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20 minutes | 3 days ago
This week New York State Senate Democrats declared that they'd gained a history-making "supermajority," after the absentee ballot count in several key races swung the results in their favor. Times Union Capitol Bureau reporters Amanda Fries and Chris Bragg join Managing Editor Brendan Lyons to talk about the development, and what it means for legislative priorities going into the year. Will they address progressive agenda items like recreational marijuana? And will they exercise their veto-proof majority to go over Governor Andrew Cuomo's head? That all remains to be seen as the Legislature prepares for the new session in January. Also on this episode, Brendan Lyons checks in with Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Michael Gianaris, for his take on the supermajority.
15 minutes | 15 days ago
Crimson surge or red mirage?
As the counting of absentee ballots in New York continues, the ultimate power balance in the state Senate and Assembly remains somewhat murky. A number of close races in both chambers that initially appeared in favor of Republican candidates after Election Day seem to be narrowing even further as the numbers come in, and the final outcomes are still not definitive. The process may take weeks yet, and will determine whether this historically blue state saw a legitimate surge in support for Republicans, or simply witnessed a red mirage. In this episode of the Capitol Confidential podcast, Times Union Capitol Bureau reporters Amanda Fries and Chris Bragg weigh in on where things stand in with as-yet un-called races, and what the future may hold for absentee voting in New York's elections.
17 minutes | 22 days ago
Election 2020: GOP Celebrates, Dems Wait
State Senate Democrats were confident going into the 2020 election that they'd come out with a supermajority. But as the returns came in this week, it became clear that it wasn't as likely as they'd hoped. Instead, it was the GOP leaders who celebrated a potential increase in their ranks. But as Times Union Capitol Bureau reporters Amanda Fries, Chris Bragg and Edward McKinley observe in this episode of Capitol Confidential, the final outcome of the balance of power in New York is still being tallied.
19 minutes | 25 days ago
6 Questions About Election Night
What are the scenarios that could play out on Election Night? Will it be decided before the sun rises, or will there be protracted legal battles that will delay the final result for weeks? Capitol Bureau reporter Ed McKinley and Washington correspondent Emilie Munson answer these questions and more in this special edition of Capitol Confidential.
25 minutes | 6 months ago
Repealing 50-a and making police records public in New York
Times Union editor Casey Seiler and state editor Brendan Lyons discuss the history of the controversial New York law 50-a, which protects police records, and the likelihood of a historic repeal this week.
30 minutes | 8 months ago
COVID-19: New York in Crisis - Rep. Paul Tonko and a frontline nurse
As New York state battles the coronavirus pandemic, Washington correspondent Emilie Munson checks in with Capital Region Rep. Paul Tonko on the $2 trillion stimulus package Congress passed. Meanwhile, state editor Brendan Lyons connects with a nurse working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight at a hospital in Long Island.
23 minutes | 8 months ago
Coronavirus pandemic: Cuomo’s health commissioner on state's battle
New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker talks to the Times Union's Brendan Lyons about the coronavirus, how it spreads, and what New Yorkers should be doing to slow it.
61 minutes | 9 months ago
Sen. Stewart-Cousins in Conversation at Times Union's Hearst Media Center
What's it like to be the first woman in the room during state budget negotiations after decades of all-male closed-door talks? A special edition of the Times Union's CapCon political podcast features a discussion with state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins that addresses that very question.
17 minutes | a year ago
Medicaid maladies in New York
Two recent reports are sounding the alarm about the state's Medicaid spending this year, which could result in future cuts to health care or education. Mark Ustin, a health care lobbyist and veteran of the Pataki administration, joined the podcast to explain what this means for New Yorkers who use and pay for Medicaid. The conversation touched on recent efforts to curb Medicaid spending in New York, creative budgeting practices and what might be gleaned from the state's mid-year financial update.
20 minutes | a year ago
New York's bet on casino gambling
New York's gambling landscape is far from settled, with the next big shakeup likely to be the introduction of casinos into the New York City area. One potential recipient of a casino license is the Empire City Casino in Yonkers, where harness racing and electronic gaming is available. Empire City Casino President Uri Clinton joined the podcast to discuss the continuing evolution of gambling in New York, the future of racing in Yonkers and the competition for gaming dollars in the region. He also explained what the January purchase of the facility by MGM Resorts means for the development of the site.
32 minutes | a year ago
The Assembly's loyal opposition
Assemblyman Ed Ra isn't naive enough to think that even his best floor debate can stymie legislation being advanced by his Democratic colleagues, who enjoy an overwhelming majority in the chamber. But the Long Island Republican, who serves as the assistant floor leader for the GOP, does believe he plays an important part in the legislative process by raising concerns, asking questions and (in some cases) prompting bills to be amended. Ra joined the podcast to talk about life on the floor in the Assembly, including the preparation involved in a debate, his goals as a member of the minority, and his preferred candy for a sugar rush.
22 minutes | a year ago
Getting from red light to green
Legislation enabling undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses had a lot working against it in Albany this year. Despite Democratic-control of the state government, the proposal was wildly unpopular with members from the New York City suburbs and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo seemed unenthusiastic about the issue. Sen. Luis Sepulveda, the Bronx Democrat who helped shepherd the proposal across the finish line, joined the podcast to explain the uphill battle for the year's most unlikely new law. The conversation addressed the last-minute declaration from state Attorney General Letitia James, support from upstate Senate Democrats and the governor's relationship with the legislation.
23 minutes | a year ago
Miss Mitchell Regrets
Joyce Mitchell made her case for parole on June 4 at the women's prison in Bedford Hills. The former Clinton Correctional employee has been incarcerated for nearly four years due to her role in aiding a high-profile prison escape in 2015. Following the hearing, Mitchell was denied parole. The Times Union has turned excerpts of the transcript from the hearing into a bonus episode, with editors Susan Mehalick and Sara Tracey lending their voices.
38 minutes | a year ago
Confessions of a tabloid journalist
For about a decade, reporters in Albany would take their Monday morning cues from Ken Lovett's weekly column, which would be filled with state government scoops. This past February, the veteran reporter retired from journalism on his own terms after 25 years of Capitol coverage. Lovett joined the podcast to talk about his time with the state's two prolific tabloids: the New York Post and Daily News. The conversation addressed his approach to reporting, the pressure to break news and occasions when his work took him out of Albany.
24 minutes | a year ago
The Paulin process
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin is one of the busiest lawmakers in Albany, where she routinely shepherds the most bills through the legislative process. She joined the Capitol Confidential podcast to explain her approach, and how it has evolved since joining the Assembly nearly two decades ago. The conversation also touched on how she finds sponsors for legislation in the state Senate, her affinity for policy details and what's on tap for next year's session. She also explained the challenge of getting a bill through the Assembly that would legalize paid surrogacy.
14 minutes | a year ago
The winner's circle
It's a time of transition for the New York Racing Association. This includes a new leader, David O'Rourke, who is steering the organization through an evolving gambling landscape, major changes at their tracks and concerns about equine safety. He joined the Capitol Confidential podcast to talk about all this, and much more, including the legacy he hopes to leave. Editor's note: This interview is also featured on New York Now
31 minutes | a year ago
The cost of combating climate change
In the waning days of the legislative session, state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo agreed to ambitious energy and emissions goals to help combat climate change. And while it's clear where New York needs to end up, it's not so clear how we'll get there. Business Council of New York's director of government affairs Darren Suarez and New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe joined the podcast to highlight the potential paths New Yorkers might follow, and how it will change life as we know it.
25 minutes | a year ago
Weeding out the obstacles to marijuana legalization
Legalizing marijuana in New York hasn't been as easy as expected after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo threw his weight behind the idea. The fate of legislation creating a framework for recreational use is unclear as state lawmakers prepare to make their exit for the year from the Capitol. This uphill battle isn't a surprise to the Rockefeller Institute's Heather Trela, who recently completed a report on the structural challenges in adopting marijuana legalization through the legislative process. She joined the podcast to walk the listener through her findings, and examine the different results in Illinois, Vermont and New York (so far).
45 minutes | a year ago
Tales from the Coup: New Senate Order
It took one month in 2009 for order to be restored in the state Senate following an attempted power grab that upset the status quo in the chamber. But the ramifications, which are covered on the final installment of the Times Union's "Tales from the Coup" podcast series, would shape the immediate future of the Senate and have effects that remain for the new Democratic majority. The episode follows the demise of the two renegade Democratic senators who plotted with GOP senators and examines how the rise of the Independent Democratic Conference in 2011 was informed by the chaos in the chamber during the preceding years.
16 minutes | a year ago
Bonus: The making of "Tales from the Coup"
This bonus episode explores how the "Tales from the Coup" series came together. Times Union managing editor Casey Seiler talked with podcast host David Lombardo about his interest in the "Senate Coup," wrangling guests and bringing it all together. The conversation explains how Sen. Diane Savino got involved, the editing process, and what's next for the Capitol Confidential podcast.
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