HARRISBURG (WSKG) — Pennsylvania union leaders are attempting to chart a new course after decades of declining membership. As members have dwindled, unions’ once-strong political sway toward the Democratic party has also shifted. The change was especially apparent last year, when an overwhelming number of white, union or former union members voted for Donald Trump. Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale recently wrapped up what he calls a “listening tour” around the commonwealth. He said in his discussions with current and former members, he often hears that they feel alienated by the left, and by unions themselves. “I think we were speaking too much at them, rather than having conversations with them,” he said.
HARRISBURG (WSKG) — Pennsylvania’s one of only four states that still hasn’t passed a budget for the fiscal year that ended in June. However, many states struggled with budgets this year. And according to budget experts, that struggle–related to a weak national economy–manifests itself in short-term budget solutions that have proven to only make states’ fiscal issues worse. Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a $32 billion spending plan nearly a month ago, but remain stuck on how to finish paying for it. That specific budget scenario isn’t too common.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced a series of what he calls “aggressive actions” to expand voter registration, saying he wants to “help combat low voter participation” amid “troubling” attempts by the federal government that might restrict voter access. But a nearly century-old voting rights organization said the governor did not go far enough. Cuomo, in an executive order, directed all state agencies to mail or provide electronic voter registration forms to members of the public who have had contact with the agencies. Cuomo’s chief counsel, Alphonso David, said that includes people who apply for professional and recreational licenses. “The objective here is to make sure that when New Yorkers go in and interface with a state agency for services, they’re also informed about their right to vote,” David said. The Department of Motor Vehicles, which already provides voter forms, would include information about the DMV’s online voter registration process along with all license and registration renewal notices.
Giant Hogweed is an invasive plant that can be dangerous to your health and the environment. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has a hotline to call if you think you see the plant. The state even has a Giant Hogweed Control Crew. Alexander Wyatt is on the crew. On a recent trip to Candor, NY, he and a partner cleared younger, smaller plants from a residence.
The Homecoming Players of Ithaca present Arthur Bicknell’s new comedy, ‘Easy Out’. Director Rachel Hockett talks about the gestation of the play, a sequel of sorts to the first play Homecoming Players performed, and the cast. She also tells how going to her high school reunion led to the founding of Homecoming Players. http://wskg.org/audio/easyout.mp3
The future of the Affordable Care Act is uncertain in Washington, and there are several scenarios under consideration. The latest possible changes could impact New York’s relatively healthy health care system. The good news is that the Affordable Care Act in New York is doing quite well, according to state officials. The health insurance exchanges are functioning, with 17 carriers offering plans in 2017. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, at a recent rally to preserve the ACA, said New York has built “one of the best health care exchanges in the country.”
The shuttered Broome Developmental Center has drawn significant community interest as a possible place for more addiction treatment and related services. But the kind of treatment facility may be a sticking point. In a region desperate for more treatment options, having this site seems like a rare opportunity: there are over one hundred beds, a gym, a cafeteria, access to public buses, and other amenities. The state closed BDC, previously a home for people with developmental disabilities, in 2016. People have been talking about the addiction treatment possibility since then. At a community meeting at the Broome Public Library back in May, there were a lot of residents like Kim Dempsey of Binghamton.
ALBANY (WSKG) – At an event Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo defined the conflict over changing the health care laws in Washington as a class struggle, saying it’s all about the rich versus the rest. Cuomo did not mention President Donald Trump by name, but he said the nation’s health care is in crisis and the struggle is really about those with lots of money, and those with lesser means. “Make no mistake. The rich are always going to have the best health care system in the world,” Cuomo said. “What they’re trying to decide is what’s the health care for the rest of us.” Cuomo says Republicans who lead Congress don’t want to subsidize health care so that the middle class, working class and the poor can also have access to good quality care. The Congressional Budget Office says plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, will leave 22 million Americans without health insurance, and around 2 million in New York — including seniors, veterans and the disabled.
While creature adventuring in Alaska, one of Aviva’s inventions falls overboard and attaches to a sockeye salmon – jumpstarting a wild chase upriver through the wilderness. The Whole Kratts track the incredible salmon run – a quest fraught with obstacles and amazing creature connections around every bend. Premieres on WSKG TV on July 24, 2017 at 7:30am and 3:30pm. https://youtu.be/J0tvSY4wUDE
The Endless Mountains Theatre Company presents Frank Loesser’s classic musical ‘Guys and Dolls’ in the Elk Lake High School in Springville. Based on stories by Damon Runyon, it has a memorable score including “Fugue for Tinhorns”, “Adelaide’s Lament”, “Luck be a Lady”, and “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat”. Director Sandra Raub talks about fielding a large cast for this delightful but demanding show. http://wskg.org/audio/guysdolls.mp3
Photo credit: Endless Mountains Theatre Company