New York Schools May Face the Worst of "Worse-Case" Budget

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Education officials, from school leaders to union leaders, took one look at the worst case budget as proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday and gulped.

The budget line for education is second only to health care in its cost to the state, giving teachers unions, superintendents, school districts and families among those with the highest stakes in the coming weeks as New York seeks billions of dollars in aid from Congress.

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New York Lawmakers Seek to Rein in Food Delivery Fees

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

The New York State Senate passed two bills on Tuesday, with almost unanimous support, that would change how restaurants work with third-party food delivery services.

One bill would prohibit third-party food delivery services, such as Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates, from charging a restaurant a delivery fee that totals more than 15% of the order price.

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Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Passed Over for Pardon By Trump

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was not included in a raft of pardons issued by President Donald Trump in his final day in office.

The New York Times previously reported this week Silver was under consideration by Trump to be pardoned, which would have erased his conviction on fraud charges. But the news prompted a flood of criticism over pardoning the Manhattan Democrat by the president's New York Republican allies.

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New York Mayors on the Budget: "Prepare for Pain"

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

In June, New York State began withholding 20% of both Aid & Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) as well as transportation aid from cities across the state. It cut into the bottom lines of cities like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany, which respectively took budget hits of $33 million, $22 million, $18 million, and $3 million.

Under the governor’s executive budget proposal released Tuesday, it was announced that the 20% withholding of local aid in the current state budget will be reduced to 5%. This will still leave $63 million in cuts to local governments. For the upcoming state fiscal year, the governor proposes $56 million in cuts to AIM funding to cities, villages and towns (a 20% cut for most), assuming there is only $6 billion in relief from the federal government. If the federal government comes through with the $15 billion requested by the governor, those proposed cuts in local aid would be rescinded.

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3 Ways Cuomo's Budget Proposal Could Affect You

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

There is always a lot at stake when a governor presents their budgets to New York. The proposals deal with billions of dollars of aid for schools, health care and money to help the state's most vulnerable.

But there are also ways on the micro level budgets affect New Yorkers in their day to day lives. Here are three of them, by no means an exhaustive list.

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Taxing the Rich -- A Fault Line for Cuomo and Lawmakers?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Less than an hour after Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrapped up his budget address, a statement from Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins landed in the in-boxes of reporters.

The upshot: Democrats in her chamber want to raise taxes on the wealthy in New York.

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Cuomo Proposes Best Case, Worst Case Budgets

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

In one world, New York gets $15 billion in aid from the federal government to make up for the revenue that evaporated over the last year amid the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring.

In another world, New York only gets $6 billion from Washington, forcing spending reductions, tax increases, and more borrowing.

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New York Republicans: Don't Pardon Sheldon Silver

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York Republicans on Monday evening urged President Donald Trump to not pardon disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in his final hours in office.

Silver, according to The New York Times on Monday night, is among those being considered for a pardon by the president. Silver, a longtime and unquestioned ruler in the Assembly, was found guilty on charges related to bribery and fraud.

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3 Things to Watch for in Cuomo's Budget Plan

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

How do you put together a budget without knowing how much money you'll have? That's the kitchen-table problem facing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York lawmakers in the coming weeks as Albany debates a spending plan and Washington debates a spending bill that could potentially send billions of dollars in aid to offset pandemic-related losses.

Here are three things to watch for today as Cuomo releases his budget plan:

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Siena Poll: A Quarter of New Yorkers Do Not Plan to Get Vaccine

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

More than one quarter of New York voters surveyed do not plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a Siena College poll released Tuesday found.

The poll shows 27% of voters have no plan to get the vaccine while 69% do -- falling short of immunity goals of at least 75% to 85% public health officials are seeking for the vaccine.

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Lawmakers Call for Vaccine Oversight Hearing

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A pair of Republican state lawmakers on Monday called for a public hearing to assess the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in New York.

Assemblyman Colin Schmitt and Assemblyman Kevin Byrne called for the hearing to be held by their chamber's Local Governments and Health committees.

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Cuomo Says New York Wants to Buy Vaccines Directly

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York wants to purchase vaccines directly from manufacturer Pfizer as the supply from the federal government has not kept pace with the demand, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said.

It's not yet clear how many doses the state is requesting to buy or how much it would cost. The first step would be to get permission to do so.

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Vaccine Doses Pass One Million Mark in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The number of vaccinations administered in New York has surpassed the one million mark, but the distribution still remains uneven across much of the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said.

"The variance is obviously problematic," Cuomo said, pointing to the disparate distribution of vaccinations in health care centers and hospitals across New York.

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Cuomo Calls for Smart Speaker Disclosure

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Companies that make recording-capable smartphones, speakers, and TVs should prominently disclose that information, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed as part of his 2021 agenda.

The propsal would require the disclosure in the form of written warnings for consumers as Internet-connect devices with the ability to record, retain and transmit audio.

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Siena Poll: New Yorkers' Views on Race Show Little Change

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Only a third of New York voters believe race relations in New York are good or excellent as views have changed little in the last year, according to an annual poll conducted by Siena College and released on Monday.

The poll, released on the day observing the Rev. Martin Luther King's birthday, found a combined 31% of New Yorkers think race relations are excellent or good, while a combined 64% say they are fair or or poor.

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New York Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York officials on Saturday unveiled a website to track the progress of COVID-19 vaccinations in the state amid concerns over supply and the distribution process itself.

Melissa DeRosa, a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, called the website's unveiling on Twitter a "soft launch."

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UAlbany COVID-19 Vaccine Site Opens

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany
UPDATED 6:50 PM ET Jan. 15, 2021

Cars started to line up outside the white tents that lined the Northwest Gold Lot at SUNY Albany on Friday, a half hour before the state-run COVID-19 vaccine site officially opened.

SUNY Albany has now become almost a hub for COVID-19 related services, with a state run testing site on one side and now a vaccination site on the other.

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New York Capitol Braces for Protests

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

It was quiet Friday night outside of the state Capitol building in Albany. State Street has been closed to vehicle traffic, with concrete barriers acting as a deterrent.

But all levels of law enforcement are bracing for protests at the state Capitol starting this weekend and running into the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden next week.

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Assembly Republicans Unveil Their Recovery Plan

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republicans in the state Assembly on Friday released a package of measures aimed to boost the state's economy amid the downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All one has to do is look around to realize communities and small businesses are in desperate need of help,” the conference wrote in the plan. “Storefronts are shuttering and restaurants are closing. The very fabric of our communities is changing.”

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Why State, Federal Vaccine Numbers Differ

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows New York has received more than 1.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. But New York state says it has received only 934,925 first and second doses of the vaccine.

So, why the difference?

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Cuomo Says New York Has Received Fewer Vaccine Doses in the Last Week

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state received 50,000 fewer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the last week than the 300,000 doses it has gotten in previous weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.

The reduced vaccine supply comes as the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in New York and parts of the country has lagged behind the goals officials have pushed for since the end of last year.

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Bipartisan Frustration Grows Among New York Lawmakers Over Vaccine Distribution

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State lawmakers are growing increasingly frustrated with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine amid a lack of supply from the federal government and scheduling mishaps.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Friday in the Hudson Valley released a joint statement raising concerns they have heard from constituents over the distribution -- the confusion, the lack of doses and the problems with accessing websites to schedule a vaccination appointment.

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Unpublished Link Led to Unauthorized COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A link shared on social media and group chats this week allowed some New Yorkers to make COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

The problem? The link was unpublished, the appointments were not authorized, and the vaccination sites in Binghamton, Buffalo, Plattsburgh, Potsdam, Stony Brook, and Utica were either not open or taking appointments.

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New York Senate to Take Up Small Business Eviction Protection

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York state Senate on Tuesday plans to pass a measure designed to protect small businesses struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic from evictions weeks after lawmakers acted on similar legislation to aid residential tenants.

The proposal is expected to be included in a package of bills aimed at supporting small businesses during the economic crisis that has led to a wave of business failures and a spike in unemployment.

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Biden's COVID Plan Affirms Aid for States, Local Governments

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus proposal would set aside direct for state and local governments reeling from the financial pressure created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aid push is being closely watched by New York officials in both parties as the staggering costs that have piled up and tax revenue has vanished over the lat year.

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FBI: No Specific Threat To New York State Capitol, but Security Remains High

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany
UPDATED 7:51 PM ET Jan. 14, 2021

Since the violence that occurred last week at the New York State Capitol, the FBI has been warning of new possible armed protests at state capitols across the Country.

However, Thomas Relford, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Albany field office, said they have not uncovered any specific threats aimed at the New York State Capitol.

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Pediatrician: Child Poverty Can Become a Lifelong Ailment

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

While Governor Andrew Cuomo rolled out the final installment of his State of the State address, the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy (SCAA) rolled out its own policy overview called “The State of New York’s Children."

SCAA is an advocacy organization working to shape policies to improve health, welfare, and human services.

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1 Campaign. 6 Bills. $50 Billion = “Invest in Our NY”

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The “Invest in Our NY” coalition is comprised over 100 statewide organizations looking to persuade lawmakers to pass six bills that would raise over $50 billion in new revenue in 2021.

“This is actually a fiscally wise approach to budgeting,” campaign manager Rebecca Bailin told Capital Tonight. “This is a common sense series of legislation that actually ends tax breaks for the wealthy.”

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After 4 Days of Agenda Setting by Cuomo, Questions Remain

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Over the last four days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo rolled out plans for reviving the economy through rapid COVID-19 tests, investing in green technologies and energy and pushing long-gestating infrastructure projects.

But there are big questions that remain for Cuomo's agenda in the new year. Traditionally the State of the State are the broadstroke ideas; the state budget unveiling provides meat on the bones.

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Schumer: New York to Get $2B More in FEMA Relief

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York is set to receive $2 billion more in pandemic relief funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency under a deal announced Thursday by Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Schumer, who is poised to become the new majority leader in the U.S. Senate, said the agreement was reached with the incoming Biden administration.

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Tedra Cobb Wants PAC for Rural Democrats

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Democratic former House candidate Tedra Cobb on Thursday announced the formation of a political action committee meant to elect rural Democrats to office.

Cobb is a two-time candidate for the North Country House seat held by Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik. The district is the largest geographically in the northeast and includes large, rural expanses.

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Cuomo Calls for Major Infrastructure Push in New Year

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for a major push to revamp New York's crumbling infrastructure, calling it key to elevating the state's economy amid the doldrums of the pandemic-induced recession.

Cuomo, giving the fourth and final portion of his State of the State agenda that began on Monday, compared the effort to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal first launched in Albany in the depths of the Great Depression.

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Disability Advocates Say Second COVID-19 Spike Causing Recruitment Problems

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Advocates for people with developmental disabilities are concerned the second COVID-19 spike is hurting the retention and recruitment of direct support staff for programs in New York.

In a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent this week, a coalition of organizations that provide services to the vulnerable population wrote this could have a wide-ranging effect on the people who benefit the most from having direct support staff.

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Pence to Visit North Country in Final Days in Office

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 6:07 AM ET Jan. 14, 2021

One of Vice President Mike Pence's final days in office will be spent in New York's North Country region with a planned visit to Fort Drum on Sunday.

The visit was announced on Wednesday evening by Rep. Elise Stefanik, the Republican who represents the vast region who has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump.

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County Governments Renew Federal Aid Push

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

County leaders on Wednesday renewed their push for direct federal aid as top congressional lawmakers signaled they were also stepping up efforts to help local governments recoup the billions of dollars lost during the pandemic.

The push from the New York State Association of Counties this year also comes as the chances of another COVID-19 stimulus package have improved with Democrats poised to gain narrow control of the U.S. Senate.

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Cuomo Proposes "Energy Superhighway"

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region

Governor Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address laid out plans for green energy projects across the state that will create thousands of jobs and reduce the state’s carbon emissions.

Gavin Donohue, president of Independent Power Producers of New York, says while encouraged, these promises have been made before.

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Rep. Tom Reed Calls on Trump to Reaffirm Peaceful Transfer of Power

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

President Donald Trump should re-affirm that he will leave office without further incident next week as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to be sworn in, Rep. Tom Reed wrote in a letter released on Wednesday afternoon.

Reed's letter, co-signed with Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, came hours before Trump was impeached for the second time in his presidency, with lawmakers blaming him for inciting a riot of his supporters at the U.S. Capitol.

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NYOWA’s Joe Martens on Cuomo’s Offshore Wind Announcement

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

During the third installment of his State of the State address, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that we are beyond a debate about global warming, and rolled out a plan to transform New York State into a green economy powerhouse.

One element of his plan includes what the governor called "the largest offshore wind program in the nation."

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Can Green Jobs Push Revive New York's Economy?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Fighting climate change and creating jobs in the process - that's the twin goals of Governor Andrew Cuomo's plans laid out in his State of the State agenda.

"We can establish ourselves as the nation's leader for renewable energy, innovation and production," Cuomo said on Wednesday as part of his mutli-day State of the State rollout. "We will secure the jobs of the future right here at home for New Yorkers."

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Comptroller DiNapoli: New York's School Tax Increases to Be Capped Below 2%

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

School districts will be limited to a 1.23% hike in the property tax levy this year as education officials around the state could be facing a scramble for raising revenue amid an historic downturn in the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced Wednesday the cap would decline from 1.81% a year ago.

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Cuomo Makes Green Jobs Push in State of the State Agenda

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York must become a leader in green jobs and renewable energies in the country in order to transition to end to carbon-based fuels in the coming decades while creating tens of thousands of jobs in the process, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

"It is harder done than said and that's why so little has been done and so much has been said," Cuomo said in the third part of his four-day State of the State agenda being laid out this week.

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AG James Monitoring Threats Against New York Capitol

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York Attorney General Letitia James's office is monitoring potential threats against the state Capitol building in Albany amid tightened security in the area.

“After last week’s deadly attack at the U.S. Capitol, my office is closely monitoring all threats against our state Capitol in Albany," James said in a statement. "While I am working with law enforcement on the ground to ensure the chaos that we saw in Washington, D.C. does not take place right here in New York, we will not hesitate to take legal action against anyone who seeks to terrorize or harm legislators, Capitol staff, law enforcement, or members of the public."

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GOP Reps. John Katko, Liz Cheney Become First Republicans to Say They Will Vote to Impeach Trump

BY Luke Parsnow Central NY
UPDATED 8:38 AM ET Jan. 13, 2021

Rep. John Katko has become the first Republican member of the House of Representatives to say that he will support impeaching President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump Mob last week.

In a statement, Katko said that "to allow the President of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy."

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New York Prepares Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Sites

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Five sites for mass COVID-19 vaccinations will begin accepting appointments and are scheduled to open this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced.

The sites include the Javits Center in New York City, the Westchester County Center in White Plains, and the State Fair Expo Center near Syracuse that will open today.

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Upstate Republicans Split Over Trump Impeachment

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Upstate New York Republicans in Congress are split over whether President Trump should be impeached or censured in the coming days as the new Biden administration prepares to take office.

The disparate views from lawmakers like Rep. Elise Stefanik, a staunch supporter of the president; Rep. John Katko, who backs impeachment; and Rep. Tom Reed, who is seeking to chart a middle path; reflect the uncertain path ahead for Republicans a week after a mob of the president's supporters stormed the Capitol building.

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Sen. Sepulveda Loses Committee Chairmanship Amid Domestic Abuse Allegation

BY Nick Reisman and Morgan McKay City of Albany
UPDATED 8:13 PM ET Jan. 12, 2021

Bronx Democratic Sen. Luis Sepulveda lost his committee chairmanship and was stripped of his committee assignments after he turned himself in to police amid a domestic abuse allegation. Sepulveda was arrested and charged on Tuesday.

According to the New York Police Department, Sepulveda is being charged with criminal obstruction of breathing, which is a misdemeanor.

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Speaker Heastie: "Supply Has to Equal Demand When It Comes to Raising Taxes"

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told Capital Tonight that while the state has a $15 billion budget gap, that may be a drop in the bucket when it comes to the needs of New Yorkers who have been through the worst of the pandemic.

"I want to make sure that supply meets demand. Even though we’re looking at closing, in the governor's mind, and in his estimation, a $15 billion budget hole, remember…we still have needs beyond just closing the budget deficit."

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Cuomo Wants COVID Tests to Open Economy. Can it Work?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Imagine sometime this summer going to a game at Yankee Stadium, taking in a concert at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center or watching a race at Watkins Glen. Before you enter the event space, a quick COVID test is taken to show you are not positive.

That's the future Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out on Tuesday as he delivered another portion of his State of the State address this week.

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Cuomo Calls for a "Post-COVID Economy"

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York needs to transition its economy to a post-COVID pandemic world, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said in his second part of a week-long State of the State address.

To do so, New York will rely heavily on rapid testing sites around New York. The goal, Cuomo said, is to potentially hold large events and public gatherings like the Buffalo Bills playoff game last weekend.

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75 Assembly Lawmakers Call for Trump's Removal

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

President Donald Trump should be removed from office before his term ends next week, 75 lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled state Assembly on Tuesday said.

The call came in a letter to leaders in Congress as Democrats in the House of Representatives are planning to advance an article of impeachment unless Vice President Mike Pence removes Trump from via the 25th Amendment.

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Cuomo: Vaccine Eligibility Expansion Doesn't Match Supply

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York plans to accept the guidance from the CDC, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday concerns remain over supply.

Cuomo criticized federal officials for expanding the eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine without also increasing supply for states facilitating the distribution of the doses.

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Rep. Reed Opens Door to Barring Trump from Future Office

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican Rep. Tom Reed in an op/ed published Monday evening in The New York Times backed censuring President Donald Trump over impeaching him during his final days in office.

But Reed, a lawmaker from New York's Southern Tier region, also opened the door to barring Trump from holding federal office again in the future.

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Details Count Once Again in Marijuana Legalization Push

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The legalization of cannabis in New York is once again on the agend for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and many state lawmakers.

But even as the proposal is being pushed in part to aid a cash-strapped state by generating more revenue, the measure could once again face similar scrutiny over how it aids communities affect by stricter drug laws of the past.

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Top Health Lawmaker "Appalled" by Vaccine Distribution

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The top lawmaker on the state Senate Health Committee on Monday blasted the stalled effort to vaccinate New Yorkers and called for greater coordination between state and local officials.

The criticism from Sen. Gustavo Rivera of the Bronx, the chairman of the health panel, comes as more New Yorkers on Monday were eligible to schedule their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The new phase covers police, firefighters and education workers as well as people over age 75.

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Cuomo: "We Will Win the COVID War"

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 9:10 PM ET Jan. 11, 2021

New York will be victorious in the "COVID war" as the pandemic continues to rage across the country, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged on Monday as he began to unspool his plans for 2021 this week in his State of the State address.

"COVID created low tide in America and the ugliness was exposed for all to see," Cuomo said. "New York is, of course, not immune to those currents."

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County Social Services: "Calls to Crisis Lines Have Skyrocketed"

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Kelly Hansen, executive director of the NYS Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors (NYSCLMHD), says her members have "a drone’s view" of social safety net systems across all of the state’s counties.

"The commissioners have relationships with mental health and addiction treatment clinics, hospitals, the criminal justice system, and children’s services," Hansen told Capital Tonight. "We are responsible for planning and oversight."

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Heastie: Revenue Needed to Shore Up Safety Net

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Fixing the New York economy this year will require aiding tenants so they can stay in their homes and getting federal support for both the state and local governments.

And it's also going to require new revenue, said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie in an address formally kicking off the 2021 legislative session.

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New York Senate Moves to Bolster Absentee Voting

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The state Senate on Monday moved to strengthen absentee balloting in New York after an election cycle that saw a record number of voters cast ballots that way due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Elections matter, voting matters, and leadership matters. We have seen how fundamental change can be achieved when people exercise their Constitutional right to vote,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said.

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Cuomo's Agenda, In Part, Hinges on Federal Government

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Nearly three weeks after Festivus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo got around to an airing of grievances. He's had a lot of problems with the federal government, and now you're going to hear about it.

But as Democrats take control of the White House and narrow majorities in both houses of Congress, much of the governor's plans for 2021 will hinge on the federal government's actions in the coming weeks.

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New York State Bar Association Considers Expelling Rudy Giuliani

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York State Bar Association on Monday announced it was reviewing the possibility of expelling President Trump's lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani from its membership.

The announcement, which the bar association called an inquiry, comes after a riot at the U.S. Capitol left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.

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Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address: The One Big Thing

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

While there are specific policies to listen for in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address today, there’s really only one overriding issue to pay attention to: what the governor says about his expectations regarding relief money from the federal government.

All other issues, from education to healthcare to energy will be informed by that single expectation of cash; without it, the governor’s agenda will be gloomy.

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Cuomo Calls for Telehealth Expansion

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Expanding access to telehealth services as the pandemic has forced more interactions into a virtual world is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2021 agenda, he announced on Sunday.

Cuomo's proposal will be part of his State of the State, to be given on Monday in a virtual setting at the state Capitol.

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Three More Cases of COVID-19 Variant Found in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Three additional cases of the COVID-19 variant first found in the United Kingdom have been confirmed in New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday said.

Two of the new cases are related to an initial case first discovered in Saratoga Springs. A third case is unconnected to the Saratoga County cases, found in Nassau County, Cuomo said.

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Republican State Lawmakers Raise Questions with Vaccine Distribution

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly on Saturday released a list of 22 questions raising concerns with New York's progress in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled new plans to ramp up the effort.

The letter, sent to Cuomo, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, and the governor's point person on distribution Larry Schwartz, comes as vaccine distribution in New York has lagged.

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New York Lawmaker in Calling for Trump’s Ouster: We Will Stand Up for Democracy

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region

Now 39 New York state senators have signed on to a letter, calling on congressional leaders and the acting U.S. attorney general to hold President Donald Trump responsible for the violence that erupted at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Senator Liz Krueger said President Trump should be removed from office for inciting what she calls a “rebellion.”

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Who is Merrick Garland, Biden’s Nominee for AG?

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

The relationship between President Donald Trump and his Attorney General Bill Barr has had many dramatic twists, including the time the president declared that he was the nation’s chief law enforcement officer and not Barr.

President-elect Joe Biden is clearly seeking to publically declare a very different relationship with his attorney general nominee, Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge who was famously denied a vote by the U.S. Senate when he was nominated in 2016 for the Supreme Court.

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Cuomo Wants to Expand Tenant Protections Amid Pandemic

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A strengthening of protections for commercial and residential tenants will be part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State agenda, he announced on Friday.

One proposal would codify an existing executive order that extends the statewide moratorium on commercial evictions to May 1 for tenants who have had a COVID-related financial hardship.

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New York to Expand COVID Vaccination Network as Distribution Lags

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 5:36 PM ET Jan. 08, 2021

New York is expanding its network of distributor sites for vaccinations as the vast majority of those who are now eligible for the first dose are yet to receive it, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced.

At the same time, the state is moving to open vaccination appointments to a larger pool of people who are classified as essential workers, including police officers, firefighters and teachers as well as people over age 75.

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9 Governors, Including Cuomo, Call for Expedited Vaccine Supply

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was among the nine governors on Friday who pushed federal officials in a letter to free up more access to vaccination doses for the coronavirus.

The letter comes as COVID cases and deaths have increased sharply across the country over the last several weeks and as vaccine distribution as stumbled across the country.

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Cuomo to Push for Absentee Ballot, Early Voting Expansion

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Increasing the amount of time to request an absentee ballot, counting those ballots as soon as they arrive and expanding early voting hours will be part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2021 agenda, he said on Friday.

"At a time when the Trump administration seeks to strip Americans of their voting rights, we did see a lot of concern during election time," Cuomo said. "We want New York to be a champion of voting rights."

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Cuomo: Trump Should Resign or Be Impeached

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on Friday for President Donald Trump to resign from office or be removed through impeachment in the wake of a riot at the U.S. Capitol that killed five people, including a police officer.

"I call on every New York federal official to call for him to resign," Cuomo said. "Call for him to resign. I don't care if you're a Democrat, I don't care if you're a Republican. You're a government official."

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Labor Union Objects to Prison Closures

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The plan to close three prisons in New York in the coming months was criticized on Friday by the Public Employees Federation, the second-largest public workers labor organization in the state.

At the same time, PEF President Wayne Spence called for COVID vaccinations to be made available now to staff at the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

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Lawmaker Urges State to Report COVID-19 Tracing Post-Bills Game

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State Sen. Jim Tedisco on Friday urged state health officials and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office to publicly release any data on the potential spread of COVID-19 after this weekend's Buffalo Bills playoff game.

New York, in a deal brokered with the team, is allowing 6,700 people to attend the game. All fans in attendance will have COVID-19 rapid tests conducted prior to the game, masks must be worn at all times inside Bills Stadium and social distancing rules will be in force.

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Progressive Advocates Unite Around Tax-the-Rich Push in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Advocacy groups from across the state this week are backing a united push to increase taxes and end tax breaks on upper income earners in New York in a bid to raise $50 billion in revenue ahead of a contentious state budget season.

The groups range from labor unions like DC 37 and PSC-CUNY in New York City to tenant advocacy organizations in Rochester and local progressive organizations with chapters in Tompkins County and Buffalo.

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New York Lawmakers Want Investigation of Rioting at US Capitol

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

New York State Senate lawmakers banded together on Thursday, calling on congressional leaders and acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to hold President Donald Trump accountable for the violence that erupted at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

State Sen. Liz Krueger, and 35 other senators, sent a letter saying that the president “directly incited and encouraged an armed and violent insurrection against the government of the United States.”

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Supply vs. Demand as COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Continues

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

New York is continuing its rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, and this week the list of those eligible broadened to include home care workers.

Kathy Febraio, president of the New York State Association of Health Care Providers, said it has been challenging at times for certain workers to schedule an appointment due to limited availability.

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CSSNY’s Benjamin on Charitable Hospitals Suing Patients During COVID-19

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

Back in March of last year, the Community Service Society of New York released a report about how New York’s charitable hospitals had sued 40,000 patients over the past five years.

“Patients are getting slaughtered. People are having their wages garnished, the whole nine-yards,” Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president of health initiatives at the Community Service Society, told Capital Tonight.

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Q&A: How COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Can Improve

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The distribution of the first COVID-19 vaccines has not gone as quickly as planned. Nationally, the goal of 20 million doses by the end of 2020 did not meet the target.

So far, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported Thursday 430,000 doses have been administered as frontline health care workers and nursing home residents and staff receive the first batch of the vaccinations.

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The Legal Standard for Free Speech & When Does It Turn Into Sedition?

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Roy Gutterman spends his days thinking about the First Amendment and freedom of speech. He should. He gets paid for it as the director of the Newhouse School's Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University.

When asked about Wednesday’s mass insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, he said that, to his mind, it’s clear there were people who crossed the line from political protest into violence. However, he said, that “line” continues to evolve.

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Vaccine Distribution Continues to Ramp Up, 430,000 People Have Taken It in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in New York has continue to increase each day this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as 430,000 shots have been administered in the last month.

The first phase of the vaccine distribution has covered health care workers, while a federally administered effort is vaccinating nursing home residents and staff. The state is also expanding its role to vaccinate nursing home facilities this week.

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Sen. Schumer Calls for Trump's Removal from Office Using 25th Amendment

BY Nick Reisman and Justin Izzo New York State
UPDATED 2:41 PM ET Jan. 07, 2021

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called for the invocation of the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office following a violent protest at the U.S. Capitol.

“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president," Schumer said. "This president should not hold office one day longer."

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Security Around New York Capitol Tightens After Washington DC Rioting

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Workers on Thursday installed concrete barriers on State Street, one of two narrow avenues adjoining the state Capitol building, sealing it off from vehicle traffic.

The barriers are the latest effort to tighten security at the state Capitol building in Albany, a day after a violent protest and rioting at the U.S. Capitol by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump.

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New York Wades Back in to Legalized Cannabis Debate

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Legalizing sales of cannabis products at the retail level is once again expected to be part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget this year, he announced Wednesday, once again igniting a debate over how New York should approach the issue.

The measure has stalled in the past not over whether marijuana should be legalized, but over the specifics of how to do it. How should it be taxed? How should communities affected by drug laws benefit? Where can cannabis products be sold? Should New Yorkers be allowed to grow small amounts of the plant on their own?

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Cuomo Bet on a Democratic U.S. Senate. Now What?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was seeking the equivalent of a political bank shot: Joe Biden wins the presidency, Democrats gain control of the U.S. Senate, and New York gets a friendlier Washington that could lead to direct aid for a beleaguered state budget.

On Wednesday, the verdict came in: The Democrats have full, if narrow, conrol of Washington with victories by both Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in a pair of runoff elections in Georgia.

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Cuomo Says He Won't Attend Bills Playoff Game

BY Nick Reisman and Ryan Whalen City of Albany
UPDATED 10:43 PM ET Jan. 06, 2021

On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will not be attending the Buffalo Bills playoff game this weekend as originally planned, explaining he will be working on a rewrite of his State of the State address instead.

Cuomo will be giving his ticket to a nurse from Erie County Medical Center.

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Stefanik, Condemning Violence, Votes to Object to Electors

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik on Wednesday evening condemned the rioting at the U.S. Capitol that interrupted the certification of the 2020 presidential election in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.

But Stefanik in the same address said she would continue to object to some of the electors sent by states.

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New York to Deploy National Guard Troops to Washington

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York will deploy 1,000 members of the National Guard to aid with security in Washington, D.C. after a riot by supporters of President Donald Trump, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said.

The deployment, requested by U.S. National Guard officials, will not affect the effort to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cuomo said. It is expected to last up to two weeks, covering the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

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Georgia Runoff & Electoral Vote Challenge: What Links Them?

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

Multiple historic events unfolded Wednesday, each significant in their own way, but together they could portend a sea change in American democracy, according to David Driesen, a professor at Syracuse College of Law.

“The significance of the vote today, along with the violent protests, convinces me that we need to strengthen our democracy in some very specific ways,” Driesen told Capital Tonight.

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Cuomo, AG James Call U.S. Capitol Riot a Failed Coup

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 6:45 PM ET Jan. 06, 2021

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York Attorney General Letitia James in statements on Wednesday condemned the rioting by a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters a "coup attempt" fomented by the president.

“The coup attempt initiated by outgoing President Trump has been despicable," James said in the statement. "Today, it became violent. If blood is shed, it will be on his hands. These actions, fueled by lies and wild conspiracy theories espoused by President Trump, must be unequivocally condemned by every corner of our society."

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Cuomo Will Include Mobile Sports Betting, Marijuana Legalization in Budget

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to include the legalization of mobile sports betting and retail cannabis in the state budget, he announced on Wednesday.

Cuomo, who is due to give his State of the State address next Monday, is seeking to raise new revenue in the spending plan this year amid a budget gap widened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Cuomo Says Vaccination Rate Has Increased

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The number of people who have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in New York has increased daily since Monday amid a stalled roll out across the country and in the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced the vaccination rate has tripled since the start of the week among health care workers. Cuomo has sought to apply pressure on hospitals administering the vaccine at the moment.

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What to Watch as the Legislature Returns

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

The 2021-22 legislative session begins today, and it promises to be challenging in a variety of ways. The most obvious challenge? Due to the on-going pandemic, lawmakers will likely be doing a lot of their deliberating via Zoom.

On the face of it, that may not seem like such a big a deal. All of us have been making due with an on-line version of life since the spring, right?

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