Sen. Mike Gianaris Ramps Up Pressure on Cuomo

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A top Democrat in the state Senate on Monday questioned whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo can continue to govern amid allegations he sexually harassed two former aides.

The allegations raised by Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett are expected to be formally referred by the governor's office to Attorney General Letitia James for a formal investigation by an independent counsel.

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State Senate to Take Up Workplace COVID Safety Bill

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Workplaces in New York would be required to have in place minimum safety rules for operating during the COVID-19 pandemic under a measure set to be voted on by the state Senate on Monday.

The bill, known as the NY HERO Act, would require the state Department of Labor and Department of Health to implement the regulations, which would include protocols for testing, personal protective equipment, hand washing, social distancing, and engineering controls.

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Analysis: Cuomo Faces Fight for Political Life, 1 Year After COVID-19 Hit New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A year ago today, New York confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 virus. In a few short weeks, hospitals would begin to fill up with COVID-19 patients, people would begin to die by the hundreds a day, businesses would be shuttered, schools closed, nursing homes receive sickened residents, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's daily presence on midday TV would launch him into the political stratosphere.

A year later, a lot has changed.

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Cuomo Offers Apology, Refers Sexual Harassment Claims Investigation to State AG

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 7:18 PM ET Feb. 28, 2021

Amid massive pressure from state and federal elected officials, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced on Sunday night it would refer allegations of sexual harassment leveled against the governor to state Attorney General Letitia James, less than 24 hours after initially proposing Cuomo’s own appointee for the role.

James, in turn, is expected to appoint an independent counsel to review the allegations made by two former aides to the governor in the last several days.

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NY Gov. Cuomo Asks AG, Top Judge to Appoint Investigator of Harassment Allegations

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 5:36 PM ET Feb. 28, 2021

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday asked New York's Attorney General Letitia James and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore to appoint an investigator to review sexual harassment allegations leveled against the governor by former aides.

The proposal came moments after the attorney generals' office called on the governor to issue a referral to appoint an investigator with the ability to issue subpoenas.

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Second Former Aide Accuses New York Gov. Cuomo of Sexual Harassment

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 11:23 AM ET Feb. 28, 2021

A second former state aide is accusing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, sparking an investigation by a former federal judge into her claims.

The former aide, Charlotte Bennett, told The New York Times that Cuomo made remarks to her last year that she came to believe were part of an effort to have a sexual relationship.

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Top Democrats React to Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Cuomo

BY Morgan McKay Albany County

A former aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lindsey Boylan, accused the governor of sexual harassment earlier this week, but since this news broke, a few top Democrats on both the state and federal level have been silent.

One of the state’s most prominent female Democrats, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, on Thursday, a day after this news broke, denied that she had read Boylan’s personal accounting of the governor’s alleged sexual harassment.

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Developmental Disability Service Providers Fret State Budget

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Organizations that provide services for people with developmental disabilities were already facing a difficult time with funding and, crucially, retain staff. But they are worried a looming budget proposal could spell even more problems for those who care for the state's most vulnerable residents.

They are mobilizing this budget season to stave off spending reductions and seek a cost-of-living adjustment for their direct care workers.

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State Plans to Expand Vaccination Efforts for Older New Yorkers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State officials in New York are moving to expand access to vaccinations for older New Yorkers, working with local government officials to provide transportation and expand the number of sites.

The move will affect New Yorkers age 65 and older. No locations were announced on Friday.

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Rep. Tom Reed Wants $163B for COVID Testing, Vaccine Distribution

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Congress should spend $163 billion on bolstering COVID-19 testing in the U.S., increase vaccine distribution and administration and finance medical research of new variants of the virus, Rep. Tom Reed on Friday said.

Reed is introducing a standalone measure for the spending as lawmakers and President Joe Biden's administration negotiate a far larger $1.9 trillion relief package that has been proposed.

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More than 4M Vaccine Doses Administered in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

More than 4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in New York as hospitalizations have fallen to their lowest level since December, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office on Friday said.

In the last 24 hours, a record 179,038 doses have been administered in New York alone, Cuomo said.

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Lawmakers Want to Expunge Some Criminal Records to Boost Job Prospects

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State lawmakers and criminal justice advocates are backing legislation that would expunge some criminal records and convictions that are seen as a hurdle to employment, housing, and health care for people who have served their punishment.

"We are all more than the worst thing we've ever done. But today, hundreds of thousands of people with criminal records have no idea if this is the day they might lose their job, their home, their access to healthcare or education," said Sen. Zellnor Myrie, a Democratic lawmaker sponsoring the bill. "These people are our friends, neighbors, and family members."

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Local Health Departments Say They Need More Funding Amid Pandemic

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Over the last three years, local health departments in New York have been the first line of response for a variety of public health concerns: Vaping-related lung illnesses in 2018, a measles outbreak in 2019 and, last year, the first global pandemic in a century.

But local health departments in New York have faced either flat spending or reductions over the last six years in New York, the New York State Association of County Health Officials top official testified to lawmakers on Thursday.

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New York Farms Seek Immigration Changes, Protections from COVID

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York farmers this year are seeking immigration reforms, improved trade policies and having a seat at the table in shaping climate change policy. The pandemic, meanwhile, remains an ever-present challenge.

The New York Farm Bureau this week released its agenda for the new year, covering a range of issues that, broadly, are also among the hot-button issues in American politics and policy.

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Under Fire from Lawmakers, Health Commissioner Sticks to Script on Nursing Home Policies

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker took the hot seat on Thursday, as lawmakers questioned him for over five hours on the state’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

When it came to the March 25 executive memo that allowed nursing homes to accept COVID-positive residents, Zucker continued to stand by a report he issued last July, blaming asymptomatic staff for bringing in the virus. However, the state also issued a policy allowing asymptomatic staff to keep working in nursing homes, a policy the state later reversed after it was reported by Spectrum News and other media outlets.

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The Sexual Harassment Working Group’s Vladimer on JCOPE & Lindsey Boylan

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

With the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) viewed as an appendage of the governor’s office, where does someone like Lindsey Boylan go for a fair hearing?

In a detailed post on Medium, Boylan, a former Economic Development staffer, outlined her history with Governor Andrew Cuomo, writing that he offered to play strip poker with her on a plane, and once kissed her while she was in his New York City office.

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What New Jersey's Cannabis Law Could Mean for New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New Jersey this week became the latest northeast state to legalize marijuana for adult use, joining Massachusetts at the New York border.

Advocates hope this will New York to follow suit after the measure has stalled for years in the state Legislature.

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Liebman: Cuomo’s Budget a "Double Hit" for Mental Health Services

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Governor Cuomo’s executive budget cuts 5% from the state’s mental health budget at a time when the need for mental health services is growing.

Glenn Liebman, executive director of the Mental Health Association of New York, spoke with Capital Tonight host Susan Arbetter about the implications of these cuts, as well as why another proposal to divert savings from the closing of mental health hospitals to the general fund will hurt the state’s most vulnerable population.

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Gillibrand Wants $25M to Fight Addiction During Pandemic

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The federal government should allocate $25 million in grants to help fight addiction amid the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday said.

The money, part of a bill meant to provide support for community groups and non-profit organizations, has Republican backing in the U.S. Senate with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito signing onto the legislation.

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Poll: New York City Voters Back Cuomo's Handling of Pandemic

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A poll of New York City Democratic voters conducted by the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group in the last week found they approve of the job Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doing as governor and back his handling of the pandemic.

The poll comes as Cuomo is facing multiple crises, including a controversy of his administration's oversight and transparency of nursing home fatalities during the pandemic as well as allegations he sexually harassed a former official who is now running for Manhattan borough president.

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Cuomo Faces Questions Over Management Style

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Andrew Cuomo, admittedly, is a difficult boss. But over the last several weeks, episodes have been thrust into the public view that has illustrated what, in modern parlance, would be considered a deeply toxic work environment.

The governor's office and Cuomo himself have defended the hard-charging style as effective and necessary in the hothouse world of New York politics.

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AG Letitia James Backs Effort to Defend Ban on 3-D Printed Guns

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A coalition for 21 attorneys general from around the country led by New York's Letitia James has formed to defend state-level measures banning 3-D printed guns amid a challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The firearms can be manufactured through downloadable materials and a 3-D printer in a person's home. New York in 2019 approved legislation banning 3-D guns, and other states have approved similar measures as well.

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New York Moves to Restore Some Funding for Disability Service Providers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Last year the state moved to cut spending amid a $1.2 billion decline in revenue, leading to steep reductions in aid for programs that provide services to people with developmental disabilities.

But on Wednesday, the state moved to restore what had amounted to a 20% withholding of funds first imposed last year amid the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities announced in a memo. But permanent cuts of 5% are still on the horizon for providers and much of their budgets will be shaped by what New York receives in federal aid over the next several weeks.

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What to Watch for in Today's Health Committee Hearing

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

In any other year, the joint legislative budget hearing on healthcare scheduled for Thursday would have been a typical event, featuring a line-up of experts and stakeholders discussing an alphabet soup of acronyms and Medicaid numbers.

Instead, with the state’s Health Department at the nexus of the Cuomo administration’s nursing home scandal, the hearing is expected to focus more on Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker and his role in delaying nursing home data requested by lawmakers.

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Senate Lawmakers Call for AG James to Investigate After Harassment Claims

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

Five Republican women in the state Senate wrote a letter to state Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday calling for an independent investigation into claims of alleged sexual harassment against Gov. Andrew Cuomo by a former aide.

On Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who worked in the Cuomo administration and is a Manhattan borough president candidate, released a blog post accusing the governor of forcibly kissing her and making unwanted advances while working in his administration. Cuomo has denied the allegations, and his office released a joint statement from several former aides specifically denying an incient took place they would have been present for at the time, according to records.

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Health Care Budget Facing Cuts Under Cuomo's Proposal

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region

The New York State Legislature will be holding a hearing Thursday on the governor’s health care budget proposals.

This will be the first time lawmakers will be able to question state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker since August, and a lot of the focus will be on the state’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

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Democratic Lawmakers Call for Investigation After Harassment Claim

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Multiple Democrats in the state Legislature on Wednesday called for an investigation after a former aide and current Manhattan borough president candidate Lindsey Boylan alleged Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed her while she was working in his administration.

Cuomo's office has denied the allegations and in a joint statement former aides said a specific incident on a plane did not occur.

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Former Governor David Paterson Discusses Licensing Downstate Casinos

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

There is a moratorium on opening up downstate casinos until 2023.

A 2013 constitutional amendment authorized seven gambling casinos in New York state. The four upstate casinos were licensed years before the three downstate casinos. The thinking was that upstate casinos needed time to become established without the pressure of competition from downstate gaming palaces.

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Advocates Push for Another 5-year Supportive Housing Plan

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

In 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo made a $20 billion, five-year affordable housing commitment.

At the time, the goal was to provide safe, affordable housing by building and preserving more than 100,000 units, 6,000 of which would be supportive housing.

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Former Aide Lindsey Boylan Details Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Cuomo

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A former aide and official in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration on Wednesday detailed allegations of sexual harassment and an unwanted kiss, writing in an essay posted online the governor's office fostered a culture of inappropriate comments and behavior.

Cuomo's office in response said the allegations by Lindsey Boylan were "quite simply false" and released a joint statement from former aides who denied a specific claim in Boylan's essay and who records indicate would have been present at the time.

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NY Senate Approves Vaccine Demographic Data Bill

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York health officials would be required to disclose a public vaccination plan for how it is ensuring the COVID-19 vaccine is being equitably distributed in the state and to people of color under a bill approved Wednesday by the state Senate.

The measure was backed by Sen. Tim Kennedy and first announced last summer amid concerns people of color would be hesitant to embrace a COVID vaccine.

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Key Labor Union Releases Ad Campaign for Nursing Home Reforms

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The politically influential labor union 1199 on Wednesday launched an ad campaign to boost nursing home policy changes amid a broader controversy surrounding fatality reporting by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration.

The ad released by the union, which has served as a key ally for Cuomo over the last decade, credited the governor and state lawmakers for backing reform plans.

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After No Indictment in Prude Case, Can Daniel's Law Pass?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State lawmakers and elected officials are once again eyeing the passage of a measure that would create mental health units in cities to provide alternative responses to police officers after no indictment was returned in the death of Daniel Prude.

Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday announced no officers would be indicted after Prude died last year while in police custody. At the time, Prude was in throes of a mental health event.

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New York Lawmakers Press Vaccine Priority for Food Bank Workers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

More than 30 state lawmakers this week, in a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, urged him to expand vaccine eligibility to include food pantry, food bank, and grab-and-go staffers and volunteers in New York.

The push for expanded vaccine eligibility for workers and volunteers who provide food and nutritional support comes amid a growing hunger crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic recession.

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Cuomo Polls Show Governor Down, But Not Out

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

A trifecta of polling over the past week paints a picture of a third-term governor who had enjoyed a stratospheric rise in popularity over the summer, and currently facing strong political headwinds.

Polls from Siena College, Morning Consult and Marist College all show a downward trend in voter approval for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but none indicate that Democrats in New York, who have a 2 to 1 enrollment advantage over Republicans, are ready to turn their backs on Cuomo.

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Assemb. Reyes: March Nursing Home Order "Didn't Make a Difference in Number of Deaths"

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Bronx Democrat and Dominican native, Assemblymember Karines Reyes, is a registered nurse who moonlights at a hospital in her district to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Reyes has seen first-hand the cost paid by frontline workers who lack protections against COVID-19. It’s the primary reason she is sponsoring the NY HERO Act (S.1034 – A.2681), a bill requiring businesses to have enforceable safety standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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When Will Schools Be Back to Normal? It May Be a While

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Reopening schools could take longer than policymakers and elected officials would like as the COVID-19 vaccine slowly trickles out amid safety concerns raised by the teachers union.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has tied the broader reopening of the economy to ensuring kids are back in classrooms, noting education is one of the many facets in which the pandemic has laid bare social and economic inequities.

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Court Tosses Candidate Petition Lawsuit

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A state Supreme Court judge on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit challenging the petitioning process in New York amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit, filed by more than 100 candidates and backed by New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, challenged what has been necessary campaign scut work to get on the ballot: collecting signatures of registered voters to qualify for access.

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Amid Nursing Home Controversy, Cuomo's Voter Approval Varies

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

More than 60% of registered voters in New York believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo did something wrong in handling nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest Marist College poll.

However, out of this group, only 19% believe he did something illegal. Cuomo’s job performance approval also took a sizable hit amid the ongoing controversy surrounding nursing homes and the administration's dislcosure of fatality data at the facilities.

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Can Election Administration Improve in New York?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The COVID-19 pandemic created complications for the administration of elections in 2020. And it highlighted not just how elections are conducted in New York, but who administers them.

After a drawn-out count in the 22nd congressional district, with Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney not being declared the winner until early this year, months after the last vote was cast, good government advocates are discussing ways of reforming how elections are overseen in New York.

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NYSUT Knocks Federal Testing Mandate

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

President Joe Biden's administration wants a lower stakes environment for state standardized testing this year as the pandemic continues to upend schools and classroom instruction across the country.

But the umbrella labor group that represents teachers in New York is not happy about the testing requirement for states.

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Two Dozen Groups Back Ending State Tax Break in Opportunity Zones

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Good-government organizations, labor, and advocacy groups in New York have signed onto a push by Sen. Mike Gianaris to remove the state tax break from the federal Opportunity Zone program.

All told, 24 groups, including NYSUT, 1199 SEIU, CWA District 1, Make the Road NY, ALIGN-NY are backing Gianaris's measure in a new memo released this week by Reinvent Albany.

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New York Advocates Look to New Jersey After Marijuana Legalization Approval

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New Jersey state lawmakers put the finishing touches on the state's marijuana legalization measure on Monday as New York officials continue to debate their own version of a bill to allow adults to buy retail cannabis.

The final passage of the New Jersey system, signed into law by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, marks the latest state bordering New York to sign off on a legalized cannabis system. It also comes as New York lawmakers in the coming weeks will determine whether to approve an adult-use marijuana provision in the state budget.

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Rep. John Katko Calls for Winter Olympics Boycott

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican Rep. John Katko in a letter released Monday called for the U.S. to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, pointing to China's human rights violations and the persecution of ethnic minorities.

“Recent actions taken by the Chinese Communist Party are antithetical to the values of both the United States and its allies around the world," Katko wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden. "Participation in an Olympics held in a country that is a actively committing genocide not only undermines those shared values, but casts a shadow on the promise for all those who seek free and just societies.”

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Adult Day Programs Struggle Amid Pandemic

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 8:34 PM ET Feb. 22, 2021

Richard Chupp would attend program services near where he lives in Binghamton. Art has been his primary outlet. But then the pandemic hit.

"I'm not able to see my friends, see the people that I usually see," Chupp said, sitting alongside his sister, Linda.

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Senate, Assembly Split on Emergency Powers and Nursing Home Reform

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

The New York State Senate passed ten nursing home reform bills on Monday, but that is as far as some of these bills might go.

Speaker Carl Heastie said that the Assembly is likely to pass their own set of reform bills, which means both houses will need to come to an agreement before any bill can be signed into law.

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Assemblyman Harry Bronson on Daniel’s Law & Police Reform

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The violent confrontation with Rochester Police that led to the death of 41-year-old Daniel Prude in March of last year sparked renewed interest across the state in police reform.

One of the first legislative bills to separate mental healthcare from policing is called “Daniel’s Law.” It was introduced by two Rochester area Democrats, Assemblyman Harry Bronson and Senator Samra Brouk.

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Speaker Heastie on Cuomo’s Call to Asm Kim: “Unsettling and Disturbing”

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Members of the Assembly majority had a “tough and emotional” conference today, according to Speaker Carl Heastie. Among the topics discussed was the governor’s high-volume phone call to Assemblyman Ron Kim, a member of the conference.

According to Heastie, emotions among Kim’s fellow Democrats ran high.

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30-Day Amendment Surprise: The COVID-19 Extraordinary Relief Fund

BY Susan Arbetter and Ryan Whalen New York State
UPDATED 5:47 PM ET Feb. 22, 2021

The U.S. House bill currently being discussed in Washington would provide New York State with an estimated $12.7 billion in unrestricted federal funding.

According to E.J. McMahon, the founder and research director of the Empire Center for Public Policy, New York State has never received unrestricted funding, so it’s uncharted territory that Gov. Cuomo is aggressively attempting to map out.

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Heastie: Assembly Plans Their Own Nursing Home Reforms

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The Democratic-led Assembly is likely to advance its own package of nursing home reforms in the coming weeks, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Monday said.

But it's not yet clear if the Assembly will move to curb Gov. Andrew Cuomo's powers granted to him last year by lawmakers to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic largely through executive order.

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New York Details New Nursing Home Visitation Guidelines

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state officials on Monday detailed new guidelines and rules for nursing home visitations as COVID-19 testing of guests will be playing a larger role.

The previous rule of barring guests from nursing homes that have had a COVID case within 14 days remains in effect.

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Why Impeachment Faces a Steep Hill in Albany

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Last week, Republicans in the state Assembly introduced a measure meant to jump start the impeachment process of Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his handling of nursing homes and fatality data during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, just one Democrat in the 213-member Legislature is in favor of removing Cuomo: Assemblyman Ron Kim, who Cuomo called last week and allegedly threatened.

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Cuomo Highlights Vaccine Site in Brooklyn

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted a COVID-19 vaccination site at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn on Monday as part of a broader effort to vaccinate communities of color during the pandemic.

The event, highlighting support from Black lawmakers as well as Black clery in the area for the vaccine, also highlight transportation options, as an effort to overcome vaccine hesitancy among people of color.

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No-Excuse Absentee Voting, Same-Day Registration Among Reforms Eyed for New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

No-excuse absentee voting and same-day registration of voters in New York are among the measures being pushed by a coalition of groups seeking changes to how New Yorkers cast ballots in elections.

Some of the reforms, like ending the reasons for why a voter would qualify for an absentee ballot, would carry over from the changes made during the COVID-19 pandemic to limit the number of people at the polls.

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New York Senate Democrats Announce Staff Changes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Longtime state Senate communications aide Gary Ginsburg is taking a new role as the Democratic conference on Monday is set to announce a series of staff changes.

Ginsburg, who has worked as the Democratic conference's deputy press secretary, press secretary, and deputy communications director for the last nine years will become the new director of Senate Services.

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More than 2.2M First Vaccine Doses Administered in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York has surpassed 2.2 million first doses of the vaccine, with more than 1.1 million people receiving the second dose, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office on Sunday said.

Distribution of the vaccine, however, has been complicated by the winter storms across a broad swath of the country last week, even as state officials say their infrastructure can enable up to 100,000 shots a day.

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As Economy Suffered, So Did Labor Union Membership in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The percentage of workers in New York with union membership held steady last year due to an overall drop in unemployment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers released this month show.

Nevertheless, the pandemic's impact on employment in New York took its toll on union jobs as well: The number of workers represented by a union fell from 1.8 million to 1.7 million between 2019 and 2020.

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Governor Cuomo Promises to ... Get Aggressive?

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

Andrew Cuomo is no shrinking violet.

Multiple lawmakers and reporters have dined out on tales of being verbally lashed by the governor’s sharp tongue loosened by a temper which “goes up to 11, maybe 12,” one wag quipped.

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Some Families Find Little Solace in Nursing Home Disclosures

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Danielle Messina's father was 70 years old when he died last April 25 in a nursing home of COVID-19.

"My dad was a big teddy bear," she said on Friday in an interview. "A strong ox of a man, had his own business, very protective of his daughter. He was my pal. He was my best friend."

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Gillibrand Confirms Federal Investigation Into Cuomo's Handling of Nursing Homes; Ocasio-Cortez Calls for 'Full Investigation'

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region
UPDATED 5:14 PM ET Feb. 19, 2021

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday confirmed that there is an ongoing federal investigation into Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

“I am certainly aware that there already is an investigation ongoing on the federal level. And I will, of course, monitor that,” Senator Gillibrand said during a press conference.

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Facing Nursing Home Scrutiny, Cuomo Wishes He Was More Aggressive to Counter Misinformation

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has faced one of the most difficult stretches during his time as governor. In the space of a month, he has taken hits over his handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting personality traits his critics have long accused him of having: bullying and secrecy.

But one of Cuomo's conclusions after these last several weeks? He should have been more aggressive in pushing back against what he said were lies and misinformation.

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New York to Allow Nursing Home Visits Again with Rapid Testing

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The state Department of Health will once again allow visitations at nursing homes following new guidance from federal health officials, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced.

The announcement comes amid growing scrutiny of the Cuomo administration's handling of nursing homes during the pandemic and disclosure of fatality.

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Infrastructure Campaign to Launch Ad Push

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A coalition that is pushing state lawmakers to include infrastructure projects in the coming state budget are set to launch an ad campaign on Monday to propel the issue forward.

The ad effort is being launched by Rebuild NY Now and will highlight road and bridge projects that have languished for years. At the crux of the argument is the potential create jobs with the investment amid a recession induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Doctor Called Advisor by Cuomo's Team Says He's Only Spoken to Cuomo Once

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

A doctor, who Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top aide says was one of the Governor's chief health advisors, said he has had only one five-minute conversation with Cuomo in his entire life.

“I’ve had one five-minute conversation my entire life with Governor Cuomo, just a few weeks ago when he called me just to congratulate me on a TV program appearance,” Dr. Michael Osterholm said in an interview with Firing Line show host, Margaret Hoover.

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AARP Survey: Less than Half of Vaccine Sign Ups Successful

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A survey of 2,200 AARP New York activists found less than half of them were able to successfully schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, the group said Thursday.

The survey underscores the difficulty for New Yorkers, and older people in particular, in signing up online for an appointment.

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Winter Weather Delays Vaccine Shipments to New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Winter weather conditions in a broad swath of the country has snarled the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, with an entire week's worth of allocated doses for New York being delayed.

"The Federal government has informed New York that nearly all COVID-19 vaccine doses allocated for Week 10 — which were scheduled to be delivered between February 12th and February 21st — are delayed due to the winter storms continuing to impact much of the country," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement on Wednesday evening. "Every dose that should have shipped on Monday was held back, and only a limited number of Pfizer vaccines left shipping facilities on Tuesday and Wednesday."

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Assemblyman Alleges Cuomo Berated Him on Call Over Nursing Home Report

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region
UPDATED 8:59 PM ET Feb. 18, 2021

Governor Andrew Cuomo has come under fire in recent days after his top aide admitted that the state withheld the number of nursing home residents who died from COVID-19 over concerns it would be politicized by then-President Donald Trump

However, Cuomo quickly turned his frustration toward state Assemblyman Ron Kim for his criticism of the governor’s handling of the nursing home situation in a New York Post article.

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NYS Nursing Home Workers Union: "We Cannot Lose This Moment"

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Milly Silva, executive vice president of the union that represents nursing home workers, told Capital Tonight that the health and safety issues caregivers have been confronting for now a year must be addressed by Albany quickly.

"We have to invest. We have to make sure that quality care is the priority as we are learning the lessons of what happened over the past year during the pandemic," Silva said. "We cannot lose this moment."

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Amid Nursing Home Controversy, Where Does Albany Go From Here?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

No one is especially happy in Albany these days, or over Zoom meetings held across far-flung corners of the state.

The revelations of the last several weeks -- an undercount of deaths among nursing home and long-term care facility residents, the acknowledgment by a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo that information was held back and now a looming federal probe among them -- has led to talk among Republicans about impeachment.

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Assembly GOP Advances Impeachment Process Against Cuomo

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republicans in the state Assembly on Thursday moved to begin an impeachment process for Gov. Andrew Cuomo amid the ongoing controversy surrounding nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resolution as proposed by Republicans would create an impeachment commission to investigate Cuomo's handling of nursing homes and efforts to conceal data surrounding fatalities of residents during the pandemic. A 60-day deadline would be set for the commission to conduct its work and release findings to lawmakers.

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A Timeline of New York's Nursing Home Controversy

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The controversy surrounding the deaths of nursing home and long-term care facility residents stretches back nearly a year and is engulfing the first weeks of 2021 for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration.

Here's a timeline for the last 11 months of the Cuomo administration's policies, the public requests for information and the fallout.

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State Tax Revenue Down $2B, DiNapoli Says

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York's tax revenue is down $2 billion from last year through January, according to a report on Thursday issued by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office.

Still, the tax revenue overall is $1.7 billion higher than initially estimated by the state Division of Budget.

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Will Legislature Re-Assert Itself Against Cuomo?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

For years, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's influence in the state Legislature loomed large over both chambers. The office of the governor of New York is an inherently powerful one, especially when it comes to budget making, and Cuomo is more adept than his recent predecessors in using the right levers to get what he wanted.

Only now it's increasingly harder for him to get what he wants in Albany, as a series of flashpoints over the controversy surrounding his handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic could have the consequence of reducing his power to issue orders responding to the crisis.

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Sales Tax Revenue in New York Continues to Fall

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Sales tax revenue collected by local governments in January was down 5.9% compared to a similar period last year, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found in a report on Wednesday.

Collections were down $95 billion from January 2020, though less than the 8.4% drop in December and the double-digit declines of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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County Executives Frustrated by Vaccine Distribution Process

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region

More than 10 million New Yorkers are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, however, last week the state only received around 320,600 doses from the federal government.

The lack of supply is causing frustration at almost every level of government.

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State Senate to Move Bill Curbing Cuomo's Pandemic Powers

BY Nick Reisman and Spectrum News Staff New York State

The New York state Senate is set to pass legislation to curb Governor Andrew Cuomo's enhanced COVID-19 pandemic power, officials on Wednesday night confirmed.

The bill will limit the governor's authority to supersede state law and create a commission of members of the state Assembly and Senate to oversee future orders by Cuomo. The law passed last March was set to expire at the end of this April.

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Pop-Up Vaccine Sites Planned Around New York

BY Nick Reisman and Ryan Whalen New York State
UPDATED 6:19 PM ET Feb. 17, 2021

More than a dozen "pop-up" sites for vaccinations will be put in place around New York in the coming days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

The sites will be in multiple cities — in Albany, Rochester, and Buffalo — as the state seeks to target communities deemed "socially vulnerable" to ensure equal disbursement of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Cuomo's Office Releases Full Transcript of Nursing Home Data Meeting

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office on Wednesday released the full transcript of a two-hour Zoom meeting between state lawmakers and top aide Melissa DeRosa that has become the focal point of a growing firestorm over nursing homes in New York.

In the meeting, held a week ago, DeRosa acknowledged to lawmakers the administration withheld data requested by lawmakers due to a federal inquiry in August.

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State Senator Brian Kavanagh Talks Rent Relief

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Additional aid could be on the way for renters who are struggling to make ends meet due to the pandemic.

Lawmakers are working to get aid to low-income New Yorkers through the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

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When the Governor Calls: Senator Tedisco Says There Are Limits to the Strategy

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

If there's anyone in Albany who knows what it is like to get an angry phone call from a governor, it's Republican Sen. Jim Tedisco.

Tedisco, then the minority leader of the state Assembly, received an angry, profanity-laced phone call from then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who infamously described himself as a "steam roller."

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Assemblyman Ron Kim Says Cuomo Threatened Him in Phone Call

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday took the unusual step of criticizing Assemblyman Ron Kim by name in a conference call with reporters.

When the call had ended, it became clear why: Kim alleged in interview with The New York Times and CNN that Cuomo threatened to "destroy" him in a phone call last week.

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For Now, Visitations in Nursing Homes Will Remain Limited

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Visitations in nursing homes in New York will remain under strict guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Health Commissioner Howard Zucker on Wednesday said.

A formal vaccination program for nursing home residents and staff is drawing to a close, but doses will be on hand for new patients and staff as well as those who have not been vaccinated.

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When Amusement Parks, Summer Camps Can Reopen in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Amusement parks, indoor family entertainment centers, and summer camps will be able to plan to reopen in the coming weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said.

The indoor family entertainment centers can reopen on March 26 at 25% capacity, with social distancing rules and temperature checks in place. Rides and attractions in which social distancing cannot be maintained must remain closed.

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Full Repeal of Immunity for Nursing Homes Support Grows

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The AARP in New York on Wednesday called for the inclusion of a five-point plan for overhauling nursing home policy in New York, including a full repeal of an immunity provisions first granted last year to the facilties.

The proposals come amid an ongoing controversy over nursing homes in New York and the Cuomo administration's handling of death toll data in long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. That, in turn, is leading to calls for changes to bolster nursing homes and protect residents during this crisis and in future pandemics.

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How Local Governments Could Get Some Cost Savings

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

It has not been the easiest 11 months for local governments as they contend with the financial burden created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal includes a little-noticed provision that could give local officials some relief heading into the new fiscal year.

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Analysis: Releasing State Aid to Schools Helped Avoid Steep Losses

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the withholding of state aid to schools imposed last year in order to triage the financial fallout from the COVID-19 would end. The move helped many school districts in New York avoid a steep loss in a key source of revenue if the reductions had been maintained.

But, according to an analysis by Moody's Investor Services, not all withholdings during the last year affected school districts equally.

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Nursing Home Funding Models Under Scrutiny

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

As COVID-19 tore through New York last spring, officials watched as hospital beds quickly started to fill up.

Available hospital bed space and ventilators became daily data points shown on slides at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press briefings.

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How Veterans Treatment Court Could Improve Lives

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal includes expanding a program that helps New York's veterans charged with low-level offenses avoid prison time and get substance abuse or mental health treatment.

David Sandman, the CEO of the New York State Health Foundation, joined Capital Tonight to discuss Veterans Treatment Court and how the proposal could positively impact the lives of veterans in New York.

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Fiscal Policy Institute Talks Taxes, Budget

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

As New York faces a $15 billion budget gap this March, state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are debating how to close it. One lifeline could be a multi-billion-dollar aid package from Congress. Another could be increasing taxes on the rich.

The Fiscal Policy Institute's chief economist Jonas Shaende, in a Capital Tonight interview on Tuesday, laid out the options facing New York officials in the coming weeks, and how they include more than just a straight tax rate increase on upper income earners.

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Q&A: Nursing Home Doctors Gave Warning in March, Why They Want to be Listened to Now

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

On March 25, guidance from the state Department of Health was issued that has been at the center of the controversy surrounding nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York.

The guidance, based on a federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told facilities they could not turn away COVID-positive residents.

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More Than 250,000 Vaccine Appointments Booked in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

There were 250,924 vaccine appointments made over the course of the first day millions of New Yorkers were newly eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office on Tuesday said.

The scheduling total is a record for the state since vaccinations began in New York in December and came as people with a range of underlying health conditions became eligible.

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Black Leaders Raise Concerns Over Medicaid Changes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Prominent leaders in the Black community urged state officials in a letter on Tuesday to not move forward with a change in the Medicaid program that could lead to higher costs for prescription drugs.

A state panel recommending cost savings for the Medicaid program proposed a carve out that is meant to save $87 million. But the concern for advocates is this will lead to higher purchasing prices for drugs that provide treatments to people with illness like HIV/AIDs and Hepatitis C.

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How Cuomo Wants to Spend Legal Marijuana Revenue

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Job placement, mental health programs, and housing would benefit from the legalization of marijuana in New York if a plan backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is made law.

Cuomo on Tuesday outlined amendments to his budget plan first announced last month, fleshing out the details of his proposals to legalize marijuana for adult use in the state.

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How a Data Firm Can Track COVID Cases After Events

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Whether public gatherings big and small can return this year will largely depend on whether officials can track COVID-19 cases — and one firm says it can provide the analysis to do so.

A pair of Buffalo Bills playoff games, which included a limited number of fans in attendance at the open-air stadium last month, is being seen as a model for how these events can go forward.

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Siena Poll: After AG's Nursing Home Report, Voters Continue to Approve of Cuomo's Handling of Pandemic

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The favorable view voters in New York have of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's handling of the pandemic barely changed in the days after a report found New York under counted the number of nursing home and long-term care facility residents who died during the COVID-19 pandemic, a Siena College poll released Tuesday found.

But voters are less enthusiastic of the governor's handling of nursing home data, as well as the broader rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, the survey found.

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"Apologize?" After Days, Governor Cuomo Finally Addresses Nursing Home Scandal

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region
UPDATED 9:04 PM ET Feb. 15, 2021

Governor Andrew Cuomo went on the defensive on Monday, finally addressing the scandal that broke last week when the governor’s top aide admitted that the state delayed in releasing the number of COVID-19 related nursing home deaths while it handled an investigation from the Department of Justice.

Cuomo repeated many of the claims he has made in the past, but when it came time to apologize for withholding this data?

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Judith Enck Talks Norlite in Cohoes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Concern has been growing in Cohoes over the burning of firefighting foam at a Norlite facility there.

The foam contains so-called forever chemicals like PFAS, which has been linked to cancer and well known to communities like Hoosick Falls.

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