dean skelos

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.

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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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Pressure is mounting to include Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, the only female legislative leader, in the closed-door budget meeting with Governor Cuomo that now consists of four men in a room.

Photo from Karen Dewitt

It was the charter schools’ turn to rally at the State Capitol Wednesday in support of Governor Cuomo’s proposal to allow 100 more charter schools in New York.

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Newly elected Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie made clear one of his top priorities in his first news conference, where he called for passage of the Dream Act, which would offer college aid to children of undocumented immigrants.

Karen DeWitt

Governor Andrew Cuomo is deflecting blame for not doing more to get Democrats elected Tuesday.

An upstate pro business group is out with ratings for the Senate and Assembly, and finds, not surprisingly, that more liberal Democrats are at odds with the group’s agenda than conservative leaning Republicans.

Governor, legislative leaders visiting Israel

Aug 11, 2014
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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and top state legislators are heading to Israel this week for a two-day visit to show "solidarity'' during that country's conflict in Gaza.

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Two Democratic factions in the State Senate say they are joining to form what could be a strong Democratic Majority in the Senate, leaving Republicans, who up until now have ruled the chamber in a coalition government, out of power.

The legislative session is scheduled to end on Thursday, and many issues remain unresolved. But a low-key end of session might not matter much to New York’s top political figures.

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Democrats in the Senate say they are taking Governor Andrew Cuomo at his word to help them regain the majority in the Senate, despite some indications that the governor might be walking back some of the promises he made at the Working Family Party’s  convention Saturday night.

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Now that the major party political conventions are over, state officials are shifting their focus back to the remaining issues in the legislative session, which ends in four weeks.  But politics will still be front and center in the waning days of the session.

Legislative leaders say they are working together and are close to a budget agreement, after a blow up that left the Senate and Assembly leaders negotiating separately with Governor Cuomo.

The next several days will be crucial for negotiations on the state budget.

The debate over universal pre kindergarten shows no signs of slowing down at the Capitol. The Democratic Mayor of New York City is not backing down from his plan to tax the wealthy to pay for pre-K, but that plan is expected to be blocked by Albany.

One of the most controversial recommendations in Governor Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission report released this week is to enact public financing of campaigns for statewide elections, a proposal that will meet strong opposition.

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The leadership fight in the State Senate has been resolved, with a breakaway Democratic faction joining with Republicans to form a new governing coalition that involves sharing the title of Temporary President of the Senate. 

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, and it’s likely that lawmakers will be back at the Capitol later this year.

Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders took a victory lap as the session wound down to a close.

“I believe that this legislative session is one of the most successful in modern political history,” Cuomo said.

Reaction to the newly agreed upon state budget continued to pour in at the State Capitol, as lawmakers began passing the first of a series of budget bills, in the hope of finishing the spending plan by the end of the week.

Senate Leader Dean Skelos praised lawmakers and Governor Cuomo, for their work on a budget plan that’s likely to be in place by the deadline.

“This is a budget that we all can be proud of,” Skelos said.