Politics & Government

Political news

Ban-the-Box Laws Gaining Steam in Syracuse

Jan 25, 2016
Chris Bolt/WAER News

Advocates for helping people with criminal records get jobs say the issue is connected with Syracuse’s high poverty rate. There’s been recent attention on the Ban-the-Box laws in Syracuse and other cities. The laws make it illegal to have a check-off box for criminal history on employment applications, so people with a criminal record don’t immediately get rejected. Syracuse Common Councilor Jean Kessner is an advocate of removing that potential barrier.

  A budget watch dog group is giving Governor Cuomo a mixed grade on his budget proposals, saying he’s done a good job reigning in spending, but is making a mistake by shifting some significant costs to New York City.

The Citizens Budget Commission analyzed Governor Cuomo’s budget plan, and gives him high marks for controlling spending, says the group’s Tammy Gamerman.

Ackerman + Gruber / AARP.org

  Older New Yorkers have a range of things to watch regarding their health and security during this upcoming session in Albany.  AARP in New York supports a family leave proposal that would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave.  Legislative Director Bill Ferris says it might make it easier for someone to take care of a relative at home.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

Governor Cuomo released his State of the State message and $143 billion budget spending plan, including $1 billion more  for schools next year , and ethics reforms.

Cuomo saved his plans for education and ethics reform for his speech, after already rolling out a massive infrastructure project that he says will make the late Governor Nelson Rockefeller “jealous”, calling for a statewide $15 minimum wage, and numerous other proposals.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

Governor Cuomo is scheduled to give his State of the State speech on Wednesday. The governor has already spent the past week rolling out a lengthy agenda for the New Year.

Governor Cuomo has already announced more than a dozen separate proposals as part of a 10 day roll out of his agenda leading up to Wednesday’s formal speech. 

  

The leader of the union representing 2,300 Onondaga County workers says they’re more unified than ever after rejecting their third tentative contract agreement in 18 months.   The dispute now enters the final phase of the impasse process.

The vote late Tuesday was 1,057 to 747 to turn down the contract, which would have been retroactive to 2013.  President of CSEA Local 834 Kathy Zabinski says the biggest issue continues to be the cost of health insurance.  

Karen DeWitt

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 Senate and Assembly convened  for the first time since both leaders of the legislature were convicted of multiple corruption charges in late 2015 and now face potentially decades in prison.

Chris Bolt / WAER News

Governor Cuomo continued to unroll his 2016 agenda Wednesday with a visit to Onondaga County.   He has been touring the state, unveiling pieces of his agenda ahead of next week’s combined state of the state and budget address.  It was probably no accident that he chose a venue just off the Thruway in Salina to make his latest announcement.  Cuomo says he wants to make the largest investment in upstate transportation infrastructure in history.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Syracuse Common council will start the new year without one of its long-time members.  Kathleen Joy is reflecting on her time as one of the council’s more independent voices over the past ten years.  Term limits have forced Joy from her councilor-at-large seat, where she says she’s listened, reached out, and tried to understand everyone’s perspective on everything from environmental issues to economic development.

NYNOW

2015 saw the fall of two of the three most powerful people in state government, and the rise of one U.S. Attorney. 

Less than a year ago, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Leader Dean Skelos led the legislature. They were both at Governor Cuomo’s State of the State speech on January 21, sitting on stage , where Cuomo acknowledged his partners in the government triumvirate.

“To a good year, Dean,” Cuomo said, to applause from the assembled lawmakers and lobbyists in the cavernous auditorium. “It’s a pleasure to be with you Mr. Speaker.”

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