Longtime New York state Assemblymember Helene Weinstein to retire

BY Tim Williams New York State

New York state Assemblymember Helene Weinstein, the first woman to chair the influential Assembly Ways and Means Committee, has announced she will retire at the end of this legislative session. Weinstein, the longest-serving incumbent in the state Legislature's lower chamber, joins her state Senate counterpart, Neil Breslin, in planning to retire.

In a statement on X, formally known as Twitter, announcing her decision to retire, the Brooklyn Democrat said “it has been the greatest honor to serve” and thanked current and former staffers.

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Former Trump Org. CFO Allen Weisselberg pleads guilty to perjury

BY Spectrum News Staff and Associated Press New York City
UPDATED 10:49 AM ET Mar. 04, 2024

Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, pleaded guilty Monday in New York to perjury in connection with testimony he gave at the ex-president’s civil fraud trial.

Weisselberg, 76, surrendered to the Manhattan prosecutor’s office earlier Monday and entered state court in handcuffs, wearing a mask, before pleading guilty to five counts of perjury. Prosecutors accused Weisselberg of lying under oath when he answered questions in a deposition in May and at the October trial about allegations that Trump lied about his wealth on financial statements given to banks and insurance companies.

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New York legislative Labor Committee chairs renew effort for minimum wage parity between upstate, downstate

BY Tim Williams New York State

On Monday, New York state lawmakers and advocates will join together at the Capitol to announce that the newly minted chair of the Assembly Labor Committee, Rochester’s Harry Bronson, will be the prime Assembly sponsor of legislation that would create a minimum wage parity between upstate and downstate New York.

The bill, known as the Upstate Parity and Minimum Wage Protection Act, would create a statewide minimum wage floor of $17 per hour. As of Jan. 1, the minimum wage in New York City, Westchester and Long Island sits at $16 per hour. In upstate New York, that figure rests at $15 per hour. By 2026, the minimum wage in non-upstate areas will rise to $17 per hour, while upstate will rise to $16 per hour.

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State panel to localities: Cannabis oversight 'starts at home'

BY Kate Lisa New York State
UPDATED 5:12 PM ET Mar. 02, 2024

Cannabis leaders told county officials this week at a conference in Albany they should not depend on the state Office of Cannabis Management to dictate the presence of cannabis in their communities, including getting control of illicit dispensaries.

The prohibition of recreational cannabis ended in the state nearly three years ago this month, but local elected officials in different parts of the state continue to have questions about the new policy and regional consequences.

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Stefanik to bring border patrol agent as State of the Union guest

BY Tim Williams Albany/Capital Region

Rep. Elise Stefanik, the chair of the House Republican Conference, announced Friday that Brandon Budlong, a border patrol agent and president of the National Border Patrol Council 2724, will accompany her at President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday.

Each year, members of Congress bring a guest to Washington D.C. to attend the annual report to Congress known as the State of the Union. The Constitution requires the president to update the Congress on the state of the nation yearly. Early presidents accomplished the task by sending a letter to members of Congress, but the tradition grew to a speech in the chamber of the House of Representatives at the invitation of its speaker.

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New York public defenders, DAs push for more student loan repayment help

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- According to the American Bar Association, the average law student graduates with $130,000 in student loan debt.

Many are able to quickly make a dent by going into lucrative private or corporate practices, but Amanda Jack of the Legal Aid Society says those who go into publicly funded work typically make far less.

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New York attorney general says a county must rescind its ban on female transgender athletes

BY Associated Press New York City

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Attorney General Letitia James on Friday demanded that a county on Long Island scuttle its new prohibition against transgender women and girls competing in female sports.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman issued an executive order on Feb. 22 banning sports organizations from county-run athletic facilities if they allow transgender girls and women to compete on female teams.

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How much state gambling revenue goes to New York schools

BY John Camera Hudson Valley

New York state’s lottery system isn’t just paying out to that one big winner. It also helps fund the state’s public education system, and state officials want to raise awareness of that.

If you’ve bought a lotto ticket and walked away disappointed, don’t worry. You still helped the next generation win. That’s the message New York Racing and Gaming Commissioner Brian O’Dwyer is hoping to send in a marketing campaign.

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NYCOM again pushes for increase in state funding for local governments

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The New York state Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials (NYCOM) is once again reiterating a request to increase funding for local governments that pays for things like supplies and wages for police officers and firefighters, according to a letter it sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders.

AIM funding, which stands for Aid to Municipalities, has totaled about $715 million a year since 2012 and has remained relatively stagnant since that time. Mayors from across the state have been pushing for an increase after AIM funding level remained the same in the governor's executive budget proposal.

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New York lawmaker introduces bill to ban dynamic pricing amid Wendy's plan to test it on their menus

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

A New York state lawmaker introduced legislation on Thursday that aims to ban dynamic pricing on food items in response to fast food chain Wendy's plan to test a system where prices for various items could fluctuate based on demand.

Democratic state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, of the Capital Region, introduced the "Fair Food Pricing Act," which his office said is meant to protect consumers from potential exploitation and manipulation.

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Hochul: $45M going to 7 N.Y. locations to attract high-tech manufacturing businesses

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

More than $45 million has been awarded to improve seven locations in New York so that they may attract high-tech manufacturing businesses, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Friday.

The money comes from the FAST NY (Focused Attraction of Shovel-Ready Tracts) program, which is designed to prepare and develop sites to increase the chances of large employers and high-manufacturing companies to settle on those locations.

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$50 million could incentivize grocery stores to come to food deserts

BY Vince Briga Binghamton
UPDATED 1:10 PM ET Mar. 01, 2024

New legislation is introduced by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is aiming to end food deserts across the state.

Fifty million dollars in federal funding would work to incentivize grocery stores to build new locations in underserved communities. It also helps those in food deserts better serve the public.

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FBI raids Bronx home of top Mayor Adams aide

BY Bernadette Hogan The Bronx
UPDATED 9:00 AM ET Mar. 01, 2024

The FBI on Thursday raided the Bronx home of a top aide of Mayor Eric Adams, a spokesperson for the agency said.

Winnie Greco, who serves as the mayor's director of Asian affairs, has been placed on leave from her position in the Adams administration, according to City Hall.

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Mayor Adams challenges NYC's sanctuary city laws (again)

BY Spectrum News Staff New York City

This week, Mayor Eric Adams made headlines when he announced that he thinks changes need to be made to New York’s sanctuary city laws. This time, the mayor called for expanded cooperation between local police and federal immigration authorities, attacking the current city policies that limit such communication and calling them detrimental to public safety. NY1 investigative reporter Courtney Gross, statehouse reporter Bernadette Hogan and political reporter Bobby Cuza weigh in on the mayor’s remarks and how his comments have received support from Republican lawmakers throughout the city.

After that, the seemingly endless redistricting story took another turn this week, as the state legislature approved new congressional district maps that made small changes to the lines but did not go nearly as far as they did in 2022. The “Off Topic” team looks at what this means for House races in the fall.

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Race for Congress in N.Y.: One-on-one with Rep. Tom Suozzi

BY Spectrum News Staff New York State
UPDATED 9:48 PM ET Feb. 29, 2024

All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives are up for reelection in November, including the 26 in New York. Spectrum News political reporters will be providing updates throughout the campaign season on New York's congressional races.

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Rep. Adriano Espaillat discusses Biden, Trump visiting U.S.-Mexico border

BY Spectrum News Staff New York City

President Joe Biden and Donald Trump made dueling trips Thursday to the U.S.-Mexico border, looking to gain an edge on immigration ahead of their likely rematch in the race for president.

Biden met with border officials and called out Republicans in Congress for sinking a deal that would have bolstered border security.

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New York state lawmakers weigh changes to alcohol consumption laws

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Over the last few years, New York has made changes to alcohol consumption laws, and Gov. Kathy Hochul and some lawmakers are hoping to keep that going.

The state Senate will hold a hearing Friday to examine the procedures and practices of the State Liquor Authority, look at what has worked and what hasn’t when it comes to recent initiatives and gather feedback on future changes.

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Housing divided: CNY county takes action, prepares for building pushback

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Onondaga County has taken the area's housing shortage into its own hands in preparation for thousands of new workers at Micron Technology — refusing to wait on state action as leaders Thursday said they will overcome expected pushback from local officials who remain skeptical of new developments.

As the Legislature readies for a spirited housing debate this budget cycle, the clock is ticking for Onondaga County to build a variety of affordable housing after Micron's announcement last year to invest $100 billion to build a new semiconductor manufacturing facility in the town of Clay. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by the end of the decade.

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Supportive housing advocates push to save 9,000 at-risk units in New York

BY Susan Arbetter Albany/Capital Region

For homeless people, for families fleeing abusive relationships, for those suffering from mental illness, for children aging out of foster care, there is a special form of housing in New York state called “supportive housing.”

These are typically apartment units that come with on-site services to help individuals and families who need them.

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Hochul, N.Y. legislative leaders name appointees to commission to study slavery reparation

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced their appointments to a state commission tasked with studying potential slavery reparation, the governor's office said Thursday.

The panel, created by legislation passed at the end of last year, will look into the state's history of slavery and how to repair its lasting impacts on descendants of enslaved New Yorkers. Slavery remained legal in New York until 1827.

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Jackpots of 3 New York draw games generate $63.9M for schools, small businesses

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Jackpots for three of New York’s popular draw games — Mega Millions, Powerball and NY LOTTO — have generated more than $63.9 million for public schools and small businesses, the state Gaming Commission said Thursday.

Individually, as of Thursday, the jackpots for Mega Millions have generated $23.8 million; Powerball $17.8 million; and NY LOTTO $13.4 million. Sales for the three games have also generated $8.9 million in commissions for lottery retailers, according to the commission.

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New York AG says meat producing giant made misleading environmental claims to boost sales

BY Associated Press New York State

The giant meat producer JBS was accused of making misleading claims about its greenhouse gas emission goals to boost sales among environmentally conscious consumers in a lawsuit filed Wednesday by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The lawsuit filed in a state court in New York City alleges that the company claimed it will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 despite having no viable plan to meet that commitment. The lawsuit names as defendants JBS USA Food Company and JBS USA Food Company Holdings, the American subsidiary of the world-leading producer of beef products based in Brazil.

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State Sen. Webb making Black history in halls of government

BY Vince Briga Binghamton

In the shadows of one the original stops on the Underground Railroad, State Senator Lea Webb is making her own history.

On January 1, Webb became the first Black woman to represent the 52nd State Senate district, a region that covers Cortland, Ithaca and Binghamton.

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Albany County DA addresses misconduct claims against him

BY Spencer Conlin Albany County

Albany County District Attorney David Soares appeared before the county’s Law and Audit & Finance Committees Wednesday night.

The longtime DA took issue with the timeline in which allegations of misconduct began to surface involving a $23,500 bonus he gave himself last year via state grant money.

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State senator discusses housing priorities in state budget

BY Spectrum News NY1 New York City

New York state Sen. Brian Kavanagh is among lawmakers in Albany pushing for a dramatic increase in housing construction across New York City and the state amid ongoing budget deliberations.

During an appearance on "Mornings On 1" Thursday, Kavanagh, who represents Lower Manhattan and chairs the State Senate Housing Committee, also emphasized the need for bolstered tenant protection laws alongside housing expansion efforts.

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Hochul penalizing Google maps for illegal pot shop surge

BY Bernadette Hogan New York City

Up against at least 1,500 illegal marijuana shops in New York City, Gov. Kathy Hochul slammed social media companies Wednesday for listing the stores online.

It’s been a two-year challenge for state regulators charged with writing and enforcing the rules tied to the legal cannabis market.

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Hochul signs New York Legislature's own set of new congressional maps into law

BY Jack Arpey and Luke Parsnow New York State
UPDATED 8:05 PM ET Feb. 28, 2024

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed into law a new set of congressional maps approved Wednesday by the state Legislature after Democratic lawmakers on Monday rejected the newest proposed boundaries drawn by the state's Independent Redistricting Commission.

Legislation introduced earlier this week that would make some changes to the maps the commission approved last week passed the state Senate and Assembly on Wednesday afternoon.

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N.Y. Rep. Suozzi sworn back into Congress

BY Spectrum News Staff and Kevin Frey Washington, D.C.
UPDATED 8:02 PM ET Feb. 28, 2024

Rep. Tom Suozzi was sworn in Wednesday evening on Capitol Hill, filling the seat once occupied by George Santos and further reducing the House GOP’s already razor-thin majority.

"Speaker, I never thought I'd be back here, but the Lord works in mysterious ways and God made a way when there was no way," he said.

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Two perspectives on the updated New York packaging reduction bill

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

If you’ve ever purchased anything from Amazon, you’ve probably had to open a plastic bubble mailer and then a second or even third plastic wrapper to get at the thing you ordered.

It’s one reason why more than 300 advocates and elected officials converged on Albany Tuesday to push lawmakers to pass a bill to reduce packaging. Advocates argue that single-use plastic is one of the most serious issues facing the environment.

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Former N.Y. budget director analysis: Eliminating managed long-term care plans would save state money

BY Tim Williams New York State

An analysis of managed long term care plans, or MTLC plans, by former New York state Budget Director Paul Francis, who is currently with Step Two Policy Project, found that the state could save money if it eliminated the MTLC plans and returned to a fee-for-service model.

The analysis found that the total annual gross savings from eliminating MTLC plans in 2025 would save over $900 million and that the state share gross savings reaches over $400 million.

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Appellate judge refuses to halt Trump's $454 million fraud penalty while he appeals

BY Associated Press New York City
UPDATED 4:17 PM ET Feb. 28, 2024

A New York appellate judge on Wednesday refused to halt collection of Donald Trump’s $454 million civil fraud penalty while he appeals, rejecting the former president’s request that he be allowed to post a bond covering just a fraction of what he owes.

Judge Anil Singh of the state's mid-level appeals court ruled that Trump must post a bond covering the full amount in order to stop enforcement of the judgment. Singh did grant some of Trump's requests, including pausing a three-year ban on him seeking loans from New York banks — which could help him secure the necessary bond.

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Schumer says he and McConnell 'came together' at critical moments

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer acknowledged he and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, had their political differences but is proud they came together at crucial moments. McConnell announced Wednesday he would step down as the Senate Republican leader in November after nearly two decades running his conference in the Capitol’s upper chamber.

“During my years in the Senate, Mitch McConnell and I rarely saw eye to eye when it came to our politics or our policy preferences,” Schumer said in a statement. “But I am very proud that we both came together in the last few years to lead the Senate forward at critical moments when our country needed us, like passing the CARES Act in the early days of the COVID pandemic, finishing our work to certify the election on January 6th, and more recently working together to fund the fight for Ukraine.”

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Former Rep. Charles Rangel reflects on the 'Gang of Four' and talks about the future of Harlem politics

BY Errol Louis and Debora Fougere Manhattan

Dr. Zulema Blair, chair of the Department of Public Administration at Medgar Evers College, says a shift in Harlem's population at the turn of the 20th century brought with it a strong appetite for politics.

“Harlem was the first place in the city that people migrated to from the West Indies, from the Caribbean, from Haiti, from all over,” Blair said. “People brought their political acumen with them from these countries, the immigrant community."

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N.Y. counties: Include localities in debate on Medicaid cuts

BY Kate Lisa New York State

New York county leaders Tuesday said local governments will be essential in upcoming budget negotiations for the Legislature to most effectively cut Medicaid spending — arguing social services staff must be included in discussions to help the state maximize program savings.

More than $1.2 billion in Medicaid cuts proposed in Gov. Kathy Hochul's executive budget was a leading topic of discussion at the state Association of Counties' annual conference this week held in Albany.

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Western New York landlord group opposes 'Good Cause Eviction' bill

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

There are many complicated elements to a potential housing deal in Albany, but the two primary requirements, according to various stakeholders, include a tax break for developers to build more affordable housing, and tenant protections.

Tenant advocates in Albany are backing a bill dubbed “Good Cause Eviction” by advocates. It was introduced by state Sen. Julia Salazar and Assemblymember Pam Hunter (S. 305 Salazar/A. 4454 Hunter).

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New York state Sen. Mike Gianaris discusses Legislature's proposed congressional maps

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The New York state Legislature’s newly introduced congressional maps don’t appear to be the blatant power grab that Republicans have been fearing, but they could serve to put an additional Democratic seat in the win column for New York.

According to redistricting expert Jeff Wice, an adjunct professor of law and senior fellow at the New York Census and Redistricting Institute, the new lines may put first-term Republican U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro, of the 19th District, in jeopardy.

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Albany Democrats poised to approve newly drawn congressional lines

BY Bernadette Hogan New York State

New York’s messy redistricting saga may come to a close, as Democratic state lawmakers in Albany are poised to approve their own set of congressional lines as early as Wednesday.

Democrat Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie of the Bronx told reporters Tuesday that they are poised to approve the new lines.

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Advocates push for term limits for New York state officeholders

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

New York state lawmakers for years have considered the possibility of imposing term limits on themselves but so far none of those proposals or campaign promises have come to fruition.

"Hope springs eternal but I know it's an uphill battle," said state Assemblymember Monica Wallace, D-Lancaster.

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New York state directing funds to help municipalities combat evolving cybersecurity concerns

BY Spencer Conlin Albany/Capital Region

Computers, networks and digital data continue to play larger roles in the lives of Americans. But protecting those resources we've become to depend on comes at a cost. Federal funding aims to help municipalities stay ahead of the risks, which are often described as moving targets.

Officials say nearly $6 million in grant money will help reduce cyber risk and build cyber resiliency for local governments across New York.

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New York Democrats introduce new congressional maps after rejecting redistricting commission's latest proposal

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Democrats are wasting no time presenting a new set of congressional maps after the state Legislature on Monday rejected the newest proposed boundaries drawn by the state's Independent Redistricting Commission.

State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski have introduced legislation in their respective chambers that would make some changes to the maps the commission approved last week.

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What happens next after lawmakers reject Congressional map approved by independent panel

BY Spectrum News Staff New York City

After a Democrat-controlled state legislature rejected the new Congressional maps that were approved in a 9-1 vote earlier this month by an independent redistricting commission, the stage is set for a new political fight.

Candidates are set to begin collecting petition signatures Feb. 27, but without approved maps that process is muddy at best. Democrats now need to come up with their own map and then vote on it, but with a June primary looming, the clock is ticking.

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Yearslong redistricting drama takes another turn

BY Bobby Cuza New York City

For the second time in three years, Albany Democrats are poised to draw new Congressional maps, having once again rejected those drawn by the Independent Redistricting Commission — the latest twist in a drawn-out political saga.

“This is just unprecedented, unscripted, unpredictable,” said Jeffrey Wice, a professor at New York Law School and an expert on the state’s redistricting process.

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Albany County Democratic Party chair on the busy election season

BY Susan Arbetter Albany/Capital Region

The Capital Region’s usually placid electoral landscape is in for a major upheaval this year. Earlier this month, state Senator Neil Breslin, who has represented the Albany area in the state Legislature for 14 terms, announced his retirement.

The 81-year-old’s decision spurred a systematic reshuffling of the political deck after Capital District Assembly Member Pat Fahy announced she was running for the seat Breslin has held since 1997.

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New York pols revive budget fight to provide unemployment for excluded workers

BY Kate Lisa New York State

The fight to include millions of dollars in the state budget for nontraditional workers is back.

Lawmakers have proposed a $500 million fund in the next budget for unemployment benefits for workers typically excluded from traditional labor protections, and want to create a state tax for big technology companies for digital advertising services to pay for it.

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New York state comptroller’s report underscores need for housing

BY Susan Arbetter Albany/Capital Region

A newly released report from the state comptroller’s office underscores what many New Yorkers already know: Housing in the state is expensive and there’s not enough of it.

The report goes on to show that what little housing there is may be of low quality and comes with housing stressors that may lead to evictions, foreclosures and homelessness.

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Participants in New Paltz's 2004 same-sex weddings say fight for equality continues

BY John Camera Hudson Valley

Tuesday is 20 years to the day that 25 same-sex weddings took place in the city of New Paltz. At the time, the ceremonies were illegal in New York, but they ended up playing a role in the eventual passage of marriage equality.

Spectrum News 1 looked back at the historic ceremony with then-Mayor Jason West, who officiated the ceremonies, and one of the couples involved.

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Roughly 30 migrant families have moved to Western N.Y. under new state program

BY Ryan Whalen Western New York

Of the more than 500 asylum seekers who arrived in Western New York over the summer, Jericho Road Director of Asylum Seeker Programs Matt Tice said the vast majority remain in three local hotels.

"They have taken steps within their legal cases,” Tice said. “Unfortunately, when we talk about immigration cases, typically, it's not even days or weeks. It's months or sometimes years.”

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Bill calls for adult changing tables in public spaces across New York

BY Spectrum News Staff Albany/Capital Region

New York legislators on Monday announced the introduction of a law that would place height-adjustable changing tables and facilities for adults to use within public rest areas, museums, libraries and government-owned facilities throughout the state.

State Senator Pete Harckham and Assembly Member Chris Burdick announced the “Traveling with Dignity Act” with leaders from Constructive Partnerships Unlimited, members of the disability community and advocates.

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Funding announced to monitor, reduce air pollution around New York schools

BY Spencer Conlin Albany

The Biden administration is rolling out more than $30 million to monitor and help reduce air pollution. Some of that money is coming to upstate New York, designed for a specific purpose.

Younger Americans are among the most susceptible when it comes to air pollution, which is often linked to asthma and other conditions. So this program focuses on schools and communities that are oftentimes overlooked.

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Review of horse deaths at Saratoga finds rain could have played role

BY Spectrum News Staff and Associated Press Saratoga Springs

Rain totals during the 2023 Saratoga Race Course season could have played a role in the number of horse deaths at the meet, according to a Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority review.

The HISA findings, released Monday morning, said available data — including a rainfall total of 11.03 inches during the 2023 meet, up from 7.76 inches a year before — "suggests that the rainfall could have played a role in the increased risk of fatal injury" during the summer racing season. The report concluded that a "multitude of risk factors ... likely contributed to the fatalities," though.

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Nate McMurray says he is now focusing on primary election

BY Spectrum News Staff Western New York

Former Grand Island town supervisor Nate McMurray says he will no longer be focusing on the special election to replace former Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins. Instead, he says he has "decided to concentrate on the primary."

For that primary, he will be squaring off with Democratic New York State Senator Tim Kennedy.

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Property manager view on housing needs and legislation

BY Tim Williams and Casey Bortnick New York State

With housing continuing to be a major priority in the governor’s office and the New York Legislature, Capital Tonight turned to Jay Martin, of the Community Housing Improvement Program, to discuss the housing priorities of property owners and managers.



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Former NRA chief Wayne LaPierre misspent gun rights group's money, owes more than $4M, jury finds

BY Associated Press New York City
UPDATED 7:31 PM ET Feb. 23, 2024

The longtime head of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, misspent millions of dollars of the organization’s money, using the funds to pay for an extravagant lifestyle that included exotic getaways and trips on private planes and superyachts, a New York jury determined Friday.

The jury ordered LaPierre, 74, to repay almost $4.4 million to the powerful gun rights group that he led for three decades. It also ordered the NRA's retired finance chief, Wilson Phillips, to pay back the group $2 million. Jurors additionally found that the NRA omitted or misrepresented information in its tax filings and violated New York law by failing to adopt a whistleblower policy.

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NYC lawmakers team up on housing legislation

BY Tim Williams and Casey Bortnick New York State

Housing has been a priority for Gov. Kathy Hochul for much of her term in office but there has been a disconnect of sorts between the executive office and the Legislature.

State Assemblymember Emily Gallagher and state Sen. Cordell Cleare have teamed up to propose legislation that would create a new state authority, the Social Housing Development Authority.

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Debate opens in New York over granting physician assistants more autonomy

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Some physician assistants are pushing state lawmakers to support expanding their autonomy, as was done in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Kathy Hochul's budget proposal includes eliminating supervision requirements for PAs working in primary care medicine and some other non-surgical specialties with 8,000 clinical hours. Similar bills have been proposed by the Legislature, and the measure was proposed last year by the governor.

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New York State Legislature retirement announcements piling up

BY Ryan Whalen New York State

Turnover in the New York State Legislature, where lawmakers run every two years, isn't unusual.

However, Democratic political analyst Jack O'Donnell said what is unusual is the timing of the retirement announcements of many veteran lawmakers this year.

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Schumer visits Ukraine, urges House to pass aid to repel Russia’s invasion

BY Justin Tasolides Washington, D.C.
UPDATED 12:44 PM ET Feb. 23, 2024

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Friday led a delegation of lawmakers to Ukraine to mark the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

The New York Democratic leader’s visit comes as the U.S. levied a massive tranche of new sanctions on Russia to mark the anniversary of its incursion into Ukraine and in the wake of the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny — and as a Senate-passed bill providing billions in aid to Ukraine is stalled in the Republican-controlled House.

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Hochul gets tough on shoplifting, City Council gets tough on Adams

BY Spectrum News Staff New York City

The City Council filed a motion this week to intervene in a lawsuit against Mayor Eric Adams' administration over the city's housing voucher program, known as CityFHEPS. The Adams administration has been against implementing the new rules citing high costs, as officials believe “the law goes beyond the City Council's authority, and that it's actually preempted by existing state law”. Also, this week, Adams canceled more budget cuts that were slated for April. NY1 investigative reporter Courtney Gross, statehouse reporter Bernadette Hogan and political reporter Dan Rivoli weigh in on a busy week at City Hall, and how these developments may affect the mayor’s alarmingly low polling numbers.

After that, Gov. Kathy Hochul has a plan to tackle retail theft, a major theme of her State of the State address in January. The “Off Topic” team discusses Hochul’s proposed joint efforts between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. They also talk about how businesses have been impacted by the steady rise in shoplifting across the state.

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Nassau County bans transgender athletes from competing at public facilities

BY Rebecca Greenberg New York City

A first-of-its-kind ban on transgender athletes in New York state is happening on Long Island.

"If there is a league or team that advertises themselves to be women's or girls, then biological males will not be able to compete," said Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who signed an executive order Thursday which prevents transgender girls and women from participating on girls' and women’s teams.

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SALT reform hits another dead-end on Capitol Hill: A look inside the recent attempt by N.Y. GOP lawmakers

BY Kevin Frey Washington, D.C.

A bipartisan priority for New Yorkers in Congress — increasing the federal deduction for state and local tax payments, or SALT — has once again reached a dead-end on Capitol Hill.

The latest effort was led by House Republicans from competitive districts in New York. Increasing the deduction would have given them a big victory on a pocketbook issue to campaign on this fall.

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New York Republicans back ex-NYPD detective, businessman Mike Sapraicone as candidate for U.S. Senate

BY Kate Lisa and Luke Parsnow New York State
UPDATED 8:15 PM ET Feb. 22, 2024

State Republicans have spoken.

New York Republicans on Thursday designated former NYPD detective and business owner Mike Sapraicone as their preferred candidate to run against U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand this fall. Gillibrand is running her fourth campaign and seeking her third full six-year term.

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Upstate New York's tech hub application due next week

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- This week, Saratoga County-based GlobalFoundries announced a plan to invest $12 billion in private and public funds over the next decade to triple its capacity to meet a growing demand for advanced semiconductor microchips.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has made it his goal to make upstate New York a center for the burgeoning industry.

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New York state senator seeks ban on hospital lawsuits against patients

BY Justin Velazquez Central NY

Seventeen New York hospitals and health systems sued 1,600 patients, collecting $9 million in medical debts since 2022, according to a USA Today report released last July. One woman's husband was sued for more than $10,000 by SUNY Upstate Medical University before he passed away from pancreatic cancer.

“I couldn’t understand why they would sue a terminally ill man – and neither could he," said Linda Koberna.

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N.Y. judge denies Trump's request to delay enforcement of $355 million civil penalty

BY Spectrum News Staff and Associated Press Manhattan

On Thursday, a New York judge declined to delay the enforcement of payments former President Donald Trump must make towards a more than $355 million penalty stemming from a business fraud trial.

Trump’s legal team had asked for a 30 day delay on payments “to protect defendants’ appellate rights and ensure an orderly post judgment process.” But Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron was unsatisfied with their arguments, denying their request in an email on Thursday morning.

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As cost of labor rises for dairy farmers in N.Y., milk prices stay the same

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

As labor costs continue to rise for dairy farmers in New York, the price they get paid for milk remains — leading to tighter profit margins and more concern.

“I think this is going to be one of those years that weeds out some farms because of the price of milk,” said Greg Porter owner, of Porterdale Farms in Watertown, where they milk 2,000 cows and farm about 4,000 acres.

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Democratic U.S. Reps. demand Gaza cease-fire in letter to Biden

BY Susan Carpenter Washington, D.C.

Democratic U.S. Representatives from 12 states sent a letter to President Joe Biden Thursday calling for a cease-fire in Gaza and the immediate return of 134 hostages that have been held by Hamas militants since their Oct. 7, 2023, attack on Israel.

The letter comes hours after Israeli strikes killed at least 48 people in southern and central Gaza, adding to more than 29,400 civilian casualties since the war began. It also comes amid pressure from within the president's own party to take a harder line against Israel as the death toll continues to rise.

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Michael Beschloss: What’s at stake in 2024?

BY Spectrum News Staff New York City

There are a little over nine months until the 60th presidential election in November. As the primaries wrap up, it remains clear that it will be a rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Michael Beschloss is an American historian specializing in the United States presidency and is the author of nine books on the topic. He joined NY1's Errol Louis for an interview hosted by Temple Emanuel in Great Neck. They discussed what we can expect from the candidates over the next nine months as the race heats up. They also touched on Trump’s recent remarks regarding NATO, the current dialogue around the age of both candidates and the difficulties in how the media will go about covering the election. They also took questions from members of the congregation.

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Conflicting views on mandating minimum wage for tipped workers in N.Y.

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Some advocates are pushing lawmakers to ensure tipped workers in New York State recieve at least the statewide minimum wage before tips are factored in.

Legislation currently working its way through the committee process is co-sponsored by state Sen. Robert Jackson and Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas. González-Rojas told Spectrum News 1 that now is the time to make a change.

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New York Republicans convene in Binghamton to select U.S. Senate candidate

BY Kate Lisa Central NY

Republicans leaders from around New York state are arriving in the city of Binghamton for the Grand Old Party's statewide nominating convention. Republicans officials will vote to endorse one of a handful of candidates looking to unseat three-term Democrat U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Republicans from around the state will meet in the Doubletree by Hilton hotel in downtown Binghamton on Thursday morning to conduct the official business. There's lots of talking and schmoozing, as hopeful candidates for the U.S. Senate try to get those local officials to back their campaign to run against Gillibrand in November.

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Gov. Hochul says 330 homeless people connected with housing

BY Bernadette Hogan New York City

Two years ago, as concerns over crime were growing, Gov. Kathy Hochul and newly minted Mayor Eric Adams proudly announced they would confront mental illness and subway homelessness head on.

It funneled state money for more cops and mental health workers to help connect those struggling with mental health issues with help.

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New York farm worker unionization can resume after restraining order lifted

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Roughly 500 farm workers at five New York state farms were in the process of unionizing in October when a temporary restraining order froze the state law allowing them to organize.

However, on Wednesday in Western District Court, Judge John Sinatra Jr. lifted all but one piece of the order following a hearing on motions for a preliminary injunction. The United Farm Workers said they should now be able to resume organizing.

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New York DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos to step down

BY Luke Parsnow and Bernadette Hogan New York State

New York state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos has decided to step down from the role, Spectrum News 1 learned Wednesday evening.

Seggos has led the DEC since October 2015, the longest tenure a commissioner has served in that department.

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Hochul won't weigh in on new N.Y. congressional maps proposal

BY Luke Parsnow and Bernadette Hogan New York State

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul will take a hands-off approach to the state’s newly proposed congressional maps whose fate currently sits with the state Legislature.

The Independent Redistricting Commission last week approved new boundaries for the state’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, which now would have to be approved by state lawmakers in Albany before taking effect.

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New York AG report: Saratoga police retaliation against BLM was unconstitutional

BY Spectrum News Staff Saratoga Springs
UPDATED 3:45 PM ET Feb. 21, 2024

New York Attorney General Letitia James says the Saratoga Springs Police Department, along with a top city official and the then-mayor, unconstitutionally retaliated against Black Lives Matter protesters.

The report says those protests that began in May 2020 — following George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police — were peaceful, and that “although they could be raucous,” there was no evidence any people or property were harmed.

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Suozzi to be sworn into Congress on Feb. 28, further shrinking GOP majority

BY Spectrum News Staff Washington, D.C.

Democrat Tom Suozzi will be sworn into Congress on Wednesday, Feb. 28, the first day that lawmakers return from Presidents Day recess, according to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries' office.

When Suozzi is sworn in to replace ousted Republican Rep. George Santos, the makeup of the chamber will shrink to 219-213, meaning Republicans in the majority can only lose two votes on major legislation.

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Republicans nominate West Seneca Town Supervisor Gary Dickson for special election for Higgins' House seat

BY Luke Parsnow Western New York

The Republican committees of Erie and Niagara counties have designated West Seneca Town Supervisor Gary Dickson as their candidate for the special election in New York's 26th Congressional District to replace former Rep. Brian Higgins.

“The residents of the 26th Congressional District deserve a leader with a proven record of service to their country, and their community. Supervisor Gary Dickson is a veteran, a retired law enforcement official, and a Town Supervisor who has lowered taxes and kept his promises to his constituents," Erie County GOP Chairman Michael Kracker said in a statement Wednesday. "Democrats feel entitled to this seat. But residents don't need another career politician, whose greatest political accomplishment is the size of his campaign war chest." They need someone who understands the challenges our communities are facing. Gary Dickson has a record of working across party lines to deliver solutions for residents, and I know he will do the same in Washington."

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City Council moves to join suit to enforce housing voucher reforms

BY Erica Brosnan New York City
UPDATED 11:30 AM ET Feb. 21, 2024

The City Council filed a motion on Wednesday to intervene in a lawsuit against Mayor Eric Adams' administration over the city's housing voucher program, known as CityFHEPS.

The Council aims to become a petitioner in an existing lawsuit initially brought by several low-income New Yorkers and The Legal Aid Society alleging that the Adams administration failed to implement new changes to the program that went into effect in January to expand assistance to those facing eviction.

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New York attorney general says she will go after Trump's real estate if he cannot pay civil fraud fine

BY Ryan Chatelain New York City

New York State Attorney General Letitia James says she’s prepared to go after some of Donald Trump’s real estate holdings, including The Trump Building in lower Manhattan, if the former president cannot pay the nearly half-billion judgment handed down against him last week.

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ordered Trump to pay $355 million and roughly another $100 million in pre-judgment interest for fraudulently inflating his net worth in order to secure more favorable loans.

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State Capitol exhibit honors Black history in New York

BY Tamani Wooley Albany

The New York State Office of General Services curated the “1964: New Yorkers Who Shaped History” Black History Month exhibit at the state Capitol in Albany, highlighting New Yorkers who helped shape history.

It features Dorothy Height, who founded the YWCA’s center for racial justice in New York City; Bayard Rustin, who organized the New York City school boycott; and Coretta Scott King who took the stage at the New York City Town Hall for her first of many “Freedom Concerts.” Other civil rights leaders are also highlighted.

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City businesses back state proposals to crack down on retail theft

BY Bernadette Hogan New York City

A second generation supermarket owner and her three siblings run five grocery stores in the Bronx.

“Our family has been in the Bronx for over 20 years. We have always dealt with shoplifting. Our concern now is that it's coming with a heavy sense of violence,” Nallely De Jesus told NY1 in an interview on Tuesday.

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Common Cause New York director on state's ongoing redistricting process

BY Casey Bortnick and Capital Tonight Staff New York State

Viewers of a certain age may remember the movie the "Never Ending Story."

Well, all New Yorkers are familiar with the state's own never-ending story — redistricting. For reaction to the latest addition to this saga, Capital Tonight was joined Tuesday by Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York.

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New York Liquor Authority special committee starting to make progress on application backlog

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

For nearly three months now, a special committee formed by the New York State Liquor Authority has been addressing what was a backlog of roughly 6,000 applications.

Since its formation in late November, the SLA says the committee has reviewed 272 applications. The committee has approved 67 so far and 61 failed to meet program criteria which requires that applications do not face opposition or involve complex or controversial issues. Another 144 are pending approval upon receipt of additional information or conditions met by the applicants.

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Schumer: Capital Region 'at very top of the list' to be national CHIPS hub

BY Kate Lisa New York State

The Capital Region stands a strong chance to be selected as the National Semiconductor Technology Center, or the nation's first hub to direct the U.S. manufacturing of microchips that power cell phones, automobiles and other devices, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday.

Federal officials will determine a location to establish the National Semiconductor Technology Center, which would serve as the cornerstone of the national $11 billion program to develop and advance semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S.

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