Wall Street Profits Up 82% in First Half of 2020

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Profits on Wall Street reached $27.6 billion in the first six months of the year, an 82% increase over the same period in 2019, a report released on Thursday found.

The profits of the first half of the year are nearly equal to all of 2019's pre-tax earnings of $28.1 billion, according to the report released by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office.

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Pandemic Places Renewed Focus on Mental Health Care

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The mental health effects of the pandemic may not be understood for months or years after it finally ends.

But groups that provide mental health care and advocate for it, as well as Governor Andrew Cuomo, are highlighting the mental strains created for people during the crisis.

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Non-Profits Want CARES Act Aid Released

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Non-profit organizations and state lawmakers on Wednesday urged New York officials to release $2 billion in federal aid held in the state's Coronavirus Relief Fund amid growing hunger and financial troubles.

The money, approved as part of the federal CARES Act stimulus legislation, is meant to give a boost to non-profit service providers during the pandemic. The groups provide support services for hunger, homelessness, and other problems that have grown amid the crisis.

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COVID-19 Sweeping Across Two New York State Prisons

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

COVID-19 clusters are sweeping across New York’s prison system, raising alarm in certain communities.

Over 100 inmates and 26 employees tested positive for COVID-19 in just two weeks at the Greene Correctional Facility.

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Senate Candidate Thearse McCalmon Explains What "Defunding the Police" Means to Her

BY Susan Arbetter New York State
UPDATED 5:32 PM ET Oct. 21, 2020

New York’s 49th State Senate District encompasses Fulton and Hamilton counties, as well as parts of Herkimer, Schenectady and Saratoga counties. It’s a vast expanse that includes both urban centers and rural farmland.

The district has a Republican enrollment advantage, and it’s been represented by a Republican for decades. Hugh Farley represented the district until 2016 when he opted not to run for re-election. He was succeeded by former Assemblyman and former Assembly Minority Leader, Jim Tedisco who has served since then.

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Federal Lawmakers Want to Study Protections for Nursing Homes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 3:53 PM ET Oct. 21, 2020

Congressional lawmakers this week backed legislation that would launch a study to determine how to prevent the spread of communicable diseases like COVID-19 in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

The legislation has drawn bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats in Congress as congregate care facilities remain a vulnerable point in the ongoing pandemic.

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Will New York Change Its Travel Quarantine Rules?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York may revise its rules for a two-week quarantine for out-of-state travel to 43 states and territories, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said.

“Is there a better, smarter way to handle a quarantine?" Cuomo said during a briefing. "None of this has been done before, so we have to figure it out as it goes."

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New York Battles New COVID Clusters In Southern Tier

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York State officials are contending with new coronavirus clusters in Steuben and Chemung counties amid a rise in cases on the state's border with Pennsylvania, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said.

The designation for parts of Chemung and Steuben counties will mean increased coronavirus testing in schools and capacity limits on gatherings.

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Tri-State Governors Get on the Same Page for Travel

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The governors of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey in a joint statement issued Tuesday evening clarified the latest travel rules, strongly discouraging non-essential trips between the three states as coronavirus cases are on the rise.

The statement issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont came after a day of conflicting messages over the status of New York's travel quarantine.

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Hillary Clinton Urges Voters to Have Voice Down Ballot, Too

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Millions of people will cast votes this year in the presidential election and, in some states, many already have done so. But Hillary Clinton wants New Yorkers to also move their pen further down the ballot and have a voice in state and local offices as well.

Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state, appeared in a video this week urging voters to cast down-ballot votes this year.

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Exclusive Spectrum News/Ipsos Poll: Cuomo Receives Top Marks for Handling COVID-19 Pandemic

BY Nick Reisman New York State

A majority of New Yorkers believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doing a good job handling the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, an exclusive Spectrum Networks/Ipsos poll released Wednesday found.

The poll of 1,451 New York adults found 67% either strongly or somewhat approve of the job Cuomo is doing handling the ongoing pandemic, while 28% do not.

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Nursing Home Family Members Say They Want To Be a Voice for Those Who Have Died

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Danny Arbeeny's father died in April at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in New York. Arbeeny remembers his dad as a man who would do anything for his neighbors.

"He was vivacious, strong, sharped minded," Arbeeny, a Brooklyn resident, said in an interview. "He was actually working working, 88-year-old man. He was always sitting on the stoop, always had a big smile, always helping people. They called him mayor of the block, president of the block. He was beloved."

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The Empire Center: New Data May Make NY's COVID-19 Performance Appear Worse

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

For months, the Empire Center for Public Policy has been trying to discover how many patients from nursing homes died in New York state after being transferred to hospitals.

In August, the organization sent a Freedom of Information Law request to the Department of Health. Four weeks later, the DOH said it would respond to the request no sooner than November 5, "Because a diligent search for relevant documents is still being conducted."

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New York's Unemployment Picture Continues to Vary

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Think of the map of New York like a funnel: On the edges are parts of Upstate New York like Albany and Ithaca where unemployment is high, but at a relatively lower level than New York City.

And New York City would be the funnel's mouth: A yawning 13.9% joblessness rate that's higher than the statewide 9.7% average in September, according to regional labor statistics released on Tuesday.

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Is it Time to Bid Farewell to the Electoral College?

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

On five separate occasions in American history, the winner of the Electoral College vote did not also win the popular vote. Most recently, this happened in 2016 with President Donald Trump, and before that in 2000, with President George W. Bush.

So why do we have this institution? And is it time to scrap it, and instead elect presidents directly?

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Elizabeth Warren: Vote on the WFP Line

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a video released Tuesday urged voters in New York to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on the Working Families Party ballot line.

The video, posted by the party's Twitter account, comes as the WFP is facing more stringent ballot qualification requirements this election cycle.

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New York Discourages, But Doesn't Ban, Travel to Neighboring States

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York officials on Tuesday discouraged non-essential travel to neighboring states amid an increase in coronavirus cases, but conceded a requirement for travelers to quarantine themselves for two weeks was impractical.

"There is no practical way to quarantine New York and New Jersey," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a conference call. "There are too many interconnections."

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Adirondack Groups: Invest in the Park

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The Adirondacks became an even more popular destination this year as New Yorkers, chafing under quarantines and stay-at-home orders, traveled to the North Country this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But the popularity of the park, conservation groups worry, has led to a strain on its resources.

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These Are The 3 Big Central New York Races to Watch

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Central New York is home to a district that President Donald Trump carried handily in 2016, but could flip to blue. It's home to two of the potentially closest battleground House races in upstate New York, as Republicans seek to win back the majority.

And there are a range of state Senate races featuring a mix of open seats and incumbents that could determine the composition of that chamber in Albany for the next two years.

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2 Rochester Democratic Candidates Added to National Group's Spotlight

BY Nick Reisman Rochester

A national group that backs the election of Democratic candidates to state legislative seats around the country has selected a pair of Rochester-area state Senate candidates for its spotlight program.

The designation by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee for Samra Brouk and Jeremy Cooney could lead to more fundraising opportunities and national recognition.

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Tourism Spending Declines In New York State

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

Tourism spending in New York State is down 72 percent since March 1, according to Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company.

This is about a loss of around $38 billion compared to statistics recorded in 2019.

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Green Party's Howie Hawkins on Why He’s Running…Again

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

There’s a great piece in today’s Syracuse Post-Standard about New York’s own Green Party candidate for president, Howie Hawkins.

This is Howie’s 25th political campaign, and according to the piece, he’s lost every single time, except once, when he won a seat on the Syracuse City Council.

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Who Should Get a COVID-19 Vaccine First?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The distribution of a potential coronavirus vaccine could present New York health and elected officials with a moral and political quandary: Who should be first in line?

There's an argument to be made for first responders in the health care fields like doctors and nurses as well as EMTs. What about police officers, firefighters, or teachers?

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Assembly Judiciary Chair on Court Layoffs: "Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied"

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The Assembly Judiciary Chair Jeffrey Dinowitz is deeply concerned about Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s decision to let 46 Supreme Court Justices go at the end of the year.

All are around the age of 70, which is the mandatory age of retirement for New York justices. DiFiore could recertify each justice for two years, up to three times, but she is opting not to in order to reduce the courts’ budget by $300 million.

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Cuomo: COVID-19 Cluster "Flare Ups" Will Continue

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 3:36 PM ET Oct. 19, 2020

If the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic was like a big conflagration, the second could be like fighting a bunch of little fires.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday in a conference call said the state will continue to see "flare ups" of coronavirus cases like in parts of Brooklyn and Queens, as well as in Broome, Orange and Rockland counties.

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Why Vaccinations in New York Will Overshadow the Testing Challenge

BY Morgan McKay New York State

"Administering a vaccine is going to make testing look simple,” Governor Andrew Cuomo emphasized on Monday during a press conference call.

Cuomo highlighted the enormous task of trying to get 19.5 million New Yorkers vaccinated against COVID-19, once a vaccine is released most likely next year.

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Pandemic's Toll on New York's Finances Continue

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The state's tax receipts are nearly $3 billion off from where they were this time last year as the pandemic's toll on the state budget continues, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found in a report released on Monday.

The September cash report, which covers the first six months of the state's April to March fiscal year, found revenue trailing by $2.8 billion.

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These Are the Races to Watch in the Hudson Valley

BY Nick Reisman Hudson Valley

The Hudson Valley is sometimes described as where upstate meets downstate. It's where the MTA service area ends, where suburbs give way to rural expanses, and where increasingly, New York City expatriates are choosing to live, changing the political composition of the region.

And it's home to some key elections this fall.

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Environmental Groups Cheer Arrival of Plastic Bag Ban

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York's ban on single-use plastic bags is being enforced today after months of delays and a court challenge to the cheers of environmental organizations.

“New York’s bag ban has already improved New York’s health by cutting down on plastic pollution," said Kate Kurera, the deputy director of Environmental Advocates of NY. "We look forward to the State beginning enforcement and stores complying with this important law."

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How Cuomo is Helping Senate Democrats This Year

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Governor Andrew Cuomo is making virtual appearances at nine fundraising events for Democratic state Senate candidates this election year as the conference seeks to expand its majority in the chamber.

Today alone, Cuomo is scheduled to appear at three different fundraising events for Democratic incumbents Jim Gaughran and Anna Kaplan on Long Island, as well as Karen Smythe in the Hudson Valley.

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Cuomo: Draft Vaccine Plan Gives Priority to At-Risk People, Essential Workers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 12:13 PM ET Oct. 18, 2020

A draft plan for distributing a potential COVID-19 vaccine would give priority to at-risk people and essential workers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said.

Much of the specifics are yet to be determined in large part because it's not yet clear when a vaccine will be available or how many doses would be required.

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Movie Theaters to Reopen Outside New York City With Limited Capacity

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 12:09 PM ET Oct. 17, 2020

Movie theaters outside of New York City can reopen starting Oct. 23 with limited capacity and pandemic safety rules in place, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday said.

The move marks the reopening of one of the final gathering locations in the state and comes as major movie theater chains have signaled the heavy losses due to the pandemic could force them to close for the foreseeable future.

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Group Seeks More First and Second Generation Americans in Elected Office

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 8:50 PM ET Oct. 16, 2020

New York has always been a new home for new arrivals in the United States. Sayu Bhojwani, the president and founder of the organization New American Leaders, wants those in elected office to reflect that diversity.

"There's a huge gap between who New Yorkers are and who are leaders," she said in an interview. "What that means is the kind of policy we see in government doesn't always reflect the core needs of New Yorkers."

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Trump Administration: Cuomo Missed 17 COVID Briefings

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The White House on Friday responded to Governor Andrew Cuomo's call for a meeting with President Donald Trump about the next steps in the coronavirus pandemic, saying the governor missed 17 briefings meant for state governors.

Cuomo, along with Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, requested the meeting on Thursday to discuss the details of vaccine procurement and distribution as the leaders of the National Governors Association.

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Renters Outside of New York City Face Housing Instability

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Renters in communities outside of New York City could owe up to $40 million in rent, but have been unable to pay due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to research announced Friday conducted at the NYU Furman Center.

And these tenant households will need $20 million per month in assistance to make these households whole.

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Groups Urge Against Higher Education Cuts in New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Higher education and community groups on Friday released a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo urging him to not cut spending for New York's colleges and universities amid an historic economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coalition of 166 organizations include faculty and student organizations.

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Cuomo: Pandemic Enforcement Applied Equally

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York is applying its restrictions on activities during the coronavirus pandemic equally amid a rise in cases in "hot spot" zones around the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

Cuomo defended efforts to slow down the spread of the virus in Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland, and Orange counties that has included closing non-essential businesses and schools in some areas to prevent broader spread.

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Change in Leadership at SUNY Oneonta

BY Morgan McKay Oneonta

A change in leadership was announced on SUNY Oneonta’s campus on Thursday.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras relayed the news that Dr. Barbara Jean Morris resigned from her position as president of SUNY Oneonta.

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Counties Happy to Get More COVID-19 School Tests, But Need More Personnel

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Local governments are happy to get 400,000 coronavirus test kits. They just need the resources, however, to actually get the testing done in schools.

"We as the front line need to understand what is the state's expectation, what is the staff responsibilities, how we're going to roll this out effectively with thousands upon thousands of school buildings across the state of New York," said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.

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New York's Unemployment Falls to 9.7% in September

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York's statewide unemployment rate fell in September from 12.5 percent to 9.7 percent as the private sector added 75,300 jobs, according to numbers released Thursday by the state Department of Labor.

In New York City, unemployment fell from 16 percent to 14.1 percent as the tourism and hospitality industries continue to face the brunt of the pandemic's aftershocks.

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WFP: Vote for Biden on Our Ballot Line

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The Working Families Party is making an explicit pitch for votes for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on their ballot line as the party faces new hurdles in securing ballot access.

The organization on Thursday released a digital ad featuring Democrats like Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, Senators Julia Salazar and Alessandra Biaggi, as well as Democratic House candidates Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones urging votes for the Biden-Harris ticket on the WFP ballot line.

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Cuomo Wants Meeting With Trump on Pandemic's Next Steps

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 2:13 PM ET Oct. 15, 2020

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to meet with President Donald Trump about the next steps in combating the coronavirus pandemic, including how the implementation of a potential vaccine should be done in the coming months.

Cuomo, on Thursday, released a letter as the chairman of the National Governors Association, co-written with his Arkansas counterpart, Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson.

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County Officials: More Help Needed to Fight COVID Clusters

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

County governments are urging the state for help in tackling clusters of coronavirus cases that have popped up in parts of the Hudson Valley, Southern Tier, and in New York City.

State and local officials are focusing on colored-coded areas that have seen increases in COVID-19 positive cases in recent weeks in order to avoid a more general statewide rise in cases amid concerns of a second wave this fall.

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New York Officials Make Last Minute Plea For Census Participation

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York officials are making a last-minute push to have residents in the state be counted in the U.S. Census as data collection efforts end on Friday morning.

“The census is a fundamental tool of our democracy, and without an accurate count, New York runs a very real risk of losing representation, federal funds, and other forms of government aid,” said Attorney General Letitia James.

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Cuomo OKs Juneteenth Public Holiday Bill

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A bill designating Juneteenth as a formal public holiday in New York was signed into law on Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The day celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. It is held on June 19, the anniversary of when a Union Army general rode into Texas to take control of the state with federal troops and enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

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How Supreme Court Expansion Could Be Next Major Battle

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The Supreme Court confirmation fight over Judge Amy Coney Barrett could only be the start of a bigger one in 2021 as progressives push to add seats to the highest court in order to tilt it to the left.

Republicans worry the move would disrupt a court that is meant to be removed from politics; Democrats argue politics has already been played, first with the refusal to hold hearings for Judge Merrick Garland in 2016 and now Barrett's nomination just weeks before Election Day.

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Mets Hall of Famer Pitches Commuters on Masking Up

BY Nick Reisman New York City

Mets Hall of Fame reliever John Franco has recorded a public service announcement urging subway riders to mask up while on their commutes.

"Hey, this is John Franco. I saved 276 games for the New York Mets and now I'm asking you to make a few saves of your own – by wearing a mask on public transit," Franco said in the PSA recording. "You’ll keep yourself safe, others safe, and you may even save a life or two."

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Early Voting in New York: What You Need to Know

BY Spectrum News Staff New York State
UPDATED 3:22 PM ET Oct. 14, 2020

The 2020 election is going to be an election unlike any other that's come before it.

The coronavirus pandemic has led the state to expand mail-in voting, but changes to the post office over the summer are making some voters wary of mailing in their ballots.

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New York Immigration Advocates Decry Census Ruling

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Immigration advocates are decrying the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that could lead to an early end to the U.S. Census.

Groups like the New York Immigration Coalition had already been concerned hard-to-count communities like the ones they represent would be missed by the survey, conducted once every 10 years.

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"American Crisis" Details Cuomo's Crisis Communications

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo went fishing in upstate New York with his Connecticut counterpart, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont. The two governors were delayed in returning to shore because neither man had actually caught a fish.

"And there was no way I was going back to face the press on the dock without a fish," Cuomo would later write.

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New York Bucks National Trend for Child Health Insurance

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York is the only state in the country to see a noticeable decline in the number of uninsured children over a three-year period prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news, based on U.S. Census, has buoyed researchers like Kate Breslin of the Schuyler Center in Albany.

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New York Finalizes End to Trusted Traveler Saga

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York's finalized the end of federal government's effort to freeze residents out of "trusted traveler" programs was finalized on Tuesday after a federal court moved to grant summary judgment in the case.

“This confirms what we already knew: a radicalized Department of Homeland Security tried to extract economic pain on New Yorkers in the name of politics and then lied to the American people about it," said Rich Azzopardi, a senior advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo. "Let this be a lesson: You cannot use government for political extortion and the truth will always come out."

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COVID-19 Hospitalizations Top 900 Patients in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 5:00 PM ET Oct. 13, 2020

Hospitalizations in New York due to the coronavirus have topped 900 patients for the first time since the summer amid rising cases in "hot spot" clusters in parts of the state.

New York now has 923 COVID-19 patients in hospitals. Of the 118 new admissions, 42 percent of the patients are from counties where COVID-19 cases have been rising in recent weeks: Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland, Orange, and Broome.

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Biden Endorses Two Democrats in Key State Senate Races

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday endorsed two Democrats seeking second terms to battleground state Senate districts in New York.

Biden, the former vice president, backed Democrats Kevin Thomas and Jim Gaughran in their re-election bids. Both lawmakers flipped a pair of state Senate districts on Long Island two years ago, helping the conference gain control of the chamber for the first time in a decade.

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MTA Faces Major Financial Crisis, DiNapoli Warns

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Additional federal aid is needed to fix the "greatest crisis" facing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority since its inception more than half a century ago, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on Tuesday warned in a report.

The report details the MTA's troubled finances pushed to the brink by a sharp drop off in ridership due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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PPE Inventor? SUNY May Have a Grant For That

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

SUNY students that are working on ways to improve personal protective equipment with technology can now apply for grant funding.

The SUNY Prepare Innovation and Internship Program will provide $10,000 for students and faculty looking to create alternative PPE, designs to reduce the use of “high touch areas,” environmentally sustainable sanitation, and more.

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Upcoming Supreme Court Cases That Could Impact New Yorkers

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

The first day of Senate hearings started on Monday in the confirmation process of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the next Supreme Court associate justice.

There are multiple cases working their way up to the Supreme Court, even in just the next year, that will directly impact New Yorkers. If confirmed, Barrett’s ruling could directly influence which way many of these decisions will go.

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Astorino, Harckham Square Off in Hudson Valley

BY Nick Reisman Hudson Valley

Six years ago, Rob Astorino was the star of the Republican Party in New York. He had dethroned Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano in 2005, a harbinger of a Republican upswing in the New York suburban county governments.

In 2014, he lost the race for governor against Andrew Cuomo. Nevermind, he could always run again. But then 2017 happened. Astorino lost re-election to Democrat George Latimer.

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Zucker: State Will Have Nursing Home Data

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

In August, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker told state lawmakers he would turn over raw data that went into the compilation of a report released by the Department of Health in July that blamed asymptomatic staff and guests for spreading the virus in the facilities in March.

That information remains elusive.

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Cuomo Dedicates Statue to Mother Cabrini

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A statue to the Italian saint Mother Cabrini was unveiled on Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, marking a day of celebrating Italian heritage in New York City.

Cuomo's dedication of the statue was a year in the making after an outcry from Italian-American community leaders that a city-backed commission had snubbed the 20th century saint who had dedicated her life to aiding impoverished immigrants.

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Cuomo: How The Governor's Mansion Became A Full House

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The coronavirus pandemic wasn't just a time of daily briefings for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The crisis also turned the Executive Mansion on Eagle Street in Albany into something of a full house.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new book due out on Tuesday, "American Crisis: Leadership Lesson from the COVID-19 Pandemic" details how the governor -- and his dog Captain -- adjusted to an assortment of people at the mansion.

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Teachers and Police Unions, Plus a Billionaire, Battle Over the State Senate

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Dark money, money from billionaires and money from unions with very different policy goals are flooding into state Senate races across New York.

Board of Elections filings show campaign spending from independent expenditure committees backed by billionaire cosmetics executive Ron Lauder, police unions and a Virginia-based entity are spendily heavily to support Republican candidates running in key suburban and upstate races this year.

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Cuomo: No Interest in Going to D.C. for a Biden Cabinet

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said he has "no interest" in serving in a potential Joe Biden administration as attorney general.

Cuomo, interviewed on NBC's "Today" show earlier in the morning, insisted he wanted to remain in New York. He was responding to an Axios report published Sunday evening that reported Cuomo is being eyed as a potential attorney general if Biden, a Democrat, wins the presidency.

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State Continues to Hunt for COVID-19 Clusters

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York is dealing with two "different realities," as Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday put it.

In one space, there's the coronavirus pandemic like it was during the summer: An infection rate of less than 1 percent out of thousands of tests in most areas. Then there's the other side: clusters of cases in Brooklyn, Queens, as well as Orange and Rockland counties, and some spots in the Southern Tier region.

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Working Families Party Makes Push for Biden-Harris On Their Line

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The Working Families Party is facing a fight for its status in New York as the rules for retaining its automatic spot on the ballot has become harder this year.

The WFP sent out an email invitation this weekend for a virtual campaign event in Capital Region to urge votes for the Democratic ticket on their ballot line. Candidates in New York can run on multiple party ballot lines.

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In Book, Cuomo Writes of Early Struggles During the Pandemic

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 8:04 AM ET Oct. 11, 2020

State officials in March were working to develop a plan for containing one of the first major outbreaks of the coronavirus in the United States.

The epicenter was in New Rochelle, where a man became one of the first "super spreaders" in the country. Among the issues: Trying to convince a doctor infected with COVID-19 to close his office and whether a country club could still host a wedding that upcoming weekend.

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Dana Balter, Candidate for NY-24, Discusses Her Guiding Principles, ACA, and SCOTUS

BY Susan Arbetter Southern Tier

Dana Balter ran against incumbent John Katko in the 24th Congressional District representing the Syracuse area in 2018 and lost by a little over 5 percentage points.

This time around, according to the latest Siena Poll, the race is a statistical dead heat. In fact, according to poll watchers, this race is supposed to be one of the most competitive in the country.

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The Education of Tracy Mitrano

BY Susan Arbetter Southern Tier

After Tracy Mitrano lost by a little over 8 percentage points to Representative Tom Reed (R-Corning) in 2018, she wanted to find out why.

Specifically, she was curious to discover why Chautauqua County, the county with the second-highest number of registered Democrats in this sprawling Southern Tier district, didn’t support her.

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Lake George Prepared for a Fall Tourism Season

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The village of Lake George still remains a place frozen in time. In a time of upheaval and uncertainty, that consistency and familiarity is part of its charm -- along with its breathtaking beauty.

Nestled in the southern portion on the other side of the blue line marking the start of the Adirondack Park, the village retains its charm -- diners, the A&W stand, mini golf courses and motels abound.

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Cuomo, Saluting Jim Dwyer, Talks Journalism

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's voice got heavy in a conference call with reporters on Thursday when talking about the late Jim Dwyer, the longtime metro columnist and chronicler of the city for decades who died this week.

Cuomo had known Dwyer for 30 years. He was a columnist who came a half generation after figures like Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hammill, Jack Newfield, and Wayne Barrett first arrived on the scene.

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NYSID: "Hiring People With Development Disabilities is Good for Your Bottom Line"

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The pandemic has been especially tough on people with developmental disabilities.

Not only was there another Medicaid cut on October 1 which affects group homes, but the Center for Disability Services lost a state contract with the Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance, and had to layoff 20 people with developmental disabilities.

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Cuomo to Host Virtual Fundraiser for Gaughran in Key Senate District

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Governor Andrew Cuomo later this month will be the virtual host for a fundraiser in a race for a key state Senate district.

Cuomo is backing Democratic state Sen. Jim Gaughran's bid for a second term in the 5th Senate district on Long Island, a seat that was key for Democrats to win majority control of the chamber two years ago.

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All State Workers Eligible for Electronic Pay Stubs

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A bill that will allow all state workers to receive an electronic copy of their pay stubs was signed into law on Thursday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The measure is meant to modernize a payroll system in which many state workers, including those who receive their pay through direct deposit, still receive printed copies of their stubs by mail or delivered by hand.

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NY-22: Brindisi Leading Tenney in Siena Poll

BY Nick Reisman Mohawk Valley

Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi holds a 9 percentage point lead over Republican former Rep. Claudia Tenney in a Siena College/Syracuse.com poll of likely voters released on Thursday morning.

The poll showed Brindisi drawing 48 percent of support with Tenney receiving 39 percent. Libertarian candidate Keith Price drew 4 percent in the poll.

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Some Communities Haven't Followed Pandemic Rules, Cuomo Says

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus have landed in predominantly Orthodox Jewish communities in parts of the Hudson Valley and Brooklyn -- leading in some cases to heated demonstrations as the state plans to limit large gatherings, or even close houses of worship.

The effort to contain a potential resurgence of the virus by creating geographic clusters comes amid the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Leaders in the effected communities this week blasted the push to close businesses and limit religious gatherings.

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Longtime State Senator, Majority Leader Joe Bruno Dies

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region
UPDATED 7:45 PM ET Oct. 07, 2020

Joe Bruno was a lot of things: A boxer, a ice salesman, a businessman, a Korean War Veteran and, for 14 years, one of the most powerful men in New York state government.

He died Wednesday at his home in Brunswick, where he had lived the remainder of an upstate life that took him from a blue collar birth to the halls of power in state government.

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Joe Bruno’s Biographer Remembers Him

BY Spectrum News Staff Albany/Capital Region

On Tuesday night, longtime Senate Majority Leader and strident booster of Upstate New York Joe Bruno died of cancer in Brunswick, on the outskirts of Troy, in the district he represented in the state Senate for more than three decades.

Joe Bruno was a street smart, rough and tumble kid who was the winner of Bronze Star in Korea (among other medals), and several boxing championships in the Army. He was an out-sized figure at the state Capitol with his shock of white hair, and his flair for the dramatic. One time, he rode a horse across the stage during the annual Legislative Correspondents Association gridiron show. Bruno’s personality was by turns pugnacious, schmoozy, and eloquent — and it served him well for 14 years as the Senate’s leader.

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Rep. Elise Stefanik Speaks on Pre-existing Conditions, Trump Administration’s Suspension of Diversity Training

BY Susan Arbetter Albany/Capital Region

After the election, the Supreme Court will decide whether the Affordable Care Act is constitutional; if the court rules it’s not, then the protections the ACA has afforded to millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions will disappear.

It took years, a series of votes spearheaded by Republicans, and multiple legal rulings in a variety of states to get to here.

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American Cancer Society Alarmed By Smoking Statistics

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York arm of the American Cancer Society on Wednesday raised alarms over the latest statistics from the Department of Health showing a large percentage of cancer survivors continue to smoke.

The statistic show about 10 percent of cancer survivors continue to smoke. And 32 percent of residents between 18 and 44 who have received a cancer diagnosis are smoking, compared to 14 percent of those in the same age group who have never had a cancer diagnosis.

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Cuomo Says Deficit Decisions Will Hold Until After Election Day

BY Morgan McKay New York State

"Life is options and we don't have any good ones,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press call on Wednesday about federal stimulus talks being stalled again.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday called on the U.S. Senate to stop negotiating on a stimulus deal and focus instead on confirming his Supreme Court justice pick.

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County Executives Tap Molinaro to Lead State Association

BY Morgan McKay New York State

County executives across New York elected Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro to serve as president for the New York State County Executive Association (NYSCEA) on Wednesday.

NYSCEA represents 19 counties and 16.7 million New Yorkers.

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Advocates Concerned Over Lack of Testing in NYS Prisons

BY Morgan McKay Albany County
UPDATED 7:08 AM ET Oct. 07, 2020

Two weeks ago, lawmakers held a hearing looking at the impact COVID-19 had on prisons and jails in New York.

During the hearing, officials said they are still working to test every incarcerated individual, but advocates say that the state is slowing down the number of tests per week.

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Trump Calls Off COVID Stimulus Talks: What Now for New York?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

There's an old saying about brinksmanship in Albany: A deal has to come together and fall apart three times before it can be agreed to.

But even by Albany standards, the uncertainty surrounding the latest coronavirus stimulus talks in Washington have been a fiasco for state and local governments awaiting some form of aid.

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SUNY Bolsters Mental Health Services Amid Pandemic

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 6:59 PM ET Oct. 06, 2020

Let's face it: being a college student, even in normal times, is not easy. The experience of living on campus, keeping up your grades, and transitioning to becoming an adult can be a stressful one.

But throw into the mix a global pandemic that could shutdown a campus and the uncertainty that hangs over everyday life and, well, it's really not easy to be a college student.

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New York Plans Tiered COVID-19 Cluster Zones to Target Spread

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 5:54 PM ET Oct. 06, 2020

New York officials are creating three-tiered cluster zones around areas that have seen increases in coronavirus cases in recent weeks as officials seek to stamp down a potential second wave of the pandemic this fall.

The regional zones will in some cases close schools and non-essential businesses while limiting dining to take out only.

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Senate Elections Chairman Zellnor Myrie: “We Do Not Count Double Ballots”

BY Susan Arbetter Albany/Capital Region

After 100,000 voters in Brooklyn received incorrect ballots, printing vendor Phoenix Graphics reprinted and resent corrected ballots and ballot envelopes to everyone who was affected, which prompted concerns from critics who wondered if voters who received two ballots could vote twice.

According to both the NYC Board of Elections and Senate Elections Chairman Zellnor Myrie, the answer is “no.”

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How Important is Sales Tax to a Local Government? A Lot

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Local governments in New York are heavily dependent on sales tax revenue, which has all but disappeared amid the coronavirus pandemic as people stay home and shop less, a report released on Wednesday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found.

The report pointed to the $17 billion in sales tax revenue brought in by local governments last year, accounting for nearly 10 percent of their revenue.

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Nursing Home Group Says More Congressional Help Needed

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Congress should provide at least $100 billion in funding for long-term care facilities, vaccination priority to residents and staff and financial support for testing, a national nursing home group on Wednesday said.

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living wanted the aid package included in the next stimulus legislation, which is still under negotiations in Washington.

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Cuomo Defends Not Wearing a Mask At News Conference

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday defended not wearing a mask at an indoor news conference, saying he and his staff were appropriately spaced six feet apart to avoid spread of the coronavirus.

“The rule is six feet social distancing,” Cuomo said when asked about wearing a mask. “Do you want to change the rule?”

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