Friday, September 07, 2012
A state judge on Friday opened up the scope of the investigation into the sexual harassment allegations leveled against Assemblyman Vito Lopez, including the payout settlement approved by Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
The state's ethics panel emerged from a two-hour, closed-door meeting on Tuesday without commenting on whether it will investigate a sexual harassment scandal in the Assembly.
Monday, September 03, 2012
By Bob Hennelly
As New York's Democratic delegates and party leaders settle in for a week of party celebration in Charlotte, the group is operating against a backdrop of distress as the sexual harassment scandal involving Assemblyman Vito Lopez grew to include Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is hosting the delegation this week.
Friday, August 31, 2012
As the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Assemblyman Vito Lopez continues to grow, there has been little public discussion coming from the Assembly itself, especially its female members.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
The role the offices of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli played in a settlement payout has become the focus of attention as fall out continues from Assemblyman Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal. In June, Speaker Sheldon Silver approved a $103,080 settlement to two women who claimed Lopez sexually harassed them.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
More women are coming forward to detail what they say was a hostile work environment in the office Democratic Assemblyman Vito Lopez who is in the heart of a sexual harassment scandal.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
In a rare about face, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said Tuesday that he was wrong to handle a $103,000 settlement in a sexual harassment case against Assemblyman Vito Lopez outside the ethics committee system and would welcome an independent investigation into the matter.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Controversy continues to swirl around embattled Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez, and has now enveloped the Assembly’s top Democrat. As Lopez announced Tuesday that he would not seek reelection as the head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, questions were raised over how a six-figure payout from Speaker Sheldon Silver was made to settle a previous harassment charge against Lopez — a decision Silver said late Tuesday was “wrong.”
Friday, August 24, 2012
An influential state assemblyman from Brooklyn has lost his committee chairmanship and seniority after the Assembly Committee on Ethics and Guidance found he violated the chamber's sexual harassment policy.
Friday, June 22, 2012
By Karen DeWitt : NYS Public Radio/WXXI
The state legislature ended its session in an orderly fashion for the first time in decades, but the lack of last minute negotiations means that some issues were left unresolved. It’s likely that lawmakers will be back at the Capitol later this year to tackle them.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
By Karen DeWitt : NYS Public Radio/WXXI
Democrats in the State Assembly approved a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage. The Republican leader of the State Senate offered a spirited defense of his position opposing the measure, but did not rule the issue out altogether.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Less wealthy, more racially diverse: That's the donor profile for elections in New York City, where a system of matching small campaign donations with public funds allows minorities and lower-income individuals greater influence than in state elections without a similar system, according to a new study.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
While the governor has indicated his support and the Democratically controlled Assembly has put forward a bill, conversations with people in Senate Republican circles say there is little to no appetite to take up the issue of campaign finance.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is no longer the top Democrat in New York politics. He faces the ambitious Gov. Andrew Cuomo who is closely allied with the state Senate's Republican majority. And Silver has mustered - with rare difficulty - votes that infuriated his base support among public employee unions.
Friday, March 30, 2012
For the second year in row, New York State is on the way to an on time budget. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the first of several budget bills into law, while the Legislature passed all the bills that make up the $132.5 billion budget.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos announced Tuesday that a final agreement has been reached on this year’s $133 billion budget. It marks the second year in a row the state’s budget has come in balanced and before the deadline.
"For the second straight year, New York State has worked and created a balanced budget based on fiscal responsibility, job creation, government efficiency, and the premise that we must invest in our communities," Cuomo said in a statement announcing the final agreement.
The final agreement comes a week after Cuomo and the legislative leaders agreed to a number of the Governor’s policy items, including the creation of a new DNA databank, an agreement on teacher evaluations and a scaled back version of the pension reform he outlined in his budget proposal. The deal also saw new state legislative districts, drawn by the legislature, passed alongside an agreement to push forward a constitutional amendment to change the decennial redistricting process beginning in 2021.
This year’s budget closed the remaining $2.1 billion budget gap left over after last year’s tax restructuring, which left higher income earners paying more but helped reign in an initial gap of $3.5 billion. The final budget limits spending growth to two percent, while investing in infrastructure job programs, restoring education aid, and eliminating or consolidating dozens of government agencies.
“This agreement puts us in a position to deliver another early budget that controls spending and taxes, and builds on the bipartisan successes we achieved last year,” Skelos said in the statement.
“This budget includes much needed increases in education spending, including an increase in base aid for community colleges for the first time in five years, and vital restorations to programs that protect our state’s neediest citizens,” said Silver in the statement.
Some of the budget highlights include:
Saturday, March 24, 2012
New York City's teachers' union is calling on state lawmakers to restore money for teacher centers, which function as the training and development arm of some city schools. Although the program received $20.4 million last year, discussion of its future has been absent from this spring's budget negotiations.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Speaker Sheldon Silver's office announced the Assembly majority will bring up a bill, sponsored by the Speaker and co-sponsored by Assembly Election Law Chair Michael Cusick of Staten Island, to move the state's legislative primary date to June 26. The change would make the state's legislative primaries the same day as the congressional primaries--something resisted by State Senate Republicans.
"There is no good reason why our local governments should be asked to spend an extra $50 million to hold three primary elections in one year," Silver said in a statement. "This is a common sense solution that will promote voter participation and allow the state to comply with the MOVE Act without costing taxpayers any additional money."
Senate Republicans aren't keen on the date change.
"We have serious concerns that a June primary would disrupt the critical final three months of the legislative session, including the budget process and other important end of session bills," said Majority Leader Dean Skelos' spokesman Scott Reif. "While we should be focused on governing, the Democrats in the Assembly and Senate will be busy campaigning--gathering petition signatures, seeking union endorsements and raising money. That's a recipe for dysfunction."
The Senate Republicans hold all the cards in this situation. Without legislative action, the state primary will remain on September 11. That will mean voters in New York could be asked to go to the polls up to four times this year: the first for the Presidential primary on April 24, then for the US Senate and House of Representatives primary on June 26, again for the state legislative primary in September, and finally for the general election in November.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
[UPDATE: Judge Gary Sharpe ruled today that the Democratic proposed election calendar--see the Kellner-Aquila doc below--will be used for congressional elections. ]
The final public hearing in New York City on the draft maps drawn by LATFOR, the legislature-controlled task force responsible for redistricting, was in Queens this week. An earlier meeting in Brooklyn had reportedly brought out just a few dozen people, with the one in the Bronx appearing to be slightly better attended. The hearing in Queens, however, saw a line out the door a half an hour after the meeting started.
Inside, angry community members blasted the members of the committee for hours over what many in the room felt were maps meant to divide the ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Queens.
But the conversation was focused almost entirely on state legislative lines for Assembly and Senate. Meanwhile, the clock on the lines for Congress is quickly approaching midnight. A federal judge has set the primary date for congressional candidates up from September to June. So far, LATFOR has yet to release a congressional draft map.
Meanwhile, candidates are planning on running in districts that will look radically different than they do now—if they exist at all. And the leaders of the Assembly and Senate are sending mixed signals on where the state will lose its two mandatory congressional seats.
So should we be freaking out about congressional lines?