WXXI AM News

Capitol Bureau

Rochester Mayor Tom Richards, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and mayors and county leaders from around the state came to the state Capitol to support Governor Andrew Cuomo’s push for pension reform, saying they are “crashing and burning” under the rising costs.

 

Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who organized the lobbying trip says the issue is very simple- pension payments are driving municipalities to near bankruptcy.

 

A federal court is taking over the drawing of new congressional district maps in New York, after lawmakers failed to meet their own self imposed deadline to draw new lines.  Lawmakers have already released new maps for Senate and Assembly lines and a coalition that includes  former State Attorney General Robert Abrams is urging Governor Cuomo to use a veto threat as leverage to win changes for next time.

Governor  Cuomo has called the legislative district maps designed by the Assembly and Senate “hyper-partisan”, and has said he’ll veto them if they are not amended.  

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo walked back a step from his proposal to give new state workers the option of a 401k style pension plan Monday, but the governor says without major pension reform, local governments and the state of  New York could end up “bankrupt”.

 

Cuomo told a receptive audience of mayors from around the state, gathered at their annual conference, that New York’s current pension system is unsustainable and must be changed.

 

Just hours before a deadline imposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, state education officials and the teachers unions came to some agreements on a statewide teacher evaluation plan.

Cuomo had offered an ultimatum to teachers and the state education department: come to an agreement on a long stalled teacher evaluation system, or the governor said, he would impose his own plan as part of his 30 day amendments to his budget. Cuomo had until the close of business Thursday to legally amend his budget, and by noon time, the agreement was announced. Cuomo called it a “major step forward.”

The legislature’s newly drawn state Senate and Assembly  lines, as well as the congressional lines, may be headed toward a federal court appointed special master.

A federal judge has named a three member panel to look at whether the drawing of new congressional and possibly legislative district lines should be taken away from the legislature and put into the hands of a federally appointed special master.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s trying to make government more efficient by taking pre audit oversight powers away from the State’s Comptroller in his state budget proposal.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli criticized Cuomo’s proposal, saying the pre audits have saved millions of dollars by flagging potential problems in the contracts. Cuomo says he’s not taking away the comptroller’s authority but trying to speed up an inefficient procurement process.  The governor suggests some of the pre audits significantly delay the contract process.

A State Senator from Western New York was back at work at the State Capitol Monday, following an incident over the weekend at a Niagara Falls Indian Casino where he and his wife were involved in a fight.

The New York State Assembly has introduced a bill to hold all of the state’s primary elections on June 26th, to correspond with a court order requiring that congressional primary contests be held then.  So far, the State Senate wants to hold the state primaries on a separate date, in late August.

WXXI Capitol Bureau: The Latest on Redistricting

Feb 13, 2012

WXXI News Director Julie Philipp and Capitol Bureau Correspondent Karen DeWitt discuss the newly proposed redistricting maps in New York State and how they could impact the future makeup of the legislature.

This discussion originally aired on Need to Know Rochester February 10, 2012.

In an interview with public radio, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman talks about the mortgage foreclosure settlement reached with some major banks. Schneiderman, who was a hold out on the deal until the final hours before the agreement was reached, says his resistance gained the right to continue criminal prosecutions against the banking industry for possible fraud, and to provide money for underwater and foreclosed homeowners for legal representation.    He admits the deal is a "down payment", and "one step on a long path".  

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