WXXI AM News

Capitol Bureau

Karen DeWitt

The smallest faction in the divided state Senate, the Independent Democratic Conference, has been permitted by the ruling party Republicans to issue its own alternate spending plan. That has angered the rest of the Democrats.

Currently, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have the same amount of members – 31 each – but the Democrats are divided, with eight members in a breakaway group that forms an informal ruling coalition with the GOP.

Matt Ryan New York Now

The Senate and Assembly will release their one-house budgets early next week, as the March 31 deadline for a new spending plan draws near. They’ve already given some hints as to what the plans will include.

Senate Republicans are rejecting, for now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s extension of a tax on millionaires. They say they also are against pretty much all of the other taxes and fees in the governor’s budget, including a proposed new tax on internet purchases, a surcharge on prepaid cellphones and higher fees at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health department is analyzing the plan in the Republican Congress to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, and finds it carries a heavy price tag for New York. 

Karen DeWitt

Members of a leading senior citizens lobbying group are advocating for a retirement plan in New York that could benefit their children and grandchildren.

The proposal by AARP could help address a big change in employer practices that’s occurred since the group’s members – who are 50 and older – began their working lives. That is the sharp decline in companies that offer pensions, or even 401(k) retirement accounts, leaving younger workers with no opportunities at work to save for their retirement.

Karen DeWitt

A provision in the Affordable Care Act replacement plan by Republicans in Congress sets up a potential clash with New York state over abortion coverage. 

The plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by the GOP-led Congress includes tax credits for people to buy insurance policies. The Republican House plan forbids anyone from using the tax credits to buy an insurance plan that covers abortions.

Karen DeWitt

The state budget is due in 3 1/2 weeks, but the biggest push at the Capitol is for a change that is not a spending item. It’s a measure to treat 16- and 17-year-olds as children, not adults, when they are charged with serious crimes.

Many leading legislators say, for them, the issue is personal.

Those who support raising the age when New Yorkers are treated as adults in the criminal justice system from 16 to 18 held a rally Tuesday at the Capitol. Many of the leading Democrats in the Legislature spoke, including Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

Disability rights advocates say they’re fed up with what they say is a lack of response from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on funding for services that help them stay in their communities, including a lack of funds to pay home health care workers adequate wages.

At a protest outside the governor’s offices Tuesday, Bruce Darling with the Center for Disability Rights displayed an award that the group fashioned for Cuomo that features a 5-inch gold screw on a trophy pedestal.

The state Assembly held a hearing Monday on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to spend $8 billion in subsidies to keep three upstate nuclear power plants operating for the next 12 years. But no one from the Cuomo administration showed up.

The plan, announced last summer as part of an overall state energy plan, spends nearly $8 billion to keep three nuclear power plants in upstate New York running for at least another dozen years. Cuomo’s energy officials have said it’s part of a bridge to generate half of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Karen DeWitt

New York’s health care system is bracing for big changes in the Affordable Health Care Act. No one knows for certain how it will  be altered, but it will almost certainly cost the state a significant amount of money.

Talk of a Medicaid block grant as a possible replacement to Obama Care has surfaced in Congress, in the form of a  memo leaked to Politco.

Matt Ryan New York Now

Reform advocates are taking exception to remarks made by Governor Cuomo, who said there already is enough oversight of potentially corrupt activities in Albany.

The governor has proposed a new inspector general, answerable to him, to look into future economic development contracts forged with private companies.

Nine former Cuomo associates have either admitted to crimes or are facing trial on charges including bribery and bid rigging in connection with the governor’s economic development projects.

Pages