Briccetti: Parts of Cuomo's 2015 business approach "a great concern"

This week marked the final hearing by a board specifically appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to consider raising the wage for fast-food workers across the state. Supporters outside the Albany hearing chanted in favor of a $15 minimum wage. It currently stands at $8.75. Heather Briccetti, The Business Council President and CEO, joins us this week to explain her thoughts on the issue. She also discusses the good relationship they have had with the Democratic governor and whether she thinks...
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New York NOW named "Best Public Affairs Program" again

For the second straight year WMHT's "New York NOW" was honored with a New York State Broadcasters Association Award for "Best Public Affairs Program" at the 49th Annual Awards Ceremony at the Conrad Hotel in lower Manhattan. It recognizes outstanding achievement among the state's radio and television stations. This is now the third time in four years that our program has been honored. The particular show that won was our August 2014 broadcast from the top of Sleeping Beauty Mountain where we...
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A reform group studied votes taken by local governments across the state on whether to allow hydrofracking, 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 hydrofracking 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.

It’s looking less and less likely that state Senators and Assemblymembers will get a pay raise as a holiday present this year, but Governor Cuomo and lawmakers still have a number of issues they need to resolve before the year ends, ranging from the siting of gambling casinos to how to close a Thruway deficit and whether to go ahead with hydrofracking.

A state panel is examining whether workers whose income is supplemented by tips should receive an increase in the minimum wage. The wage board, appointed by Governor Cuomo, has held hearings and will make a decision early next year.

Governor Cuomo tamped down hopes for a special session of the legislature before the year ends, saying legislative leaders have still not agreed to ethics reforms that the governor is seeking. Cuomo says he also wants more time to develop a comprehensive criminal justice reform package.

The state’s lieutenant governor, Robert Duffy, gave what was likely his last public address, at an awards ceremony for the regional economic development councils, where the retiring Duffy was praised by Governor Cuomo and others.  

There are growing calls in Albany for a special prosecutor to investigate police encounters with unarmed citizens that end in the death of the person.  Senate Democrats are the latest to ask for immediate action in the wake of the death of Eric Garner and other recent incidents.

The state’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman has already asked Governor Cuomo for an executive order to empower the AG to investigate and, if warranted, prosecute cases where unarmed civilians are killed by police officers.

The New York Times reports that federal investigators are probing outside income paid to the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, among other lawmakers. A reform group says the article is one more reason that Governor Cuomo and the legislature should adopt long overdue ethical changes. Susan Lerner, with Common Cause, says legislators are finding that if they don’t change their policies, they are increasingly in the cross hairs of federal prosecutors.

Next week, an Assembly Committee will hold a hearing on improving access to financial aid for college students.  One of the issues will be better access for part time community college students, who are the fastest growing group of students.

Governor Cuomo’s primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, has joined up with the state’s Working Families Party to criticize what she says is a Wall Street hedge fund takeover of  the state’s educational policies.

Opponents of hydrofracking say they want Governor Cuomo to declare a three to five year moratorium on fracking in New York. The gas drilling process has been on hold for several years.

A coalition of groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, say Cuomo should immediately issue an executive order postponing any gas drilling in New York for the next three to five years. NRDC’s Kate Sinding  says that’s preferable to trying to get a bill passed through a divided state legislature., where the Senate will be controlled by the Republicans in January.

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