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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.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced steps that New York officials will take to help detained immigrant children separated from their families, but he said he isn’t getting a lot of details from the federal government.

Cuomo said state agencies will be providing support services, including health and mental health services, for immigrant children discharged from detention into a family member’s care.

“Whatever they need,” Cuomo said. “Legal services, educational services, counseling.”

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Monday to begin mapping out a route for a train from major transit hubs in midtown Manhattan to LaGuardia airport.

Cuomo said the project, known as the LaGuardia AirTrain, is an effort to make up for years of neglect in the state’s and the nation’s infrastructure.

“How can you not have a rail train to the city from a New York airport?” Cuomo asked an audience gathered at the World Trade Center. “It’s incomprehensible.”

The 2018 legislative session ended quietly, as Democrats and Republicans in the legislature failed to agree on major issues and exited the Capitol until next January. Although Governor Cuomo is now leaving the door open to calling them back.

Governor Cuomo says there are as many as 700 immigrant children in child care services in New York State, and he’s demanding that state health care professionals have access to them, saying under New York’s constitution, the state is responsible for their welfare.

Lawmakers busily passed bills on the final day of the 2018 legislative session, but as the final evening approached they were unable to reach agreement on many major issues.

Mid morning on the last scheduled day of the legislative session, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan met behind closed doors with Governor Andrew Cuomo, as they tried to resolve differences over a teacher evaluation bill and other topics. Flanagan, who leads the Republicans in the Senate, was asked by reporters whether any deals had been reached.

Former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is entering the race for governor against incumbent Andrew Cuomo. The long time Democrat is the candidate for a newly formed political movement.

Miner, coming to the race relatively late, and with little money and name recognition outside of upstate New York, says she knows she faces an uphill battle.

“The challenges are clearly there,” said Miner, who said there is also an “opportunity” for a new message in what she says is a “toxic” political atmosphere.

Governor Cuomo says he plans within the next several days to file a lawsuit against the federal government over the treatment of immigrant children separated from their parents. He says around 70 children are being held at facilities in New York.

Governor Cuomo’s administration is moving ahead on a recommendation to legalize recreational marijuana in New York, a move immediately criticized by Cuomo’s republican opponent for governor.

The announcement came not from Cuomo, but from his health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, speaking to a gathering of medical marijuana providers. Zucker says he’s concluded that when it comes to legalizing pot, “the pros outweigh the cons.”

“The report recommends that a regulated legal marijuana program be available to adults in the State of New York,” Zucker said.

SUNY Poly

On Monday, prosecutors present the second of two corruption cases against former associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in federal district court in Manhattan.

Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, the former head of the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute and mastermind of the state’s high-tech development efforts, faces charges of bid-rigging and bribery. Three upstate developers are co-defendants.

Governor Cuomo's office

  

A Siena poll finds Gov.  Andrew Cuomo is securely ahead of his challengers, Democrat Cynthia Nixon and Republican Marc Molinaro, in his re-election bid.

Meanwhile, Cuomo is using some of his $30 million campaign war chest to promote an anti-gun violence measure.

The poll finds Cuomo ahead of Nixon by about 35 points, at 61 to 26 percent, among Democrats who say they are likely to vote in the November election.

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