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Early Voting Pushed

Nov 23, 2015

At a hearing held by the State Assembly on expanded voting, advocates argued that New York needs to join more than half of the other state who offer some kind of extended voting.

New York State has among the lowest voter turn out rate in the country, ranking 46th out of 50th in the 2014 statewide elections, which included the race for governor. 

Matt Ryan

Anti hunger advocates came to the Capitol Monday to lobby for measures to help New York’s neediest.

Uber and other ride sharing services are gearing up to win permission from the state legislature to operate in areas outside New York City. State Senators held a round table discussion of how to craft legislation.

Senators appear open to allowing Uber, Lyft, and other ride sharing services to operate in New York State, as long as they can come up with the right rules. Senator Phil Boyle, Chair of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee co chaired the discussion.

Matt Ryan

The New York State legislature is seemingly back to business as usual, with majority parties holding planning meetings, and the new session set to begin right after the holidays. But  there has been little public discussion about a corruption crisis that has led to the two most powerful men in the legislature both on trial in federal court this month.

It’s almost as though they are taking place in two parallel worlds.  In federal court in Manhattan, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Leader Dean Skelos are both on trial for corruption.

Governor Cuomo and the leader of the Senate Republicans differ on whether New York State should accept Syrian refugees in light of the French terror attacks.

Cuomo says other governors who have said that they won’t let Syrian refugees into their state are part of a political “silly season”, and he says legally, it’s not possible to ban the immigrants.

Teachers, Parents say Changes Made in Standardized Test So Far Won't Deter The Boycott Movement

The state’s education commissioner says parents who are thinking of opting their children out of standardized tests again this school year should stick with the exams, because they will be different than last year’s tests. But the state’s teacher’s union and a parents group says the changes don’t go far enough.

Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia is hoping to contain a movement that led 20% of students to boycott the third through eighth grade standardized tests last spring.

The state’s latest teacher evaluation system, which was supposed to be in place by this Sunday, November 15th  has essentially been put on hold as 90% of school districts have been granted waivers to delay its implementation. It represents a reversal for a policy championed by Governor Cuomo just last spring. 

The new rules for teacher evaluations were put in place last March, as part of the state budget. 

Governor Cuomo says he won’t allow a natural gas transfer station to be built off of the coast of Long Island, saying  there are too many concerns, including damage form future hurricanes, and potential terrorism.  

The Port Ambrose transfer station was to be built off of  the beaches of Long Island, and would have allowed tanker ships to load up with liquefied natural gas,  then distribute the gas into pipelines on the main land.

Cuomo made the announcement to an enthusiastic crowd of Long Island officials and activists.

  Governor Cuomo announced he’s raising the minimum wage for state workers to $15 an hour.  That did not stop advocates from protesting at the Dunkin Donuts at the state Capitol, saying the governor’s  recent phased in wage increase for fast food workers is too slow.

Cuomo, at a union rally in New York City, announced he’ll raise the minimum wage for state workers to  $15 an hour by 2018 in New York City and 2021 in the rest of the state.

Matt Ryan/WMHT

The leader of the State Senate, John Flanagan, says he is not sympathetic to school districts who are complaining about a coming freeze on property tax collections in the next school year.

The schools say the state’s property tax cap, which is limited to 2% growth per year, or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower, will effectively be frozen at zero for the 2017-18 school year, and they’d like the legislature to step in. Senate GOP Leader John Flanagan says he’s not open to changing the rules of the tax cap, and he says he doubts that Governor Cuomo is either.


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