Apr 18, 2014 — Documents obtained by a group opposed to hydrofracking show that the Cuomo Administration's is conducting a thorough and comprehensive health study on the controversial natural gas drilling process.
The Finger Lakes based organization is wondering, why then, the review has been conducted almost entirely in secret. Go to full article
Demonstrators at the capitol call for state action against transport of crude oil on New York train tracks. Photo: Karen DeWitt
Apr 16, 2014 — National environmental groups are putting the spotlight on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, over the issue of the expanding international oil distribution center, located just blocks from the State Capitol, at the Port of Albany.
Apr 09, 2014 — Now that the state budget is done, the focus at the Capitol shifts to some other priorities, including whether to allow medical marijuana. Advocates came to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers, but the bill is getting bogged down over political skirmishes.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver caused a bit of a stir when he seemed to say that a bill to legalize medical marijuana might be dead for the year, saying he does not think "it has a future" in the 2014 session. Go to full article
NYSUT's new officers: Martin Messner, Secretary-Treasurer; Catalina Fortino, Vice President; Karen Magee, President; Andrew Pallotta, Executive Vice President; Paul Pecorale, Vice President. Photo: NYSUT Media Relations
Apr 08, 2014 — There's a big change at state's largest teacher's union, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), as members elected new leadership.
The union's new president, Karen Magee, is the first woman to run the organization. The shakeup comes over concerns with the state's flawed implementation of the new Common Core learning standards. Teachers are complaining that they were not adequately prepared to teach to the new standards, and that the test results should not be used to evaluate their performance. Go to full article
Apr 08, 2014 — New York state comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he won't be participating in a new pilot public campaign finance program agreed to in the state budget, and government reform groups say, they don't blame him.
Saying he won't be a "convenient sacrificial lamb", DiNapoli says he won't opt in to a test system for public campaign finance that applies only to his office, and would use money from the comptroller's unclaimed funds to pay for it. Go to full article
This graph shows the rise in lobbying between 1992 and 2013. Image: JCOPE annual report
Apr 07, 2014 — A new record has been reached in spending on lobbying in New York, according to a report released by the state's ethics commission. It finds over $200 million was spent, mostly by a few top interests, to try to influence government and policy in Albany.
The report, by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, finds $210 million was spent by lobbyists to mostly influence state and local governments. That's nearly $1 million for each of the 213 Senators and Assemblymembers. Go to full article
Apr 03, 2014 — The recently-enacted state budget marks the end of a commission that was investigating corruption in the legislature. Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to dismantle the Moreland Act panel as part of a deal on ethics reform. Go to full article
You can celebrate that this is the greatest advancement that's been made, or you can say "we're disappointed that we haven't had a total victory."
Apr 01, 2014 — Lawmakers hustled to finish work on the nearly $140 billion dollar state budget before the midnight deadline. It provides tax relief for homeowners and businesses, and expands pre-K statewide.
Karen DeWitt has covered state government and politics
at the New York State Capitol for public radio for since 1990, and is a contributor to the statewide public television program New York Now.
Before that she worked for WINS, New York. She has also written
for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life,
Empire State Report, and Metroland. Email Karen | Karen DeWitt on Twitter