New York State Senate


Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has offered only lukewarm support in  the past for his fellow Democrats in their quest to take over the State Senate, this week said he would back Democratic candidates in Senate races.  Cuomo also somewhat reluctantly offered support to his former primary rival, Zephyr Teachout, who is now running for Congress.

Senator Betty Little
NYS Senate

In January, New York state Senator Betty Little outlined her agenda and goals for the legislative session.  Now that the session has adjourned, the Republican from the 45th district tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley she was successful at passing a number of bills, but frustrated with the lack of substantive movement on issues such as ethics reform. She believes one of the session’s successes was finally ending the education funding Gap Elimination Adjustment.


Popular daily fantasy sports sites still face uncertainty in New York even after state lawmakers passed legislation designed to regulate them.

The state capitol in Albany.
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

On Thursday, Capital Region Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, joined by fellow Republican Assemblymembers Steve McLaughlin and Pete Lopez, and  Queens Senator Tony Avella, a member of the Independent Democratic Caucus, advocated for the "Spirit of '76" bill.

WHITE PLANS, N.Y. (AP) — A terminally ill former New York state senator will serve six months of house arrest after being convicted of lying to the FBI about arranging a high-paying job for his son.

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.

Bret Jaspers, WSKG

New York’s political world is focused on a race in the Southern Tier that could help determine the future of the State Senate.

The Deputy Majority Leader of the State Senate, Tom Libous, was convicted of lying to the FBI over obtaining a politically connected job for his son, and had to resign his seat in late July. The Binghamton based Senate district has held by Republicans for the past one hundred years, and has included the former Senate Leader, Warren Anderson.

Democratic lawmakers in New York will try again to oust state Senate Leader Dean Skelos following his arrest on federal corruption charges.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

The leader of the Senate Republicans says his members will once again join forces with a group of breakaway Democrats to rule the Senate come January.  Senator Dean Skelos says his members also want a pay raise.

Republicans won a bare majority of 32 seats in the 2014 elections, and GOP Leader Dean Skelos, following a two hour closed door meeting with his republican members,  says the GOP will once again form a coalition  government with leader of the Independent Democrats, Senator Jeff Klein.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The candidates for New York’s 49th Senate and 112th Assembly districts debated in Saratoga County last night. The two Democrats vying for the seats long held by Republican incumbents both focused their messages on the women’s equality agenda.

The Capitol
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Recent polls show Republican candidates for State Senate in New York are ahead of their Democratic opponents, offering the GOP new hope that they can retain some control of the Senate chamber in January.

Senate Republicans have a new strategy in what’s shaping up to be an election battle for control of the State Senate. They say now that a group of breakaway Democrats is abandoning them and rejoining the rest of the Democrats, the Senate will be dominated by New York City liberals who won’t care about Upstate and Long Island.

The five member Independent Democratic Conference  announced it would break its nearly two year old  alliance  in ruling the  Senate with the Republicans, and plans to join  the Democrats in a coalition government after the November elections.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

The New York State Senate is not likely to meet again until next January, but the fight for leadership of the chamber has already begun.

Wikimedia Commons/Ildar Sagdejev

A bill passed by the New York State Senate would allow towns more freedom in controlling the speed limit on roadways. 

The legislation passed by the state Senate Tuesday would allow towns in New York with populations of 50,000 or less to set the speed limit within their jurisdictions. Under current law, towns are required to petition the New York State Department of Transportation in order to change a speed limit – a process that can take a considerable amount of time.

However, villages, cities, and several larger communities are exempt from having to petition.

The ruling coalition in the New York state Senate has grown by one member. Senator Tony Avella, of Queens, has left the minority Democrats to join the governing coalition of Republicans and Independent Democrats.

Two candidates vying for the Democratic spot in the race for New York’s sprawling 49th Senate District are kicking their campaigns into gear.

New York’s 49th Senate District, stretching from Schenectady and Saratoga Counties up through Fulton, Herkimer, and Hamilton, has long been held by Republican Hugh Farley. Come November, two Democratic candidates are hoping to take his place.

Candidate Madelyn Thorne ran against Farley in 2012. Two years on, Thorne said she’s continued to travel the region, and believes her support in the Republican controlled district is growing.

NY Passes Mercury Thermostat Disposal Law

Jun 24, 2013

Environmental groups in New York say a new law requiring manufacturers to collect and safely dispose of thermostats will remove a major source of toxic mercury from the waste stream. 

The legislation, which awaits Gov. Andrew Cuomo's signature, was passed late Friday night by the Senate and Assembly. The New York Public Interest Research Group says it addresses one of the largest remaining sources of mercury pollution in New York — the hundreds of thousands of old thermostats discarded each year.

NY Assembly OKs Women's Rights, Abortion Bill

Jun 21, 2013
wikipedia commons

New York's Democrat-led Assembly has approved bills including an abortion rights provision that has roiled Albany.

But Senate Republicans refused to allow the abortion measure to the floor in that chamber.

The Senate plans to adopt the nine other women's rights initiatives in the 10-point package pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The nine items combat discrimination against women in the workplace and strengthen human trafficking laws.

Those could be sent back to the Assembly today after Senate passage and voted into law.

Former Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson turned himself in to federal authorities Monday, after being accused in a nine count indictment of embezzling nearly half a million dollars from mortgage foreclosure accounts,  and then trying to cover it up. 

NEW YORK (AP) — New York state Sen. Malcolm Smith, a New York City councilman and four other politicians are facing charges in a public corruption probe.

As New York State budget talks reach their final days, and perhaps even hours,  a group of Hispanic lawmakers is pushing for the inclusion of the Dream Act in the budget, It would offer college aid to children of undocumented immigrants who were born in the country.

Office of NYS Sen. Patty Ritchie

Several New York state Senators gathered this morning at the capitol in Albany to introduce a package of legislation they say would strengthen the state’s agricultural industry.

WAMC’s Patrick Donges spoke with Senator Patty Ritchie, Republican of the 48th district and chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee about the "Grown in New York" plan.

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.

  ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Legislation that would give New York state the toughest gun restrictions in the nation is expected to easily pass today in the state Assembly, where is it being debated this morning.

It's already won approval in the state Senate, where the Republican leader says it is "well-balanced" and "protects the Second Amendment."

It provides for a stricter assault ban, and seeks to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. It also calls for restrictions on ammunition and the sale of guns.

Host Alan Chartock is joined by is New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Yonkers Democrat who is the new Leader of the Democratic Conference. Leader Stewart-Cousins, who has served in the Senate since 2007, is the first woman to head a legislative conference in Albany. They discuss the Senate’s unusual configuration, the minimum wage, and mandate relief.

Host Alan Chartock is joined by Democratic New York State Senator Liz Krueger. They discuss the new power-sharing coalition in the Senate, the chances of raising the minimum wage, and Sandy relief.

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.

Many are crediting Democrat Terry Gipson’s win in New York’s 41st State Senate seat over incumbent Republican Stephen Saland to Conservative Party candidate Neil DiCarlo, who entered the race on the sole issue of Saland’s vote for same-sex marriage. Hudson Valley correspondent Hank Gross reports…

Liz Benjamin: Cuomo's Endorsements

Sep 17, 2012

When it comes to endorsements in last week's primaries, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is five for five.

All three of the Senate Democrats endorsed by the governor - via press release - in the week before the elections and both Assembly Democrats were successful at weathering challenges from fellow party members.

The three senators, Adriano Espaillat, Toby Ann Stavisky and Neil Breslin, won by wide margins.

Ditto for Assemblymen David Gantt and Sean Ryan.

Arguably, Cuomo didn't really have all that much on the line in these races.

The candidates in an often contentious campaign for the Democratic primary in New York’s 44th State Senate District met in a debate last evening at Russell Sage College in Troy. The campaign between incumbent Neil Breslin and challenger Shawn Morse has been marked with accusations of private investigators and arrest records with character an issue. Andrew Beam, who covered the debate for the Troy Record says while issues were discussed so was the character of the candidates. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.