House GOP Completes Investigation Into Miccarelli Abuse Allegations

HARRISBURG, PA, (WSKG) — State House Republicans have concluded an internal investigation into abuse allegations against one of their own. The case involving Representative Nick Miccarelli is an unusual one. Both of Miccarelli’s accusers work in the Capitol, and one is fellow Republican Representative Tarah Toohil. The investigation began more than a month ago, when the two women first filed their allegations. One, who has not come forward publicly, said he raped her.

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‘Another Sad Day In Albany’ Says Ethics Watchdog

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When the state legislative session ended on June 21, lawmakers left behind a lot of unfinished business, including ethics reform proposals made in light of the economic development scandal in the Cuomo administration.   A bill to add greater oversight to the state’s economic development contracts has majority party sponsors in each house of the legislature. But the measure failed to come to the floor for a vote.  That’s despite the fact that nine former associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been charged with bribery and bid rigging, among other crimes, and are scheduled to go on trial as early as the fall. Ron Deutsch, with the union-backed think tank Fiscal Policy Institute, said it’s a missed opportunity. “It’s another sad day in Albany,” said Deutsch.

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Activists Say They’ll Keep Trying For Ethics Reform

 ALBANY (WSKG) – This year’s state legislative session has produced no agreements on ethics reform, even though Albany is in the midst of a what some call a corruption crime wave. Capitol correspondent Karen DeWitt (who is recovering from a cold) spoke to longtime League of Women Voters lobbyist Barbara Bartoletti about the lack of action.    

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Advocates Want Constitutional Convention Question On Front Of Ballot

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Supporters of a constitutional convention in New York say the amendment deserves prominent placement on the November ballot.  Opponents say the entire idea is too risky, and that the state should skip it. Every 20 years, New Yorkers have the chance to vote on whether the state should hold a constitutional convention. If it’s approved, delegates are elected from each state Senate district, and they meet to decide on potential changes to the state’s constitution. A coalition that backs holding a convention said it could lose potential yes votes if the ballot proposal is not displayed on the front on the ballot when it next appears on Nov. 7.

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NY Senate Faction Tries To Change The Subject Away From Lulus

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After an embarrassing controversy over stipend payments, the beleaguered group of breakaway Democrats in the state Senate is trying to change the subject. The eight-member Independent Democratic Conference has been the target of some bad headlines lately because some of its members have accepted stipend payments of $12,500 to $18,000 for chairing committees when they were in fact the vice chairs, a position that does not legally entitle a senator to extra pay, or “lulus.” The IDC’s leader, Sen. Jeff Klein, has said repeatedly that it’s all legal. “We’re within the law,” Klein said on May 16. And the Republicans who control the Senate with the help of the IDC agree.

Reports Say Prosecutors Probing State Senate Payments

ALBANY (WSKG) – There are reports that state senators who received payments for chairing committees that they actually did not chair are now under a probe by the state attorney general and at least one U.S. attorney.  Several Republican and independent Democratic senators were paid stipends allocated to chairs of Senate committees. But the senators weren’t actually the chairs; they had all been designated as vice chairs, a relatively new title. There is no provision in state law to pay stipends to vice chairs. Senators have defended the practice as perfectly legal, based on the Senate GOP leadership’s top lawyer, who has issued a memo justifying the practice. Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein said his members have been “transparent” about the arrangement.