Video – Interviews

SOTS Reaction: Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Governor Cuomo’s State of the State and Executive Budget proposals did not get much attention Thursday in the wake of the Sheldon Silver arrest. But the governor’s 2015 Opportunity Agenda did introduce a lot of new proposals that need discussing. Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins joined us to discuss Cuomo’s proposals and did weigh in on the charges against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

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Advocates: Invest Full $5B Into Infrastructure

Governor Cuomo’s 2015-2016 Executive Budget includes some funding for infrastructure projects, including a plan to prevent Thruway toll hikes. But it’s much less than advocates were hoping to see. They’d call for investing the full $5 billion in bank settlements on upgrading the state’s roads, bridges, and public transit systems. Mike Elmendorf, the president of the Associated General Contractors, joined us to explain.

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Proposed Reform For Indigent Legal Services

New York state counties pay millions of dollars every year for legal counsel, which is an obvious burden. So Thursday afternoon, Albany County leaders and lawmakers announced proposed legislation to take that burden off of the counties. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, and former trial court Judge Larry Rosen joined us to talk more about the reform proposal.

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SOTS Reaction: Assemblyman Keith Wright

Governor Cuomo’s 2015 State of the State included a seven-part criminal justice reform plan that would fund body cameras and better bullet proof vests for police officers while also trying to recruit more minority officers. Cuomo admitted that it’s still a work in progress, and said he’s open to further discussions. But he has already won the support of my next guest on this issue. Assemblyman Keith Wright joined us to talk more about this proposal and more from the speech.

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SOTS Reaction: NYS School Boards Association

We finally got the details of Governor Cuomo’s education agenda during his State of the State and executive budget. And it includes an increase in the charter school cap plus changes to the teacher tenure system. If the legislature passes those, Cuomo says he’s willing to increase education funding by more than one billion dollars. Head of the state School Boards Association, Tim Kremer, joined us to discuss.

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SOTS Reaction: Working Families Party

It is a tradition for the opposing party to give an official response to the governor’s State of the State, and officials from minor parties also weigh in through interviews and statements. This year, the Working Families Party put together an official video response for the first time. WFP leaders Bill Lipton and Karen Scharff joined us to explain why and share their thoughts on the governor’s speech.

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Siena Poll Numbers On Cuomo, Education, Criminal Justice

Governor Cuomo’s favorability rating is the highest its been since his office was accused of interfering with the Moreland Commission’s anti-corruption investigation. Tuesday’s Siena poll shows that 60-percent of voters say they currently have a favorable view of him, while 35-percent say unfavorable. And as he prepares for the first big policy speech of his second term, voters want to see him focus on education and jobs. Siena pollster Steve Greenberg joined us to go over all the numbers.

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Santabarbara Pushes For Broadband Access

The third item announced on Governor Cuomo’s “Opportunity Agenda” is to create a broadband program to ensure access to high-speed internet for all New Yorkers by the year 2019. This is something people in rural areas are hoping for, including those in the 111th Assembly district. Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara actually sent a letter to the governor last month calling on him to take this kind of action. He joined us to discuss.

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Infrastructure Needs Upstate

We got the first glimpse at infrastructure issues Governor Cuomo may include in his executive budget. At the Association for a Better New York’s breakfast Tuesday, he outlined plans for upgrading airports and expanding Metro North service, and also promised to avoid a toll hike on the thruway. But there are also some infrastructure issues he has not talked about at all. County Highway Superintendents Association President Timothy Hens and Town Highway Superintendents President Russell Page joined us to explain what they would like to hear from the governor.

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Full Show – 1.19.15

Reports on Cuomo’s proposal for youth and the justice system and Martin Luther King Day ceremonies held across the state. Plus interviews with Hunger Action Network’s Mark Dunlea, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence’s Paul McQuillen, Rural Schools Association’s David Little and Educators 4 Excellence’s Jonathan Schleifer.

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