WXXI AM News

Capitol Bureau

Karen DeWitt

With the confirmation of Rowan Wilson to the New York Court of Appeals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has now picked all of the judges on the state’s highest court. He’s the first governor to do so since his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the leader of the state Senate are not as enthusiastic about making New York a sanctuary state as are Assembly Democrats, who passed a bill earlier this week.

Cuomo, who has spoken out strongly for immigrants and against President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, is not committing right now to support a bill to designate New York as a sanctuary state for immigrants.

“We have to review the bill because exactly what a sanctuary state is, is a little ambiguous,” Cuomo said in Schenectady on Wednesday.

A faction of breakaway Democrats in the state Senate has been gaining members lately, but they are now facing a backlash, including raucous opposition at meetings in their districts.

When Sen. Jose Peralta announced on his Facebook page that he was joining the Independent Democratic Conference, a growing group of breakaway Democrats in the Senate who form a governing coalition with the Republicans, he said he wanted to “deliver a progressive agenda.”

What Peralta did not expect was a backlash in his Queens district.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s acting tax commissioner took heat Tuesday from Democrats and Republicans in the state Legislature over delays in the STAR rebate program. The hearing was interrupted by protesters who want higher taxes on millionaires.

Lawmakers changed the rules of the STAR school property tax rebates so that new homeowners would get their rebates by the end of September to use them toward their tax bills. That was September 2016. Five months later, some senators and Assembly members say they are hearing from constituents who still have not received their money.

The New York Assembly moved Monday to establish New York as a sanctuary state, but the measure faces an uncertain future in the state Senate.

Assembly Democrats are backing measures that would give the entire state sanctuary status for immigrants.

Senate Leader John Flanagan said he’s not running for governor right now, but in an interview with public radio and television, he admitted that he’s thought about it from time to time.

Flanagan, a Republican from Long Island, said in “real life,” he’s occupied full time with leading the Senate, where Republicans rule in conjunction with several independent Democrats.

“That is my absolute, overarching No. 1 priority,” Flanagan said.

Matt Ryan New York Now

Lawmakers grilled Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development chair Wednesday at a budget hearing, as some of the programs are embroiled in a corruption scandal that’s led to charges against several former associates of the governor.

Nine people have pleaded guilty or been indicted in connection with alleged bid-rigging and other corruption charges involving some of Cuomo’s economic development programs. They face trial later this year.

Eight protesters were arrested outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office Tuesday as they called for more money for legal aid services for the state’s poorest.

Protesters chanted, “What do we want? Lawyers,” and blockaded an entrance to Cuomo’s suite of offices at the Capitol.

After years of what critics say was underfunding legal aid for New York’s lowest-income people, the Senate and Assembly passed a bill in 2016 to create a state-funded system to ensure that indigent criminal defendants receive legal representation, as is their right under the U.S. Constitution.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told a crowd of cheering Planned Parenthood advocates that he’s proposing an amendment to put protections from the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade into the state’s constitution.

Cuomo said Monday that women’s rights “are under attack” in Washington with a possible Supreme Court nominee from President Donald Trump that could lead to the repeal of the landmark 1973 abortion rights decision, Roe v. Wade. The governor said he’ll try to protect those rights in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is offering his top attorneys to help defend detainees and their families affected by President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigrants.

The assistance comes in the midst of the second day of protests across the nation, including at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Cuomo offered the aid of the lawyers in his office to provide any assistance needed to detainees and their families caught up in Trump’s order that has left many immigrants and refugees stranded.

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