Rental assistance aid delays have hurt New York landlords, tenants

BY Tim Williams New York State

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, New York state issued an eviction moratorium to help keep people in their homes. Delays in the rollout of the rental assistance have hurt both tenants and landlords. James Conley, a property owner from Western New York, said after repeated phone calls, he received funds from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program nearly five months after he first applied.

Conley said that most of his tenants have stayed in good standing financially, but he is “relieved” that the eviction moratorium is coming to an end on Jan. 15. Conley, who is also a relator, said he uses the income from the rental properties as a second salary to support his family with his wife taking care of their children.

Continue Reading

NY Sen. Myrie ‘optimistic’ on Clean Slate bill's chances in 2022

BY Tim Williams New York State

Despite an 11th hour push, the Clean Slate bill failed to get passed at the end of last year’s legislative session in New York. This time around, state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, who sponsors the bill in the Senate, is “optimistic” the bill will pass this year.

If enacted, the Clean Slate bill would automatically seal the records of misdemeanor convictions three years after the imposition of the sentence, and certain felony records after seven years. This does not apply if the person is on parole or probation.

Continue Reading

State, federal officials tout NY's offshore wind potential

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

In a few years, wind turbines off the coast of New York state could be generating clean electric power for millions of homes. But first, those turbines have to be built.

State and federal officials on Friday touted a massive investment in upstate New York they say will help curtail climate change and create jobs.

Continue Reading

Senate Democrat has $1M on hand, Long Islanders back Hochul

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A Democratic incumbent in the state Senate has more than $1 million in cash on hand. Gov. Kathy Hochul has picked up Long Island endorsements from former House members. And Rep. Tom Suozzi continues to focus on the governor's use of state aircraft.

Here's a roundup of Friday's campaign news in New York:

Continue Reading

Too early to say if New York's indoor mask rule will end Feb. 1, Hochul says

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

It remains too soon to determine if New York's indoor mask rule will be lifted or extended when it expires on Feb. 1, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday said, adding she wants the restrictions put in place due to the pandemic to remain "short term" solutions to the crisis.

"I can't stand here today because I don't have the knowledge what it's going to look like Feb. 1," she said at a briefing on the pandemic. "We're going to keep monitoring the situation to make sure there's not a trend that changes quickly."

Continue Reading

Hochul says New York may be 'turning corner' with omicron cases

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 2:24 PM ET Jan. 14, 2022

New York's sharp uptick in COVID-19 cases appears to be slowing in the last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday said, after weeks of the rapid spread of the omicron variant.

Confirmed cases in the last 24 hours still remain high in the state at 49,027, but it's a steep decline from seven days ago when New York was recording nearly 90,000 new cases.

Continue Reading

Analysis: A Cuomo comeback?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Last week, an Albany judge formally dropped the forcible touching charge against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. On Thursday, one of his attorneys, Rita Glavin, once again held a news conference presenting new material she said undermined some of the allegations against him that led to his resignation in August.

But Glavin in her news conference went further, saying the press didn't do enough to carefully vet and weigh the allegations against Cuomo due to the sensitivities surrounding sexual harassment and assault.

Continue Reading

New law addresses statutory judgment interest rates in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Kathy Hochul has approved a new law that is meant to lower sky-high statutory judgment interest rates in consumer debt cases from 9% to 2% — a measure meant to aid low-income New Yorkers and those who have struggled financially due to the pandemic.

The interest rate in these cases has not been changed in 40 years and addresses the increasing number of unpaid judgment amounts. The pandemic in the last two years has led to record levels of unemployment, meanwhile, New York's jobs recovery has lagged other parts of the country.

Continue Reading

Progressive, watchdog groups urge oversight in economic development

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 5:32 AM ET Jan. 14, 2022

A coalition of progressive organizations and good-government watchdogs is urging state lawmakers to consider more oversight for economic development programs as well as make changes so they are more accountable to taxpayers.

The proposals come as the state Senate is set to hold a public hearing later on Friday on the state's business subsidies and incentives in order to better determine their effectiveness.

Continue Reading

Epidemiology professor: The tools are available to 'flatten the curve' of COVID

BY Tim Williams City of Albany

The changing COVID-19 landscape can be confusing as you try to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and safe. Denis Nash, distinguished professor of epidemiology at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, says the tools that we have of vaccines, masks, social distancing and testing are key to help “flatten the curve” and lessen the impact on a stressed health care system.

The omicron variant has been much more transmissible than other COVID variants. While vaccines can’t provide full protection if you get infected, they can provide protection against severe cases that may force you into the hospital. Nash tells Capital Tonight that people who are not vaccinated are “at much higher risk of hospitalized with this variant. No question about it.” According to Nash, early evidence from South Africa has shown that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine prevent hospitalization from the omicron variant by 70% with boosters helping raise that number.

Continue Reading

How Schumer, Gillibrand evolved on the filibuster

BY Kevin Frey Washington, D.C.

Facing a wall of Republican opposition, both New York senators have joined with many of their colleagues in eying a rule change that would allow them to pass voting rights legislation without any GOP support: modifying the filibuster.

The filibuster is an arcane Senate rule allowing the minority party to require 60 votes for most legislation to pass.

Continue Reading

5-year stalemate over casino revenue between Senecas, New York concludes

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In 2002, the Seneca Nation and New York State signed a compact in which the Senecas agreed to share a percentage of slot machine revenue quarterly in exchange for regional gaming exclusivity.

However, the nation last paid the state in March 2017, arguing the agreement did not explicitly designate payments for the final seven years. After years of litigation, the stalemate is over.

Continue Reading

Hochul gets key endorsement; Suozzi criticizes aircraft use

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday picked up a notable endorsement in the race for New York governor from her hometown of Buffalo, while one of her Democratic primary opponents, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, blasted her use of state aircraft to attend political functions.

On the Republican side, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino blasted the state's vaccine mandate for health care workers.

Continue Reading

Healthcare Association of NY: Workforce shortage is result of a confluence of issues

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

This week, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that hospitals in the Finger Lakes, Central New York and Mohawk Valley would have to halt elective procedures because regionally, the hospitals have exceeded 90% of their capacity.

Yet, as the Empire Center’s Bill Hammond pointed out in a recent column, upstate’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have been lower compared to those in New York City, where elective surgeries have not been halted.

Continue Reading

CSEA endorse DiNapoli, Schumer for re-election in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The Civil Service Employees Association on Thursday endorsed two of New York's longest-serving Democratic officials: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

CSEA is the state's largest public workers union, representing 300,000 state and local employees in New York.

Continue Reading

Hochul urged to expand bottle deposit law in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 2:32 PM ET Jan. 13, 2022

Businesses in New York on Thursday urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to expand the kinds of beverage containers that are covered by the state's bottle deposit law as well as increase the amount received on redemption.

The push comes as Hochul next week is set to unveil her first budget plan, which is due to pass in the Legislature by the end of March.

Continue Reading

DiNapoli: New York's prison population has gotten smaller and older

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York's prison population between 2008 and 2021 declined by half, but the number of incarcerated people 50 years old and older has increased, a report released Thursday by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found.

The number of people age 50 and older during that 13-year timeframe increased slightly from 7,511 people to 7,586 people, the report found. But as a percentage of the state's decreasing prison population, the number of older people who are incarcerated has doubled during that time.

Continue Reading

Booster mandate for health care workers draws concern in Finger Lakes counties

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Eleven county governments in the state's Finger Lakes region on Wednesday urged New York officials to reconsider the booster shot mandate for health care workers amid a staffing shortage in parts of the state.

The county governments proposed to health officials and Gov. Kathy Hochul in a letter to allow for a test out option for fully vaccinated workers, pointing to a "tenuous situation" for hospitals and health care networks.

Continue Reading

New York's school tax cap set at 2%

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Property tax increases at the school district level will be capped at a 2% increase this year as inflation has increased over the last year, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced Wednesday.

The move will affect 676 school districts and 10 cities with fiscal years that began July 1 -- including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers.

Continue Reading

How can New York reach 'last mile' of people without health insurance?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how important having health insurance can be for those who need medical treatment and preventative care. Now, policy experts are weighing a range of proposals that are meant to finish an expansion of the number of insured people in the state.

The proposals unveiled at a virtual news conference by the Citizens Budget Commission and the Community Service Society also come as Gov. Kathy Hochul next week is expected to unveil her first budget proposal.

Continue Reading

New York Assembly Minority Leader Barclay on bail reform changes, COVID shot mandates

BY Tim Williams New York State

This week, Republican lawmakers were joined by law enforcement leaders in Albany to criticize recent changes to the state’s criminal justice laws. State Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay told Capital Tonight he blames the “anti-police narrative” for contributing to New York’s rising crime rate.

According to FBI data, there has been an uptick in violent crime across the country.

Continue Reading

NY Sen. Rachel May on the 'Fair Pay for Home Care Act'

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

New York’s 60-plus population is growing faster than all but four other states. According to the New York State Office of the Aging, by 2030, the over-60 population will grow to 25% of the state’s total population.

At the same time the state’s population is aging, there is a staffing crisis in home care for people who want to age in their homes rather than move into nursing facilities.

Continue Reading

Cuomo attorney sends evidence preservation request to ethics panel

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

An attorney for former Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday sent an evidence preservation request to the state's main ethics board, a move that is a potential precursor to filing a lawsuit to challenge the watchdog's effort to have him return millions of dollars from a book contract.

The evidence preservation memorandum from Cuomo attorney Jim McGuire is the latest step in the controversy surrounding the former governor's memoir about the pandemic, "American Crisis."

Continue Reading

Short on school bus and truck drivers, Hochul wants to expand road test availability

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles will expand its availability of road tests for those who are seeking commercial driver licenses in order to address a shortage of truck and bus drivers.

Motor vehicle officials are scheduled to hold a public hearing on Jan. 26 to discuss how to create more capacity for state-run sites and road tests by allowing qualified third parties to offer them.

Continue Reading

Judge Shirley Troutman confirmed to New York's top court

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Judge Shirley Troutman was confirmed on Wednesday by the state Senate to New York's top court, drawing bipartisan praise in the process.

Troutman is Gov. Kathy Hochul's first nominee to the state Court of Appeals since she took office on Aug. 24. Troutman, who replaces Judge Eugene Fahey, is the second Black woman to serve on the court.

Continue Reading

New York trucking industry concerned over border vaccine requirement

BY Ryan Whalen New York State

The Trucking Association of New York expects a significant number of its members will have opted not to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as new cross-border rules requiring those vaccines go into effect Saturday.

"We've been working with our national counterpart to not necessarily stop the mandate, but at least delay it to give some more time and unfortunately that does not appear it's going to happen," Kendra Hems, Trucking Association of NY president, said.

Continue Reading

Federal offshore wind auction aimed at expanding clean energy in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

More than 480,000 acres in offshore New York and New Jersey will be auctioned for offshore wind development, the Biden administration announced Wednesday.

The auction, to be held Feb. 23, was announced by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

Continue Reading

Supporters push for public banking bill to aid underserved communities

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Advocates on Tuesday began another push to approve a measure creating a regulatory system for public banks in New York state in order to bring more financial institutions to underserved communities.

The measure would end the requirement in state law that public banks must apply for commercial charters, and allow local governments to establish public banks that provide government deposits to be used for affordable housing, financial services and green jobs investment.

Continue Reading

New York reopens rental assistance aid program

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state officials on Tuesday evening once again began accepting applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, but at the same time called for additional federal aid to continue to meet the outstanding need.

Applications are once again being taken, meanwhile, as the state's ban on evictions for tenants who have faced a pandemic-related financial hardship is set to expire on Saturday.

Continue Reading

Republicans call for cash bail rollback in New York amid criminal justice debate

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 7:57 PM ET Jan. 11, 2022

Republican state lawmakers on Monday called for a rollback of the state's laws that ended cash bail requirements for many criminal charges as the contentious debate over criminal justice and public safety enters yet another election year.

Democrats, however, have charged the effort amounts fear mongering to a pandemic-weary public as violent crime has spiked during the public health crisis not just in New York state, but around the country.

Continue Reading

On New York redistricting, Sen. Gianaris says he is staying above the fray

BY Susan Arbetter New York State
UPDATED 6:32 PM ET Jan. 11, 2022

The co-chair of a legislative task force that could end up drawing new congressional maps in New York told Capital Tonight that he hasn’t discussed redistricting with the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris, who co-chairs LATFOR, the New York State Legislative Task Force on Reapportionment and Redistricting, said that he’s had no conversations about redistricting with U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who heads up DCCC and is responsible for electing Democrats to Congress.

Continue Reading

New York’s higher education system gets renewed attention from Hochul

BY Tim Williams New York State

New York’s colleges and universities have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling.

In her State of the State address last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul outlined a number of proposals aimed at “revitalizing” the SUNY and CUNY systems. The proposals include an expansion of child care services, tuition assistance and efforts to bolster the reputation of the schools in the state’s system.

Continue Reading

Advocates seek pay raise for home care workers in NY

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A coalition of organizations that includes the politically powerful 1199, along with Democratic state lawmakers, urged Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday to back a pay raise for home care workers as the state budget season begins to take shape.

The effort comes as Hochul last week in her address to state lawmakers called for a pay raise for the state's health care workers with the goal of boosting employees in the sector by 20% in the next five years.

Continue Reading

New York board formally mandates booster shots for health care workers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A panel at the state Department of Health on Tuesday formally adopted the mandate for health care workers to receive booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The move comes after Gov. Kathy Hochul last week backed the new requirement and months after state officials required all health care workers to be vaccinated as well.

Continue Reading

Hochul seeks federal aid as eviction moratorium deadline looms

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state is seeking federal aid to support landlords and tenants as a ban on evictions for those suffering pandemic-related financial hardships is set to expire at the end of the week, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday said.

Talks between the Hochul administration and state lawmakers over the future of the moratorium are being held, but the governor at a news conference indicated the ban may ultimately lapse.

Continue Reading

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney tests positive for COVID-19

BY Luke Parsnow Hudson Valley

U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney has tested positive for COVID-19, the congressman announced in a statement Tuesday.

“This morning, I tested positive for COVID-19. While I am experiencing minor cold-like symptoms, I’m grateful to be fully vaccinated and boosted, which is protecting me from more severe illness," Maloney said in a statement.

Continue Reading

Hochul: New York may be 'cresting' latest COVID peak; hospital capacity remains an issue

BY Luke Parsnow New York State
UPDATED 11:26 AM ET Jan. 11, 2022

After nearly a month of rising COVID-19 case numbers in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul implied Tuesday that the tide might be turning.

The state reported 48,686 new cases in the last 24 hours, which is still high, but is down from a string of days in the last two weeks or so due in large part to the fast-spreading omicron variant.

Continue Reading

New York's Cultural Education Center to require vaccine or negative test

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Visitors to the New York State Museum, State Library and State Archives will be required to show either proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or having tested negative within the last 48 hours, State Education Department officials on Monday announced.

The restrictions for visiting those institutions, housed at the Cultural Education Center in Albany, will take effect on Wednesday. It will apply to visitors age 5 and older.

Continue Reading

Calls for record preservation grow as government meetings go online

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Good-government organizations in New York are backing legislation that would require government bodies to record their meetings on video and post the recordings online.

The bill, backed by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and state Sen. Anna Kaplan, is generating interest as more public meetings shift back to live stream events amid the spread of the contagious omicron variant of COVID-19.

Continue Reading

State Senate approves bill aimed at banning large corporate campaign donations

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A bill meant to ban major multinational corporations from making political donations and spending money on campaigns was approved Monday in the state Senate.

The measure, modeled after similar bills in Seattle and St. Petersburg, Fla., is taking aim at the proliferation of corporate spending on campaigns in the wake of the Citizens United decision in 2010. The Supreme Court ruling would coincide with the era of so-called "super PAC" spending in campaigns.

Continue Reading

Republican congressman cries 'hypocrisy' as chances of gerrymandering rise in NY

BY Kevin Frey Washington, D.C.

A Republican congressman is crying “hypocrisy,” as it looks increasingly likely New York’s Democratic-controlled Legislature could step in to draw the state’s congressional map, opening the door to potential partisan gerrymandering in the nation’s second-largest blue state.

A Democratic congresswoman, in response, says members of her party cannot afford to “roll over.”

Continue Reading

Apps see heavy traffic on first weekend of sports betting in New York

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo
UPDATED 8:27 PM ET Jan. 10, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. — According to geolocation data, New Yorkers checked their sports betting apps more than 17 million times in the first 36 hours they were live, including 8 million in the five boroughs of New York City.

PlayNY lead writer Mike Mazzeo said those are massive numbers.

Continue Reading

Buprenorphine is now available without prior authorization for people on Medicaid

BY Tim Williams New York State

Obtaining medication-assisted treatment for a substance abuse disorder is no longer a matter of equity.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, in December, signed a bill into law sponsored by state Sen. Pete Harckham, chair of the Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal that ensures people who have substance abuse disorders can immediately access medicine that will manage their withdrawal symptoms, regardless of the kind of insurance they carry.

Continue Reading

Advocates push for New York’s next 5-year housing capital plan

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

A coalition of 17 groups including the New York Housing Conference is urging the Hochul administration to develop a new five-year housing capital plan for the state. The coalition wants the administration to invest $6 billion over five years in new affordable and supportive housing units as well as in anti-homelessness programs.

That ask will grow to $13.5 billion over five years if President Biden’s “Build Back Better Act” does not get enacted into law.

Continue Reading

New York seeks to expand voting, election laws amid redistricting fight

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York lawmakers in both parties moved on Monday to reject proposed redistricting maps drawn by what has been billed as an independent commission, created as a "reform" to a process that had been previously in the hands of the Legislature.

The likely result: Lawmakers could soon be able to drawn their own legislative districts and those of their colleagues in the House of Representatives. Adjacent to it all, the state Senate moved bills meant to expand access to voting and ballots.

Continue Reading

Suozzi reschedules fundraiser amid COVID-19 surge

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A surge in COVID-19 cases this month has led U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi to scrub a fundraiser originally scheduled for Tuesday to March 1, his campaign announced.

The fundraiser, where host-level tickets go for $22,600, is planned for the Sheraton Hotel in New York City. The rescheduling of the event comes just days before campaign finance filings are due to state officials.

Continue Reading

Rep. Katko tests positive for COVID-19

BY Luke Parsnow Central NY

U.S. Rep. John Katko tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, the Republican congressman announced on Twitter Monday morning.

"I am fully vaccinated and boosted, and am thankfully experiencing only mild symptoms," Katko wrote.

Continue Reading

Environmental groups: Make it easier to buy an electric car in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A coalition of environmental groups this legislative session is once again making a push for a measure aimed at making it easier to buy an electric vehicle in New York state.

Long at issue in the state has been the direct sales cap on vehicle purchases in New York. Companies like Tesla manufacture electric vehicles and sell them directly to consumers.

Continue Reading

New York State Senate to take up voting, election law measures

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The Democratic-controlled state Senate later today is expected to take up a package of election and voting law changes that include provisions to expand voting on college campuses and continue pandemic-era election changes.

The measures represent the latest effort by Democratic lawmakers in New York to tackle the issue of election and voter access as the issue has become an increasingly heated one in states across the nation.

Continue Reading

Cuomo spokesman launches public relations firm

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Rich Azzopardi, a longtime spokesman and advisor to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has started a public relations firm which formally launches Monday.

Azzopardi has formed Bulldog Strategies, a firm that will handle communications, crisis commnuications and policy advancement.

Continue Reading

Lottery retailers seek higher commission from New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Lottery sales agents in New York are seeking an increase in commission from the state of 1% this year, a push that's backed by a coalition of business groups who argue the move would aid convenience stores, grocery stores, bodegas, newsstands, taverns, restaurants, liquor stores and service stations that are also lottery retailers.

If approved, the commission increase from 6% to 7% would be the first since the lottery's inception in 1967.

Continue Reading

Cuomo's forcible case is dismissed, but legal scrutiny could remain

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 7:54 PM ET Jan. 07, 2022

He was seen for only for a second, but former Gov. Andrew Cuomo appeared in an Albany city courtroom via livestream on Friday to have the forcible touching case filed against him dismissed. His attorney Rita Glavin later praised the result.

Cuomo was arraigned on a charge stemming from an allegation he groped a former aide at the Executive Mansion. Moments later, the case was formally tossed out by Judge Holly Trexler.

Continue Reading

Gillibrand legislation would fund and coordinate academic COVID-19 research

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Over the past two years, academic medical centers like the Jacobs School in Buffalo have helped lead research on COVID-19 that have helped develop things like vaccines, treatment and testing and shaped public policy.

However, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand believes those institutions can be better prepared, funded and coordinated in the future.

Continue Reading

Senate Minority Leader Ortt on Hochul’s SOS, bail reform and his conference’s legislative agenda

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

While Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt doesn’t agree with Gov. Kathy Hochul or her fellow Democrats on many issues, he told Capital Tonight that he was pleased to hear her discuss a few proposals in her State of the State address that he and his conference could get behind.

“The middle-class tax cut…is something the Republican conference has championed for many years. So that was something that was good to hear her mention,” Ortt said. “She also acknowledged the exodus of people. She didn’t lay out a specific plan, but she said we have to recognize this. That was important.”

Continue Reading

Legal Aid’s Judith Goldiner on four housing programs to watch

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

Once again, the issue of housing is front and center in Albany as the legislative session kicks off.

Notably, one of the major programs created to assist tenants and landlords struggling with COVID-19, ERAP, or the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, was given new life on Thursday.

Continue Reading

Hochul releases more data on COVID hospitalizations

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

More than half of the thousands of people hospitalized in New York with COVID-19 were admitted because of the virus, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office on Friday said.

New York for the first time released more specific data on COVID hospitalizations, drawing a distinction between people who entered the hospital because of being ill from the virus and those who later tested positive but are being hospitalized for other reasons.

Continue Reading

Forcible touching charge against former Gov. Cuomo dismissed by judge

BY Nick Reisman and Luke Parsnow New York State
UPDATED 1:47 PM ET Jan. 07, 2022

A forcible touching charge against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo was dismissed Friday afternoon by an Albany City Court judge after Albany County District Attorney David Soares said he could not successfully prosecute the case.

A criminal complaint filed in the fall accused him of reaching under the blouse of a woman on Dec. 7, 2020, while at the Executive Mansion in Albany.

Continue Reading

Advocate says tuition assistance for incarcerated is long overdue

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo
UPDATED 8:58 AM ET Jan. 07, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Bard Prison Initiative Senior Government Affairs Officer Dyjuan Tatro is a success story of the program for which he now advocates. The Albany native went to prison for 12 years when he was 20.

"Over the past four or five years, because I got an education in prison, I have been able to achieve really life-changing things in terms of the types of opportunities that are usually afforded formerly incarcerated people and that's because I had access to a higher education while I was in prison," he said.

Continue Reading

Here's how New York could fill a bus driver shortage

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

As school districts across the state struggle with a bus driver shortage, Gov. Kathy Hochul this week called for a provision to lift the earning cap for retired education workers.

The move could help address an acute shortage of bus drivers and other school personnel as district officials have struggled to return to in-classroom instruction since the fall.

Continue Reading

Judges' association wants New York courts to go virtual again

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The association that represents state supreme court justices in New York on Thursday called for court proceedings to once again go virtual amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases this month.

Courts in New York have moved to conduct more work in person while operating with social distancing and other pandemic safety guidelines in place.

Continue Reading

Hochul makes climate push as federal action remains in limbo

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Growing up in Western New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul was all too familiar with pollution and its aftermath. Now as governor, Hochul says the effects of climate change need to be dealt with by New York.

Hochul on Wednesday outlined her plans to expand New York's efforts in tackling climate change — a push that comes as federal efforts have stalled.

Continue Reading

How Democrats, Republicans are responding to the 'Big Lie' a year after Jan. 6

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

In September, House Republican leader Congressman Kevin McCarthy said, "There should only be two questions about this,” in reference to the Jan. 6 insurrection. “Why were we so ill-prepared that day and what are we doing to correct it?"

According to PolitiFact, for Democrats, the questions raised by the specter of the five-hour televised assault on the nation’s capital go much deeper than that. Democrats, PolitiFact said, have focused on the vulnerabilities of the electoral system.

Continue Reading

DiNapoli: Maybe corporations shouldn’t make political donations

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

Stating that in this political climate, “corporations have to question whether any spending on political causes is in shareholders’ interests,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli called on eight companies in which the state’s Common Retirement Fund is invested to make comprehensive disclosures.

“You know what? After what we’ve gone through, maybe corporations should consider not making any of these donations at all,” DiNapoli told Capital Tonight in reference to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Continue Reading

NY lawmakers propose bill limiting artificial light at night

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Two state lawmakers on Thursday introduced legislation meant to limit outdoor lighting at night in order to better protect migrating birds.

The measure backed by Manhattan Sen. Brad Hoylman and Albany Assemblywoman Pat Fahy would require most non-essential outdoor lighting be turned off by 11 p.m., be motion activated or covered by an external shield.

Continue Reading

Mobile sports betting can start this weekend in New York, regulators say

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Mobile sports betting can begin in New York on Saturday at 9 a.m., the commission that oversees and regulates gambling announced on Wednesday.

The commission has licensed four mobile sports companies to operate in the state: Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel and Rush Street Interactive.

Continue Reading

Cuomo expected to appear virtually in court on forcible charge as DA seeks dismissal

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo's court date on a charge of forcible touching is still on for Friday as Albany County District Attorney David Soares is moving to have the case dropped.

Office of Court Administration spokesman Lucian Chalfen on Thursday confirmed the legal team for Cuomo and the district attorney's office will still have to appear for the court date. Cuomo is expected to be arraigned before the charge is expected to be formally dismissed.

Continue Reading

Neighboring states' governors endorse Hochul for full term

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The Democratic governors of states that border New York endorsed Gov. Kathy Hochul's bid for a full term on Thursday as she faces a potential primary challenge later this year.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, in a joint endorsement, backed Hochul's election, pointing to her first few months in office as a sign of success for her new administration.

Continue Reading

Health insurers want coverage extended to undocumented New Yorkers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The number of New York residents without health care insurance has declined in the last decade, with nearly all having some sort of coverage. But now a consortium of insurers is calling for coverage for a segment of the population yet to be reached: undocumented immigrants living in New York.

The New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans on Wednesday backed the effort to extend coverage to undocumented people living in New York, saying the move would make a significant step toward universal health care in the state.

Continue Reading

Law enforcement union says staffing problems created mental health crisis

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Staffing shortages a law enforcement labor union blames on a lack of competitive pay and retirement benefits has created a mental health crisis for its members to deal with, the PBA of New York State on Wednesday said.

The union's president urged Gov. Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers to address the problem amid ongoing concerns over compensation. The union represents three law enforcement agencies in the state: New York State Park Police, New York State University Police and Encon Officers and Forest Rangers from the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Continue Reading

Hochul doesn't talk about Bills stadium in State of the State

BY Ryan Whalen City of Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Kathy Hochul had originally set the target date for a deal between New York State, Erie County and the Buffalo Bills on a new football stadium for Jan. 1.

Leading up to the State of State speech, analyst Jack O'Donnell said there was chatter an announcement could be imminent.

Continue Reading

What Hochul wants to do with public safety in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

As she unveiled her agenda for 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul acknowledged New Yorkers are increasingly concerned about crime and public safety.

And while she waded into what has become an increasingly contentious issue between lawmakers, law enforcement and reform advocates, the governor sought to walk a tight rope: Picking issues where there can be broad agreement for majority Democrats who control the state Legislature, while staying away from more controversial topics like changes to the state's bail laws.

Continue Reading

NY Senate majority leader on Hochul's State of the State

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tenure in Albany was marked by spates of productivity and chronic tension with the New York state Legislature.

According to many lawmakers, the former governor frequently used heavy-handed tactics to get his way in negotiations, including threats and bullying.

Continue Reading

'New era for New York': Hochul promises more collaboration with New York Legislature

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

For a decade, Andrew Cuomo was able to flex his political muscle as governor over the New York state Legislature on many occasions, amassing a large degree of power while in an inherently powerful office.

Cuomo resigned in August after that same Legislature had recently voted to scale back his broad pandemic powers and were on track to impeach and potentially remove him over multiple sexual harassment allegations and other controversies.

Continue Reading

Hochul proposes series of laws that would allow expanded housing construction

BY Ari Ephraim Feldman New York City

Gov. Kathy Hochul outlined several measures to allow for expanded development of affordable housing, pledging overall to add or preserve 100,000 affordable housing units over five years, including 10,000 units with supportive services.

“Every New Yorker deserves access to affordable housing, whether they’re at risk of homelessness or struggle to pay the rent each month,” Hochul said in her address.

Continue Reading

New York Republicans unveil 2022 agenda

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Republicans in the New York state Senate on Wednesday unveiled their own priorities for the new year, hours before Gov. Kathy Hochul delivered her first State of the State address in Albany.

The agenda for the Republicans in the Senate is focused heavily on public safety, as well as boosting the state's economic picture amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue Reading

Hochul proposes new rail line to connect Brooklyn and Queens

BY Ari Ephraim Feldman New York City

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s State of the State plan includes several consequential transit plans for New York City, though they are limited to reviews and studies of ideas that advocates and planning groups have been kicking around for decades, in some cases.

The most exciting thing in the plan to transit lovers will undoubtedly be the nod to the fabled Interborough Express: a plan to create an outer-borough subway line on existing freight tracks that could connect Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

Continue Reading

Live Updates: Gov. Hochul delivers first State of the State address

BY Spectrum News Staff New York State
UPDATED 2:20 PM ET Jan. 05, 2022

Kathy Hochul has been the governor of New York for just over four months, and Wednesday she laid out her agenda for New York as the state Legislature reconvened for a new session.

The State of the State, much like the president's State of the Union, is meant to give a broad-brush view of the governor's agenda for the new year.

Continue Reading

Hochul calls for permanently legalizing alcohol-to-go orders

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul in her State of the State address called for permanently legalizing the sale of alcohol to-go orders from New York bars and restaurants, a move that was put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic by an executive order by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo when those businesses were shuttered.

Hochul said passing alcohol-to-go would help many small businesses across the state pay their rents or mortgages as they continue to recover from the financial impacts of the pandemic.

Continue Reading

5 ways Hochul's agenda could affect New Yorkers

BY Nick Reisman New York State
UPDATED 2:13 PM ET Jan. 05, 2022

Gov. Kathy Hochul delivered her first State of the State address to lawmakers and New Yorkers on Wednesday. Here are some of the ways her agenda can most directly impact residents.

Expanded voting laws

Continue Reading

Hochul's priorities include boosting education and health care workforces

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled her first formal agenda for the new year on Wednesday by calling for measures to address acute worker shortages in schools and health care systems after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated workforces across the economy.

Hochul's State of the State address, delivered Wednesday in Albany to a socially distanced group of only dozens of people in the Assembly chamber, comes as the state continues to grapple with the fallout from the pandemic and a rise in cases amid the spread of the omicron variant.

Continue Reading

Visitor access to Capitol for State of the State limited to vaccinated, those with negative test

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New restrictions will be put in place in the state Capitol building on Wednesday as Gov. Kathy Hochul gives her State of the State address, with visitors being required to show either proof of being fully vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19.

The new requirements are being added as a rally is being planned for outside the building later in the morning to protest vaccine and indoor mask mandates in the state.

Continue Reading

Rep. Tom Suozzi: State of the state is 'dismal'

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi in a video statement to be released later on Wednesday morning outlined the daunting challenges facing New York, calling the state of the state "dismal" and that residents "deserve better."

Suozzi, who is challenging Gov. Kathy Hochul for the Democratic nomination for governor this year, faulted her plans to combat the sharp rise in COVID cases while promising to deal with crime and lower taxes.

Continue Reading

5 issues facing New York as lawmakers return to Albany

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul in the next six months will be deciding how to spend billions of dollars, impacting schools and health care along the way for more than 19 million New Yorkers.

The legislative session is set to begin in Albany as Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers her first State of the State address, outlining an agenda for yet another year of the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and as a statewide election looms.

Continue Reading

Suozzi lays out plan to curb crime in New York

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Whether it be New York City, Buffalo or Rochester, current Long Island Congressman and candidate for governor Tom Suozzi points to numbers over the last two years he says illustrate a troubling trend: There are upticks in homicides and other violent crime all over the state.

"I think we've got a really serious problem in our state," Suozzi said. "I don't think it's been talked about enough and I'm going to be talking about it a lot more throughout this campaign."

Continue Reading

Hochul to outline her agenda amid pandemic challenges

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

When she was sworn in to office on Aug. 24, Kathy Hochul pledged to take a different track as governor from her predecessor, the scandal-tainted Andrew Cuomo.

Now, as she gives her first address to state lawmakers outlining her own agenda and plans for New York, the new governor's speech will be the first time in a decade someone other than Cuomo will be steering the state in a new year.

Continue Reading

New York to open COVID testing sites at college campuses

BY Nick Reisman New York State
UPDATED 7:20 PM ET Jan. 04, 2022

Ten college and university campuses in New York will host COVID testing sites starting this week, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday announced as the omicron variant continues to surge across the country.

The testing sites will be opened at:

Continue Reading

Former prosecutor on Cuomo: 'This is not an exoneration'

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

A former prosecutor told Capital Tonight it’s not clear why Albany County District Attorney David Soares isn’t prosecuting former Gov. Andrew Cuomo under the state’s sex crimes statute.

Former executive chamber aide Brittany Commisso accused Cuomo of groping her breast and buttocks in December 2020. In a statement released earlier Tuesday, DA Soares said that, while he found Commisso “credible," that the burden of proof was too high for him to bring charges.

Continue Reading

Hope is still alive for bipartisan compromise on New York's redistricting lines

BY Tim Williams New York State

After weeks of hearings and negotiations, members of New York state's Independent Redistricting Commission failed to reach a consensus on a single proposal to send to the Legislature.

Jack Martins, a Republican appointee who serves as the commission’s vice chair, told Capital Tonight that after weeks of hearings and negotiations, Democratic commissioners walked away at the 11th hour without an explanation.

Continue Reading

Missing from New York's climate blueprint? How to pay for it

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

New York state’s blueprint for reaching its statutory climate goals is robust, but not complete.

One example: On Monday, Capital Tonight spoke with Cornell University professor and Climate Action Council member Dr. Robert Howarth about how the state will need to help retrofit millions of homes that currently use natural gas for heating. According to Howarth, it will be an enormous and expensive undertaking. While the recently released draft scoping document discusses the idea of a carbon pricing, no definitive position was taken.

Continue Reading

India Walton joins Working Families Party as a senior advisor

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 5:12 PM ET Jan. 04, 2022

Former Buffalo candidate for mayor India Walton is joining the progressive Working Families Party as a senior advisor, the organization on Monday announced.

Walton, who defeated incumbent Mayor Byron Brown in a June Democratic primary and lost the general election amid a write-in bid by Brown, will oversee special projects.

Continue Reading

New York inspector general: False drug test results led to punishment for people in prison

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Thousands of people in New York state prisons have received false positive drug test results, leading to punishments for many of them, including solitary confinement, longer sentences, delayed parole hearings and family visitation privleges revoked, according to the results of an investigation made public Monday by state Inspector General Lucy Lang.

At issue are drug testing policies that were put in place in 2019, using tests that ultimately were found to be unreliable and produced "rampant" false positives, the inspector general said.

Continue Reading

Hochul begins posting schedules with more detail online

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Kathy Hochul's office has started to release publicly more detailed versions of her schedules, providing a window into her day-to-day events since taking office last August.

Hochul's office posted three months' worth of schedules online, sending a link to Spectrum News 1 in response to a Freedom of Information Law request that had sought detailed schedules of her events, meetings and phone calls from her first month in office.

Continue Reading

New York seeks Supreme Court review of SALT cap

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state on Monday made another attempt to overturn the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions amid broader efforts in Congress to raise the ceiling and undo part of a 2017 tax law.

The push backed by Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James was also supported by Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey, similarly high-tax states where more taxpayers are likely to be affected by the $10,000 limit.

Continue Reading

Hochul hires public safety, housing and economic development advisors

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The administration of Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday continued to take shape as she appointed new advisors for housing, public safety and economic development, her office announced.

Tania Dissanayake, a former director of the New York City mayor's office of legislative affairs, will become the deputy secretary for housing. Marcos Gonzalez Soler, who most recently was a director at the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, will become public safety secretary.

Continue Reading

Nurses concerned about short staffing at ECMC

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Last year, the New York State Nursing Association won a major victory when the state Legislature passed safe staffing legislation for hospitals and nursing homes.

However, NYSNA delegate Lona DeNisco said at Erie County Medical Center, where she works as a registered nurse, staffing is as short as she's ever seen it.

Continue Reading

The clock is ticking on New York redistricting

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

For the first time ever, New York has opted to use a commission to draw new congressional and state legislative maps — a task that, in the past, had been left to the state Legislature (or, in some cases, the courts).

But after 16 meetings and almost 3,000 public comments, the Democrats and Republicans on the Independent Redistricting Commission have not been able to come to an agreement on a single set of maps.

Continue Reading

Get ready for heat pumps: New York's Climate Action Council releases blueprint

BY Susan Arbetter New York State
UPDATED 7:19 PM ET Jan. 03, 2022

New York’s 22-member Climate Action Council has released its long-awaited blueprint for how the state can achieve the requirements of the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA.

The CLCPA mandates that New York reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) statewide by 40% by 2030. By the same year, the law mandates that 70% of all electricity generated in New York be renewable.

Continue Reading

Cuomo lawyer says DA's nursing home probe has ended

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The Manhattan district attorney's office has closed an investigation into former Gov. Andrew Cuomo's handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, his attorney Elkan Abramowitz on Monday said.

The development comes after Cuomo, who resigned last August, has faced multiple investigations over his administration's policies toward nursing homes and long-term care facilities. At issue was a policy that required nursing homes to not turn away COVID-19 positive patients, and how the administration was reporting nursing home deaths due to COVID-19.

Continue Reading
SIGN UP FOR OUR E-BLASTS
Enter your email address below to subscribe to our "Morning Memo," breaking news alerts, and more!

LATEST MORNING MEMO

More Politics Headlines

BLOGROLL

You May Also Be Interested In