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Capitol Bureau

State lawmakers and lobby groups say Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in error when he said that there was no political will to enact reforms in 2017.

Democratic lawmakers, along with the League of Women Voters, rallied outside the Senate chambers Tuesday for bills that would allow same-day voting and early voting by mail in New York state.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said the most recent presidential election should serve as a “wake-up call” about the importance of voting and access to polling machines.

Matt Ryan New York Now

A fiscal watchdog group is questioning the state’s century-old prevailing wage law for construction workers, saying it unnecessarily costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year in added expenses for big road, bridge and other projects.

The Empire Center, a fiscally conservative budget watchdog group, looked at the state’s constitutionally protected prevailing wage law. It requires contractors on public projects to pay their workers the amounts set in unions’ collective bargaining agreements.

State legislators are due back at the Capitol Monday, following a break for Easter and Passover after they passed the new state budget. It contained numerous non-spending items -- like free public college tuition for some middle class students and an expansion of ride-hailing services. So what, if anything, do lawmakers still need to do before adjourning in June?

The Senate and Assembly are scheduled to meet for around two more months this year, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking a week after the budget was approved, told reporters that there isn’t much left to do.

Environmental advocates say that New York State officials could do a better job of cleaning up pollution sites caused by the fossil fuels industry that they say in some cases, have dragged on for decades. Cuomo’s environmental aides defend their record.

An Ithaca based environmental research group analyzed data on dozens of alleged toxic spills for just one company- Exxon Mobil.

After a week of criticism from the left and the right of the political spectrum, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget director is among those defending the state’s new free public college tuition program for some middle-class students.

Conservatives say Cuomo was just trying to win a headline for a potential 2020 presidential campaign by convincing the state Legislature to enact a plan to offer free tuition to middle-class students attending public colleges and universities.

Matt Ryan New York Now

Did passage of the state budget signal the end of Albany’s legislative session for 2017, or will other matters, including ethics reform, get done before the lawmakers adjourn in June?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the recently enacted state budget included the majority of the priorities that he named in his January State of the State message, including raising the age for adult criminal responsibility from 16 to 18, providing free public college tuition for some middle-class families and allowing ride-hailing services to operate upstate.

A residency requirement for college students seeking free tuition at New York’s public colleges is drawing criticism. Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended the late addition to the plan, approved as part of the state budget earlier this month.

Cuomo proudly touted the free tuition program for some middle-class students passed in the week-late state budget, appearing with former first lady and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at LaGuardia Community College in Queens on April 12.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  The threat of a government shutdown loomed Sunday as New York lawmakers struggled to strike deals on a budget, an impasse that harkened back to Albany's tradition of dysfunction that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo had pledged to end. 

Outstanding issues included education spending, charter schools and juvenile justice reform. The budget was supposed to be approved by Saturday, the start of a new fiscal year. Lawmakers said they could start voting on the more than $150 billion spending plan on Monday. 

Midnight Friday is not just the deadline for the state budget to be finished. It’s also the date for an $8 billion bailout of some upstate nuclear power plants to begin, and more than 80 local government leaders are making a last-ditch effort to stop a plan that they say will cost electric utility ratepayers billions of dollars.

In the summer of 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Public Service Commission announced a deal to provide nearly $8 billion to help Exelon, which owns two upstate nuclear power plants, buy a third one and keep them all running for another 12 years.

Karen DeWitt

Deals on some issues tied to the state budget are coming together as lawmakers rush to meet the budget deadline. 

Agreements on permitting ride-hailing services outside New York City and a measure to treat 16- and 17-year-olds as juveniles in the court and prison system, known as Raise the Age, were coming together Thursday.

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