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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 Legislature began interviewing candidates Tuesday to replace Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned over a domestic violence scandal.

Up first was the current acting attorney general, Barbara Underwood, who is the favorite to win the appointment.

“I think it’s an understatement to say that none of us expected to be sitting here today for this purpose,” Underwood told senators and Assembly members gathered Tuesday at a meeting room in the state Capitol complex.

Matt Ryan New York Now

The New York State Assembly is set to interview potential replacements Tuesday for former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned May 8 in a domestic violence scandal. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also trying to put his stamp on the selection process.

The initial list of 16 names is dwindling over fears that being viewed as the insider candidate might hurt their chances to win voters in a primary or general election later on this year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that he’s appointed Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas as a special prosecutor to look into the domestic violence accusations against disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced plans for an open interview process for the legislature to appoint a new state attorney general, now that Eric Schneiderman has resigned over domestic violence allegations.  

Heastie said public interviews of candidates to fill the vacant seat will take place May 15 and 16,  and are open to anyone who submits a resume and cover letter by the end of the day on Friday.

Heastie said the process could also help clarify viable candidates before the state party conventions happen on May 22.

New York State Attorney General's Office

Disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was known as a longtime champion of women’s rights. That’s why leaders of women’s groups are still trying to make sense of the allegations that he was a serial domestic violence abuser.

Just six months ago, Judy Harris Kluger, who runs an anti-domestic violence agency, stood beside Schneiderman at a press conference where he announced an agreement with a Brooklyn hospital to no longer bill sexual assault survivors for forensic rape examinations.

Matt Ryan New York Now

Solicitor General Barbara Underwood became acting attorney general on Tuesday, taking over for the disgraced Eric Schneiderman, who resigned after a New Yorker article detailed four women who accused him of numerous instances of physical violence.

At the state Capitol, many were stunned at the rapid demise of the once-popular Democratic attorney general and began maneuvering to name a successor.

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers is pushing for an anti-bullying measure that would require schools to tell parents when their child is being bullied, or if their son or daughter is behaving like a bully toward others.

The measure, Jacobe’s law, is named after Jacobe Taras, a 13-year-old from the North Country town of Fort Edward who committed suicide in 2015 after he was bullied at school.

His father, Richard Taras, said Jacobe often stuck up for other children who were bullied, and as a result, he was the target of bullying himself.

Actor Cynthia Nixon, who is running for governor in a Democratic primary against incumbent Andrew Cuomo, released her tax filings on Friday. She and her spouse earned $1.9 million last year and paid nearly $200,000 in taxes.

Nixon initially filed for a six-month extension, but a few days ago, she completed and submitted her taxes.

Matt Ryan New York Now

Marc Molinaro, the presumptive Republican candidate for governor, released his tax returns for 2017, but his opponent, incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, raised the stakes, saying his GOP challenger should release 10 years of tax returns.

Meanwhile, a third candidate, Cynthia Nixon, has filed an extension and has not made any information available yet.

Molinaro and his wife, Corinne Adams, earned $174,048 last year, the bulk of it from his salary as Dutchess County executive. They paid $24,573 in taxes.

Matt Ryan New York Now

  

Teachers wouldn’t be evaluated based on their students’ standardized test scores any longer under a measure approved by the New York State Assembly.

It’s a reversal of a controversial policy that helped lead to a widespread boycott of the third- through eighth-grade tests associated with the former Common Core program.

But the measure faces an uncertain future in the state Senate.

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