Politics & Government

Political news

https://www.ny.gov/programs/enough-enough-make-all-new-york-college-campuses-safe / NYS Enough is Enough

New York State is taking action to prevent sexual assaults on all public and private college campuses. After months of deliberation, state law-makers announced they reached an agreement to pass the “Enough is Enough” legislation designed to protect and empower victims of sexual assault. 

syrgov.net

  Infrastructure might not be Mayor Stephanie Miner’s favorite subject.  But she got to hear about ways to improve water, transportation and other assets from lots of smart minds... as a participant in last week’s Clinton Global Initiative.  Miner heard from other civic leaders and major project financiers that the need for investments is widespread…but the political mood is stalling progress.

NY State Police

  The search for the escaped inmates from a Northern New York prison has turned some of its attention towards Vermont.  Governor Cuomo contacted his counterpart Peter Shumlin to coordinate state law enforcement forces alongside FBI in tracking down and capturing the escapees.  

Scott Willis, WAER News / WAER News

  A Syracuse University counter-terrorism expert says the changes to federal surveillance powers will result in needed oversight and transparency of the government’s activity. In six months, the national security agency will no longer be able to collect bulk data from all domestic phone records.  Instead, the NSA will have to request the information on a case-by-case basis from the phone companies by obtaining a court order.  William Banks directs SU's Institute for National Security and Counter Terrorism, and says the additional oversight is welcome.

Banks says the balance between security and liberty is an elusive one, which can make it hard to cut back or justify the programs.  He says part of the problem is no one really knows how effective the phone record surveillance program has been.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

  Central New York Congressmember John Katko is optimistic that the Senate will ultimately approve legislation that restores surveillance authority of domestic phone records.  The provision of the USA Patriot Act expired Monday after Senator Rand Paul blocked an extension.  Katko says the USA Freedom Act already approved by the house is basically a renewal, but includes safeguards to prevent abuses of the data collected. 

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services / New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

  Syracuse and Onondaga County will share nearly $1.2 million in grant money on what experts say are programs proven to reduce gun violence and homicides. It’s the fourth highest award in the state among the 17 counties reporting 87 percent of the violent crime outside of New York City.  Mike Green heads the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, which administers the grants.  He says jurisdictions have wide leeway in how they use the funding, with the caveat that any spending on additional officers or overtime goes to support specific, evidence-based strategies.

tobyshelley.com

Unlike 2011, Onondaga County voters will actually have someone other than Joanie Mahoney to choose from for county executive on the ballot this November.  The county democratic committee Thursday evening designated two-time sheriff candidate Toby Shelley to challenge two-term incumbent Republican Mahoney.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Of all the conflicts facing soldiers overseas, the Secretary of the Army says the budget is perhaps their biggest threat.  John McHugh stopped by Syracuse University Thursday to learn more about its innovative veteran and military-connected programs.  He says how the military responds to emerging issues such as ISIS’s growing control of Iraq, Russia’s activity in Eastern Europe, and others is dictated and affected by funding. 

   McHugh says the army can barely meet its current missions with 450,000 troops.

Rob Romano/WAER News

  Three candidates are going to be on the Green Party ticket in this November’s elections. One of them is Howie Hawkins, who ran for Governor last November and earned about 5 percent of the vote.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

Groups that might not normally line up behind a Republican candidate endorsed Joanie Mahoney Wednesday for her re-election as Onondaga County executive.  The Alliance Network and other community leaders announced their backing at the Dunbar Community Center on Syracuse’s South Side.  Alliance Founder Walt Dixie has some specific accomplishments for which he credits Mahoney and her leadership, starting with the Jail Oversight Committee.

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