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Capitol Bureau

The state Legislature is approaching its final week of the 2017 session, and agreements on outstanding issues, including mayoral control over the state’s largest school system, remain elusive.

Three separate measures permitting the mayor of New York City to control the city’s public schools were approved in the Senate, extending the program one, two and five years. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has named the first openly gay judge to New York’s highest court.

Cuomo has named Paul Feinman, an appellate court judge and LGBT rights advocate, to fill a vacancy on the New York State Court of Appeals. Cuomo spoke in an interview on the cable news station New York 1, where he praised Feinman’s abilities.

“(He) is an extraordinary human being,” Cuomo said, “and would be a great addition to that court.”

Gay rights advocates have urged Cuomo to appoint an openly gay judge to the court, which often deals with LGBT issues.

A faction of breakaway Democrats known as the Independent Democratic Conference has been in the news lately for receiving stipend payments for chairing committees that the Senators in fact did not chair. Here’s a look at the history of this power-brokering group of senators and what may be in store for its future.

Legislative leaders are dug in on remaining issues in the 2017 session and are accusing each other of unfairly linking unrelated items to renewal of mayoral control over New York City schools. Time is running out for scheduled meetings.

The renewal of mayoral control of New York City schools faces a hard deadline. It expires at the end of the month.

The state budget’s been in place for just less than two months, and already there are signs that tax revenues may be significantly lower than expected. Anticipated federal tax reductions later this year may be one of the reasons.

Late on a Friday before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget division released its financial analysis of the new state budget approved in early April.

If you look closely at the numbers, they show that tax revenues reported in May declined by just over $600 million from projections made as recently as February.

Karen DeWitt

With less than two weeks left in the legislative session, some New York lawmakers are pressing for reform of the state’s economic development contracting process in light of a scandal that’s led to federal corruption charges against several former associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

File photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed Tuesday to help defeat the state’s Republican members of the House of Representatives when they are up for election next year.

House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi introduced Cuomo at a rally of union workers at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, where he made his remarks.

“We will remove you from office,” Cuomo shouted. “And we are telling you those are not just words — you can bet your political life that New Yorkers will do just that!”

Karen DeWitt

The New York State Legislature is back at the Capitol for three weeks of meetings before the session ends later in June. A number of advocacy groups say there’s an opportunity for lawmakers to act to address some of the harm that they say President Donald Trump’s policies are causing. But divisions in the Legislature may hinder any chance of achievements.

Supporters of a constitutional convention in New York say the amendment deserves prominent placement on the November ballot. Opponents say the entire idea is too risky, and that the state should skip it.

Every 20 years, New Yorkers have the chance to vote on whether the state should hold a constitutional convention. If it’s approved, delegates are elected from each state Senate district, and they meet to decide on potential changes to the state’s constitution.

NRC

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’ll sign an executive order committing the state to meet the Paris climate accord standards, calling President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement “reckless” and “irresponsible.” And the governor says he’s joining with the governors of the states of California and Washington to form a coalition of states that are committed to upholding the Paris Accord.

New York state already has begun a plan to get 50 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by 2030. But it is not without some controversy.

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