Lawmakers propose permanent $1,500 state child tax credit to reduce rising poverty

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Democratic lawmakers introduced new legislation to increase the state child tax credit for working families in efforts to address rising levels of poverty in New York.

A bill to create the New York State Working Families Tax Credit would increase the state child tax credit program to $1,500 per child up from $500, and expand eligibility to children under age 4 and families making the lowest income levels. Families would be paid quarterly to help with utilities, food, clothing and other expenses, especially in this period of high inflation.

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Supreme Court case could have major implications for anti-discrimination laws

BY Susan Arbetter and Tim Williams New York State

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case of a Colorado website developer who is refusing to offer their services to gay couples because she argues it violates her religious beliefs.

Christopher Riano, chair of the LGBTQ Law Section at the New York State Bar Association, told Capital Tonight that there is “no question that any law that protects a community that’s within the anti-discrimination spectrum could be affected by this case.”

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Behind Congress' purpose for passing Respect For Marriage Act

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Respect for Marriage Act will require that all states recognize marriages legally performed in other states.

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, a co-sponsor of the bill, said there was concern the U.S. Supreme Court could strike down previous precedent, allowing states to impose bans.

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Democrats rally around Letitia James after top aide's resignation, sexual harassment scandal

BY Zack Fink New York State

While questions remain about how New York Attorney General Letitia James handled the sexual harassment scandal involving her former chief of staff, there doesn’t seem to be much appetite to order an independent investigation.

After sitting for an exclusive interview Wednesday night on “Inside City Hall,” James seems to have the support of fellow Democratic leaders who dismissed calls from critics to appoint an independent investigator.

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Heastie: No investigation needed into New York attorney general's probe of top aide

BY Kate Lisa New York State

New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is not calling for an investigation into how state Attorney General Letitia James and her office handled investigating sexual harassment allegations against her former chief of staff Ibrahim Khan, who resigned Nov. 22.

The attorney general is considering a criminal referral in the case, but is facing steep backlash after reports her office suppressed the investigation about Khan until after the Nov. 8 election. He was also previously accused of forcibly kissing a woman in 2014 while working for James, who was New York City's public advocate at the time.

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Hochul signs New York space heater safety bill into law

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law Thursday that requires electric space heaters sold in the state to have thermostats, automatic shut-offs, and be certified by a testing and certification body recognized and approved by the United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The legislation is in response to the Twin Parks apartments fire that killed 19 people in the Bronx back in January. The measure addresses space heater safety after one of the devices was found to have been the cause of that blaze. Space heaters are often use in homes if a primary heating source is broken or insufficient.

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Hochul signs bill aimed to help heat homes during emergencies

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday signed a bill into law that allows homeowners leasing liquified petroleum gas tanks to receive emergency deliveries from any supplier during times of an emergency, helping homeowners keep the heat on during severe weather emergencies and other critical periods.

A qualifying emergency is a federal, state, or local emergency declaration, or severe weather that could result in death, injury, or damage to a building due to lack of residential heat.

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Hochul urged to approve new safeguards in foreclosure process

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A bill meant to reduce abuses in the foreclosure process in New York and add safeguards for homeowners is about to land on Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk by the end of the year.

A coalition of New York City officials at the City Council, borough halls and citywide elected officials are urging her to sign it.

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Schumer reelected Senate leader after Dems expand majority

BY Spectrum News Staff and Associated Press Washington, D.C.
UPDATED 10:16 AM ET Dec. 08, 2022

Sen. Chuck Schumer was unanimously elected Thursday for another term as Senate Democratic leader, helming a bolstered 51-seat majority for a new era of divided government in Congress.

Senate Democrats met behind closed doors at the Capitol to choose their leadership team for the new Congress that begins in January.

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Report: NY poverty at 14%, or above national average

BY Kate Lisa New York State

About 13.9% of New Yorkers, or 2.7 million people in the state, live in poverty — higher for people of color, and children that was deep-ended by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office released Thursday.

It's higher than the national average of 12.8% of people who live in poverty in the United States, according to the report, which is the first of several the comptroller will publish about the topic.

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Lawmakers explore proposed reforms to NY state parole system

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Lawmakers took a hard look Wednesday at proposed legislation to reform New York state's parole system and make it easier for incarcerated people to get a chance at release.

The Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction and Judiciary committees held a hearing in the Legislative Office Building to examine opinions about the Fair & Timely Parole and Elder Parole bills, which would reduce the number of elderly people in prison and long sentences.

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NY Attorney General Letitia James defends her response to aide's sexual harassment allegations

BY Zack Fink New York State

New York Attorney General Letitia James sat down with NY1’s Errol Louis for an exclusive interview Wednesday, her first since her chief of staff Ibrahim Khan resigned last week amid allegations of sexual harassment.

In her appearance on “Inside City Hall,” James said she’s angry at her former staffer while defending how she handled the case.

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New York Inspector General Lucy Lang discusses her first year on the job

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Just over a year ago, New York Inspector General Lucy Lang took over an office that had languished in the legislative equivalent of a backwater. Since then, the office, whose primary function is that of a state agency watchdog, has reached out to both the media and the public in order to rebrand itself as “user friendly."

Lang spoke with Capital Tonight about some of the office’s investigations as well as this new guiding philosophy.

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Apparent North Carolina grid attack shows vulnerabilities in the system

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Tens of thousands of people have been in the dark for days in Moore County, North Carolina — the result of two substations damaged over the weekend by gunfire.

Investigators believe the attacks were intentional and targeted. David Flynn, the head of Phillips Lytle's Energy and Environmental Practice, agrees.

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What Sen. Raphael Warnock's re-election in Georgia means for Chuck Schumer

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer came into the 2022 midterm elections in a very precarious position. Republicans only needed to gain one Senate seat to retake control of the upper chamber, putting an end to his brief tenure as majority leader.

Instead, the New York lawmaker will continue leading the Senate following a historic political feat. Not only did every single Democratic incumbent senator win re-election — an accomplishment no party in power has achieved since the 1930s — but he will be a leader with one more member of his caucus, confirmed by Sen. Raphael Warnock's victory over Republican Herschel Walker in Tuesday’s Georgia Senate runoff election.

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Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Carl Heastie re-elected Democratic leaders

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A decade ago, Democrats in the state Senate in New York were in the political wilderness. Its leadership was scarred by scandal. A faction of Democratic lawmakers sided with Republicans. A Democratic governor showed little interest in helping them win a majority.

At the time, the party turned to Yonkers state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins to lead them. Ten years later, Democrats hold a large majority that was nearly impervious to the down-ballot troubles faced by the party this election cycle and could potentially keep its supermajority.

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Hochul approves notification law for New York nursing homes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Residential care facilities in New York will be required to notify residents and their families when an infection is confirmed in the facility under legislation approved Wednesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The new law will also require nursing homes in the state to have a plan to aid exposed or infected residents.

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New York health officials urge caution with 'tridemic'

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Public health officials in New York are urging people to take precautions this winter amid a "tridemic" of illnesses: COVID-19, the flu and respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV.

Those precautions include many of the suggestions that have been issued even before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of every flu season: Wash your hands, sneeze and cough into the crook of your arm and stay home if you are sick.

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Lee Zeldin says he won't seek RNC chairmanship

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin on Wednesday signaled he would not seek the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, acknowledging in a statement he is falling short of a needed majority.

But at the same time, the Long Island congressman and 2022 nominee for New York governor urged party officials to select a new leader after a disappointing midterm result for Republicans in Congress.

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Hochul urged to sign bill meant to protect waterways

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Advocates on both sides of a measure are trying to influence Gov. Kathy Hochul's final decision for a proposal that is meant to strengthen protections for New York's streams.

The measure, now sitting on Hochul's desk, would expand the number of streams in the state that could fall under environmental protection.

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Advocates make renewed pitch for easing parole laws in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Measures that would make it easier for people serving long prison sentences to be eligible for parole are once again being sought in Albany, and criminal justice advocates are once again gearing up for a renewed push on the issue.

If approved by the Democratic-led Legislature, the parole law changes would be the latest in a line of changes to the criminal justice system in the state.

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Legislative agenda grows to address New York's maternal mortality

BY Kate Lisa New York State

The state Health Department's ongoing study of pregnancy-related deaths in New York is inspiring some lawmakers to take action when they return to Albany next month.

Gov. Kathy Hochul committed $20 million to improve affordable prenatal and postnatal care across the state, including expanding postpartum coverage for people eligible for Medicaid. But as the state's Maternal Mortality Review Board continues to closely examine pregnancy-associated deaths in the state, some lawmakers are preparing to tell the governor that isn't enough.

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UUP president optimistic of new SUNY chancellor

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Another nationwide search for a SUNY chancellor has ended with a familiar face for New Yorkers. Former state Education Commissioner Dr. John King Jr. will begin running the SUNY system next month. The position had been filled in an acting capacity following the resignation of Dr. Jim Malatras.

King’s tenure as education commissioner between 2011 and 2015 was a tumultuous one, primarily because he was an advocate of both the Common Core and teacher evaluations which complicated his relationship with both parents and teachers.

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NYPIRG: Size range in newly proposed state Assembly maps leave much to be desired

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Last week, the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) released the first draft of the new New York state Assembly district maps for the 2024 elections.

According to Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), the current Assembly maps left a lot to be desired regarding their size range.

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Next New York health commissioner will face familiar challenges

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Dr. Mary Bassett is stepping down as New York's health commissioner after a year leading a complex, sprawling public health bureaucracy and as the most prominent member of Gov. Kathy Hochul's cabinet.

Who the governor nominates to succeed Bassett in the role makes for one of the key decisions facing her as she prepares to begin a four-year term on Jan. 1.

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Hand recount of New York 50th Senate District race nears end

BY Luke Parsnow and Spectrum News Staff Central NY

Nearly a month after Election Day, a conclusion to the ultra-tight race for New York's 50th state Senate District in Central New York is looming.

The Onondaga County Board of Elections said Tuesday evening they have finished hand counting all 95,104 votes in the uncalled race between Democratic state Sen. John Mannion and Republican challenger Rebecca Shiroff.

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Trump Organization found guilty on all charges in tax fraud scheme

BY Spectrum News Staff and Associated Press New York City
UPDATED 4:20 PM ET Dec. 06, 2022

Donald Trump's company was convicted of tax fraud on Tuesday in a case brought by the Manhattan District Attorney, a significant repudiation of financial practices at the former president's business.

A jury found two corporate entities at the Trump Organization guilty on all 17 counts, including conspiracy charges and falsifying business records.

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Calls for hearings, audit after Thruway toll proposal moves forward

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State lawmakers in New York are calling for a new level of oversight of the Thruway Authority amid plans being advanced this week that could lead to the first toll increase for E-Z Pass customers in more than a decade.

Thruway officials have defended the proposed increases — 5% in 2024 and another 5% in 2027 — as necessary to help maintain the system's roads and bridges. As part of an effort to encourage more New Yorkers to adopt E-Z Pass, a 75% increase for drivers who do not have the service is also being weighed.

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New law meant to ensure affidavit votes are counted in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A law signed Tuesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul is meant to ensure votes cast by affidavit ballot are still counted, even if the voter appears at the wrong polling place.

Votes would still be eligible if the ballot was cast in the correct county and state Assembly district, addressing an issue known as "wrong church, wrong pew" voting.

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Hochul approves farm and agriculture protection fund

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A new protection fund for farmland and agriculture is being created following the approval of a measure by Gov. Kathy Hochul, state lawmakers on Tuesday announced.

The fund is meant to provide protection for viable farmland in New York as the state also seeks to expand the development of solar projects in order to make the transition to renewable forms of energy.

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Advocates want New York to aid victims of SNAP 'skimming'

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Advocates at the Legal Aid Society and Empire Justice Center are urging state officials to provide compensation to people whose benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are stolen through an electronic theft process known as skimming.

The groups in a letter on Monday to the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to provide compensation to skimming victims, which involves the use of a device installed at retail point-of-sale that captures data on a card and remotely transmits it off-site.

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New York Trial Lawyers Association releases ratings for chief judge nominees

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Four of the seven candidates to lead New York's top court and its judicial system were given the highest possible rating by the New York State Trial Lawyers Association — ratings Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to consider as she weighs her nominee for the post.

Hochul has until Dec. 23 to nominate a replacement for former Chief Judge Janet DiFiore; the nominee will be considered for confirmation by the Democratic-led state Senate.

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200 organizations push Hochul to electrify new buildings in executive budget proposal

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Hundreds of organizations are pressuring Gov. Kathy Hochul to require new buildings in the state be built to use electricity for heat, rather than fossil fuels like gas or oil, in her executive budget proposal to be released next month.

Hochul and lawmakers nearly reached an agreement this year to pass the All-Electric Buildings Act, which would change the state Building Code and require construction of new buildings to be all-electric starting in 2024 for buildings under seven stories and by 2027 for larger projects. It would align state policy with a local New York City statute passed last year that established the mandate in the five boroughs to transition away from gas-burning furnaces, boilers and propane.

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'Puppy Mill Pipeline' bill awaits Gov. Hochul's signature

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The pet industry is fighting back against New York legislation that advocates refer to as the “Puppy Mill Pipeline” bill.

The bill passed with bipartisan majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature and now awaits Gov. Kathy Hochul's signature.

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How dropping ex-New York lieutenant governor's bribery charges could impact judicial system

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In April, federal prosecutors charged then-New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin with charges related to an alleged bribery scheme dating back to his time as a state senator and during an unsuccessful run for New York City comptroller.

However, a federal judge on Monday threw out three of those counts, including bribery and fraud.

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Former U.S. Education Secretary John King to lead New York SUNY system

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 7:01 PM ET Dec. 05, 2022

John King, a former state education commissioner and the former U.S. education secretary during the Obama administration, has been tapped to become the chancellor of New York's 64-campus public college and university system.

The State University of New York Board of Trustees on Monday formally appointed King to the role, replacing Jim Malatras. SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley had been serving in the role on an acting basis.

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What progressive advocates want from Albany in 2023

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

As she enters her first full term, Gov. Kathy Hochul has signaled plans she will work to expand housing in New York to address a long-standing shortage and cost crunch throughout the state.

Advocates like Allie Dentinger of Housing Justice for All want to hold her to that promise.

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Hochul urged to approve regulations for immigration bond industry

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Advocates are urging Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday to approve new regulations for the immigration bond industry and lay down new oversight rules.

The bill sitting on Hochul's desk addresses the for-profit bond industry for immigration, a system that can draw in tens of thousands of immigrants across the country. In New York, hundreds of immigrant residents can be detained at 76 different locations.

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New York attorney general’s office faces questions over investigation that led to resignation of top aide

BY Zack Fink New York State
UPDATED 5:21 PM ET Dec. 05, 2022

The office of State Attorney General Letitia James is facing calls to provide more details about an internal sexual harassment investigation that led to the resignation of Chief of Staff Ibrahim Khan.

Sources say Khan resigned earlier this month after sexual harassment allegations were made against him by at least two women.

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New York Thruway Authority begins potential toll-increase process

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York State Thruway Authority on Monday voted to begin a process that is expected to lead to the first toll increase on E-Z Pass customers since 2010.

The vote on Monday set in motion a public comment period that is expected to last over the next 12 months. No toll hike is taking effect immediately.

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Bribery, fraud charges against ex-Lt Gov Benjamin dismissed

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A federal judge on Monday dismissed the bribery and fraud charges against Democratic former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, but kept charges that he falsified business records in place for now.

Benjamin, who was appointed lieutenant governor by Gov. Kathy Hochul last year, resigned in April after he was charged with felony corruption by federal prosecutors.

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Citing cost concerns, Hochul vetoes commission to study paid family leave

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A proposal that would have created a commission to study paid family leave in New York and make recommendations for how to expand access to it was vetoed by Gov. Kathy Hochul over concerns the review would cost too much.

The bill is among a handful of measures Hochul has vetoed in recent weeks, many of which would have created task forces, commissions and panels to conduct studies.

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Gillibrand wants better ways of tracking gun sales

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called on Sunday for the full implementation of the use of a merchant category code in order to better tracking gun and ammunition sales in the United States.

A similar push to do so has been made at the state level in New York, and the use of the code has been staunchly opposed by gun dealers, who worry the move would hurt their business and the sale of legal firearms.

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New York Attorney General Letitia James' chief of staff resigns amid sexual harassment allegations

BY Zack Fink and Spectrum News Staff New York State

The influential chief of staff to state Attorney General Letitia James has resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment, sources said Friday.

Sources tell NY1 individuals outside the attorney general’s office made sexual harassment allegations against Ibrahim Khan. Those allegations were made by more than one woman.

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New York coalition pushes for economic justice in next legislative session

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

As the opening of the next legislative session in Albany nears, groups of all political stripes are trying to organize and amplify their message.

One coalition of statewide progressive groups is pushing for a more just economy, especially for low-income communities of color which have historically struggled in the face of red-lining.

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What a Republican victory in this Supreme Court case could mean for New York state

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

It’s possible that the Democrats in the New York State Legislature will get another shot at redistricting. It all depends on whether Republicans prevail in a court case that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next week.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in Moore v. Harper next Wednesday. The case comes out of North Carolina where a Republican-dominated legislature passed maps that the state’s highest court decided were gerrymandered, and a violation of the constitution.

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Schumer calls on DHS to assist hospitals overwhelmed with RSV

BY Ryan Whalen Warsaw

WARSAW, N.Y. -- Respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV, is not typically dangerous for adults but can be much more serious for young children.

"The good news is RSV is very treatable. If you get the right treatment, the odds of returning to safe, healthy childhood with no permanent damage is extremely high, but you've got to get people the materials they need," U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday.

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New York lawmakers want to hit brakes on a potential Thruway toll hike

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York lawmakers want to thwart potential toll increases at the state Thruway for the first time in more than a decade.

But those in the construction industry, as well as the Thruway Authority itself, believe the hikes are necessary in order to shore up aging infrastructure on the 496-mile system.

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Hochul plans Jan. 1 inauguration as governor in Albany

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The city of Albany will host its first inaugural ceremony for a New York governor in a dozen years as Gov. Kathy Hochul signaled plans to hold the event at the Empire State Convention Center on Jan. 1.

Hochul will be ceremonially sworn in at 2 p.m. on the first day of the year and will be the first woman to take the oath of office for a full, four-year term.

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New York Health Commissioner Mary Bassett to resign

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state Health Commissioner Mary Bassett will resign on Jan. 1, marking a departure of the highest-profile member of Gov. Kathy Hochul's cabinet before she starts her new four-year term.

In a statement, Bassett said she plans to return to the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.

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New York adds 38 new Forest Rangers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York is adding new members to its Forest Ranger force with 38 graduates from basic school on Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced.

The new recruits will join the Department of Environmental Conservation's Division of Forest Protection, bringing its ranks to 159 people.

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New York health officials cite gains in fight against HIV/AIDS

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state recorded 2,123 new HIV cases in 2021, marking a 37% decline since an effort began in the last decade to end the prevalence of new infections in the state.

The effort, started under then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was meant to enact a multi-pronged plan to decrease HIV infections. Despite success since then, racial disparities continue to exist and prevent barriers to achieving more gains, Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Thursday.

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New York officials step up fight over illegal firearms

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

More than 50 hard-to-trace ghost guns were recovered as part of a broader case against alleged dealers of illegal firearms, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday.

The arrests of three men on more than 400 weapons-related charges also led to the recovery of 57 firearms, including 51 ghost guns, weapons without serial numbers or other markers that can be used in identifying them.

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Work begins on 339-mile transmission line from Canada to NYC

BY Kate Lisa New York State
UPDATED 7:46 PM ET Dec. 01, 2022

Construction has started on the longest stretch of the Champlain Hudson Power Express — a 339-mile transmission line to bring clean hydropower from Canada to New York City.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, multiple officials and lawmakers gathered Wednesday morning for an indoor groundbreaking at the Whitehall Castle to celebrate the start of construction in the North Country town. The longest stretch of the line spans 17.6 miles through Washington County.

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Albany Damien Center’s executive director on World AIDS Day

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Every year on Dec. 1, we commemorate World AIDS Day to both remember those we have lost to this disease and remind ourselves that HIV stigma and discrimination are still very much problems that we need to continually fight against. In upstate New York, one of the institutions that has worked tirelessly to improve the health and quality of life for individuals and families living with HIV and AIDS is the Albany Damien Center.

The center’s executive director, Perry Junjulas, joined Capital Tonight to discuss why Thursday's commemoration is more important than ever before.

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New York's redistricting panel advances new proposed map for state Assembly

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 7:06 PM ET Dec. 01, 2022

Commissioners on New York's redistricting panel voted Thursday to advance a new proposed map for state Assembly legislative boundaries, setting off yet another round of public hearings.

The new map is something of a do-over for the redistricting commission following a court order to draw new legislative boundaries for the 150-member chamber. But this time, the Republican and Democratic members of the redistricting commission sought to highlight how they were unified behind a single proposal.

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Hochul: Aid will help low-income kids prepare for college

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state is receiving $28 million in federal aid for a seven-year program meant to prepare low-income students for college, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced.

The money is expected to aid more than 6,200 students under the GEAR UP program, a seven-year program that starts in middle school and runs through freshman year of college.

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New York considers more regulation of virtual currency

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state financial regulators are weighing new regulations for virtual currency businesses as the sector has fallen under scrutiny following the implosion of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

The proposed regulation by the Department of Financial Services in New York would establish how licensed virtual currency businesses are assessed for costs of their supervision and examination. The move would activate a provision in the state budget that allows regulators to collect oversight costs from these businesses, similar to how other financial institutions in New York are covered.

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Applications to SUNY have doubled in the last year

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The number of New Yorkers and prospective students from out of state who have applied to a State University of New York school has doubled in the last year, driven by a two-week fee waiver for applications.

SUNY officials on Thursday announced the applications have increased by 110% as of Nov. 25, growing from 97,257 to 204,437 applications.

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House Democrats elect Jeffries, Clark, Aguilar to lead party

BY Ryan Chatelain Washington, D.C.
UPDATED 10:46 AM ET Dec. 01, 2022

House Democrats ushered in a new era of leadership Wednesday, electing a trio of fresh faces to its top posts.

At a caucus meeting on Capitol Hill, Democrats unanimously elected Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York as their new House leader. He will succeed Nancy Pelosi, who announced earlier this month she is stepping down as leader after directing the party for 20 years, including eight as speaker.

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New York insurance regulators want to review health equity programs

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York regulators are trying to get a better idea of how insurance companies are trying to reduce health disparities, especially in communities of color.

The Department of Financial Services on Wednesday released a mandatory information request for insurance companies to show the work they've done on race, ethnicity and language data collection efforts as well as programs for health equity.

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Rob Ortt re-elected New York Senate Republican leader

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican state Sen. Robert Ortt on Wednesday was re-elected the leader of the Republicans in the chamber, the GOP conference announced.

Ortt is set to serve another two-year term as the chamber's minority leader when the full Legislature returns to Albany in January.

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Lawmakers prepare to fight for vetoed group home bill

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Unhappy lawmakers say they'll push back against Gov. Kathy Hochul's decision to veto legislation to create a team of 20 people to give state agencies feedback about the operations of group homes in New York.

It was one of dozens of measures the governor vetoed last week for various studies, task forces or commissions. They should be part of the next state budget negotiations, Hochul said in her veto message.

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New York state Sen. Tom O'Mara: One-party rule in Albany means lack of oversight

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

After Gov. Kathy Hochul’s tighter-than-expected victory earlier this month, some New York Republicans are dissecting the circumstances surrounding the election, as well as preparing for yet another session in the minority.

One of those Republicans is State Sen. Tom O’Mara, of Big Flats, ranker on the Finance, and the Investigations and Government Operations committees.

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Assembly prepared to vote against seating Brooklyn Republican over residency question

BY Zack Fink Brooklyn

In an extremely rare move, the Democratic-led state Assembly is preparing to vote against seating the Republican winner of an Assembly race in Brooklyn, Lester Chang, because he may not have moved into the borough one year prior to the election as required by law.

Earlier this month, Chang defeated longtime Democratic incumbent Peter Abbate in Southern Brooklyn’s 49th District 52% to 47%.

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New York Assembly majority leader 'relieved' by Buffalo shooting suspect's guilty plea

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Relief is what New York state Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said she felt upon discovering that the man who allegedly killed 10 people at a Tops in her community had pleaded guilty to all of those murders.

The lawmaker believes it was clear he was guilty and the families with whom she's become close to should not have had to deal with a long trial.

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New York lawmakers weigh how to strengthen mental health services on college campuses

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The upheaval of the last two and a half years have added to the anxieties of college students — already facing a stressful time as they leave home and take their first steps into adulthood.

The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a light on the long-term effects of isolation and uncertainty. And it's made access to on-campus services at colleges vital for mental health.

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New York seeks to expand legal services for newly arrived immigrants

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state officials are offering new legal services to immigrants who arrived in New York City over the last year, with $3 million planned for the next three years for the New York State Office for New Americans.

Gov. Kathy Hochul's office on Wednesday announced the funding amid the ongoing arrival of migrants and asylum seekers in New York City, many of whom face ongoing immigration and legal status questions.

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Hand recount ongoing in uncalled race for New York's 50th Senate seat

BY Spectrum News Staff Central NY

Election Day may have been weeks ago, but the race for New York's 50th Senate District is still without a declared winner in Central New York.

The Onondaga County Board of Elections said Wednesday have counted just over 32,000 of the roughly 90,000 ballots in the race after the initial count ended with Democratic Sen. John Mannion leading Republican challenger Rebecca Shiroff by just 27 votes. The close margin prompted an automatic recount by hand.

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New York schools have taken wider community roles

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York schools have been squeezed over the last two-and-a-half years by the COVID-19 pandemic. But at the same time, school leaders report they are providing more services for their communities amid ongoing financial and mental health struggles.

The New York State Council of School Superintendents on Wednesday released a survey of its members finding many have taken on more duties since the start of the pandemic.

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New York Thruway Authority to consider toll increases for E-Z Pass users

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York State Thruway Authority next month is set to consider the first toll hikes on E-Z Pass tagholders in a decade.

Officials at the authority that oversees the 496-mile system confirmed Wednesday morning the hikes are being considered and the board will formally launch the process starting next week. That process will include public hearings before any official decision on toll increases is made.

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New York added thousands of clean energy jobs in 2021

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state added more than 7,000 jobs in the clean energy sector in 2021 as the industry is being looked to as a key pillar in the drive to transition away from carbon-based fuels in the coming decades.

A report released Tuesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul and state officials found New York's clean energy jobs increased from 157,686 to 165,055 between 2020 and 2021 -- a time period that was also marked by the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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NY assemblyman: Lawsuit against WNY nursing home means more accountability, transparency needed

BY Susan Arbetter New York State
UPDATED 9:20 PM ET Nov. 29, 2022

Is there a legislative fix for the kind of fraud, neglect and disinvestment allegedly found at The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center in Albion and outlined Tuesday by New York Attorney General Letitia James?

State Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat from Queens, thinks so.

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Assemblyman Ashby prepares move to state Senate

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Upstate Assemblyman Jake Ashby is ready for orientation with his new Senate colleagues this week after winning a close race in a new district.

Voters in the redrawn 43rd Senate District, encompassing all of Rensselaer County, the northwestern piece of Albany County and all but the northern part of Washington County, elected Ashby on Nov. 8 with more than 51% of the vote, according to the state Board of Elections.

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Hochul's chief judge pick will be closely watched

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Nominations to New York's Court of Appeals do not usually attract the same kind of fanfare or scrutiny that a U.S. Supreme Court pick gets at the federal level.

But increasingly, advocates and state lawmakers are viewing Gov. Kathy Hochul's pending nomination to lead the state's top court and its sprawling court system as a consequential one as she prepares to start her four-year term in January.

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Reform groups want more transparency in economic development

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Good-government organizations on Tuesday urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to approve a measure that's meant to expand transparency requirements for economic development in New York.

The measure, if approved, would require community advisory committees, which play a role in helping shepherd and oversee economic development projects, to open their meetings to the public.

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Will Barclay re-elected New York Assembly Republican leader

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Central New York state Assemblyman Will Barclay was re-elected the leader of the Republicans on Tuesday to the Democratic-dominated chamber.

The vote was held in private with Republican lawmakers in Albany on Tuesday afternoon as they prepare for the 2023 legislative session set to begin in January.

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New York schools slow in spending federal aid, report finds

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Schools in New York have been slow to spend federal aid sent to them in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, an analysis released by an education advocacy organization on Tuesday found.

The report released by the New York Equity Coalition found school districts as of August 2022 have spent less than 10% of funding meant to boost learning after the pandemic disrupted classroom instruction.

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How New York wants to ease burden for caregivers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Caring for an older friend, parent, relative or neighbor is becoming increasingly pervasive, especially in states like New York where the population is older than the national average.

State officials on Monday highlighted an effort to highlight the needs of unpaid caregivers and the increasing challenges they face, especially in the workplace.

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State attorney general report advises caution in charitable giving

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Professional fundraisers received more than 25 cents for each dollar contributed to a charitable cause in 2021, according to an analysis released this week by New York Attorney General Letitia James' office.

The annual report on charitable giving and where the money goes comes as Giving Tuesday is recognized this year and as New Yorkers make annual donations to charity.

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Demand on New York state's electric system increases

BY Kate Lisa New York State

New Yorkers are expected to see electric bills increase by more than 30% this winter compared to last year in wake of various national and geopolitical factors keeping the cost of natural gas and electricity elevated.

Inflation, ongoing supply issues from the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine continue to keep energy costs significantly higher, but New York's power grid has a sufficient supply of energy and won't be strained to carry the state through the winter season, according to an assessment Monday by New York Independent System Operator.

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U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in two Cuomo-era NY political corruption cases

BY Kevin Frey Washington, D.C.

Hearing arguments in two cases out of New York Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court appeared ready to make it more difficult for prosecutors to pursue political corruption cases against public figures.

Both cases arose from the administration of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. One involves a former top Cuomo aide, while the other stems from Cuomo’s economic development plan known as the Buffalo Billion.

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Buffalo Tops shooting suspect the first to plead guilty under New York's Domestic Terrorism Law

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Among the 15 charges the man who committed the racially motivated mass shooting earlier this year at a Buffalo Tops supermarket pleaded guilty to Monday included 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of a domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate.

He is the first person in the state indicted under that law.

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New York advocates push 'All-Electric Building Act' as a response to the high costs of heating oil

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

During a media briefing on Monday, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) stated that it expects wholesale electricity prices to sharply rise this winter, which is in line with estimates from National Grid and other utilities.

Upstate New Yorkers can expect heating bills to rise 30% or more over the next few months. Heating costs are especially volatile this year due to disruptions in the supply of oil and gas from Eastern Europe.

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Crypto industry ponders what's next after New York's proof-of-work moratorium

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Kathy Hochul wants the crypto-based industry to flourish in New York, but she said Monday it can't come at the expense of the environment.

"I have said I support the crypto industry," Hochul said Monday. "It does not mean they have to be using our limited resources here in upstate New York to do the mining."

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Debate grows over proposed wrongful death expansion in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A proposed expansion of New York's wrongful death law is coming down to the final weeks of the year as the measure remains one of the more high-profile proposals yet to be considered by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The measure is meant to make it easier for a person to bring a wrongful death claim based on emotional suffering, an extension beyond the current statute that requires a grieving loved one to show financial losses due to a death.

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New law will provide more debt relief to young farmers in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

College graduates who are pursuing careers in agriculture are in line for expanded student debt relief under a measure approved by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The new measure is meant to give more students eligibility under a program meant to encourage young people to becomes farmers.

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Hochul plans renewed push against illegal guns

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Kathy Hochul plans to propose "a very comprehensive" plan to staunch the tide of illegal guns into New York, she signaled on Monday ahead of her State of the State address in the coming weeks.

Hochul indicated the push against illegal guns will be part of her 2023 agenda as she concludes her first full year in office and begins a full, four-year term at the start of the year.

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Hochul: Loan repayment will help recruit mental health workers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state is providing $9 million in loan repayments for mental health care workers in an effort to recruit and retain psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced.

The money is part of a program meant to provide repayments of up to $120,000 for psychiatrists and $30,000 for psychiatric nurse practitioners. They must remain employed by licensed community mental health programs for three years in order to qualify.

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Supporters disappointed by Hochul's veto of study for group homes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Proponents of a measure that would have studied the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on adult group homes in New York were disappointed after Gov. Kathy Hochul vetoed the legislation.

The bill was among the dozens of measures Hochul vetoed last week, many of which created task forces to study an array of issues.

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Mohonasen superintendent: Schools need SED funds to replace mascots by deadline

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Some New York public school districts say they'll need additional funding from the state Education Department to meet a department deadline to replace their Native American mascots by the end of the academic year.

The department published a memo late last week mandating dozens of New York school districts with Native American mascots, logos and related imagery to change them by the end of the 2022-23 school year or forego future state aid.

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Clock starts on the Adult Survivors Act lookback window on Thursday

BY Tim Williams and Casey Bortnick New York State

Despite the holiday, the clock starts ticking on Thursday for sexual abuse survivors to file civil claims under the Adult Survivors Act’s lookback window.

Starting Thursday, survivors of sexual abuse who are or were over the age of 18 when the abuse occurred can file a civil lawsuit against their abuser or an institution. The lookback window follows the model set in the Child Victims Act, which was passed in 2019, and allows survivors to file claims in cases that are outside the statute of limitations. The lookback window only lasts for one year and is scheduled to begin on Thursday.

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Rep.-elect Brandon Williams prepares to represent Central New York in D.C.

BY Tim Williams and Casey Bortnick New York State

After a tight election which was decided by a percentage point, Brandon Williams is headed to Washington to represent the Syracuse region in Congress. The Republican congressman-elect told Capital Tonight that he will prioritize the cost of energy, farmers and reindustrializing Central New York.

Williams credits an authentic message on his concern about the direction of the country and his political newcomer status that helped him tackle strong primary and general election opponents. Williams does admit the final outcome of the race was closer than he and his campaign had expected.

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Hochul will pick from 7 candidates for top New York judge

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

It's one of the potentially most consequential decisions Gov. Kathy Hochul has to make in the coming weeks: Who should lead New York's top court and its court system?

The state Commission on Judicial Nomination on Wednesday submitted seven candidates for Hochul to choose from for a nomination to the state Senate. By law, her nomination will be made between Dec. 8 and Dec. 23.

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