Barbara Lifton Aide Launches Bid For Her Assembly Seat

BY Nick Reisman Central NY

A longtime legislative counsel to Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton on Monday announced his campaign for the seat she is vacating at the end of the year.

Democrat Jordan Lesser announced his intention to run for the district, which encompasses the Ithaca area.

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Schumer: "Vindictive" Traveler Freeze Could Have Federal Fix

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The freeze for New York residents in registering for trusted traveler programs could have a "federal way to overcome it," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters on Monday.

At the same time, Schumer said he is supportive of New York's lawsuit to challenge the freeze, which prevents New Yorkers from registering or re-applying for programs that allow for easier entry through ports and across borders.

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Cuomo Looks to Budget for Bail Law Changes

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The controversy surrounding New York's new cashless bail law could be defused as part of the state budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday in a radio interview on AM 970.

Cuomo in an interview with businessman and political donor John Catsimatidis for the first time acknowledged the budget is the likely destination for making alterations to the law, which ended cash bail requirements for misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges.

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Assembly Democrats Unveil Higher Education Plan

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The state Assembly on Saturday unveiled a budget proposal for New York's public college and university system that is meant to boost funding and reject further tuition increases.

At the same time, the Democratic-led chamber wants to provide more funding for non-tuition expenses and spend more on community colleges, while also boosting scholarships at the city and state universities and colleges of New York.

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SUNY Headquarters To Be Renamed For Carl McCall

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The State University of New York headquarters in downtown Albany will be renamed in honor of Carl McCall, the former chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced.

“Carl McCall is a friend and a true public servant who has graced this great state with more than 50 years of distinguished service and leadership, and all New Yorkers are better off for it,” Cuomo said.

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DiNapoli Report: Unknowns In State Budget

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The question marks raised by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's state budget plan, and how New York will ultimately close a multi-billion-dollar gap in the Medicaid program, is fueling uncertainty for beneficiaries, providers and local governments, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found in a report released Friday.

The annual budget anaylsis by DiNapoli's office assessed the $178 billion spending plan proposed last month by Cuomo.

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Q&A: CSEA President Mary Sullivan

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Mary Sullivan was elected to a full 4-year term on Thursday as the president of the Civil Service Employees Association. She is the first woman from local government to hold the job.

The union she leads is the largest public-sector workers labor group in the state, representing workers at the local government and state level.

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Cuomo Pushes To End 'Pink Tax' for Products and Services

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday launched a campaign to promote a measure meant to eliminate cost differences in products and services aimed at women versus the cost of similar products for men.

The effort is meant to end the so-called "pink tax"— a proposal that has been pushed for the last several years by Sen. Shelley Mayer and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic.

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Here and Now — Feb. 14

BY Nick Reisman New York State

It's a (literally) cold Valentine's Day across New York. Here's what's happening.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with nothing public planned.

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AG James Endorses Paid Surrogacy in New York

BY Morgan McKay New York State

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday backed a measure that would legalize paid surrogacy, making her the latest high-ranking state official to endorse the proposal.

"The current proposal has been well-researched, well-written, and will not only support families, but provide critical legal and medical protections to surrogates, parents, and children,” James said in a statement. “I respect the legislative process and look forward to meeting with members of the legislature to address their concerns so we can move forward to adopt this proposal.”

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NYSUT Launches Ad Campaign for Taxing the Rich

BY Nick Reisman New York State

An ad campaign to be launched Friday by the New York State United Teachers union will push for a tax increase for wealthy people in the state in order to add more spending for school aid and education.

The ad being released Friday is part of a half-million dollar buy.

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CSEA Elects Mary Sullivan to Full Term as President

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Members of the state's largest public workers union on Thursday handed Mary Sullivan a full term as the labor group's president.

The Civil Service Employees Association re-elected Sullivan, who had been serving on an interim basis after the retirement of longtime leader Danny Donohue.

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No Resolution After Cuomo and Trump Meet

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The meeting began like a lion and ended like a lamb.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Donald Trump met for an hour at the White House on Thursday to discuss the federal government freezing New York's residents out of registering for trusted traveler programs.

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Democrats Hit Rough Patch In Albany

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Democrats last year, energized by their new majority in the state Senate, approved bill after bill of legislation that had been long-sought by the progressive left in New York.

And now two of the measures -- one allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses and a law that restricts cash bail to only violent felony charges -- are being challenged at multiple levels of government.

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Rochester's Lovely Warren Backs Bloomberg

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Lovely Warren of Rochester became the latest New York elected official -- and mayor of a city -- to endorse former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's campaign.

Warren joins Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan in backing Bloomberg's bid.

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Assembly Member Kolb Won't Seek Re-Election Following DWI Arrest

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Republican Assembly Member Brian Kolb won't see re-election, he announced Thursday in a statement, a development that came a month and a half after he was charged with drunk driving on New Year's Eve.

The arrest led to Kolb stepping down from his minority leader post in the state Assembly, a job he had held for a decade. Republican lawmakers voted last month to replace him with Assembly Member Will Barclay in the top post.

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Cuomo Enlists Environmental Groups For Bond Act Push

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday rolled out a slate of environmental leaders being enlisted to help push for a proposed $3 billion bond act meant to aid water restoration projects around New York.

"We face a crisis for the planet and you only get one chance to fix it before reaching a point of no return. We recognize the magnitude and urgency of what we're dealing with - because if you don't save the planet, everything else is irrelevant," Cuomo said in a statement.

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Here and Now - Feb. 13

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Good morning! It's a snowy and cold start to the day, so give yourself extra time to commute this AM.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany, New York City and Washington, DC for his meeting with President Trump. He's also making the national media rounds this morning.

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New York City Bar: Don't Rollback Bail Law

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The New York City Bar Association in a letter this week urged the state's top elected leaders to not alter or rollback the law ending cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies.

"We are cognizant of the pressures created by recent attacks on bail reform but we urge you to keep these vital changes intact for long enough to permit thoughtful study and analysis of the effects of the changes," the New York City Bar Association wrote in the letter.

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Trump Endorses Tenney, Malliotakis For Congress

BY Nick Reisman New York State

President Donald Trump doled out endorsements in a pair of New York swing House districts on Wednesday, backing Republicans Claudia Tenney and Nicole Malliotakis.

Both endorsements came via the president's Twitter feed.

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Lawmakers Seek Veterans' Group Funding

BY Morgan McKay New York State

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers is pushing to have funding for a veteran peer support group included in a final budget deal.

The Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Project is named after Private First Class Joseph P. Dwyer, a MT. Sinai, New York native, who faced the challenges of PTSD after serving in Iraq.

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Langworthy Endorses Farley For Congress

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican House candidate Chele Farley on Wednesday was endorsed by New York GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy.

Farley, a former U.S. Senate candidate, is running for the seat held by Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

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Bail Law Compromise Exposes Democratic Rift In Albany

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The floated compromise by Senate Democrats that would change the state's new bail law landed with a thud with Democrats in the state Assembly on Wednesday.

Some blasted suburban lawmakers who had been pushing for changes to the six-week-old law that ended cash bail requirements for misdemeanor and non-violent charges.

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Cuomo and Trump To Meet About Trusted Traveler Freeze

BY Nick Reisman New York State
UPDATED 10:39 AM ET Feb. 12, 2020

President Donald Trump and Gov. Andrew Cuomo will meet Thursday to discuss the federal government's freeze of New York residents under trusted traveler programs.

Cuomo announced the meeting in a Long Island News Radio interview on Wednesday morning, a week after the Department of Homeland Security announced the freeze affecting programs that allow people to pass with greater ease across borders and ports of entry.

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Cuomo Warm to Senate Democrats' Potential Bail Law Changes

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Senate Democrats are poised to propose changes to the state's new cash bail law, a development that received a warm reception from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday morning.

As Newsday reported Wednesday morning, Senate Democrats plan to propose what amounts to a two-part plan: End cash bail entirely, but expand the range of charges that would allow judges to determine if a person is too dangerous to go free pending trial.

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Advocates Urge NY Lawmakers Not To Horse-Trade Reforms

BY Nick Reisman New York State

A coalition of criminal justice reform groups on Wednesday is expected to push against any changes the state’s new cashless bail and discovery law changes.

The coalition, Justice Roadmap, urged top lawmakers in the state Assembly and Senate, along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to avoid “horse trading” on the issue in the budget negotiations.

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State Senate Bills Address Property Tax Exemptions

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The state Senate Tuesday approved a pair of bills addressing property tax exemptions and whether they have become too much of a burden for local governments.

One of the bills would create a task force to examine the issue of exemptions being granted and the current process.

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Lawmakers Want Backseat Passengers Buckling Up

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Two Democratic lawmakers want legislation that would require passengers to buckle up in the backseat of a car, even when riding in an Uber or Lyft.

According to AAA New York, a person in a crash while riding in the backseat without their seat belt is eight times more likely to be seriously injured and twice as likely to be killed.

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Here and Now - Feb. 12

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany and will be on Long Island News Radio at 7:45 a.m.

At 8 a.m., county leaders from across New York State are gathering in Albany for an information and education campaign focused on proposed changes to Medicaid contained in the Executive Budget and their projected impact on local taxpayers. 40 Lodge St., Albany Hilton, Albany.

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Lawmakers See Mixed Bag In Education Spending

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Every year, a similar drama unfolds: The governor proposes more spending for education, advocates say it isn't enough, lawmakers want tweaks that are meant to benefit their schools back home.

This year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to upend the process of how state government funds schools. He's calling for $826 million in extra funding, but that's only part of it.

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Cuomo Seizes On Leaked DHS Memo

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office really wanted everyone to know about this: A leaked memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security that outlined leverage to use against states that have approved measures allowing undocumented immigrants to receive driver's licenses.

In New York's case, it was freezing the state's residents out of trusted traveler programs, citing a provision that bars the DMV from sharing information with ICE.

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Rob Ortt Leaves Race for NY-27 Seat

BY Spectrum News Staff Western New York

There’s one less candidate in the race for New York’s 27th Congressional district.

Republican Rob Ortt confirmed Tuesday he’s dropping out of the contest. He will instead turn his focus back to running for re-election in the 62nd state Senate district.

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Stefanik Endorsed By Conservative Party

BY Nick Reisman Northern NY

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik's bid for re-election on Tuesday was endorsed by the Conservative Party and local county chairs.

Stefanik, first elected in 2014, is seeking a fourth term to the sprawling North Country House seat.

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Here and Now - Feb. 11

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Good morning and happy Tuesday! It promises to be another business lobby day at the Capitol. Here's a look at what's happening today.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with nothing public planned.

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Under Scrutiny, Some Lawmakers Want Green Light Law Changes

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

As expected on Monday, New York officials filed a lawsuit to reverse the federal government's freeze on trusted traveler programs for residents who are registering or must renew.

Not so expected? The criticism by James P. Kennedy, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, who knocked the measure that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses, known as the Green Light Law.

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Bill Would Assess Judicial Diversity

BY Nick Reisman New York State

State lawmakers want a report on how diverse New York's judiciary actually is, introducing a bill Monday that would lead to the compiling and publishing of an annual report on the issue.

The measure, backed by Sens. Brad Hoylman and Luis Sepulveda, would require the Office of Court Administration to compile the demographic information on the state's judges and justices.

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New York Sues Over Trusted Traveler Freeze

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York officials on Monday filed a lawsuit challenging the federal government's move to freeze New Yorkers from participating in trusted traveler programs.

The lawsuit, filed by Attorney General Letitia James, comes less than a week after President Trump's administration backed the freeze amid a dispute over immigration enforcement officials accessing DMV records.

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Teachers Unions: Tax The Rich

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Labor unions representing a swath of educational fields on Monday pushed for higher taxes on rich New Yorkers in order to help close a $6.1 billion gap in the state budget.

The unions, including the New York State United Teachers, Professional Staff Congress, United Federation of Teachers and United University Professions, released a poll commissioned by the labor groups that showed 92 percent of voters supported new taxes.

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Assemblyman Ortiz Wants ICE Abolished

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A resolution that would urge Congress to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency was introduced Monday by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz.

The resolution comes as state lawmakers have sought ways of limiting the ability of ICE to bring enforcement actions in New York, including state courthouses.

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Cuomo Says He's Still Trying To Get Meeting With Trump

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Governor Andrew Cuomo is still trying to get a chance to talk to President Donald Trump about the federal government's move to freeze New Yorkers out of trusted traveler programs.

Trump on Saturday accused Cuomo of backing out of a meeting at the White House while the governor was in Washington for a meeting of the National Governors Association.

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State Senate To Call for Local Government Aid Boost

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

The state Senate's one-house budget resolution will include a boost in aid to municipalities funding for local governments — an increase that's being proposed as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called to keep the spending flat.

The added Aid and Incentives for Municipalities funding (AIM) is backed by Sen. Jim Gaughran, a Democrat from Long Island and the chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee.

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Disability Service Providers Face Financial Crunch

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Providers of services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities face financial hardship and a constrained cash flow, a survey to be released by advocates on Monday found.

The survey, which comes as lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are debating the state budget, found nearly half of the providers for people with developmental disabilities have only 40 days of cash on hand.

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Cuomo: States Should Lead On Infrastructure

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association, pitched New York's efforts to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects, saying it's an issue that's largely been left up to the states to tackle.

"If we want to keep pace with the rest of the world, we have to update our transportation network," Cuomo said. "And if the federal government won't do it, the states must do it as a basic matter of economic survival. Now, states getting into this business brings significant financial challenges for a state, as well as a highly specialized expertise."

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Here and Now — February 10

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Good morning and happy Monday! It's Tin Cup Day at the Capitol for mayors and local government officials around the state to call for more funding. Here's what's happening:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with nothing public planned.

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Trump Goes After Cuomo on Twitter Following NY Traveler Program Freeze

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region
UPDATED 5:41 PM ET Feb. 08, 2020

The dispute over freezing New Yorkers out of trusted traveler programs has bubbled over to a fight between Governor Andrew Cuomo and President Donald Trump. The president tweeted on Saturday afternoon that Cuomo canceled a meeting at the White House.

Governor Cuomo wanted to see me this weekend. He just canceled. Very hard to work with New York - So stupid. All they do is sue me all the time! https://t.co/ps0OzMxuE5

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4 Things We Learned This Week

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

What a month we had this week. Certainly a lot of the attention was focused on Washington and Iowa (and rightly so), but New York state government, of course, continued to make news.

Here are four things we learned this week in Albany.

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David Gantt To Retire From Assembly

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Rochester Assemblyman David Gantt on Friday announced he would not seek another term for a seat he has held since 1983.

Gantt at a news conference cited his health and the advice of doctors to not continue in the chamber.

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New York Plans To Sue Over Trusted Traveler Freeze

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York officials on Friday announced plans to file a legal challenge to the federal government's decision to block New Yorkers from registering for "trusted traveler" programs.

The Trump administration on Wednesday evening announced New Yorkers would be frozen out of programs like NEXUS, Global Entry and FAST hat provide ease of passage through customs and other points of passage for pre-approved travelers.

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NY-12: Vladimer Ends Bid For Congress

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Democrat Erica Vladimer on Friday ended her bid for the party's nomination in the 12th congressional district.

Vladimer, an attorney, had challenged Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, launching her campaign last year.

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Business Groups: Don't Raise Drug Taxes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A dozen business groups in a letter to top lawmakers in the state Legislature this week urged them to oppose any expansion to the state's prescription opioid tax.

The letter, signed by a coalition of statewide and local business organizations, pointed the newly created Medicaid Redesign Team, known as MRT II, for having the potential of expanding the tax to other medications amid a shortfall in the program.

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Traffic Safety Study Adds Fodder for Marijuana Legalization Foes

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The number of drivers involved in fatal crashes with THC in their systems doubled in Washington state following the legalization of cannabis there, a report released by AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety found.

The report has given new fuel to opponents of legalization of marijuana in New York, who have argued in part the traffic safety implications aren’t easily solved.

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Senate GOP Holds Bail Reform Task Force Meeting

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region

A Repeal Bail Reform Task Force, set up by Senate Republicans, held its first hearing in Buffalo on Thursday.

The task force says its goal is to hear from law enforcement, attorneys, probation officials and victims on the changes made to the bail and discovery process.

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Here and Now - Feb. 7

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Good morning and TGIF! Here's a look at what's happening today in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with nothing public planned.

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Lawmaker Wants To Take SAFE Act National

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Assemblyman David Buchwald on Thursday pledged that if he elected to Congress he would back a national version of the SAFE Act.

“I have long advocated for tougher gun safety laws in New York, and I’m ready to tackle this issue in Congress,” he said. “The first bill I ever voted for as an Assemblymember was the New York SAFE Act, banning assault weapons, expanding background checks, and providing New York the strongest gun laws in the nation. I’ve never been afraid of the NRA, and I wholly reject their warped view of the Second Amendment. I’ll go to Congress ready to stand up for common sense, with a real gun safety agenda for all Americans.”

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'Trusted Traveler' Freeze Took NY By Surprise

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The Department of Homeland Security's announcement that New Yorkers would be frozen out from registering for "trusted traveler" programs due to the Green Light Law took state officials by surprise.

The initial announcement was made by the acting DHS secretary in a television interview on Wednesday, followed by a briefing for the media. A formal letter was sent to the state from Homeland Security officials.

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Trump Praises Stefanik For Support During Impeachment

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

For more than an hour, President Donald Trump on Thursday unloaded on his critics, Democrats, Mitt Romney and others a day after he was acquitted of impeachment charges.

But Trump also singled out individual members of Congress who had publicly supported him during the process -- including New York Rep. Elise Stefanik.

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Cuomo Administration: Global Entry Freeze 'Retaliation'

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday froze the ability of New Yorkers to enroll in the global entry program, citing the state's new law that allows undocumented immigrants to receive driver's licenses.

The immediate consequences are New Yorkers will be not be able to register as "trusted travelers" which enable people to cut through security lines at airports if they are able to pass a background check program with the Department of Homeland Security.

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Cuomo's Two-Pronged Medicaid Approach

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

It's up to the health care industry and local governments.

That's, broadly speaking, the plan to find savings in the state's Medicaid program, which faces a multi-billion dollar budget gap this year.

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After Disasters, Cuomo Urges Investment In Puerto Rico

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is urging financial institutions to invest resources in Puerto Rican communities that are still recovering from the recent earthquakes.

The state Financial Services Department is offering chartered banks possible Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) consideration for helping to revitalize some of the hardest hit areas. Under New York’s CRA, banks can receive CRA credit for helping rebuild communities that are designated disaster areas, through financial actions.

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Del Lago Casino Touts Economic Impact in Seneca County

BY Nick Reisman Tyre

The Finger Lakes-based casino del Lago Resort & Casino last year had a $270 million impact on the economy of the area, a fiscal impact study released by its parent company found.

The money includes $157 million in gambling revenue as well as $113 million in non-gaming sales and revenue -- including assistance to local governments and nearby businesses.

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Here and Now - Feb. 6

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Depending on where you live, it's either a snowy or a rainy start to the morning in New York. Either way, it's not a fun commute this morning. Here's a look at today's schedule.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with noting public planned.

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Giove Named Senate GOP Comms Director

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Candice Giove, a longtime communications official in Albany, has been named the Senate Republican communications director, Minority Leader John Flanagan on Wednesday announced.

“We are proud to elevate Candice Giove to this leadership role, where she will undoubtedly work hard to spread the Senate Republican message across this state, including our efforts to repeal bail reform, keep communities safe, lower taxes, and generate jobs," Flanagan said. "She brings a wealth of communications experience to the table, having worked as both a journalist and in politics, and the Senate Republican Conference is looking forward to seeing her excel in her new role."

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Cuomo: Marijuana Bill Could Be A Tough Vote

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ready to sign the marijuana legalization bill.

"Pass the bill today, I will sign it today," Cuomo said. "I can't be any clearer than that. We have to get it passed."

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Cuomo Calls Iowa Caucus Debacle "Very Bad" For Democrats

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a radio interview Wednesday, slammed Democrats in Iowa for the caucus debacle, saying it plays to the worst possible stereotype for the party.

"I think it was very bad for the Democrats," Cuomo said in an interview with WAMC, adding, "It was playing to that negative stereotype. It was very bad."

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Albany Prodded On Automatic Voter Registration

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A coalition of 28 groups — including prominent and political active labor unions — released a letter to state officials on Wednesday urging them to bring automatic voter registration over the goal line at the Capitol.

The letter comes after the state Senate approved a version of the automatic voter registration bill earlier this year. The Assembly is yet to take up the legislation.

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Health Insurance Premiums Surge In New York

BY Morgan McKay New York State

New York's health insurance premium costs are surging at a rate higher than almost every other state in the nation.

In 2018, the state was found to have the second-highest average for single-coverage premiums, with a rate increase of 6 percent. This puts the state around a $1,000 higher than the national average.

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Here and Now - Feb. 5

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Good morning! New York and the nation are continue to process President Trump's State of the Union as lawmakers return for the third session day of the week. Here's what's happening today:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with noting public planned.

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The Medicaid Redesign Team Takes Shape

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Call it MRT 2.0 or maybe Medicaid Redesign: The Sequel.

Either way, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is turning once again to a panel to solve the nettlesome issue of a multi-billion dollar budget gap in the state's Medicaid program for the second time in his tenure as governor.

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Bail Law Debate Enters Politically Delicate Phase

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A sea of police uniforms covered the bottom portion of the grand staircase commonly referred at the Capitol as the Million Dollar Staircase.

The event, a press conference featuring Republican lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly -- drew law enforcement leaders from around the state on Tuesday as opponents continued to press the issue of repealing the law that ends cash bail requirements for misdemeanors and non-violent felony offenses.

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Budget Chief Decries 'Scare Tactics' In Medicaid Debate

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The top budget official in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration on Tuesday decried the concerns raised by New York City officials over plans to control local-level Medicaid spending as "scare tactics" amid a $2.5 billion budget gap in the program.

Budget Director Robert Mujica in the interview WNYC said the efforts would not lead to people being thrown off Medicaid rolls.

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NY-20: Joy Receives Conservative Party Nod

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican congressional candidate Liz Joy on Tuesday was endorsed by the Conservative Party committees in the five-county 20th congressional district.

"Liz Joy is an exceptional candidate and will make an outstanding member of Congress. She thinks the way we do on issue after issue including border security, a strong military, immigration, support for law enforcement and the right to life," said state Conservative Party Chairman Gerard Kassar. "Liz will also be a reliable vote in moving President Trump's highly successful economic and foreign agenda forward. Our Nation, State and the capital region will do well to elect Liz Joy to Congress. she has our full support."

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Assemblyman Finch To Not Seek Re-Election

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Longtime Republican Assemblyman Gary Finch will not seek re-election this fall, he said in a statement on Tuesday.

“It’s time,” Finch said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. To maintain the trust of my constituents for over twenty years means something that’s difficult to even put into words.”

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Advocates Push For Organ Donation Funding

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York was once last in organ donation participation. Those numbers have improved, but lawmakers and advocates fear a budget crunch could end that.

In 2015, Dave Gray needed an organ donation after contracting a virus.

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Small Businesses Like Proposed Tax Cut, But Say More Help is Needed

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Small business groups have had little to applaud in Albany in the last 10 years or so.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $178 billion budget proposal includes a tax cut aimed at small business owners, a move the National Federation of Independent Business says is a necessary and welcome step.

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Bail Law Debate Echoes Previous Criminal Justice Fight

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Democrats from suburban and upstate districts are pushing for an end to the controversy. Republicans, out of power, feel like they have a tangible issue that voters can grasp and have effectively stolen the spotlight. And an Assembly speaker is being slowly backed into a corner to take action.

It's not the debate over the bail overhaul in 2020 that's dominating the conversation at the capitol, but a fight from 22 years ago over a different criminal justice law.

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Higgins: State of the Union Shouldn't Be A Victory Speech

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

President Donald Trump will deliver his State of the Union address this evening, just one day before his impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate is expected to come to a wrap.

It appears Trump will be acquitted by the Senate on both of the impeachment articles delivered by the House, but Rep. Brian Higgins, D-NY-27, who voted in favor of those articles, said the president should not deliver what amounts to a victory speech.

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Here and Now - Feb. 4

BY Nick Reisman New York State

It's going to be a very busy day in the political world. Here's what's happening:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with nothing public planned.

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Heastie: Bail Law Is Being Sensationalized

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The new bail law, the subject of criticism from law enforcement, Republicans and increasingly some Democrats, should be given a chance beyond the first month or so of it being in effect, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Monday said.

"Right now it seems when the sun doesn't come up, everyone wants to blame the bail law," Heastie said.

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Monserrate May Find Himself Alone In Assembly

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Hiram Monserrate, the disgraced Democrat seeking a state Assembly seat, may find a potential return to Albany is a lonely one.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Monday said "a lot" of Democrats in his 100-plus member conference will likely oppose Monserrate's membership if he is elected to the chamber.

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Local Sales Tax Revenue Grew In 2019

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Local sales tax collections increased 4.7 percent in 2019, a report released Monday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office found.

That's slower than the 5.3 percent growth in 2018, but it was still among the stronger sales tax receipts of the last decade.

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Cuomo Approves Limo Safety Bills

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed a 10-bill package of measures meant to boost limousine safety in New York.

The measures — including bills that are aimed at taking limousines that fail inspection off the road, seatbelt requirements, the creation of a safety task force and drug testing for prospective livery drivers — were sought after a crash in 2018 in Schoharie killed 20 people.

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Here and Now - Feb. 3

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Good morning! The Chiefs are Super Bowl champs and state lawmakers are back at the Capitol today. Here's what's happening:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with nothing public planned.

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Progressive Advocates Want More From Albany In 2020

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Last year, an agreement took much of the Capitol by surprise: the state legislature would approve a measure allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for and access driver's licenses in New York. The bill's passage was significant: Long a third rail in state politics for Democrats, a version of the proposal went over so badly under then-Governor Eliot Spitzer that it tripped up the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

But politics shift, and less than a year later, advocates are pushing the legislature to go further.

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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul to Lead New York Delegation to Puerto Rico

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will lead a New York delegation to Puerto Rico on Sunday that is set to include dozens of mental health experts and building inspectors to further aid the island's recovery after an earthquake.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday announced the plans, which will include 26 bilingual mental health experts, as well as 25 state building inspectors to aid in the recovery.

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NY Bar Association Backs Marijuana Legalization

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 5:32 PM ET Jan. 31, 2020

The New York State Bar Association approved a report on Friday that backs the legalization of marijuana in New York.

The report, written by the Committee on Cannabis Law at the association, comes as state lawmakers in Albany are determining this year whether to back a legalization bill that would devise a regulatory, retail and tax plan for cannabis sales in the state.

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3 Things We Learned At The Capitol This Week

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

January is now over and February will be upon us soon. We've got a month in the books for the 2020 legislative session in Albany and the state budget dance continues.

Here are three things we learned in Albany this week.

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CWA Endorses 10 Assembly Lawmakers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 4:15 PM ET Jan. 31, 2020

The Communications Workers of America District 1 on Friday came out with a 10-candidate slate of early endorsements for the state Assembly.

The labor group endorsed incumbent Assembly lawmakers: Nily Rozic, Aravella Simotas, Catherine Nolan, Catalina Cruz, Diana Richardson, Joe Lentol, Yuh-Line Niou, Linda Rosenthal, Harvey Epstein, and Karines Reyes.

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Officials Investigate "Toxic Substance" Found At Dannemora Prison

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York officials on Friday are investigating a toxic substance believed to be fentanyl that had been found in the mailroom of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced.

Eleven employees that have been exposed to the substance were sent to the hospital, Cuomo said.

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Westchester Frets Budget Impact Of Medicaid Plan

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Shifting Medicaid costs onto local governments would "destroy our budget," Westchester County Executive George Latimer told state lawmakers on Friday.

"We are still working to find alternative ways to provide financial relief for our residents on both state and local levels, and will support any creative strategies that the legislature and the governor put forth to meet these challenges. That is why we are concerned about Westchester County having to fund significant additional Medicaid costs – a move that could destroy our budget," Latimer told the delegation that represents the county in Albany. "Covering this cost will mean that roads, services and most importantly our taxpayers will suffer."

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NY-22: Tenney Raises $300K In Comeback Bid

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican former Rep. Claudia Tenney's campaign on Friday announced having raisied $300,000 in the final fundraising quarter of 2019, ending the reporting period with more than $286,000 in cash on hand.

“I am so grateful for the outpouring of support for our campaign to hold Anthony Brindisi accountable in November and bring a fighter for Upstate New York back to Congress,” Tenney said. “This report reflects the momentum we have felt on the ground since launching in October and we will continue to build on one of the strongest grassroots operations in the country heading into November.”

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Money Helps, But So Does Cuomo's Base

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

There's a half-kidding joke that's been going around the Capitol: Andrew Mark Cuomo could be governor for life.

That is, of course, more than a little silly. Cuomo having a third term is not close to being an anomaly for a New York governor. Indeed, the governor's father held three terms as did his successor, Republican George Pataki.

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Cuomo to Make Climate Action Council Appointments

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday will announce the appointments of SUNY Empire President Jim Malatras and former Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey to a climate change council.

The appointments by Cuomo are key for the panel to begin its work of enacting a plan to reach targeted emissions reduction goals in the coming decades, and is being closely watched in environmental and climate policy circles.

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Biz Groups: Don't Tax Private Health Insurance To Fill Medicaid Gap

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region

A broad group of organizations including the NYS Health Plan Association, the NYS Business Council, the NYS Conference of BlueCross and BlueShield Plans, and more wrote a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, asking that his Medicaid Redesign Team does not increase taxes on the privately insured.

These groups expressed their strong opposition to any new taxes placed on privately insured health plans to help close the $2.5 billion Medicaid budget gap. Instead, they ask that the MRT only focuses on reforming and controlling costs in the Medicaid program.

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Buffalo Native Seeks Senate Seat Outside New York

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

A Buffalo native is vying for a United States Senate seat, but not in New York.

Democrat Trevor Fuller is running in North Carolina. The Nichols High School Class of 1985 graduate currently serves as a county commissioner in Mecklenburg County which includes the state’s largest city, Charlotte.

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Here and Now - Jan. 31

BY Nick Reisman New York State

TGIF! It's the final day of January! And yet it feels like this winter won't end.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with nothing public planned.

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Bar Association Report Backs Marijuana Legalization

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 5:46 PM ET Jan. 30, 2020

A report from a state bar association committee has backed the legalization of marijuana in New York, and the full bar association on Friday is due to consider it.

A committee within the New York State Bar Association recommended the legalization of marijuana as well as various strategies to implement the program.

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