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News stories tagged with "griffo"

Griffo would change voting rules for electing regents

North Country state Senator Joe Griffo says it's time to find a new way to elect the Board of Regents that guides New York's public education policy.

"Currently, that's an elective vote of the 213 members of the legislature, we believe that should actually be a vote by each individual house and you should receive a majority in each house." Griffo points out that because there are far more Assembly members than state Senators, the current system for electing regents gives the lion's share of authority to Democrats.  Go to full article

Griffo supports Regional Economic Development Council, but says North Country needs more

State Senator Joe Griffo was in Potsdam Thursday for Governor Andrew Cuomo's announcement of the new Regional Economic Development Councils.

Griffo's a Republican whose district covers Onieda, St. Lawrence, and Lewis Counties.

Nora Flaherty spoke with him about what the councils might mean for the North Country. She asked him if he had any concerns about the plan.  Go to full article
Under state law, prisoners are not residents of these Upstate counties.

Senators challenge inmate count

The North Country State Senators are suing to block a new law for redistricting this year. It would count prison inmates in the districts where their home residence is, not in the North Country town where they're held. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Sen. Griffo on education cuts, redistricting

New York's Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would make the Power For Jobs program permanent. The newly named "Recharge NY" program would double in size by using electricity that had been allocated to small residential energy bill discounts. It would still offer low-cost power to hundreds of companies across the state in return for job commitments. The new version of the program would also set aside $8 million to offer power discounts for farmers. The now goes before the state Assembly.

Republican Joe Griffo says the bill is one success in what he calls a "very hectic" session. Griffo says lawmakers are scrambling to finish budget bills while trying to avoid the "three-men-in-a-room" process that's given Albany such a bad name. "To debate these issues in public between both houses and hopefully arrive on a consensus so we can have an on-time budget," Griffo says. "I think everybody is trying to work together and do the best we can despite our philosophic differences."

Those differences include how much to cut education spending and how to make redistricting less partisan.

Griffo represents the 47th Senate district, which stretches from Utica in the south, though Lewis County and the eastern half of St. Lawrence County to Massena. He told David Sommerstein making the popular Power For Jobs program permanent is an important step forward.  Go to full article

Griffo says SUNY may get trial run at "empowerment"

Gov. David Paterson ended the week Friday by signing 83 bills related to state and local issues from trapping to taxes.
Governor David Paterson has signed a law banning baby bottles, sippy cups and other children's products containing the controversial chemical bisphenol A, or BPA. It takes effect in December.

The "Lake Ontario wine trail" was expanded. Another bill increases the maximum state payments for agricultural protection, when project costs are contributed by the owner of the agricultural land.

The governor also signed the Midwifery Modernization Act. It had swept through the state Legislature with an overwhelming majority in the Assembly and a unanimous vote in the Senate before the legislature adjourned July 1. And the president of the SUNY Upstate Medical University was directed to study the need for branch campuses in the Fort Drum/Watertown and Mohawk Valley.

But the major business of the session, the state budget, is still not done. Word out of the state legislature Friday was that lawmakers were getting close to resolving one of the remaining issues of the budget, "empowerment" of State (and City) University of New York colleges. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article
Mike Hennessey (D-Sherill)
Mike Hennessey (D-Sherill)

Oneida Democrat seeks to unseat Griffo

A three-term Oneida County legislator wants to unseat Republican State Senator Joe Griffo. Democrat Mike Hennessey lives in the city of Sherill, which has been embroiled in land claim and cigarette tax issues with the Oneida Indian Nation. So it's no surprise Hennessey wants New York to collect taxes on tobacco sold at native-owned stores as a way to close the state deficit. He also wants to eliminate unfunded state mandates, reform state ethics codes, and create jobs. Hennessey is a financial advisor and former small business owner. He told David Sommerstein a visit to a local soup kitchen for veterans compelled him to run for State Senate.  Go to full article

"Coup" consequences and 2010 elections loom as senators return to Albany

State Senators meet in Albany to vote on mayoral control of NYC schools, but the bigger story is the political climate in the capitol. It is the Senate's first day together since a failed Republican "coup" and a stalemate over majority power that brought all other business to a dead stop for five weeks. Two New York City Democrats switched sides June 8 to join Republicans in a coalition that gave the GOP the majority. The two eventually switched back, restoring a slim Democratic majority, and gaining leadership posts for themselves in the bargain.

Albany Times-Union state editor Casey Seiler talked with All Before Five host Jonathan Brown about the coup, the upstate-downstate effects of the new Democratic majority and today's special session.  Go to full article

Senate resumes but consequences of the GOP coup remain to be seen

The New York state Senate worked into the wee hours to pass a series of reforms that lawmakers say will change the way the chamber operates. The legislation approved early this morning is supposed to reduce the power of Senate leaders and strengthen the influence of rank-and-file lawmakers.

Senators reached an agreement on how to distribute pork barrel spending. They passed a bill that will give minority Republicans $8 million of $85 million in so-called member item grants. The rest goes to the Democrats who control the chamber. The new reforms also apply 8-year term limits to Senate leaders and committee leaders, and they make it easier for senators to bring bills to a vote. But skepticism remains. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

Senate stalemate stalls real business

State Senate leaders are still trying to work out a power-sharing deal. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. Next Wednesday, July 1, some laws expire unless the Senate comes to an agreement and extends the measures. The Senate is scheduled to meet today at noon, and Gov. David Paterson has already planned to call the chamber into session tomorrow afternoon and again on Sunday evening if the squabbling lawmakers don't get their work done. Martha Foley spoke with Adirondack Bureau Chief Brian Mann about what's at stake, and where North Country Senators fit into the mix.  Go to full article

Aubertine and Griffo respond to Senate coup

After Democrats lost their majority last week in the state Senate, it was revealed that Republicans had been laying the groundwork for a coup for more than a month. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

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