Politics & Government

Political news

Advocates for highway and auto safety

  A change in federal law could mean trucks with double trailers, more than 80 feet in overall length will be driving on upstate New York roads and highways.  Senator Chuck Schumer says that would mean a dangerous change in traffic that puts people at risk.  On average 4000 people a year are dying from truck related crashes and Schumer worries that would only get worse. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

There might finally be some movement to re-develop the long-vacant former NYNEX building in Syracuse across from city hall.  Common councilors today approved a $700,000 settlement with the owner…even though Isaac Jacobowitz of Brooklyn owes about $2 million in overdue property taxes and penalties. 

   Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development Ben Walsh says now the clock is ticking…

Scott Willis, WAER News

  The nearly 19 million dollar expansion of Inficon’s facility in East Syracuse is entering its final stages.  Motorists passing by on I-481 have probably noticed the progress over the past several months.  President Steve Maier  says the high-tech company says the decision to expand was based on growth potential after almost 25 years at their current location.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Crews found the body of Brandon Closure Thursday afternoon, the good samaritan who fell through an open manhole during Tuesday evening’s flash flood.  The Onondaga County Medical Examiner has confirmed his identity.  Closure was  trying to help a stranded motorist in nearly waist-high water on East Fayette street.   Mayor Stephanie Miner says dozens of city and county sewer workers searched for Closure after he was reported missing.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  The effort to take large amounts of anonymous campaign donations out of political campaigns came to Syracuse City Hall Monday where common councilors approved a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 "Citizens United" ruling.  

Councilor Jean Kessner voted yes because she supports the sentiment.  But she feels a constitutional amendment is a very slow path to get the results they want.

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. 

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