved in the riots are not thugs or criminals.

Blair Horner: Lawmakers Return To Albany

Apr 20, 2015


This week lawmakers return to the Capitol to begin the second half, the non-budgetary, part of the 2015 legislative session.  The second half of session likely will be dominated by a handful of issues, including some that dropped off the table during budget negotiations.


In January of this year, then-Speaker of the Assembly Silver was arrested for his alleged abuse of power – using his official position to illegally obtain millions of dollars in outside income.  With that arrest as a backdrop, in February Governor Cuomo organized a speech at New York University’s Law School to announce his ethics reform plan.  The governor had a number of options for addressing the central problems that contribute to New York’s ethical scandals, including:

Blair Horner: Ethics Reform Redux

Feb 9, 2015


In the old “Peanuts” cartoon, Lucy holds the football for Charlie Brown and assures him that this time she really means it, she will hold the football and not pull it away.  So he should charge and kick the football.  And every year – despite having previously seen her pull the ball away at the last minute – Charlie believes her.


This week, Governor Cuomo unveils his plans for the 2015 legislative session.  The State of the State allows the executive a unique opportunity to command public attention and to mobilize support for his proposals, as well as to kick off the legislative session.

The Capitol
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

The New York State Legislature convened last week for its six-month session. Area lawmakers have varying hopes and expectations for 2015.

Another session is under way, but off to a slow start resulting from Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision to move the State of the State address back two weeks following the death of his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo.

wikipedia commons

The legislative session is off to a subdued start, with the governor’s State of the State message delayed for two weeks. Nevertheless, fault lines are already forming over some key issues, including rent regulations and how to measure teacher performance.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

  The New York State Senate and Assembly met in Albany to choose new leaders and begin outlining their plans for the 2015 session. The year begins with Republicans in full control of the State Senate, but with a group of breakaway Democrats still enjoying special status.

The State of the State has been delayed for two weeks, due to the funeral of former Governor Mario Cuomo, the father of Governor Andrew Cuomo. But under New York’s state’ constitution, the legislature is still required to convene.   

Blair Horner: Albany Wants A Pay Raise

Nov 24, 2014


Now that the election is safely behind them, Governor Cuomo and state legislators have begun to raise the issue of a pay raise.

unshackleupstate.org

An upstate pro-business group is out with ratings for the New York Senate and Assembly, and finds, not surprisingly, that more liberal Democrats are at odds with the group’s agenda than conservative leaning Republicans. Unshackle Upstate says that could have implications for the group’s interests if Democrats take over the Senate in November.

New York League of Conservation Voters

The New York League of Conservation Voters has issued its “Environmental Progress Report” grading the legislature on its priority issues for the recently adjourned legislative session.

Blair Horner: The 2014 Legislative Wrap Up

Jun 30, 2014

Now that the 2014 legislative session is finished, the question is what got done?  During this session, high profile bills got passed – such as a new law allowing, in select circumstances, the medicinal use of marijuana.  Over the past four years, the budget was completed in time for the beginning of the new fiscal year, a streak unheard of in modern New York State history.

New York State Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

Jun 20, 2014
Karen DeWitt

After a lengthy debate of several hours, the medical marijuana bill was approved in the Senate, and now goes to the desk of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has said he'll sign it.   

Karen DeWitt

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have agreed to a package of bills to combat heroin addiction, and say they are still discussing other issues, including medical marijuana, as the legislative session draws to a close. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have finalized the details on a $138 billion dollar state budget and say they are on track to meet the April 1 deadline. The budget includes a multi step plan that could  lower property taxes, $340 million dollars for schools to start pre-K programs, and a limited test program for public campaign financing.

New York's Legislature starts its 2014 session in earnest this week.

The session officially began last Wednesday with Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address, but lawmakers did little more that day than gavel in and out. Lawmakers return to Albany for session days Monday and Tuesday .

The Republican-dominated coalition in charge of the Senate plans to issue a report on hearings lawmakers held across the state on New York's regulatory climate.

(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.

New York State Assemblyman Tony Jordan, a Republican of the 113th District, was recently elected to become the next District Attorney of Washington County. Jordan, a lawyer by trade, served as Assistant District Attorney prior to his election to the Assembly in 2008. WAMC's Lucas Willard spoke with Jordan, who reflected on his experience in the legislature and his reasons for leaving.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

When state lawmakers approved a bill to permit new gambling casinos in the final hours of the legislative session, they left something out.   A provision to ban campaign contributions to legislators from gambling corporations did not end up in the final version.

When Governor Cuomo announced his plan to create new gambling centers in New York, he said he also wanted to ban campaign contributions from gambling entities to state lawmakers.

Flickr/wadester16

New York State’s legislative session came to a close early this morning with the state Senate gaveling out shortly after 6:45 a.m. following a final all night session. The Assembly, which stayed in session from Thursday through to the early morning hours on Friday adjourned for the year at around 9 p.m. Friday evening.

Among those measures passed by both houses was Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Start-Up NY plan, formerly known as Tax Free NY, which would give large tax breaks to new businesses located near state college campuses.

Cuomo Creates Panel To Investigate NY Legislature

Jun 20, 2013
Pat Arnow

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is creating a powerful investigative committee under New York's anti-corruption Moreland Act to investigate the entire state Legislature.

The Democrat says negotiations to create new public integrity laws failed, so he's creating the investigative panel instead. He says Wednesday he refused to "significantly compromise" his reform proposal.

The committee will have subpoena power and go after the influence of campaign contributions on politicians.

The issue was forced by corruption cases involving lawmakers this spring.

NY Gov. Cuomo Achieves Partial Win on Agenda

Jun 19, 2013
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Deals have been reached between Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders on siting new casinos and creating tax free zones at college campuses. But a bill on abortion rights was struggling, and reform measures appear dead for the session. 

The agreement on casinos would allow four resort style gambling centers; one in the Capital Region, one in the Southern Tier, and possibly two in the Catskills, if voters approve the change to the state’s constitution in the fall.     

Nassau and Suffolk Counties would  be allowed to open more slot machines, under the terms of the bill.

Karen DeWitt

There were several arrests at the New York State Capitol Tuesday. Advocates took out their anger and frustration on Cuomo and leaders of the State Senate, after it became clear that a progressive agenda that includes abortion rights and public campaign financing are likely dead for the legislative session.

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