new york

U.S. Senate

Senator Charles Schumer says it's a "grave injustice" that the Libyan man convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 was allowed to die in freedom rather than behind bars.   

The plane crash in Lockerbie, Scotland, took a heavy toll on New York, with 35 Syracuse University students among the 270 victims. Susan Cohen, the mother of one of those students, says the death of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi is no reason to stop investigating who was behind the blast. Al-Megrahi's death was announced Sunday.

Governor Cuomo announced Thursday that he’s rescinding a state regulation that requires food stamp recipients be fingerprinted, saying the poor and hungry are not criminals.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports… 

Governor Cuomo, speaking by phone to a gathering of advocates for the poor, says he’s rescinded a 14-year-old state regulation that required food stamp recipients be subject to fingerprinting before receiving benefits. 

“Poverty and hunger are not crimes,” said Cuomo. “So we shouldn’t treat the poor or the hungry as criminals.”

A panel of federal judges says the new election district lines drawn by the Senate and Assembly majorities will be used in the fall elections. WAMC's Dave Lucas reports…

The decision is a critical win for Senate Republicans hoping to secure their slim majority in the chamber despite a Democratic voter advantage of nearly 2-to-1 in the state.

Good-government groups have criticized the Senate GOP redistricting plan. They say it continues a tradition of twisting district lines to protect the power of the majority parties.

Governor Cuomo is pleased with the outcome of Tuesday’s state wide school budget vote, but teachers and school board leaders see some disturbing trends.

This year’s school budget vote was the first to take place after Governor Andrew Cuomo convinced the legislature to adopt the property tax cap. The governor says the tax cap imposed “fiscal discipline.” He says he’s pleased that few schools attempted to override the cap, and that most schools kept tax increases to a minimum, and were approved by voters. He says tax payers, as well as state government, are tapped out.

NY Anti-Fracking Movement Gets Star-Studded Boost

May 15, 2012

The anti-fracking movement in New York State is turning up the star power with a rally and concert hosted by actors Mark Ruffalo and Melissa Leo and featuring Natalie Merchant, Joan Osborne and a host of other performers.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

The concert tonight at The Egg in the state Capitol complex will conclude a day of demonstrations calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for gas in New York State.

Former New York State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. has been found guilty of embezzlement charges. WAMC’s Dave Lucas has more…

A jury delivered the partial verdict Monday in federal court in Brooklyn.  It was the 11th day of often tumultuous deliberations. The jury is still deliberating on charges against Espada's son and on four remaining counts against him.

NYS Ethics Commission Pursues Complaint against Libous

May 15, 2012

On the heels of former New York State Senate leader Pedro Espada’s conviction, the state’s ethics commission is pursuing a complaint against one of Albany’s most prominent lawmakers.  WAMC's Tristan O'Neill reports...  

The Albany-Times Union reports ( that the recently-created Joint Commission on Public Ethics has sent a letter to Deputy Senate Majority Leader Thomas Libous.   

What led to the sudden change in President Obama’s itinerary last week in the Albany area? The president came to the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale science and Engineering, even though the original choice was GlobalFoundries’ plant in Malta in Saratoga County. At the time, the reason given for the change was “logistics,” but James Odato of the Albany Times Union is reporting today it was the Cuomo administration that lobbied for the venue change, he spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

Opponents of natural gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing are planning a big day of action in Albany, culminating with a star-studded concert at the Empire State Plaza.  WAMC's Ian Pickus reports...

New Yorkers Against Fracking, a new coalition of organizations calling for a fracking ban, plans a rally and multi-media concert Tuesday afternoon and evening. The event features actors Mark Ruffalo and Melissa Leo acting as hosts of the concert at the Egg Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets range from $40 to $150.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's tax cap is being put to the test as voters cast ballots on the first batch of school budgets drafted under the new taxing limits.

Most districts have proposed budgets that stay within the boundaries established under the cap adopted last year, so it will take a simple majority of votes Tuesday for them to pass.

About 50 districts, hoping to lessen staff and program cuts, are asking taxpayers for a bigger increase in the property tax levy than the cap allows. Those budgets will need a 60 percent "super majority" to pass.