Carl Heastie

Karen DeWitt

The issue of whether to tax the wealthiest New Yorkers at a higher rate is once again a topic at the State Capitol.


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.


2016 could be the year in which upstate cities get an economic boost from mixed martial arts. Legislation to legalize the sport passed the State Senate’s Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee Tuesday morning.

The opening day of the legislative session featured talk of ethics reform, but Governor Cuomo chose to be elsewhere, putting off his traditional State of the State message for another week, and giving speeches in Syracuse and New York City instead.


The New York State legislature is seemingly back to business as usual. But  there has been little public discussion about a corruption crisis that has led to the two most powerful men in the legislature both on trial in federal court this month.


State lawmakers said a few years ago that they would  no longer permit the controversial member item program to continue, but  critics say the old system, which gave taxpayer money to legislators’ pet projects, is being revived in a new form.


WBFO News file photo

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


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.

It appears Buffalo may have a powerful friend in Albany in Speaker of the State Assembly Carl Heastie.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The State Assembly will likely take up legalizing mixed martial arts in 2016, according to Speaker Carl Heastie.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Local elected officials believe that the best way to show that the "Buffalo Billion" is working is to show the results directly to lawmakers from downstate. So far, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie appears impressed.

Photo from Karen Dewitt

The legislature continued negotiating and printing legislation Wednesday, one day after a framework deal was announced by legislative leaders and Governor Cuomo. The session limped to a close, after a year that’s seen the resignation of both leaders of the legislature over corruption scandals, and ongoing federal probes.

Photo from Karen Dewitt

Nearly one week after the legislative session was supposed to end, governor Cuomo and legislative leaders have announced a deal on all major end of session issues, including renewal of New York City’s rent laws and a related property tax cap, as well as a new tax rebate program for property owners.

One of the ethics reforms agreed to in the state budget has still not been passed by State Assembly Democrats, and minority party Republicans say they are worried that the bill will be delayed, or watered down.

WBFO File Photo

Lawmakers are struggling to reach end of session deals, as the corruption scandals and on going federal investigations seem to be hampering their progress. 

On the long calendar of legislation pending in Albany as the session winds down, one of the most-discussed is a proposal to allow professional Mixed Martial Arts fighting. The proposal has been blocked in recent years by former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.


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One day after Governor Cuomo arranged a meeting  with some state lawmakers and Catholic Church leaders to promote the education tax credit, the measure seems to be losing support among Assembly Democrats, with some Democrats saying they are angered by tactics used by backers, which has included picketing their offices.

WBFO File Photo

Governor Cuomo has been steering clear of public events at the State Capitol recently, after a second major party legislative leader, the head of the Senate was forced to resign over corruption charges. 

Assembly Democrats are approving a one house bill to strengthen New York City’s rent regulations in favor of tenants. The rent law renewal and many other issues, including an education tax credit and the Dream Act, are in flux as the final weeks of deal making approaches. 

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The legislature will be finishing up its work in the next couple of weeks with two new legislative leaders- one in his third month, the other in just his second week on the job.

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Now that the leadership crisis in the Senate is settled, Governor Cuomo and the legislature are pushing their education priorities.

WBFO File Photo

There’s growing support in the state legislature to address controversial aspects of the state’s Common Core learning standards and related testing.

Photo from Karen Dewitt

Earth Day 2015 is also the first day that the New York State Assembly transitioned to a paperless system. Assemblymembers have been given I Pads to read bills electronically, and supporters say it will save millions of dollars, and trees.

photo courtesy NY.gov

The New York State Legislature returns for the second half of the legislative session, once again under a cloud of corruption, and with numerous unsettled issues.

The recently completed state budget was the first real test of the new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s leadership, who became the leader of that house in early February. 

File Photo / WBFO News

Governor Cuomo began the budget season with an ambitious agenda than included a wide array of items that he tied to the budget, including raising the minimum wage, the Dream Act, and reforming the state’s grand jury process. In the end, the governor was forced to retrench on nearly every measure.

WBFO News File Photo

Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders reached a framework agreement for a budget deal late Sunday night and hope to begin passing bills Monday to meet the midnight Tuesday deadline.

Photo from Karen Dewitt

The state Assembly, Senate and Governor Cuomo continue to work on sticking points in the state budget, as yet another item has now been dropped from the spending plan, raising the state’s minimum wage.

Deadline approaches for state budget

Mar 24, 2015
WBFO File Photo

With just over a week until the state budget is due, there’s pressure to drop a number of unrelated items in Governor Cuomo’s state spending plan.

WBFO File Photo

There’s just about a week and a half left before the budget deadline, and Governor Cuomo and lawmakers remain at odds over a number of issues, including whether ethics disclosure rules should apply to Governor Cuomo as well as the legislature.

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