Karen DeWitt

Albany Reporter

Ways To Connect

The state’s education commissioner says she’s open to granting waivers to delay new teacher evaluation for an additional year, saying the new systems should not be hastily pushed through because of an arbitrary date.


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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.


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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.


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.


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


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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.

from Deborah Glick.com

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


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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.


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There has been an unusual focus on upstate New York among top state politicians from the downstate area in recent weeks. 


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A new school year is starting soon, and education officials say they will try to reverse a growing movement of parents having their children opt out of standardized tests.  The boycott could jeopardize a new system of teacher evaluations.

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The State Board of Elections recently issued its final report on an experimental public campaign finance system that had no participants.


Photo from Karen Dewitt

The state’s Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx native, has spent a portion of the summer touring upstate New York. Heastie has been to several cities, including Buffalo, Binghamton and Utica.

Photo from Karen Dewitt

As the fourth anniversary of the devastating storms Irene and Lee approaches, the Cuomo Administration says it’s more ready than ever for hurricanes, floods, and other adverse weather events.

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Governor Cuomo has been making frequent trips to upstate cities this summer, touting his success in reviving the regions’ faltering economy. But a new report from the State Comptroller on job creation shows there is still some work to do.

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State Education officials say there’s some improvement in the Common Core related Math and English tests taken by third through eighth graders this year, but admit that two thirds of the students who took the test are still, essentially, failing the exams.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he will try to get the state legislature to broaden an increase in the state’s minimum wage beyond fast food workers, but the newly appointed Deputy Majority Leader of the state Senate is throwing some cold water on that plan.


New York’s political world is focused on a race in the Southern Tier that could help determine the future of the State Senate.

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A fiscal watchdog group says it’s uncovered what it calls a "secret slush fund," used by Governor Cuomo and state legislators to fund pet projects around the state, but the governor’s budget office says the grants are subject to oversight. 

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Counties across New York are concerned over reports that sales tax collections are plummeting, they are asking Governor Cuomo’s tax department for a more detailed  explanation.

President Obama’s plan for national standards to curb power plant emissions is based, in part, on a cap and trade type program already existence in New York.

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State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he has no interest in challenging Governor Andrew Cuomo in a primary in three years, saying he prefers to seek re election as state Comptroller.

Schools across the state are bracing for a potential zero percent growth in their tax levy next year. While the latest provisions of an ongoing tax cap won’t take effect until the 2016 school year, the state schools boards association says schools are starting to worry now.

Two more lawmakers, a former Senate Leader and the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate were convicted of corruption in the past week. But Governor Cuomo continues to say it would not be a good idea to call state lawmakers back to the Capitol to enact more ethics reform measures.

Supporters of paid family leave in New York say they hope 2016 will be their year, but business groups are urging caution.

Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act saw some successes in the legislature in 2015, after the most controversial of the measures, an abortion rights provision, was separated out from the rest of the items.

A wage board convened by Governor Cuomo is expected to vote to raise the hourly minimum rate for fast food workers from the current $8.75 an hour to as high as $15 an hour when it meets on Wednesday.

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In the legislative session that recently ended, Governor Cuomo saw the state legislature reject a number of agenda items he’d been pushing. The governor, perhaps taking a cue from President Obama, has used his executive powers  to  advance some of the proposals anyway.

Chris Caya, wbfo

Governor Cuomo for the first time as governor, has an approval rating below 50 percent in a new Siena College poll that also finds only 39 percent of New Yorkers think he’s doing a good job in office.

Photo from Karen Dewitt

The state’s new education commissioner, MaryEllen Elia, has been on the job just over a week, and she’s been traveling the state on a listening tour to reach out to teachers, school boards and others who’ve been buffeted by an intense political climate during the most recent legislative session. 

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Governor Andrew  Cuomo has appointed the state Attorney General as a temporary special prosecutor to over see cases where a civilian is killed by a police officer.

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