MSNBC's Steve Kornacki analyzes 2016 presidential race

The 2016 race for the White House got a bit clearer this week as both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump scored big victories on Tuesday. The Republican swept all five contests in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut, while the former New York Senator won four of the five.
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Matt Ryan/WMHT

NFIB: Raising minimum wage will hurt small businesses

The big storyline this legislative session was the push for and the eventual passage of Governor Cuomo's higher minimum wage proposal. The new phasing-in will be at different rates depending on where you live but according to the National Federation of Small Businesses State Director Mike Durant, no matter if you live in Upstate or in the five boroughs, it will be a crushing blow to small businesses.
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Matt Ryan

School administrators are closely watching a letter campaign that’s taking place in the days before school starts that could lead to even more children opting out of state standardized tests.

The campaign, taking place on Facebook and other social media, aims to send children to class on the first day of the school year with a letter signed by their parents saying they will not be taking the standardized tests this year.

Tim Kremer, with the New York State School Boards Association, says school boards are watching closely.

State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia says she won’t prevent parents who want their children to skip the state’s standardized tests from doing so. The commissioner detailed her views on the controversial Opt Out movement in an interview with public radio and television.

20% of children this year boycotted the third through eight grade math and English tests associated with the Common Core learning standards.

Matt Ryan

On an overcast, humid day in the Southern Tier village of Brainbridge, around 150-200 residents rallied to hear speakers rail on a number of different issues:  Common Core, the Safe Act, and New York's ruling on hydrofracking to name a few.  But they all had one common wish...

Secession.

Governor Cuomo’s labor commissioner is likely in the next few days to finalize a phased in hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast food workers. That action  dismays some business groups, who say it will have some unintended consequences.

The governor, after unsuccessfully trying to raise the minimum wage further through the legislature, appointed a wage board, which voted in July to increase the minimum wage for fast food worker to $15 an hour over the next several years. Cuomo spoke to jubilant fast food workers and union leaders when the vote was announced.

The New York State Government

  A state Board of Elections investigator appointed by Governor Cuomo may have found a back door way into breaking some of the secrecy surrounding a major campaign contribution loophole in New York.

The state education commissioner’s plans to quell the testing opt out movement is getting some back lash from some Republicans in the legislature, including a former teacher.

At a recent conference held by the teacher’s group Educators for Excellence, State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia says she plans to try to convince parents not have their children repeat this year’s boycott of standardized tests associated with the Common Core learning standards, which resulted in 20% of students statewide opting out of the tests.

  The controversial state ethics commission is in the midst of a review by a panel appointed by Governor Cuomo and the legislature. Government reform groups say they’ve already been asked to give their opinions on how to fix some of the commission’s problems.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE, was designed by Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers four years ago, it replaced a former ethics commission that also was troubled.

  New York’s first openly gay state legislator says it’s time to appoint an LGBT person to the state’s highest court.

Governor Cuomo says he doubts that there will be  federal sanctions for schools that have high rates of students who boycotted standardized tests this spring.

20% of students statewide boycotted the controversial exams associated with the Common Core learning standards, with higher rates upstate and on Long Island. Federal officials had the power to sanction schools with high opt our rates by withholding funding, and the state’s education commissioner said a few days ago that she was talking to officials and would not rule out the sanctions compete.

Matt Ryan

The State Board of Elections recently issued its final report on an experimental public campaign finance system that had no participants. Government reform groups say it’s another sign that the pilot program for one race in the 2014 election cycle was designed to fail, and that politicians in New York are not yet serious about real campaign finance reforms.

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