EXTRA EXTRA: Extraordinary Sessions 101 with Professor Poulopoulos

Welcome to a crash course on extraordinary sessions in Albany.

StateWatch Guru Mike Poulopoulos, who has more than a decade of experience at the Capitol, explains how the governor calls these sessions, outlines possible responses from the legislature, and forecasts the potential agenda for the extraordinary session in 2017.

He also shares horror stories from the extraordinary summer of 2009, when the legislature returned day after day, including the Fourth of July!

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Not so Special Election

A harbinger of future Democratic victories or an electoral anomaly?

Those are the two conflicting viewpoints following a surprise win by a Bernie Sanders supporting candidate in a special election this week for an Assembly seat that went overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in 2016 and has traditionally been easily held by Republicans.

Republican strategist Jessica Proud weighed in on the results, with a focus on issues that dominate special elections, the importance of a good ground game and the enthusiasm gap.

She also talked about areas for Republican growth in New York, laid out a path for members of Congress to avoid getting swallowed up in national trends and waxed nostalgically about past mayors of New York City. Continue reading “Not so Special Election”

Watchdogs on High Alert Over Senate Stipends

Calls for additional oversight in Albany aren’t new, but there is a new twist to the ongoing story.

The latest scandal involves the Senate Majority Coalition’s practice of misidentifying the titles of certain senators in order to give them extra pay. Senate Democrats are alleging the actions are illegal and law enforcement has begun to review the issue.

Blair Horner“You can’t have one system on the books, and a second set of books doling money out to other people,” said Blair Horner, a good government activist with NYPIRG.

Horner came on the podcast to talk about the misuse of taxpayer funds with the stipend practice and urged the state Senate to reform the process. He also outlined the general need for independent oversight in New York, especially for state contracts and economic development initiatives. Continue reading “Watchdogs on High Alert Over Senate Stipends”

What about the Children

The state budget was bittersweet for New York families and children this year.

“Raise the Age” was one of the sweetest parts and cuts to child care subsidies were a bitter pill to swallow, according to Dede Hill, the director of policy for the Schuyler Center.

She came on the podcast to talk about both measures, including the practical changes of raising the age of criminal responsibility. Hill also talked about state child care tax credits for middle class families and proposals on the federal level from President Donald Trump. Continue reading “What about the Children”

Lane Changer for Upstate

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft will become legal in upstate New York this summer, but what will this actually mean for consumers?

Andrew Hawkins, a transportation writer for The Verge, talked about some possible outcomes and explained how the 90-day rulemaking period will be critical in determining what takes shape north of the five boroughs. He also provided background on the unique circumstances that made ride-hailing possible in New York City and highlighted the challenges of serving rural communities.

Bonus: If you listen carefully you might learn the difference between ride-hailing and ride-sharing services!

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