New York State politics

At the New York State Capitol, lawmakers are scrambling to put forward plans to react to the latest twin corruption scandals involving bribery charges against a State Senator and Assemblyman.  As Karen DeWitt reports, Tuesday it was the Assembly Democrats’ turn to weigh in. Governor Andrew Cuomo also rolled out two more components of his own reform plan.

WAMC News

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A formal complaint filed with New York's lobbying board asks it to investigate whether Artists Against Fracking, a group formed by Yoko Ono and son Sean Lennon, is violating the state's lobbying law.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Lawmakers originally planned to be passing bills by now, ready to wrap up the state budget and leave on a three week break beginning on Thursday.
 
But, instead of an agreement early in the week, each day lawmakers have found themselves discussing new issues , some of them totally unrelated to the spending plan. Most recently, talks have turned to whether to decriminalize public possession of marijuana in New York City, and walking back a provision of the recently enacted gun control laws.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York State lawmakers are close to agreeing on a new state spending plan that would include a deal to raise taxes on the wealthy, and raise the minimum wage.  They failed to seal a pact Monday night, but say they will be back Tuesday morning to try again.

Senate Co-Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein , after a closed door leaders meeting, say they are hopeful that up to $700 million dollars in tax cuts for business and the middle class could be in the state budget.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Education issues are on the agenda in Albany as state Assembly lawmakers hold another in a series of public hearings on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposals.

Monday's hearing at the Legislative Office Building in downtown Albany is expected to include testimony from the chancellor of the City University of New York, Matthew Goldstein; state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.; State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, leaders of the teachers union and other officials.

Office of Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin

Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, who represents parts of Albany, Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer Counties, made the controversial remarks while answering a question about comments that Cuomo acted like a dictator when he expedited the passage of a sweeping package of gun control policy last month using a “message of necessity.”

“When you throw a bill at us in 20 minutes, and we’re told basically to shut up and vote, if that’s not dictatorial, I don’t know what is,” McLaughlin said.

New York State Senate

NEW YORK (AP) — A former state senator pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges she embezzled nearly $88,000 from a taxpayer-subsidized program that helps low-income families navigate the city's public school system.

Pat Arnow

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Only days after calling for an overhaul of gun control in New York following the Connecticut school shooting, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says a tough proposal on gun control is ready to become law.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) —  The first Republican senator to emerge from a five-hour private session says he expects the New York Legislature to vote on a gun control bill by the end of the day.

State Senator Michael Nozzolio from Monroe County says there are a number of concerns remaining, but he expects the vote.

The issue would not be coming to the floor under Albany rules if it wasn't almost sure to pass.

People familiar with closed-door negotiations say a tentative deal was struck over the weekend.

2012 was, by most accounts, a year of challenges for New York, not the least of which was the devastation of Hurricane Sandy as she tore up the Eastern seaboard.

In state politics, the assembly remains firmly Democratic, while this year will usher in a new era of governance in the senate by a controlling coalition of Republicans and the five-member Independent Democratic Conference, the effectiveness of which has yet to be seen.

Office of the State Comptroller

ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York comptroller says the state government's debt has topped $63 billion, with New York on track to approach its borrowing limit in early 2014.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says Monday the debt burden, averaging $3,253 per resident, is almost three times the national median. New York's debt is second only to California's $96.4 billion in state-funded debt and 80 percent higher than New Jersey, which is in third place.

The outcome of one Capital Region New York State Senate race could be the key to whether the Senate majority remains in the hands of Republicans, or flips to Democrats, giving Democrats full control of both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.

Republican Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione was successful in her bid to represent the New York State Senate’s new 43rd District.

Marchione was flanked by supporters as she took to the podium at the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs at around 11 p.m. Tuesday night to accept her election to the New York State Senate.  

Unofficial results show her winning with 47 percent of the vote over the 35 percent won by Democratic Claverack Town Supervisor Robin Andrews.

Marchione told those assembled the story of what she described as an unlikely path to victory…

A poll released Friday by the Siena Research Institute showed some surprising numbers in one capital region New York State Senate race.

Incumbent 43rd District Senator Roy McDonald – who suspended his campaign after losing a close Republican primary to Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione – received support from 29 percent of poll respondents. McDonald will appear on Tuesday’s ballot on the Independence Party line.

For analysis of the race WAMC’s Patrick Donges spoke with reporter David Lombardo who covers local politics for the Schenectady Daily Gazette.