Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, who’s come under heat since revelations emerged that he used over $100,000 taxpayer money to confidentially settle a sexual harassment claim against Assemblyman Vito Lopez, issued a statement this evening expressing regret over the way it was handled. After settling that claim, of course, two more staffers of Mr. Lopez presented sexual harassment charges, which were found to be credible and led to his downfall as chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party. Read More
As the Senate and Assembly Democrats make their push on minimum wage, reproductive health and other legislative items, the Republicans controlling the New York State Senate instead unveiled a new effort to address college affordability.
According to the press release announcing the plan, the Senate GOP is proposing doubling the tuition tax deductions and tax credits, creating a “Stay-in-New-York” tax credit for people who graduate from a college in New York and stay here, and establishing a new loan program, among other things. Read More
The State Senate passed a bill yesterday banning “yield spread premiums,” which are payments given to mortgage brokers or lenders for directing borrowers to more expensive loans. The bill was sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger, who described yield spread premiums as a “predatory practice” that contributed to the foreclosure crisis.
“Yield spread premiums have created perverse incentives, driving irresponsible, dangerous activity in the mortgage market,” Ms. Krueger said. “It’s a predatory practice, and it’s passed time we banned it–permanently.” Read More
For years the operating assumption in Albany political circles on both sides of the aisle was that eventually, one day, Democrats would take control of the State Senate, thus completing the extermination of the Republican Party in New York State.
The logic of this argument was simple: A Republican had not been elected statewide since George Pataki won re-election in 2002, and even that was something of a fluke victory over scattered Democratic opposition. Democrats had a huge majority in the State Assembly. Democrats had a 5:3 advantage in the number of voters registering with their party, a ratio that was likely to increase as more immigrants and minorities came of voting age in the state. The GOP was becoming a party of guns and the God-fearing, neither of which had much traction among Yankee Republicans, or what was left of them. Read More
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have named the members of the Joint Commission on Public Integrity, and picked to lead the group is Janet Di Fiore, the Westchester County D.A.
“The Joint Commission on Public Ethics is an independent monitor that will aggressively investigate corruption and help maintain integrity in state government,” said Gov. Cuomo. “I am confident that under the leadership of Chair DiFiore and the other board members, the Commission will be the toughest ethics enforcer in our state’s history.”
The new ethics watchdog was slated to be named today, but political observers were doubtful since not much had been heard about it since the summer. It replaces the Commission on Public Integrity, which was largely seen as a toothless agency. Read More
From NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney:
Most of the Senators enrolled as Democrats voted the same way as Senator Klein more often than they voted the same way as Senator Sampson.
After meeting with Governor Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Silver, Senate Leader Skelos said they have a “framework for an agreement” on a number of issues, including mandate relief for localities, a property tax cap, rent regulations, and SUNY funding.
“Most of those issues, I think, we’re going to resolve very shortly,” Skelos said. When asked for specifics, he said, “We’re working on the details.”
He said same-sex marriage was not discussed at this meeting, but that he expects the session to conclude by tomorrow.