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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.  

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.

The state’s largest teachers union brought bagpipe players and a brass band to the Capitol to push for a bill to decouple teacher evaluations from the results of standardized tests.

As a brass band played the theme from the TV show “Jeopardy,” New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta said time is running out on a bill to sever the student standardized test results from teacher performance reviews.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the anti-sexual harassment policies enacted in the state budget are among the strongest in the nation, but his political rivals say the governor has not done enough to respond to allegations of sexual harassment in his own administration.

Cuomo, in his speech at last month’s state Democratic Party convention, contrasted New York’s newest policy to prevent sexual harassment to the lack of action in Washington, where he said “the silence is deafening.”

Governor Cuomo's office

Governor Cuomo has begun a statewide tour to promote a bill to give teachers and school administrators the power to go to court and ask a judge to confiscate the guns of a student and their family, if they suspect the student might try to harm themselves or others.

Cuomo, speaking outside a high school in the Bronx,  made a personal connection to his bill, which would permit teachers, school administrators , and – parents- to seek help from the courts if they believe a child is mentally ill and should not have access to guns.

WBFO

A report from the state ethics commission clears Governor Cuomo’s former high level economic development official Sam Hoyt of sexual harassment charges, but the report leaves many unanswered questions.

The Republican candidate for governor, Marc Molinaro, is proposing term limits of two four-year terms for statewide offices – including the office of governor – and 12-year limits for state lawmakers.

Molinaro said it’s up to the governor of the state to set an example. He said if he is elected in November, he’d limit himself to two terms in office. He said it’s healthy for democracy.

Karen DeWitt

Government reform groups are urging the state Assembly to pass two bills that have already been approved in the  Senate that would  reform New York’s economic development programs. They say it’s needed more than ever on the eve of another federal corruption trial involving Governor Cuomo’s economic development programs.

The former head of high tech development in New York, former SUNY Polytechnic President Alain Kaloyeros, goes on trial on corruption charges June 18th.

The business of the evenly divided New York State Senate remains stalled, as advocacy groups pressed for their bills to be acted on before the session ends in two weeks.

The Senate is split between 31 members of the Democratic conference and 31 members in the Republican conference. Democrats have allied with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who under the constitution presides over the Senate. They believe that Hochul can provide the tie-breaking vote in procedural matters, like whether a bill can be allowed to come to the floor for a vote.

Matt Ryan New York Now

In a spirited floor fight in the state Senate, Democrats tried once again but failed to get a vote on an amendment on women’s reproductive health care.

The argument over Senate procedure led to accusations that some Republican senators were trying to “mansplain” the rules to the state’s female lieutenant governor.

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