State labor officials will study employment of transgender New Yorkers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State Department of Labor officials will conduct a study of the employment picture facing transgender people in New York as part of a bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

"As the birthplace of the movement for LGBTQ+ equality, New York must always push forward to ensure all New Yorkers are treated with dignity and respect," Hochul said. "For too long, trans individuals -- especially in communities of color -- have faced significant obstacles to economic success. That's unacceptable. Thanks to this new law, New York will be able to study these inequities so we can develop the legislative solutions to eliminate them once and for all."

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Hochul approves measures to aid Holocaust survivors, boost education

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul approved Wednesday a package of bills meant to aid the survivors of the Holocaust as well as boost education in New York schools.

Hochul at a ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage said the measures were needed to support the state's 40,000 survivors of the Holocaust amid a rise in anti-Semitic attacks and online radicalization.

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Special election for NY-23: Joe Sempolinski v. Max Della Pia

BY Susan Arbetter New York State
UPDATED 7:10 AM ET Aug. 10, 2022

Some voters in New York's 23rd Congressional District will be voting in two congressional races on Aug. 23.

The race between Nick Langworthy and Carl Paladino for the Republican nomination for the new NY-23 has been well-publicized. The winner of that primary will go on to face Democrat Max Della Pia in November’s general election.

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New York regulators reject North Country solar farm plan

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York regulators on Tuesday rejected a proposed 180-megawatt solar farm project in the state's North Country region as efforts to transition to more renewable forms of energy clash with conservation concerns.

The state's environmental and electric generation siting board turned down approval for the project, planned for the towns of Massena and Norfolk in St. Lawrence County, pointing to plans to build predominantly on 500 acres of wetland space as well as near 11 regulated streams.

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Advocates want more support for health centers in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Health care advocates this week are pushing for more support for health centers in New York from the state government, warning safety-net facilities are struggling financially due to a policy that has diverted funding away from them.

At issue remains a Medicaid policy first put into motion under then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo that changed the 340B program. Supporters argued it helped save money. But opponents have worried the change from managed care to a fee for service model.

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Clashing arguments push court to choose author of new Assembly lines

BY Kate Lisa New York State

The legal fight is on to determine who will redraw the state Assembly maps tossed out in June by a mid-level court that ruled the lines unconstitutional.

Late Monday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie filed an argument asking a state Supreme Court judge to have the Independent Redistricting Commission redraw the new Assembly lines. The state Appellate Court voided the original lines June 10 to be used in the 2024 election.

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Former Buffalo special agent in charge weighs in on Trump search warrant

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The FBI on Monday executed a search warrant of former President Donald Trump's home reportedly in connection with the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents that may have been brought there.

As former special agent in charge of the bureau's Buffalo field office, Bernie Tolbert may not have dealt with anything quite as high profile, but he knows the process well.

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Former Gov. George Pataki expects crime will resonate with New York voters

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

In 1994, Republican George Pataki unseated Democratic incumbent Mario Cuomo in the governor's race in part with a pledge to tackle crime and public safety in New York.

Now, nearly 30 years later, Pataki sees parallels in the campaign for governor as Republican nominee Lee Zeldin pushes a public safety message.

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New York Senate Democrats urge expanded access to abortion pill

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Members of the New York state Senate Democratic conference on Tuesday released a letter to federal regulators urging them to improve access to the abortion pill mifepristone.

The lawmakers in a letter released by state Sen. Shelley Mayer's office called for easing regulations in prescribing, dispensing and the distribution of the mifepristone.

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Hochul approves law promoting New York's jobs bank

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A bill creating a public awareness campaign for the New York State Job Bank was signed into law Monday by Gov. Kathy Hochul in order to help promote employment in the state.

The measure is meant to boost the job bank as an online resource, part of the state Department of Labor, to help people seeking jobs with more than 250,000 positions in a variety of sectors.

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Hochul: Combating domestic terror needed at local level

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Help is needed to combat and curtail domestic terrorism on the local level in New York, and Gov. Kathy Hochul indicated on Tuesday money will be put behind the effort to do so.

Hochul spoke briefly to the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services threat assessment and management summit as her administration has sought ways to counter crimes motivated by hate in New York following a mass shooting this summer at a supermarket in Buffalo that killed 10 people.

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New York lawmaker warns businesses won't recover with unemployment debt

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Businesses in New York will struggle with billions of dollars in federal unemployment insurance debt hanging over their heads and will have a hard time recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, Assemblyman Billy Jones warned on Monday.

Jones is among the lawmakers sounding an alarm over the last several months surrounding New York's debt to the federal government to the Unemployment Trust Fund. The state borrowed billions of dollars at the onset of the pandemic as public gathering spaces and businesses were forced to close and the unemployment rate spiked.

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New York receives $4M in federal support to aid health centers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York is receiving more than $4.2 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding to provide support for community health centers in the state, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday.

The money is expected to reach 65 health centers in New York and is part of nearly $90 million in nationwide funding for the facilities, federal officials said.

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CDC team arrives in New York to help prevent polio outbreak

BY Kate Lisa New York State

A small team of federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials arrived in the state to investigate the case of paralytic polio in an unvaccinated Rockland County adult and administer vaccines to New Yorkers to prevent additional spread.

The state Health Department is working with the CDC and local health officials to fight a greater outbreak of the poliovirus after health officials identified a case of the disease in downstate Rockland County on July 21. It's the first confirmed case of polio found in the United States in more than a decade.

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New York GOP comptroller candidate Paul Rodriguez argues for change

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

In New York state, the role of the comptroller is especially powerful because whoever runs the office is the sole trustee of the state’s $280 billion pension fund, one of the largest in the country.

For the past 14 years, Tom DiNapoli, a Democrat from Long Island, has been at the helm of the office, so this November, it’s his race to lose.

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Zeldin wants to block farmworker overtime expansion

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican candidate for governor Lee Zeldin on Monday vowed to reverse an expected lowering of the hourly threshold for when overtime pay would kick in for New York farmworkers, calling it something the agriculture industry can't afford.

Zeldin's opposition to the threshold change comes as state labor officials are due to consider a proposal to lower the ceiling from 60 hours a week to 40.

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Zeldin wants an 'across-the-board' tax cut

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican candidate for governor Lee Zeldin would push the "largest tax cut" in New York history if elected this November and indicated Monday he wants to cut taxes in virtually every corner of the state budget.

The details of Zeldin's plan, however, are not yet specifically spelled out. At the same time, he did not commit to an extension of eliminating 17 cents in gas taxes, set to expire at the end of the year (Republicans in the state Senate have called for a full elimination of gas taxes).

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New York will no longer use 'inmate' for people in prison

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York's law books will no longer use the word "inmate" to describe people in prison as part of a measure signed Monday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Use of the word "inmate" has come under criticism by advocates who have sought changes to New York's criminal justice system, arguing the term dehumanizes people. Laws in New York will now refer to people in prison as "incarcerated individuals."

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How older New York homeowners could get tax relief

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Older New York homeowners could be in line for expanded tax relief in the state under legislation approved Monday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The measure will allow local governments to increase the maximum allowable income eligible for a property tax exemption to $50,000 for people who are 65 and older as well as people with disabilities. The measure will increase the current limit set at $29,000 a year for older New Yorkers who live outside of New York City.

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New law aimed at improving access to New York National Guard benefits

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A measure signed into law Monday by Gov. Kathy Hochul is meant to improve access to information for benefits and services that are available to members of the New York National Guard.

The information, meant to expand access, will cover both written forms as well as on the website of the Division of Military and Naval Affairs. It will cover family benefits, moral, welfare and recreation discounts, veterans benefits, insurance and financial assistance.

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Hochul receives backing of Human Rights Campaign

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A prominent LGBTQ organization has endorsed Gov. Kathy Hochul's bid for a full term.

Hochul last week received the backing of the Human Rights Campaign, a politically influential organization that pointed to her support for LGBTQ+ rights in New York.

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Sean Patrick Maloney's support grows in state Legislature

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Support for Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is expanding in the state Legislature ahead of his Aug. 23 primary with the endorsement of state Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick.

Maloney is being challenged this month for the Democratic nomination in a Hudson Valley congressional seat by one of Reichlin-Melnick's colleagues in Albany, state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi.

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How New York lawmakers want to make prescription drugs less expensive

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State lawmakers have proposed reducing the cost of prescription medications by barring so-called "pay-for-delay" agreements that have come under scrutiny by federal regulators.

The bill, introduced earlier this year, is meant to end those deals between manufacturers of brand-name drugs and generic drug makers.

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Albany County DA calls for special legislative session on public safety

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Another Democrat in the state on Friday joined New York City Mayor Eric Adams' calls this week for lawmakers to return to Albany to make changes to its criminal justice policies.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares wants Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders to hold a special legislative session to amend the Raise the Age laws that increased the age to 18 for when a person can be criminally tried in the state.

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Assemblymember Pat Fahy: Let cideries ship out of state

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

Beer, wine and cider have become big agri-business in New York. For farmers who are dealing with serious challenges, these new revenue streams have been a bright spot in a relatively dim economic landscape.

On “International Beer Day,” one of the industry’s biggest proponents, Democrat Pat Fahy, told Capital Tonight that the alcohol-to-go bill, which passed in the state budget, should definitely be renewed in three years’ time in spite of complaints from alcohol retailers.

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State police seizure of illegal firearms up 104%

BY Kate Lisa New York State

New York State Police have increased their seizure of illegal firearms across the state, taking almost 800 privately made firearms (PMF), or ghost guns, and assault rifles this year in an effort to decrease gun violence.

Hundreds of the illegal firearms police have confiscated in 2022 were displayed Thursday at the state police forensic lab in Albany.

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Hochul exploring state-funded bail reform training for judges

BY Kate Lisa Albany/Capital Region

Gov. Kathy Hochul and her top aides are discussing options with officials in the state Office of Court Administration about how to better educate New York judges to correctly set bail in wake of recent changes to state bail laws.

The governor addressed the issue at a press conference in Albany on Thursday about statewide illegal gun trafficking. She suggested continuing legal education classes for judges to help them understand their discretion in setting bail during an event in New York City the day before.

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Judge closes party affiliation loophole for August New York primary

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Voters this year were unable to change party affiliation between Feb. 14 and July 1.

When state Supreme Court Justice Patrick McAllister ordered a second primary take place on Aug. 23 for state Senate and congressional seats as part of redistricting litigation, he did not extend that window. It created, in essence, a loophole that would allow voters to switch parties up to and the day of the election.

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Speaker Heastie on the Build Public Renewables Act, CLCPA

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

When the Build Public Renewables Act, or BPRA, failed for a second year in a row, the environmental community was deeply disappointed, especially since the bill had passed in the state Senate.

The BPRA would allow the New York Power Authority, or NYPA, to build and operate renewable energy projects and, according to many climate advocates, help the state reach its ambitious goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

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Heastie on bail, Mayor Adams and judicial discretion

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

The back and forth on bail reform reached another crescendo on Wednesday when New York City Mayor Eric Adams held a press conference about crime in New York City, citing NYPD statistics backing up his position that bail reform has led to an increase in crime.

The mayor also called on the state Legislature, again, to return to Albany to make changes to bail reform. That position pits him squarely against fellow Democrats, Gov. Kathy Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

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Veterans advocates celebrate passage of burn pits bill

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In Afghanistan and Iraq burn pits were commonplace leaving many veterans suffering illnesses from toxic exposure.

Veterans One-Stop Center of Western New York president and CEO Adam Howard served in Iraq and said he's very familiar with them.

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Party registration loophole adds more confusion to hectic NY primary schedule

BY Tim Williams City of Albany

Despite New York’s closed primary status, a loophole created from the redistricting legal challenges allowed New Yorkers to change their party registration up until the August primary.

Erica Smitka, deputy director of the League of Women Voters of New York State, told Capital Tonight that the State Board of Elections approved a motion on Wednesday to try and close that loophole.

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Are tough decisions coming for New York's budget?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

This past April, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Democratic lawmakers had a rare luxury in the world of New York state government: A budget surplus to spend.

Boosted federal aid and increased taxes on the rich filled the stats' coffers, enabling the spending plan to increase funding for schools and health care, provide bonuses to frontline, suspend some gas taxes and increase pay for public workers. But with an economic downturn potentially looming, alarm bells are ringing in budget offices.

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Paladino won't debate, says he's not hiding from press

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo developer and congressional candidate Carl Paladino took questions from the press Wednesday afternoon pushing back on his primary opponent's accusations he's hiding from the media.

Paladino said he wouldn't appear on camera every time he gets a call, but if things are planned ahead he is open.

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During Black Business Month, Peoples-Stokes discusses MWBE fraud prevention

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

August is Black Business Month, a designation that is especially important this year as businesses continue to recover from the pandemic and deal with challenges brought on by inflation.

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who has been a champion of equitable opportunities for people of color, spoke with Capital Tonight about some of the challenges Black business owners have been facing, especially those with Minority & Women Owned Enterprise (MWBE) status.

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New York lawmakers urge federal government to increase monkeypox vaccine supply

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York lawmakers in a letter to federal officials on Wednesday urged them to sharply increase the supply of monkeypox vaccines to the state, writing the allocation is "simply not enough" given the number of cases.

The letter, released by Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell, raised fresh alarms over the spread of the virus in New York. While anyone can contract monkepox, its spread has been predominantly in LGBTQ communities in New York.

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New York's largest public sector labor union approves contract

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Members of New York state's largest public-sector labor union have ratified a 5-year contract that includes raises and bonuses, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced.

The agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association includes 2% raises for the first two years and 3% for the remaining three years. The union represents about 52,000 state workers.

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Hochul urges judges, DAs to take bail changes into account

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's public responses to questions surrounding the state's bail laws can be boiled down to two key concerns: Judges and district attorneys need to read and implement the changes that are in effect, and ending cash bail requirements for numerous criminal charges is not the sole reason behind crime.

Hochul on Wednesday was responding to a renewed round of calls from New York City Mayor Eric Adams to make changes to the bail requirements in Albany through a special sesson of the Legislature.

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Hochul: Health care worker bonuses now available

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state will begin offering $3,000 in bonuses to health care workers who have been on the job for at least six months and earn less than $125,000 as part of an effort to retain people in the sector following more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the bonuses taking effect on Wednesday as more than 9,000 health care worker positions remain vacant in New York.

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Hakeem Jeffries-backed PAC endorses Sean Patrick Maloney

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The political action committee backed and co-led by House Democratic Conference Chairman Hakeem Jeffries is endorsing Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney's re-election bid in the Hudson Valley.

The backing from Team Blue PAC for Maloney comes ahead of the Aug. 23 primary for the newly drawn congressional seat.

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New York awards millions to supportive housing projects

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York has awarded $31.5 million to seven projects in order to expand and build permanent supportive housing units across the state, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Tuesday.

The projects are meant to provide for more affordable housing in New York and reduce homelessness. All told, the money is expected to create 332 units that will serve older New Yorkers as well as people who have a history of substance use disorder, people with developmental disabilities or those facing severe mental illness.

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Union-backed committee seeks to boost Crowley for state Senate

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

An independent expenditure committee backed by a prominent labor union will launch a six-figure ad campaign to boost the state Senate bid of Democratic former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley for a Queens-area district.

The committee, called NYC Forward, was initially launched and funded by District Council 9, a chapter of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. The committee is backing two ads that seek to boost Crowley as she runs for the 59th state Senate district ahead of an Aug. 23 primary.

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Henry, Rodriguez want AG probe of recent contracts to Hochul donors

BY Kate Lisa City of Albany

Two Republicans at the top of the state ticket in November demanded Tuesday that state Attorney General Letitia James start an investigation into decisions that led to lucrative state contracts for companies tied to people who donated to Gov. Kathy Hochul's campaign.

"We are standing here today in the capitol of corruption — a place that's become so transactional that Kathy Hochul's donors seem to think they can pay to play," said Michael Henry, Republican candidate for attorney general, during a visit to Albany on Tuesday.

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Both sides of Right to Repair bill vie​ for Hochul's support

BY Kate Lisa New York State

People on both sides of the debate of the Right to Repair legislation are working hard to get the attention of Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has not indicated where she stands on the measure.

If signed into law, the Right to Repair bill would require the original manufacturers of electronic equipment, like smartphones, tablets and laptop computers, to provide diagnostic and repair information to independent repair providers.

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New York farmers confront higher costs as overtime rules could change

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Stuart Ziehm's family has been farming for four generations. He's been grappling this summer with the added cost of fuel and supplies at his 2,000-acre dairy farm in southern Washington County.

"Agriculture being one of New York's top industries -- agriculture is one of the engines that drives the state and we have to make sure we keep all agriculture sustainable," he said.

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How attorneys general are planning a robocall crackdown

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 5:00 PM ET Aug. 02, 2022

Attorneys general nationwide, including New York Attorney General Letitia James, have formed a 50-state coalition meant to crackdown on robocalls and scam calls hitting consumers.

The task force will investigate the origins of the calls and how they are enabled to reach consumers.

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DOH Commissioner Bassett: 3 reasons why concern around monkeypox is high

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 and is considered “an old virus” by the public health community. That said, according to New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, there are three issues that have raised the level of concern around the virus among public health officials around the country.

“We are seeing it in countries where we’ve never seen it before, and it’s being spread in these countries,” Bassett explained.

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New York civic groups call for COVID review panel with teeth

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Good-government organizations and a think tank on Tuesday urged Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday to go further with her plans to have New York review the state government's response to the pandemic and create a commission with subpoena power.

The move could lead to a more robust investigation of the state's pandemic policies as the governor has taken the initial steps toward having an independent consulting group review how the public health crisis was handled.

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Democrats’ lead in latest Siena poll 'not insurmountable'

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

The latest Siena College poll shows that in four of the statewide races for governor, U.S. senator, attorney general and comptroller, incumbent Democrats are besting their relatively unknown Republican challengers, but not by much.

“I guess it’s a little surprising that the races are as close as they are,” Siena poll spokesman Steve Greenberg told Capital Tonight. “The Democrats in the four statewide races lead between 14 and 21 points. But again, as we’ve talked about, more than twice as many Democrats in this state than Republicans.”

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New human trafficking laws mandate signs, training to help victims

BY Kate Lisa New York State
UPDATED 12:15 PM ET Aug. 02, 2022

New Yorkers will soon start to see more signs in public spaces with information about how to report human trafficking after a series of new bills were recently signed into law to help combat sex and labor trafficking.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a package of eight bills at the end of July to require information about human trafficking and ways to help victims be prominently featured as information cards and signs in places victims are taken the most often. Those include airports, bus terminals, hotels and truck stops. The new legislation will also increase human trafficking awareness training for employees in those industries.

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AG James: Don't overturn race considerations in college admissions

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York Attorney General Letitia James is backing an amicus brief that opposes an effort to bar colleges and universities from considering race or ethnicity in the admissions process.

The brief was backed by a coalition of 20 attorneys general across the country and comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in Students For Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students For Fair Admissions, Inc v. University of North Carolina, which is challenging admissions processes.

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New York forecasts shrinking tax revenue as economy turns sour

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Budget officials in Gov. Kathy Hochul's administration expect revenue from the state's primary source of money — the personal income tax — to decline amid concerns over a curdling economy and project gaps in coming years.

How much New York collects in taxes will matter for future budget debates over top-tier items in the state's spending plan, broadly determining how New Yorkers receive services like health care and education. An economic downturn could make for fewer resources and more pronounced debates over taxes and spending.

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2 polls show Hochul leading Zeldin, but also voter dissatisfaction in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Two polls released Tuesday morning show New York Gov. Kathy Hochul with comfortable leads over her Republican rival, Rep. Lee Zeldin, as attention turns to the November general election matchup.

But the surveys also show New York voters' discontent with the direction of the country and state as well as with President Joe Biden.

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Two perspectives on the 'Inflation Reduction Act of 2022'

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

After the initial surprise that Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer had come to an agreement with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on a climate and tax deal that could be considered the little brother of “Build Back Better,” advocates and opponents have started to dig into the plan’s details.

Proponents argue that the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” will help to reduce the deficit, invest in clean energy and allow Medicare to negotiate prices for prescription drug prices.

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Could New York's election season be shaped by the economy?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican state Sen. Peter Oberacker says his constituents are frustrated by high gas prices and paying more at the supermarket. Inflationary woes are made worse by the expense of living in a rural area.

"One area I'm absolutely really concerned about is the effect of fuel and home heating oil coming up with our winters here in Upstate New York," he said.

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New York pension fund posts 9.5% rate of return

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

As the economy sails into choppy waters, New York's pension fund at the end of the state's fiscal year in March posted a 9.5% rate of return and hit $272.1 billion in value, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office on Monday said.

The announcement comes after two straight quarters of a shrinking economy, rising inflation and concerns of an economic downturn in the United States.

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New York health officials: Polio detected in Rockland wastewater samples

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The polio virus has been detected in wastewater samples from early June in Rockland County and is genetically linked to a case confirmed last month in the area, New York state Department of Health officials said Monday.

The polio cases are also genetically linked to samples from greater Jerusalem, Israel, but that "does not imply that the individual case identified in New York has travel history to Israel," officials said.

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With inflation up, New York Republicans revive call for spending cap

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republicans in the state Senate on Monday called for a formalized cap on state spending in New York's budget as inflationary costs continue to take their toll.

The conference released a report highlighting the effects of inflation on New Yorkers' wallets and proposed a 10-point package of propoals meant to curtail the impact of higher consumer prices. That includes a formal 2% cap on spending increases in the state budget as well as targeted tax relief, a lowering of housing costs and approving measures meant to reduce energy prices.

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New York health officials want focus on equity, long-term care

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state Health Commissioner Mary Bassett has launched an effort to address the top ranking functions of the sprawling agency, appointing a chief medical officer and reorienting officials toward addressing health equity and long-term care.

The state Department of Health, long considered a gold-standard public health department in the country, has revamped its hiring processes in order to bring in new talent and simplify public health, insurance and regulatory functions.

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Some SUNY officials ignoring state effort to increase women in law enforcement, union says

BY Kate Lisa New York State
UPDATED 10:51 PM ET Jul. 29, 2022

Members of the Police Benevolent Association of New York State say it's losing female members as they're passed up when seeking promotions, and are calling for better implementation of the state's effort to increase the number of women in law enforcement.

In May, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the state would adopt a national initiative to increase the number of women in state law enforcement, including environmental conservation officers, state park and university police that make up the PBA.

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Local health officials tackle monkeypox outbreak in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

For more than two years, local health officials in New York have been busy. Between a global pandemic and now the outbreak of monkeypox in the state, Association of County Health Officials Executive Director Sarah Ravenhall says public health offices are juggling multiple issues.

The front lines of the monkeypox outbreak in New York have been at the county level, and officials there have been in need of resources.

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NY Assembly Speaker Heastie continues upstate summer tour

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie next week will start the upstate portion of his summer tour with visits to Rochester and the Syracuse area as well as Utica, his office on Friday said.

The annual tour of the state began when Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, took on the top post in the state Assembly seven years ago.

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21 New York counties under a drought watch

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Nearly two dozen New York counties have been issued a drought watch by the state Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday as officials urge New Yorkers to voluntarily conserve water.

"Recent rains across the state were not enough to address the dry conditions that have persisted this year," Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "Local water restrictions and educating residents about how to help conserve our water resources will be crucial steps to help prevent a more severe shortage should conditions worsen."

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Why dumping snow in a parking space for a person with disabilities could cost you

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Dumping mounds of snow into a parking space reserved for a person with disabilities will soon lead to hundreds of dollars in fines under a measure signed this week by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The new law is meant to prevent snow from being dumped into parking spaces set aside for people with disabilties and was part of a package of bills approved by Hochul during the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Probation officers' union endorses Hochul

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The labor organization that represents probation officers in New York City endorsed Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday as she seeks a full term this year.

Hochul won the endorsement the United Probation Officers Association, which cited the state's efforts to remove illegal guns from the streets, part of a multi-state effort Hochul has touted in recent weeks.

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New York health commissioner declares monkeypox an 'imminent threat' to public health

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 10:16 AM ET Jul. 29, 2022

New York Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett on Thursday declared monkeypox an imminent threat to public health in the state amid a rise in cases.

The declaration was made as New York received an additional 110,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine from the federal government and as advocates and lawmakers have raised concerns with the public health officials' initial response.

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Lawmakers call for return to Albany to boost clean energy in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State lawmakers are making a push to expand cleaner and more renewable forms of energy in New York amid efforts to transition away from carbon-based fuels.

Some lawmakers want action now, and on Thursday pushed for a special session of the Legislature to approve a bill meant to require the New York Power Authority to only provide renewable forms of power to customers.

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New York lawmakers urge Congress to extend health care subsidies

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Twenty members of the state Senate in a letter to New York's congressional delegation pushed for an extension of health care subsidies under the federal COVID relief package set to expire at the end of the year.

If the subsidies lapse, New York officials fear tens of thousands of people in New York would either lose health care coverage or face steep increases in cost.

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Farm Bureau: Gov. Hochul plans to reduce overtime threshold to 40 hours

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Officials with the Farm Bureau say they expect Gov. Kathy Hochul and her administration to accept the Farm Wage Board's recommendation to reduce the overtime threshold for farm workers after conversations they had with her this past spring.

The three-member Wage Board voted 2-1 in December to reduce the overtime threshold for farm labor to 40 hours. The New York Farm Bureau and agricultural activists have fought the potential reduction for several years.

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Report: Some aggressive hospitals in New York are garnishing wages of poor patients

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

A New York bill that could protect thousands of New Yorkers whose wages are being garnished by nonprofit hospitals and is sponsored by the two Health Committee chairs — state Sen. Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried — is awaiting Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature.

The issue has new urgency since the release of a report by the Community Service Society of New York which shows that more than 100 of New York state’s nonprofit hospitals sued more than 53,000 patients in civil court between 2015 and 2020.

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New York's health insurance premiums continue to outpace much of U.S.

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New Yorkers are second only to Alaskans when it comes to the average cost of health insurance premiums they and their employers pay each year — now standing at $8,542.

Employer-based health insurance in New York has typically cost more than the rest of the country, but it's becoming increasingly more expensive than most of the rest of the country.

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Erie County DA discusses impact of Red Flag Law changes

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Among the changes made to New York's Red Flag Law last month, law enforcement and district attorneys are now required to file Extreme Risk Protection Order petitions when they acquire credible information that individuals are likely to harm themselves or others.

"Since the new modifications of the Legislature, we've started to get more phone calls but we haven't actually been a petitioner yet," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said.

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Hochul: State aid available to help pay utility bills

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State officials in New York are making $557 million in aid available to low-income utility customers to help pay down debt, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office on Thursday announced.

The money is meant to help New Yorkers who are enrolled in the Energy Affordability Program pay off past due bills.

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Zeldin defends DA, says suspect in attack should receive veterans' support

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican candidate for governor Lee Zeldin on Thursday urged the man accused of attacking him at a rally in Monroe County last week to seek services meant to aid veterans while also defending Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley's handling of the incident.

Zeldin, meanwhile, continued to press for a special session in Albany to repeal the law that largely ended cash bail requirements for many criminal charges in New York.

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Veteran accused of threatening Rep. Lee Zeldin to remain in custody

BY Spectrum News Staff Rochester

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A detention hearing was held Thursday morning for the Army veteran accused of threatening New York GOP gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin during a campaign stop last week.

During the hearing, the judge ruled David Jakubonis will be staying in custody until August 24 saying she needs to hear more details about his alleged weapon, mental health and inpatient care for alcoholism.

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New York moves to bolster enrollment, faculty at SUNY

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Higher education officials in New York on Thursday gave approval to $113 million in spending to strengthen enrollment at the state's public colleges and universities as well as hire more faculty.

The money approved by the State University of New York Board of Trustees comes as the higher education system has contended with the challenges of the ongoing COVID pandemic.

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Ryan ad focuses on power utility fixes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

While his Republican rival is focusing on issues stemming from public safety and inflation, Democratic House hopeful Pat Ryan this week released an ad spotlighitng his efforts to bolster oversight of the Hudson Valley's primary power utility.

The ad, the second his campaign has released, points to Ryan's efforts as the Ulster County executive to respond to price increases, billing problems and public hearings on the issue.

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New Molinaro ad highlights crime, inflation woes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A TV ad released Wednesday by Republican congressional candidate Marc Molinaro highlights the gamut of broad concerns facing voters right now: Crime, gas prices and inflation.

The ad comes as Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, is in the final month of a quick-start congressional election to replace Democratic Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado in a Hudson Valley House seat on Aug. 23. He is set to face Democratic Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan.

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New York business leaders cheer CHIPS passage

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Upstate New York officials and business leaders are cheering the U.S. Senate's approval of a measure to fund semiconductor manufacturing and production in an effort to boost competition with China.

The bill will head to the U.S. House of Representatives next for consideration.

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Nick Langworthy reissues NY-23 debate challenge as he and Carl Paladino trade barbs

BY Ryan Whalen Clarence

CLARENCE, N.Y. -- Congressional candidate Nick Langworthy said in the new 23rd District that spans seven counties and two television markets that he believes it's very important he and his opponent get a chance to get directly in front of voters and debate.

"I'm calling on Carl, come on out of hiding, get out of the basement of the Ellicott Square building. Agree to debate, any time, any place. You have a lot to say behind your spokesman, but it's time for us to go and have this conversation in front of the voters of this district," Langworthy said.

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Pros and cons to federal digital antitrust legislation

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

In 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Antitrust released a report on anticompetitive conduct by Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google.

Investigators found that these companies are suppressing competition. In response, lawmakers have introduced several pieces of legislation, including the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act," or AICOA.

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Public safety debate dominates New York governor's race

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New Yorkers are anxious about crime. It's an issue that comes up in virtually any public opinion poll of the last several weeks.

Many New York residents are worried about crime in their neighborhoods and that they may be a victim of crime themselves, according to a Siena College poll. It's a concern that cuts across virtually every demographic and ideological breakdown in the surveys.

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Hochul-Delgado ticket receives 1199SEIU endorsement

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

One of the largest and most politically active labor unions in New York endorsed on Wednesday Gov. Kathy Hochul and her running mate, Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado.

Hochul and Delgado were endorsed by 1199SEIU, a union composed of 450,000 members in the health care sector.

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New York lawmaker urges relief for employers from unemployment surcharge

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican state Sen. Pat Gallivan urged officials on Wednesday to reduce unemployment insurance costs for employers in the state as New York owes more than $8 billion to the federal unemployment insurance trust fund.

“Businesses large and small, still trying to recover from the negative impact of the pandemic and being forced to shut down, are now being hit with an unexpected Unemployment Insurance surcharge that for some is in the thousands of dollars,” Gallivan said. “Putting this financial burden on the backs of New York businesses and local governments at a time when many are already facing increased operating costs is unconscionable.”

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June sales tax revenue slowed in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Sales tax revenue in June grew by 6.5% over the same time period a year ago, but the increase was a sharp slow down from the last year, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office on Wednesday announced.

Local collections from the sales tax reached a combined $5.5 billion between April and June; a 12.2% increase from the second quarter of 2021.

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New York begins a new round of offshore wind project planning

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York officials on Wednesday announced a third round of offshore wind development solicitation in effort to generate at least 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy.

Once fully on line, the projects under this phase of development are meant to power 1.5 million homes in New York state, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced.

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Hochul urged to sign law meant to boost hospital transparency

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Prominent labor unions in New York in a letter sent this week to Gov. Kathy Hochul urged to approve a measure meant to increase transparency around hospital billing and pricing.

The bill, known as the HEAL Act by supporters, would is meant to bar "gag clauses" that keep ratepayers from knowing prices beforehand.

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New York provides grants to small organizations to aid in COVID-19 fight

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State health officials on Monday announced more than $10 million in grant money will be provided to small, community-based wellness organizations to provide COVID-19 mitigation resources and services to New Yorkers.

The money is meant to support organizations considered to be "trusted voices" among community members and serve people considered to be at greater risk for contracting COVID.

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New York Education Department preps plan to return to federal school accountability standards

BY Kate Lisa New York State

The state Education Department is encouraging New Yorkers to review changes to its accountability plan required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

The state Education Department proposed its plan Monday to restart federal accountability requirements for New York's 700 school districts while addressing ongoing disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Buffalo redistricting could be a 'test case' for new voting rights law

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Common Council postponed a vote for several weeks on its redistricting maps as protesters loudly objected to the map, claiming gerrymandering, incumbency protection and failure to properly represent neighborhoods.

Ultimately, however the council voted earlier this month to approve only slightly amended lines, arguing in part it had limited options under the city charter, with its Commission on Reapportionment concluding work and submitting a map earlier this year.

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August primaries will set the stage for competitive House races across New York

BY Tim Williams New York State

On Aug. 23, New Yorkers will head to the polls for the second primary day in this election cycle — this time for primary elections for Congress and the state Senate.

In less competitive districts, the party primary in August could effectively select November’s winner. Steve Greenberg, a Siena College pollster, told Capital Tonight that there are competitive primaries and races to watch from Long Island to Western New York.

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New York officials want to boost consumers as economic mood darkens

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Siena College this month released its quaterly consumer sentiment index for New York. The results were not good.

New Yorkers, battered by high gas prices at the pump and increased food costs at the supermarket, are increasingly glum about the economy. The consumer sentiment index is at its lowest ebb in 11 years, and is at an all-time low among upstate New York residents.

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Hochul approves bills to aid New Yorkers with disabilities

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A package of new laws approved Tuesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul are meant to improve access to services for people with disabilities in New York.

The measures were signed into law by Hochul at a cerermony in New York City on the 32nd anniversary of the passage of the federal Amercians with Disabilities Act. Hochul said New York is working to further bolster provisions included in the landmark law.

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