There’s three weeks to go in the legislative session, and advocates are pushing hard for two of Governor Cuomo’s agenda items- translating the federal abortion rights in the Roe v. Wade decision into New York law, and enacting public financing of statewide political campaigns. The governor, meanwhile, is focusing on his proposal to bring tax free zones to upstate public college campuses.

Governor Cuomo has been traveling the state, promoting his plan to create tax free business zones at college campuses.  He’s also running ads, paid for by the State Democratic Party. Now, one of the state’s largest unions is countering that effort with its own message.

Cuomo has gathered local government leaders and business groups to the Capitol to demonstrate support for his idea to create the tax free zones at public colleges, some private universities and some state owned properties.

The steady drum beat of scandal after scandal in the New York State legislature has led many to wonder whether lawmakers can focus on passing any major bills by the end of the session, which is fast approaching. As Karen DeWitt reports, the legislature returns Wednesday and has just four work weeks to act on items ranging from campaign finance reform to abortion rights, to economic development plans.

Governor Cuomo has been traveling the state promoting a plan to allow new businesses to go tax free for up to a decade if they locate near a State University campus.  The plan, which is yet to be drafted into bill form, has raised some questions.

Governor Cuomo has been to several key upstate cities in recent days, promoting a plan to declare tax free zones around state college campuses, in hopes of attracting new businesses.

After the War

May 22, 2013

Every day, an active-duty soldier is discharged from the military and returns home to start a new part of his or her life. Some return because their service has ended, others because of injuries obtained while serving. All of them will face a period of readjustment to civilian life.  

[View the story "Community Conversation: After the War" on Storify]

One day after the state’s powerful Assembly Speaker admitted “glaring failures” in his handling of a sexual abuse case, the Albany establishment seemed to be moving on, with the usual round of press conferences, bill passage, and leaders meetings.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver attended a top level  meeting with Governor Cuomo and Senate leaders on casino gambling ,  and oversaw passage of a one house bill on the Dream Act, to help children of undocumented immigrants get funding for college.

New York’s farms employ about 60,000 people and no one knows how many of those workers are here illegally. According to one estimate, 70% of the state’s agricultural workforce is undocumented. The Innovation Trail’s Matt Richmond has this story on what life is like for a hidden part of New York’s population.

The Legislative Ethics Commission released its report on the sexual harassment allegations against Assemblyman Vito Lopez.  It’s conclusions have New York’s  National Organization for Women calling for a vote of no confidence against the still serving Assemblyman, and the Republicans calling for Silver to resign.

Lawmakers in Albany tried to carry on business in the wake of one of the worst scandals in recent decades, that has overshadowed most other news coming out of the Capitol.  Much of this week’s legislative session has been cancelled, but politicians who were in town insisted that their agendas are not being derailed.

In the State Senate, two members have been indicted, and a former Senator was sentenced to a year in jail in recent weeks, while six other Senators are potentially under federal investigation.

Governor Cuomo outlined his proposal for a new local government restructuring board to help financially distressed communities deal with long term budget problems.

Cuomo offered more details of his previously announced plan to set up a restructuring board to help local governments on the brink of insolvency.