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Capitol Bureau

Capitol Bureau correspondent Karen DeWitt reports on what is happening in Albany, and how the decisions made by lawmakers affect you. Karen reports for WXXI and New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.

She is also a regular contributor to New York Now, the statewide public television program about New York State government seen on WXXI-TV Sundays at 6:30 p.m.  

The state Education Department has announced it made an error in the distribution of some federal funding that favored the state’s charter schools over public schools.

State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia took full responsibility for the mistake. She said a misreading of a new federal funding formula gave $12 million more to 275 charter schools in the state at the expense of 677 public school districts, including some of the poorest schools in New York.

MATT RYAN, NEW YORK NOW

The Democratic front-runner in the primary race for attorney general, Tish James, said if she’s elected, she’d be independent of her political ally, Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

James, who is in her second term as New York City’s public advocate, was nominated by the state Democratic Party to be its candidate. She’s appeared frequently in public with the top of the ticket, Andrew Cuomo, who’s seeking a third term as governor.

“Today we join with our great governor, who has led the way,” James said at a gun control rally with Cuomo on June 11.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is enjoying solid support from the leaders of most of the major unions in New York as he runs for a third term in office. But Cuomo’s relationship with organized labor was not always so sunny.

Cuomo’s frequent appearances with union leaders in recent months have included lavish praise on both sides.

Mario Cilento, head of the state’s AFL-CIO, which has 2.5 million members, spoke at an event with Cuomo in the spring.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s ordered his Department of Financial Services to reject requests by health insurance companies to raise rates in response to actions by the Trump administration to weaken the Affordable Care Act.

Cuomo said health insurance carriers have asked for an average of a 24 percent rate increase in response to the Trump administration’s decision to repeal the individual mandate under the ACA. That provision required healthy people to buy insurance in order to stabilize rates for all policyholders.

A newly formed group is reaching out to public worker union members in New York, informing them of their rights — under the recently decided U.S. Supreme Court Janus case — to opt out of their unions. But union leaders say the organization is a front group for anti-union billionaires.

Governor Cuomo's office

Finishing his fifth trip to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria struck the island last September, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new agricultural trade agreement – and had some harsh words for President Donald Trump.

Cuomo said through a trade deal that has grown to $1 million, New York apples, cabbages and onions are being shipped to Puerto Rico and the state is getting watermelon, mangoes and pumpkins.

Matt Ryan, New York Now

There’s a four way democratic primary for Attorney General of New York, to replace Eric Schneiderman, who resigned over allegations he physically abused women that he dated. One of the candidates, Zephyr Teachout,

was at the Capitol for several events, including an endorsement by Assemblyman Phil Steck. Steck is one of the only state legislators who was a Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development programs have been the subject of two federal corruption trials that ended with convictions for two of Cuomo’s former associates.

But some say problems with the $9 billion programs go beyond corruption and that the structure of the programs is flawed.

Less than a month after the legislative session officially ended, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been calling for the state Senate to come back and work on what he says is unfinished business.

Cuomo ahead in poll

Jul 18, 2018

A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday finds that Governor Cuomo continues to lead his challengers by double digits.

Quinnipiac University polling analyst Mary Snow says the survey finds Cuomo has gained  nine points since the last time potential voters were asked in May, and leads his Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon 59 to 23 percent.

Snow says the biggest reason people gave for backing the two term governor for re election- experience on the job.

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