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Can Senate Democrats become the majority in 2016?

The leadership battle in the New York State Senate has been an intriguing storyline since the 2008 election. You may remember the Democrats took control for the first time in four decades only to lose it for about a month in the summer of 2009 during the infamous coup, when two renegade members joined the Republicans before returning to the fold. In 2010, the GOP wrestled back control but two years later it looked like the Democrats might once again seize power until a breakaway group of fou...
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Brian Flynn/WMHT

A water crisis in the upstate village of Hoosick Falls

You've likely heard of the water crisis happening now in Flint, Michigan. Here in New York, one village in Rensselaer County is having one of their own.
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Matt Ryan / WMHT

Senate Democrats are optimistic about their chances for winning a special election in April to replace convicted ex Senate Leader Dean Skelos .

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, in an interview with public radio and television,  predicts the Democratic candidate in the race for the Skelos seat , Assemblyman and former prosecutor  Todd Kaminsky, will do “quite well”, and represents “a break from the past”.

“Which frankly, voters out there deserve and need,” Stewart Cousins said.

Kaminsky faces Republican Attorney Chris McGrath.

A left leaning thank tank is out with its assessment of Governor Cuomo’s budget. They say there’s a lot to like and dislike about it.

Ron Deutsch is with Fiscal Policy Institute, a progressive leaning think tank in part funded by the unions. He says Governor Cuomo deserves credit for pushing a phase in for a $15 minimum wage for all low income earners in the state.

“It would be the first in the nation,” said Deutsch. “We think now is the time to get that done.”

The issue of whether to tax the wealthiest New Yorkers at a higher rate is once again a topic at the State Capitol. Assembly Democrats are out with a tax plan that would redistribute some tax revenue from the richest to the poorest New Yorkers.

Karen DeWitt

The State Assembly approved a one house bill to establish partial paid family leave in New York, as Governor Cuomo signaled he will amend his proposal to provide more money to those who take the leave.

Advocates of paid family leave, who  have been lobbying on the issue for years, say movement on the matter from the Assembly Democrats and Governor Cuomo has given them new hope. Donna Dolan leads a coalition.

A poll finds that voters overwhelmingly support a number of Governor Cuomo’s priorities for 2016, but New Yorkers still hold mixed views about the governor himself.

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, African-Americans began moving out of the south to cities in northern states like New York in search of a better life, a period known as the Great Migration.

Governor Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden headlines a pep rally to pass paid family leave in New York, but some question whether the governor’s plan is enough.

Governor Cuomo gathered together the same union coalition who have joined him to back the $15 an hour minimum wage effort in the campaign style  rally for his newest cause.

“Now is the time to pass paid family leave,” Cuomo told the cheering crowd.

The governor once again invited Vice President Joe Biden  who says family leave only works if it’s subsidized. 

Some Lobbyists , as well as government reform groups, say a new rule approved by the state’s ethics commission that would require them to report contact with the news media in some cases, violates first amendment rights and would have chilling effect.

The proposal, by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, would require public relations consultants to file periodic reports with the commission, detailing their calls to the news media, if the purpose of the call is to promote an issue or point of view from a paid client. 

Matt Ryan

The state’s education commissioner Mary Ellen Elia spent nearly four hours before the legislative budget committees. Though there is a moment of calm as the state pulls back from some of the more controversial parts of the Common Core standards, her testimony revealed potential trouble later in the school year if the test boycott movement continues.

Matt Ryan/WMHT

  Tensions between upstate Senators and the Mayor of New York City were highlighted during a budget hearing on aid to local governments in Albany, when lawmakers questioned the mayor for over five hours.


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