Politics & Government

Political news

Syracuse Common Council Considers Park Fee Increases

Mar 1, 2018
Scott Willis / WAER

Syracuse common councilors are considering raising fees on a number of popular parks programs, from swim lessons to skate rentals at ice rinks. For example, swim lessons will jump from $10 to $15 under the proposal. Deputy parks commissioner Julie LaFave told the council’s parks and recreation committee Thursday that it might be a 50 percent increase, but it’s still affordable.

Those are definitely subsidized,” LaFave said. “I mean, you can’t say that swim lessons at $10, a dollar a class, is covering the cost of maintaining a pool, paying for employees.

NY Senate GOP Votes Down Democrats Gun Control Measures; Sen. Schumer: "Package Ready by Week's End"

Feb 28, 2018
Karen Dewitt / WXXI News

The leader of the New York State Senate Democrats says she’s disappointed that her Republican colleague voted down a package of gun control measures that Democrats brought to the floor Wednesday. Andrea Stewart-Cousins says she was initially optimistic.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

Advocates who want the Child Victims Act passed in  New York  are stepping up the pressure on Republicans in the State Senate. Some GOP Senators are the final hold outs against a bill that would extend the statute of limitations and open up a one year window for past victims to file civil lawsuits.

The measure would allow someone to take court action up until the victim is the age of 50. The current age limit is 23.


A case heard Monday in the U.S. Supreme Court and to be decided later on this year could have a big impact on public worker unions in New York.

The case, known as Janus v AFSCME, was brought by  Mark Janus, a public employee in Illinois, who is challenging his state’s policy of requiring that he pay union dues to the Illinois branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,  even though he does not want to be a member.

Janus and his lawyers say the mandatory payments violate his First Amendment right to not be compelled to fund political speech.

Rep. Tenney Highlights Tax Reform at Suit-Kote; Declines to Clarify Controversial Comments

Feb 22, 2018
Scott Willis / WAER News

Republican Congressmember Claudia Tenney stopped by a Cortland-based paving company Thursday to highlight how the business and its workers will benefit from the federal tax reform law. The family-owned Suit-Kote Corporation has a payroll of $37 million for its 800 employees. President Frank Suits, Jr. says his personal taxes went up, but says the lower corporate tax rate is better for his company. 

provided photo

The same day Florida High School students made news for their lobbying on gun control, protestors took to the streets of Syracuse also demanding action.  Demonstrators at Congress Member John Katko’s office had a large check on which the payment amount read ‘Thoughts and Prayers’. 

William Happy with the group Swing Left compares campaign donations with the ‘value of good wishes’ as a response to gun violence, such as the Florida School Shooting of last week.

John Smith / WAER News

Some Central New York restaurant owners and employees are lining up against a plan to make tipped workers, such as waiters, into full minimum wage employees.  The New York State Restaurant Association is calling on local businesses to oppose Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal.  It would eliminate the “tip credit” that allows employers to pay a lower wage to workers who get tips.

Melissa Fleischut of the Restaurant Association says eliminating the credit would hurt workers and the industry.


The Libertarian candidate for governor is spending time this week in Upstate New York positioning himself as a viable third option in November’s election.  Larry Sharpe told WAER News in an interview he feels the time is right for many voters to get away from two-party thinking.

Sharpe is looking to flip the script on New York’s government from Left or Right, which he says just makes people angry.  And he says he’s fine this election with being the Anti-Cuomo.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

Some Democratic lawmakers are pushing for a measure that would make anonymous political ads on Facebook  and other social media illegal. They say the ads are being abused to falsely represent  their positions on issues.

Senator Todd Kaminsky, a Long Island Democrat, says there’s been a lot of publicity about Russian operatives using Facebook and other social media to influence the 2016 Presidential race. But he says it’s also happening in New York races as well, and needs to stop.

It’s undermining our democracy,” Kaminsky said.


A Syracuse University Vice Chancellor told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that the federal government should do more to support military families … or it might limit future military service.   Director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families Mike Haynie testified that failing to provide enough economic and educational assistance for military families is a threat to national security.