When Will Movie Theaters Reopen in New York?

BY Morgan McKay New York State

New York’s COVID-19 positive infection rate has hovered around 1 percent since July, and although almost everything has started to reopen around the state, movie theaters are still in limbo.

Every state, except New York and North Carolina, have either opened movie theaters or at least announced a plan on when these theaters can reopen.

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Cuomo Urges Local Governments to Reopen Homeless Shelters

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Local governments in New York should reopen shelters that serve homeless people, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said.

The state plans to release guidance in the coming days for how municipalities can reopen their shelters safely after being closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Cuomo: "Clusters" in Hudson Valley, Brooklyn Leading to More COVID-19 Cases

BY Nick Reisman and Morgan McKay New York State
UPDATED 3:07 PM ET Sep. 28, 2020

New York in the last 24 hours confirmed 834 new cases of the coronavirus, a positive rate of 1.5 percent out of more than 50,000 test results, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

The positive rate, while still lower than many parts of the United States, is still higher than the rate of less than 1 percent positive rate in the last several weeks in New York.

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Residential Eviction Moratorium Extended to January for New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

A ban on residential tenant evictions will continue for the rest of the year in New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

The extension of the moratorium for residential tenants came after the state also extended an executive order limiting commercial evictions.

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Cuomo: New York Isn't "Liable" for COVID-19 Costs

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The federal government, not New York state, is liable for the billions of dollars lost due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday in a conference call.

"It was their negligence that caused our loss," Cuomo said. "It's a Washington problem."

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New York's Limited Budget Options

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Governor Andrew Cuomo has acknowledged the various paths New York's state budget can take are not pretty if no federal aid comes through from Washington.

New York is seeking billions of dollars in aid from federal officials to offset the revenue that vanished amid the shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Barrett Court Nomination Praised By Republicans, Blasted By Democrats

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court drew, predictably, sharply contrasting responses from New York Republicans and Democrats.

Barrett was picked by President Donald Trump to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, setting off what Republicans plan to be a speedy confirmation process in the U.S. Senate.

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School Officials Report Concerns Over NYS Website Tracking COVID-19

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region

New York State launched a COVID-19 Report Card for every school district in New York, but there is still confusion surrounding this website.

The goal of this report card website is to keep parents and teachers updated on the number of positive coronavirus cases in their districts.

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A Western Wildfire Unlikely in New York, But ADKs Still Face Risk

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Wildfires in the west have been increasingly massive, engulfing homes and forests, leading to an orange glow in major cities and spreading a thin haze across the continent to the northeast.

But can something like that happen in New York, in the state's vast Adirondack wilderness region? The good news is: It's highly unlikely, according to Capt. John Streiff, a captain with the Department of Environmental Conservation's forest rangers.

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SUNY Unveils Guidelines for Student Violations

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Officials at the State University of New York on Friday released a set of uniform guidelines meant to police students who hold gatherings on and off campus, fail to self-isolate or wear a mask.

Potentially at risk for repeat violators: a permanent dismissal for the student from a school. The new guidelines take effect next Thursday.

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Assembly GOP Wants CDC to Set Nursing Home Fatality Guidelines

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republicans in the state Assembly on Friday urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update reporting guidelines for nursing home residents who have died of COVID-related deaths during the pandemic.

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay and Assemblyman Kevin Byrne in a letter to the CDC called for the update guidance as New York's nursing home fatality count remains at issue. Officially, New York's death toll of nursing home residents stands at about 6,300 people, though that number likely much higher.

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Less Than 1% of COVID Tests Come Back Positive

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York found 908 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours out of 94,818 test results, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.

The infection rate stands at 0.95% in New York, a positive rate that has been hovering around that mark for the last several months. Hospitalizations, however, have climbed to 511 in the state.

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Federal Judge Bars Census From Ending Early

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The nation's once-a-decade head count cannot end early, a federal judge in California ruled late Thursday, reversing a Trump administration directive that would have halted the survey in a matter of days.

The district court ruling is a victory, for now, for advocates who had been alarmed by the decision to end the Census this month, months ahead of schedule.

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Cuomo: A Divided Country Can't Beat Pandemic

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A divided nation will continue to struggle in beating back the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday in remarks to the Human Rights Campaign.

Cuomo addressed the group, a leading LGBTQ rights organization, in a video address as social distancing protocols remain in place.

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Small Businesses Brace for What's Next in Pandemic

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Talk to business owners about their concerns and the first thing they'll tell you is the need for certainty. But the pandemic, says Peter Elitzer, has changed that.

"It's impossible to think of everything that might come up because in my wildest dreams I never would have imagined anything like the COVID-19 experience happening," he said.

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Cuomo to Local Governments: No Long-Term Borrowing

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Cash-strapped local governments would be "reckless" to borrow in the long term without a financial control board in place, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday warned.

State and local governments are facing an unprecedented financial crisis due to the economic recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, efforts to secure federal aid to recoup lost tax revenue this year have stalled.

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A Conversation with Dr. Shaun Nelms on Systemic Poverty in Rochester

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Rochester has been in the news a lot lately, starting with the delayed details about the homicide of Daniel Prude, and then, following the release of the video of Prude’s death, for the protests which followed. This weekend, Rochester was again in the news, this time for a mass shooting that left 14 people injured and two bystanders dead.

Violence and unrest are symptoms of the city’s greater systemic problems: Problems detailed in a report that came out in August, published by ACT Rochester and the Community Foundation, called "Hard Facts," which looked at race and inequality in the nine-county Rochester region.

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Why Cuomo Wants New York's Own Vaccine Review

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York will undergo its own review of any potential coronavirus vaccination before it is distributed widely, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday, indicating he plans to have the state government take a front-seat role for the endgame of stamping out COVID-19.

Cuomo, at a news conference in New York City, said he did not trust the federal government's own review of the safety of the vaccination, given President Donald Trump's own efforts to have an announcement prior to Election Day this year.

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Cuomo: Not Wearing A Mask is "Dumb"

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Not wearing a mask when unable to socially distance yourself is "just dumb," Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said as the state's coronavirus infection rate over the last day peaked above 1 percent.

"It's just dumb not to wear a mask," Cuomo said. "It's dumb."

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Cuomo, Whitmer Call for Investigation of Trump's Pandemic Response

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitemer on Thursday called on Congress to launch an oversight investigation of President Donald Trump's handling of the pandemic and whether he sought to politicize the crisis.

The governors, both Democrats, pointed to varying guidances at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that could have been influenced by political appointees during the outbreak.

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Senate Republicans Continue to Press for Nursing Home Data

BY Morgan McKay New York State

The exact number of nursing home residents who died from COVID-19 in New York is still unknown. And despite consistent pressure from lawmakers, that question still has not ben answered.

Republican Sens. James Tedisco and Senator Sue Serino wrote a letter to four Democratic Senators who have been working to secure answers from the Department of Health.

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Why David Paterson's Book of Trials Resonates

BY Nick Reisman New York State

This is a year for books by New York governors. Former Gov. George Pataki's new book details the response to the Sept. 11 attacks. Next month, incumbent Andrew Cuomo will publish a book on the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

And David Paterson this week published his own account of being a governor in a time of multiple crises and struggles.

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Rochester Chamber of Commerce Backs 2 Democrats for Senate Senate

BY Nick Reisman Rochester

The political action committee of a leading Rochester business group on Thursday is set to endorse two Democrats running for the state Senate in the city.

Both candidates, Samra Brouk and Jeremy Cooney, are running to replacing retiring Republican lawmakers Rich Funke and Joe Robach.

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STOCK Act 2.0 Requires Federal Officials To Disclose Federal Loans

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

U.S. Senator Kristen Gillibrand, along with Representative Katie Porter from California, announced that they are proposing a new bill that would require high-ranking federal officials and their families to report when they apply for federal aid.

It’s called the STOCK Act 2.0.

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Flu Shots Take on Added Importance This Year

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

It's that time of the year again. The annual flu shot in previous years may have been at the back of your mind. Public health officials like Mary Brummagyn hope New Yorkers get it done as soon as possible this year.

"Let's get it right now, OK? That's important," she said. "Let's get it early. Let's get our immunity going."

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Internet Sales Tax: Finally, Some Good News for Struggling Localities

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Don’t get too excited, but Spectrum News has learned that December’s internet sales tax disbursement will not be subject to a 20 percent withholding from the state.

According to the Division of the Budget, "The internet sales tax is revenue, not spending, and is distributed as aid to localities based on where online purchases are made. The pandemic has hurt household and municipal finances and it is too soon to say how much revenue will ultimately be collected and distributed."

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Eric Trump Must Be Deposed by New York AG, Judge Rules

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A New York judge on Wednesday ruled President Donald Trump's son Eric can be deposed by Attorney General Letitia James's office as part of the ongoing investigation into the Trump Organization.

The deposition must be conducted by October 7, James's office said, less than a month before Election Day in the United States.

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What's the Budget Plan? Groups Say Answers Are Needed

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 2:52 PM ET Sep. 23, 2020

So, what's the plan? That's increasingly the question around Albany and those in state government circles when it comes to New York's yawning billion-dollar budget gap created by the economic crisis induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the moment, the plan from Gov. Andrew Cuomo remains this: Get the federal government to provide tens of billions of dollars in relief to avoid spending reductions to virtually every part of the budget.

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Planned Parenthood to Senate: "Dust Off the COVID-19 Relief Package"

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

There are 17 abortion cases that a newly muscular conservative Supreme Court could decide to hear, according to Robin Chappelle Golston, chair of Planned Parenthood, Empire State Votes PAC.

"We really don’t know which one they’re going to move forward with and actually put on the docket," Golston said. "That’s currently where we are."

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How Senate Republicans Want to Boost Women in Business

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republicans in the state Senate and those running to serve in the chamber on Wednesday released a package of proposals to boost women in business in New York.

The proposals come amid National Small Business Week and during a rocky time for smaller employers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has devastated small businesses.

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Unemployment Rates Vary Across New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Statewide, New York's unemployment picture is this: Declining from Depression-era unemployment earlier this year due to the pandemic-induced shutdown, the state's unemployment rate fell from 15.9 percent in July to 12.4 percent in August.

But across the state, the joblessness picture is less clear. It's not a tale of two states; it's a tale of four or five states.

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Rationing Flu Vaccines for Inmates? Public Hearing Raises Questions

BY Morgan McKay Albany County

Similar to the rest of the state, COVID-19 swept through the New York’s prison and jail system, but to what extent is still unclear.

During a legislative hearing, both lawmakers and family members of incarcerated individuals shared their frustration with the lack of communication from the Department of Corrections.

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With Washington Focused on Replacing RGB, Is Cuomo’s Budget Strategy Still Viable?

BY Susan Arbetter Albany/Capital Region

Thanks to the vagaries of hyper-partisan politics, the odds of Washington passing a pre-election stimulus bill dropped significantly with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Which raises questions about the budget strategy Governor Andrew Cuomo appears to be employing.

“Waiting for Washington to act is just not a strategy,” the Fiscal Policy Institute’s Ron Deutsch told NPR last week. “And it’s certainly not a viable strategy at this point because we have no idea if and when they are going to act.”

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County Executives Push for Metro-North Funding

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Metro-North needs federal aid to continue providing commuter rail service to suburban riders, county executives from both parties wrote in a letter to federal leaders Tuesday.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority overall is facing a severe financial strain due to the coronavirus pandemic and the sharply declined ridership.

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Need a COVID Checkup? New York Has a Survey for That

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

James Firman is 69 and lives with his wife and 26-year-old son, who has been good about staying home and not going to bars or parties.

"He's using safe behaviors," Firman said. "But if he were going out to bars or parties, he would represent a lethal threat to me and my wife. So you have to be careful and worry about everybody in your household."

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Lauder Seeds $1M Super PAC Against Senate Democrats

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Billionaire cosmetics executive Ronald Lauder has funded an independent expenditure committee that over the last day spent more than $1 million in TV ads against Democrats running in key state Senate races.

Lauder, the chairman emeritus of Estee Lauder, contributed $1.7 million to the group Safe Together New York, a filing at the state Board of Elections shows. The committee has since spent a combined $1 million on TV ads against incumbent Sens. Monica Martinez, Jim Gaughran, Kevin Thomas and Andrew Gounardes. An ad funded by the group is also airing to oppose Democrat John Mannion, who is seeking an open Senate seat in central New York as well as Democrat Jim Barber.

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5 States Added to New York's COVID-19 Travel Advisory

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 11:02 AM ET Sep. 22, 2020

New York officials on Tuesday announced five states had been added to the state's quarantine travel advisory while also reaching the milestone of 10 million tests conducted for the coronavirus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Wyoming have reached the threshold for being added to the state's travel advisory, which requires people who have entered New York from those states to quarantine themselves for two weeks upon arriving in New York.

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AG James Ready to Sue if Federal Funding for NYC is Cut

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Attorney General Letitia James on Monday signaled she was ready to take the federal government to court if designating New York City an "anarchist jurisdiction" would lead to cuts in federal funding.

James in a statement called the designation and an attempt to distract voters from the ongoing crisis of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Adirondack Groups Urge Cuomo to Sign Road Salt Reduction Bill

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Governor Andrew Cuomo is being urged by environmental groups to sign a measure meant to reduce road salt usage in the Adirondack Park.

The legislation would create the task force and pilot program for reducing road salt usage within the park from October 2021 to 2024. The program would test measures that have been shown to reduce road salt usage and cost for winter road maintenance.

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Lawsuit Reform Group Wants to Scale Back Jury Awards

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The Lawsuit Reform Alliance and coalition of advocacy groups in the insurance and building trades industry are calling for limits on jury awards in New York amid a $45 million award that could hurt cash-strapped local governments.

The group filed an amicus brief in the case for personal injury awards to be limited to a predictable and historical range. And the group decried the practice of "anchoring" in these cases, which can lead to higher awards from juries who receive a preliminary amount that can be incrementlly added to.

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Q&A: The Republicans Who Want to Beat Trump

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

President Donald Trump launched a successful takeover of the Republican Party in 2016, beating establishment candidates to win the nomination and ultimately the Presidency.

Now, a group of Republicans -- Never Trump Republicans -- are trying to wrest the party away from him and his brand of politics. The Lincoln Project is part of that effort. I spoke with Susan Del Percio, a longtime Republican consultant in New York, about why she joined the group and how they plan to succeed this November.

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Moody's: NY's September School Funding a Credit Positive

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

School districts getting their state aid this month was good financial news, Moody's found in a report released Monday.

This may sound like a man-bites-dog headline in any other context. But in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, it's an ongoing concern for school districts amid the threat of a 20% cut in state funding due to the evaporated revenue as a result of the crisis.

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NY's Top Judge: 'A Long Time' Before Courts Return to Normal

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York court system closed down during the height of the coronavirus padnemic earlier this year and has since slowly began to bring personnel and members of the public back to some physical locations.

But returning to a pre-pandemic version of the state's courts will take a long time, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said on Monday in a videotaped message.

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Senator Todd Kaminsky: Results of Holocaust Survey "Shocking"

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

More Jewish people live in New York State than anywhere else in the world with the exception of Israel. But a new survey from the Claims Conference indicates that 19 percent of millennials and Generation-Z'ers in the state believe that Jews caused the Holocaust.

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the Holocaust as “the systematic state-sponsored killing of six million Jewish men, women, and children and millions of others by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II.”

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1 COVID-19 Death in Last 24 Hours in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The United States on Monday passed a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic: 200,000 people dead of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in the country earlier this year.

But the rate of the infection has slowed in New York, once an epicenter of the outbreak. And on Monday, as the country surpassed the 200,000 death mark, only one person in the last 24 hours was reported to have died of COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a conference call.

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Cuomo Says Trump's "Anarchist" Designation for New York City Won't Stand

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 12:26 PM ET Sep. 21, 2020

ALBANY, N.Y. – President Donald Trump labeling New York City an "anarchist jurisdiction" that could imperil federal funding is a campaign tactic that won't be upheld under a court challenge, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said.

The Trump administration has labeled New York City and several other American cities where there has been protest and unrest over policing anarchist jurisdictions and threatened to remove funding for the local governments.

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Settlement Expands Absentee Vote Options

BY Nick Reisman New York State

A settlement reached by state officials and the League of Women Voters last week will expand options for absentee voting if there are technical issues with the ballot.

The agreement, reached by state elections officials, the state attorney general's office and the good-government organization, comes as a wave of absentee votes are expected to be cast in the general election due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Lawmakers Want to Boost Penalties for Drive-By Shootings

BY Nick Reisman New York State

State lawmakers are pushing a bill that is meant to increase penalties in drive-by shooting cases, a measure spurred by the murder of an 11-year-old boy in the Capital Region earlier this month.

As proposed by Republican Sen. Daphne Jordan and Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, the bill would change the state's criminal law to create the crime of a "drive by shooting" as defined by a person causing the death of another person by discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle.

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Hochul Endorses Stony Brook Department Chair for Congress

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region
UPDATED 8:16 PM ET Sep. 18, 2020

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul endorsed Nancy Goroff for Congress in New York’s 1st district on Friday.

Goroff is challenging incumbent Republican Representative Lee Zeldin, who has won three times in this district.

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Good Government Groups: Do Not Count on Zuckerberg

BY Susan Arbetter Albany/Capital Region

As Capital Tonight reported earlier this week, a private charity funded in part by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan is offering grants to county boards of election to help pay for expenses related to the November 3 general election.

The grant application was passed on to county boards by the State Board of Elections in a September 4 email.

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Additional Unemployment Benefits Coming to New Yorkers

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Unemployed New Yorkers will be eligible to receive an additional $300 in unemployment benefits for another three weeks, the Department of Labor announced.

The state was approved on Friday, by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to keep these additional payments flowing for another three weeks, bringing the total to six weeks of additional aid.

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COVID-19 Has Deepened New York State’s Affordable Housing Crisis

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

What is the current state of affordable housing in Upstate New York now that CARES Act rental assistance has come to an end, but the COVID-19 recession has not?

Capital Tonight host Susan Arbetter discussed the situation with Jolie Milstein, the president and CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing. According to Milstein, the CARES Act funding helped, but no additional funding has come from Washington since, which means the future is uncertain for millions of families.

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What NYSUT's President Is Saying About the Union Lawsuit Against New York

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

On Wednesday, the state’s largest teachers’ union filed a lawsuit against Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Division of the Budget.

New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) argues that the state has been withholding money from school districts – which it has. A total of about $100 million so far.

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Should Early Retirement Incentives Be On the Table Now?

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh) has introduced two bills that address early retirement for state and local government employees. It had been a back burner issue for a while, but in August, it moved to the front of the stove when it became clear that Democrats and Republicans in Washington weren’t able to cook up an agreement on stimulus funding.

Anecdotally, it’s also become a frequent topic of conversation among older teachers heading back into the classroom this month, some of whom are fearful of contracting COVID-19.

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Outlook Not Good For Reopening Of Canadian Border Soon

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo
UPDATED 4:17 PM ET Sep. 16, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The current ban on non-essential travel between the United States and Canada is set to expire Monday but it appears the restrictions will be extended.

This week, CBC News reported the border will remain closed for at least another month while Reuters and other outlets said the ban will likely be in place through the end of November. It will come as no surprise to federal leaders from Western New York who indicated they have been pushing for an ease on restrictions but Canadian officials have not been receptive.

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HHS Spokesperson Caputo To Take Medical Leave For 'Lymphatic Issue'

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo
UPDATED 3:50 PM ET Sep. 16, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. –The Department of Health and Human Services top spokesperson Michael Caputo announced Wednesday he will take a temporary medical leave of absence from his position.

He said he will be pursuing necessary screenings for a "lymphatic issue" discovered last week. He did not say if there was concern about cancer although lymphoma is one of the most common forms.

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Coalition Of NYS Police Unions "Unite Against Senate Democrats"

BY Morgan McKay New York State
UPDATED 2:36 PM ET Sep. 16, 2020

A coalition of 23 New York police unions announced that they are “uniting against Senate Democrats” and jointly endorsing six State Senate candidates in key battleground districts.

These unions, which represent more than 200,000 law enforcement officers, say they want to vote out Senate Democrats that voted for “anti-police measures,” such as the controversial bail reform measure passed in 2019 and the repeal of 50A, which seals police disciplinary records.

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NYSUT Files Lawsuit Against State Over Funding "Cuts"

BY Morgan McKay New York State

The New York State United Teachers Union, NYSUT, formally filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, against the state for impending 20 percent funding cuts to school aid.

The Cuomo administration right now is “withholding” funds from schools and other services while it waits for federal aid to arrive. According to the Division of Budget, the state is facing a revenue loss of $14.5 billion for just one year as a “result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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DiNapoli Warns New York Financial Hole "Getting Deeper"

BY Ryan Whalen Albany/Capital Region
UPDATED 12:27 PM ET Sep. 16, 2020

ALBANY, N.Y. – State tax receipts for New York are now $3.2 billion lower than 2019 according to the latest cash report released by the NYS Comptroller's office.

For August alone, the receipts are nearly $220 million less than the same month a year ago. The state did pull in roughly $310 million more than the latest projections from the state division of budget but, already facing a multi-billion dollar deficit, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, D-NY, warned it’s not enough.

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Nursing Home Families Seek Essential Designation

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York State Department of Health reduced the waiting period for nursing home visitations Tuesday, but some lawmakers, and family members, say more needs to be done.

State lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would designate an essential person for a nursing home resident. Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Miller says the person would be treated similar to staff, allowed to enter facilities that are closed to visitors.

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Onondaga County Elections Commissioner: “We Will Overturn Every Rock That We Can”

BY Susan Arbetter Onondaga County
UPDATED 4:17 PM ET Sep. 15, 2020

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. — As Capital Tonight reported on Monday, county boards of election in New York and in other states are applying for private grant funding to pay for elections this year. The funding comes from the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) which received money from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.

Earlier this year the New York State Board of Elections announced that counties in the state would need $50 million more to fund the 2020 general election. The reason? Counties now need to remain in compliance with new COVID-19 guidelines for poll workers; they need to print and post many more absentee ballots than they ever have before; and they need to inform voters of their new voting choices.

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New York Eases Nursing Home Visitation Waiting Period

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The waiting period for visiting a nursing home has been eased by state health officials on Tuesday amid a push from families members who want better access to their loved ones.

The Department of Health announced the waiting period for a facility to be open to visitors would be reduced from 28 days to 14 days. The new guideline will take effect on Thursday. About 500 nursing homes out of 613 facilities will be eligible for visitation once the change is made.

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Bipartisan Proposal Pushed for State Funding

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus on Tuesday released a framework for a pandemic stimulus package that would include $500 billion in funding for state and local governments across the country.

Negotiations in Washington over the final stimulus measure have stalled since June amid disagreements over the scope of the package and whether state governments should receive aid to make up for revenues lost during the crisis.

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SUNY, Staff Union Reach COVID-19 Testing Agreement

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Officials at the State University of New York and the United University Professions have reached an agreement to test on-campus staffers for the coronavirus, the union on Tuesday announced.

The deal, laid out in a memorandum of understanding, runs through Dec. 31 and takes effect immediately for union members working on campus at all state operated colleges, universities and hospitals.

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Voter Fraud: What Is It, and How Often Does It Happen?

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Voter fraud is an umbrella term that can mean a lot of different things. A few examples include: illegal registering and voting by individuals who aren’t citizens; changing the actual vote count at a polling location; and stealing ballot boxes.

All of this has indeed happened in the past.

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Cuomo: "We're Not Out of the Woods Yet"

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York's low coronavirus infection rate is threatened by college students who do not follow safety guidelines like mask wearing and social distancing and the coming school year poses questions as well, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

"I want to see the state's jobs come back and the economy come back," Cuomo said in an interivew on Long Island News Radio, "but then we have a couple of questions out there. What's going to happen when you bring kids back to school?"

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Federal Court Deals Win for Trump Administration on Immigration Status

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A federal appeals court on Monday sided with President Donald Trump's administration in an immigration case in a ruling that terminates temporary protected status for immigrants from at least four countries.

The ruling will end the status for immigrants from El Salvador, Sudan, Nicaragua, and Haiti while also opening the door for ending temporary protected status in Honduras and Nepal, which is being reviewed in a separate case.

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Gillibrand Endorses Hinchey, Smythe for Key Senate Races

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday is set to endorse a pair of Democratic women running for Republican-held state Senate districts this fall.

Gillibrand will endorse Democrat Michelle Hinchey, who is running for the seat being vacated by GOP Sen. George Amedore. She faces Richard Amedure in the general election. The district runs from the Mohawk Valley, around the Capital District, to the Hudson Valley.

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New York's Anti-Trust Laws Under Debate

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region

Anti-trust laws were created to encourage companies to compete and keep one single company from gaining complete control or monopolizing the market.

New York’s anti-trust laws were first enacted in the 1890s. Because of this, Deputy Senate Majority Leader Mike Gianaris is proposing a new Anti-Trust Act, calling the old laws broken.

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Why a Conservative Leader is Debunking QAnon

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The QAnon conspiracy theory, roughly speaking, is both discredited and outlandish at the outset. The crib notes version is this: President Donald Trump is being opposed by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedohpiles who are running an extensive child trafficking ring across the globe.

The theory, on the fringes of social media, has expanded its scope to include prominent Democrats, Hollywood celebrities and other prominent people of being in on the cabal. It is, to put it mildly, very false.

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County Election Boards Applying for Charity to Pay for Elections

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

After a huge infusion of cash from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla, the Center for Tech and Civic Life is providing grants to county boards of election across the country to help facilitate November’s elections.

According to its website, the non-profit, non-partisan “CTCL is a team of civic technologists, trainers, researchers, election administration and data experts working to foster a more informed and engaged democracy, and helping to modernize U.S. elections.”

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New York Bill Challenges Presidential Immunity

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Presidents would have less power in resisting subpoenas in New York based on a bill proposed Monday by state lawmakers.

The measure, backed by Sen. Mike Gianaris and Assemblyman Nick Perry, comes as President Donald Trump continues to fight a subpoena from New York City prosecutors to obtain his tax returns.

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State Rural School Association Head Concerned About Layoffs

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

A lot has been written (and rightly so) about teacher layoffs in districts like Schenectady and Albany – the result of the state withholding school aid due to revenue shortfalls.

But what of the immediate consequences of withholding 20 percent of state aid for some rural school districts that have little or no fund balance?

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Bill Would Designate "Essential" Person for Nursing Home Residents

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Nursing home residents would have a designated "essential person" who would be able to visit the resident amid strict guidelines surrounding who can enter the facilities.

The measure is backed by Assemblywoman Melissa Miller and comes amid growing concerns over the visitation rules for nursing homes in New York.

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How Badly Are Students Falling Behind in School?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

How badly are kids falling behind in school? It's a question that's been made more difficult to answer by the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of the usual assessments that provide some sort of metric for schools.

The Rockefeller Institute of Government on Monday released an analysis that assessed the challenges of determining how students are faring in school as education remains a mix of in-classroom learning and virtual lessons for kids who are at home.

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Senate to Hold Second Housing Discrimination Hearing

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Democrats in the state Senate announced Monday plans to hold a second public hearing on housing discrimination on Long Island later this week.

Lawmakers initially held a hearing earlier this year on the issue, spurred by a Newsday investigation that found realtors routinely discriminated against prospective homebuyers of color.

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New York Business Leaders Urge Trump to Aid MTA

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Business leaders who represent New York City and suburban counties on Monday released a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to support federal aid for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority amid a revenue crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter, backed by the Westchester Business Council, the Long Island Association and the Partnership for New York City comes as a federal stimulus package under negotiation in Congress since June has continued to stall.

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Stefanik's PAC Seeks to Boost Tenney in NY-22

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik's political action committee has sought to help GOP women running across the country.

Over the weekend, her PAC sent a fundraising email in support of someone closer to home: Republican former Rep. Claudia Tenney.

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Calls for Prison Reform Made on Attica Anniversary

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Advocates and former inmates on Sunday commemorated the anniversary of the final day of the Attica prison uprising with a push for an end to solitary confinement and the closure of correctional facilities around the state.

The protests, held in New York City and in Albany, come as criminal justice advocates have also called for the release of inmates during the coronavirus pandemic amid concerns the virus can easily spread in congregate settings like prisons.

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Addressing the Mental Health of First Responders

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany
UPDATED 8:31 PM ET Sep. 11, 2020

CDC studies looking at the mental of health of first responders showed that at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, around 50 percent of health care workers struggled with depression.

Yet, data after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center showed that at times it can take months or even years for the full effects of a tragedy to take its toll on the mental health of first responders.

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NAACP Wants to Make Sure Communities of Color Count in Census

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The deadline to complete the census is quicky approaching and as we've mentioned, New York's count is lagging behind where it was ten years ago. That's also true for communities of color which are seeing low response rates. The census is crucial because it helps determine how much money the state receives from the federal government and how representation in Congress is apportioned.

Debora Brown-Johnson, the president of the Albany NAACP, is working to make sure communities of color are counted in the Census as it is scheduled to end early this year.

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How the State Museum Is Commemorating 9/11 Virtually

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

It's been 19 years since the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. A generation has grown up since then, and the 18-year-old voters participating in this year's election do not know life in a pre-9/11 world.

The New York State Museum in Albany is home to a Sept. 11 exhibit, featuring objects from Ground Zero near the site of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

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Conservative Party's Twitter Suspension Lifted

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York Conservative Party's Twitter account was suspended and then lifted on Thursday, a development that sparked an outcry from Republican lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly.

It's not clear why the Twitter account for the party was frozen; Twitter generally suspends accounts when terms of service are violated.

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Cuomo Approves 9/11 Workers Task Force Bill

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 2:25 PM ET Sep. 11, 2020

A bill reconstituting a task force that examines the health effects of workers who participated in rescue and response operations at the World Trade Center site after the September 11 attacks was signed into law Friday by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The measure, approved on the 19th anniversary of the terror attacks, extends the life of the task through June 2025.

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Judges Side With AG James in Census Apportionment Fight

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A three-judge panel on Thursday found the effort to exclude undocumented immigrants from an apportionment base following the U.S. Census was illegal -- scoring a victory for New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The political fight over the Census this year has become a pitched one, as groups seek to stop an early end to the count this month and Democrats have filed legal challenges to efforts they worry will undercount people of color in key states.

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Mental Health Struggles on the Rise Amid Pandemic

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

About 40 percent of adults have struggled with their mental health during the pandemic, a number that rose to half of health care workers also reported troubles amid the crisis, according to the Office of Mental Health this week in testimony to state lawmakers.

With businesses closed for in person visits around the state, telehealth claims through OMH increased by 55 percent from March to April.

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How to Fix the Upstate Economy? One Group Has a Proposal

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Delaying an increase in the minimum wage upstate, halting an expansion of farmworker labor benefits and reducing sales and income taxes are among the proposals from the pro-business Unshackle Upstate in a report meant to boost growth in the region's economy.

The report comes as upstate New York, like the rest of the country, is struggling amid the recession created by the coronavirus pandemic.

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EXCLUSIVE: SUNY Chancellor Addresses College Campus Concerns

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region

New York's state university system will hire for a new position within the administration that will report back on student concerns such as unsafe living conditions in quarantine dorms, parties, and other stories surfacing around college campuses right now, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said Thursday.

In an exclusive interview with Capital Tonight, Malatras said this student advocate will report directly to him

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Lost Wages Assistance Program to Begin Next Week

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Payments under the Lost Wages Assistance program, providing $300 a week in supplemental benefits to people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, are set to begin next week, state officials on Thursday said.

About 2 million New York residents are pre-qualified for the program and will start to receive the money next week, the Department of Labor said.

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Cuomo Says Trump Wants "Demise" of Cities

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

President Donald Trump is doing little to help New York because he wants to see the "demise of the cities" across the country, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said.

New York faces a multi-billion dollar budget gap over several fiscal years due to the economic downturn amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Cuomo Touts 9 Million Tests Performed in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state over the last six months has had 9 million coronavirus tests performed, and in the last 34 days, its daily infection rate has remained below 1 percent, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

New York received the results of 76,000 tests in the last day, finding an infection rate of 0.98 percent, or 767 new cases.

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