nypirg

Voter Protection Efforts Are In Place

Nov 8, 2016
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Various organizations in New York have voter protection operations in place for Election Day.  So far, problems at the polls, especially in the New York City area, are being described as routine.

New York League of Conservation Voters Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Christopher Goeken
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Concerned about children's exposure to lead found in drinking water, lawmakers met with reporters today at the state capitol in Albany to discuss a last-minute push to require lead testing in all public schools.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Clean water advocates in upstate New York have set their sights on keeping lead out of school drinking water. A coalition of New York public health, environment and healthy schools advocacy groups have banded together as they push state government leaders to take action.

NYPIRG executive director Blair Horner and Dick Dadey executive director of Citizens Union
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

With budget negotiations down to the final days before the April 1st deadline, state government watchdogs in Albany say the process has been too opaque — especially after high-profile corruption convictions of the legislature’s former leaders.

Blair Horner: New Year's Resolutions For 2016

Dec 28, 2015

As 2015 recedes into the rear view mirror, it’s time to take stock of the year; its achievements and failures.  And it’s a good time to look to the future.

Blair Horner: Can Albany Fix Itself?

Dec 14, 2015

Another week, another conviction of a high-ranking elected official. It’s hard to know if this is the tipping point for change. New Yorkers can only hope so.

The annual state report on lobbying is out, and it finds that $226 million was spent on influencing government leaders, with the largest amount from education groups.

It’s not a surprise that education entities spent the most money on lobbying than any other group in 2014, just as controversy over the new Common core standards and the related standardized tests reached a peak.

  New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will vacate his post by next week. Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle will serve as interim speaker until an election for the post is held on February 10. So, who will be the next Speaker?

We discuss the contenders with Legislative Director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, Blair Horner.

  A reform group studied votes taken by local governments across the state on whether to allow hydro-fracking, and found numerous potential conflicts of interest that they say could have tainted the outcome of the votes.

The New York Public Interest Research Group studied 59 municipalities that have voted to permit hydro-fracking in the past few years, if New York State eventually approves the process.  They found numerous questionable activities, including local elected officials holding gas leases and town attorneys who also represented oil and gas companies.

NYPIRG

A new paper issued by the New York Public Interest Research Group says the number of doctors in the state has increased. The findings counter recent research showing the opposite.

The report, titled “The Doctor Is In: New York’s Increasing Number of Doctors,” purports to "debunk the myth" that New York is seeing a loss in the number of its doctors.

Blair Horner
C.W. McKeen / The Post - Standard, 2006

A member of a government reform group says it’s OK if New York Governor Andrew Cuomo uses his campaign coffers to finance this week’s trip to Israel if the visit is for political, rather than government purposes.

Blair Horner, with the New York Public Interest Research Group, says it’s preferable for Governor Cuomo to use funds from his $35 million  campaign fund to pay for his visit to Israel than for state taxpayers to foot the bill.  Horner says by using the campaign money, Cuomo is also signaling that the trip is more of a political event than official government business.

Wikipedia Commons

Government reform groups are split over whether an amendment on the November ballot to change the way legislative district lines are drawn is an improvement, or will make only make gerrymandering worse.

Blair Horner
C.W. McKeen / The Post - Standard, 2006

Government reform groups are beginning their push early to convince voters to reject an amendment on redistricting on the state’s November ballot. They say it’s a sham that does not offer the changes that it promises.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

The recession may be over, but many New Yorkers say they still feel a pinch in the pocketbook, paying more for just about everything on stagnant salaries. For many it's another day, another bill. People in high places have heard citizens' cries.

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino has been holding a mirror to citizen sentiments with his campaign mantra.   "We're losing more people to other states than any other state in the country. 400,000 people in the last four years.  We are losing because we have the highest taxes in America. And it's not even close."

flickr.com

The April 1 deadline has come and New York State has an on-time budget. New York Public Interest Research Group Legislative Director Blair Horner joins Alan in the studio today to talk about the budget. We want to know what you think of it, too.

On this week’s Capitol Connection, our Alan Chartock asks Blair Horner, legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group about one of the six ballot questions New Yorkers will vote on next Tuesday – specifically, question as to whether certain judges in New York should be allowed to serve up to ten years after the age of 70 …

NYPIRG’s Blair Horner on this week’s capitol connection which you can hear tomorrow afternoon at 3.

Report Analyzes NYS Legislators' Personal Finances

Sep 4, 2013
Emily Conwell, flickr

A few New York state lawmakers from the Hudson Valley rank high on a list of state legislators’ personal finances. In fact, a Westchester assemblywoman is number one for household income. The new report from good government groups is a first, and shows several lawmakers are making their money outside the legislative chambers.

Governor Cuomo
Governor 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.

NYPIRG

NYPIRG has released a national report documenting the failures of a manufacturer-led thermostat recycling program across the country.

The report, Turning up the Heat II, contrasts the dismal performance of the industry’s voluntary collection program in New York and other states to those that have mandatory buy-back programs like Maine and Vermont.

New York ranks 37th in the nation in terms of per capita collection rates – down from 31st in the nation three years ago. 

Proposed NYS Budget Includes Bottle-Bill Changes

Feb 5, 2013
Rex Roof, flickr

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2013-2014 budget includes several changes to the Bottle Bill. Various stakeholders have both praise and concern.

Laura Haight is one who testified Monday at a budget hearing in Albany about the proposed changes to the Bottle Bill. Haight is senior environmental associate for the New York Public Interest Research Group, or NYPIRG. She says there are 20 pages of proposed changes, one of which she applauds, and says would be a first for the state.

Guest host David Guistina is joined by Bill Mahoney, Legislative Operations and Research Coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group. They discuss incumbents’ success in the elections, the future of gerrymandering, and whether the Legislature should become full-time.

The latest round of financial disclosure forms from members of the New York State Legislature will be the last, before a new law begins that aims to open up even further the information the public and the press can view about the outside business dealings of state lawmakers.

Host Alan Chartock is joined by Bill Mahoney, Legislative Operations and Research Coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group. They discuss the Committee To Save New York, voter registration efforts, and the Joint Committee on Public Ethics.