Social Issues

Caregivers Could Be the Other Victims of Coronavirus. Here's How

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Last year at this time, media outlets covering Albany were giving airtime and column inches to the usual array of worthy mid-March arrivals to the state Capitol: The Patriotic Millionaires, good government groups, and school districts that fall in between the cracks of the Foundation Aid formula.

There were also stories about the human services sector - those groups that represent people who need social services in a variety of areas: mental health, developmental disabilities, child welfare, foster care, domestic violence, homelessness, and aging.

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AG James: Transgender Minors Can Change Sex Designation On Birth Certificates in NY

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Transgender minors will now be allowed to change the sex designation on their birth certificate, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday.

New York has allowed transgender individuals to change the gender on their birth certificates since 2014. It has also required these teens to have a notarized note from a physician confirming all surgical procedures have been completed for a sex change.

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400 Foundation To Call for Black Economic Acceleration

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

A group composed of pastors and clergy, later this month, will host Black Acceleration Day in Albany — an effort to highlight a push for measures designed to provide economic support for the black community in New York.

The coalition, called the 400 Foundation, has scheduled its event on March 17, and plans to meet with top lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly.

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Team Cuomo Takes Exception to Bloomberg Same-Sex Marriage Claim

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Back in 2011, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was working behind the scenes to move votes on same-sex marriage.

First he concentrated on the Democrats in the state Senate who had previously joined with Republicans to vote down the legislation. Then he focused on the GOP lawmakers who had been conflicted on the issue to change their votes.

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AG James Endorses Paid Surrogacy in New York

BY Morgan McKay New York State

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

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

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Advocates Urge NY Lawmakers Not To Horse-Trade Reforms

BY Nick Reisman New York State

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

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

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Traffic Safety Study Adds Fodder for Marijuana Legalization Foes

BY Nick Reisman New York State

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

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

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NY AG James Says Trump's Rhetoric Stokes Hatred

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

A change in the law is needed to combat the increase in hate crimes in New York, state Attorney General Letitia James said Wednesday at a forum on white nationalism and domestic terrorism.

“Given the rise in hate crimes, to sit idly by and do absolutely nothing to me is not the answer," James said at the forum, hosted by the New York State Bar Association.

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Cuomo: Legalize Marijuana In Budget

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Legalizing marijuana should be accomplished in the state budget agreement this year or may not get done at all in 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday in a radio interview.

"The best way to get it done is to get it done in the budget," Cuomo said on WAMC. "The budget is more than just numbers; it's the single-most important piece of legislation that's passed during the year."

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Drug Costs Remain An Issue For Older New Yorkers

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Nearly one in four New Yorkers over the age of 50 skipped taking their prescription medications in the last two years. The main reason? Cost.

More than 80 percent of those polled by AARP, including Republicans, Democrats and Independents, said that the government is not doing enough to combat high prescription drug prices.

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Lawmakers Push For EMPIRE Act

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Less than 3 percent of stolen wages are recovered by the Department of Labor, according to a report by worker advocacy groups.

Led by Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner and Sen. Brad Hoylman, workers and lawmakers will rally at the Capitol tomorrow calling for the passage of the "Empowering People in Rights Enforcement Worker Protection Act" which supporters are calling EMPIRE.

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New York Will Hold Conference To Bolster Recovering Property Looted By Nazis

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York will hold an international conference to help recover property stolen during Nazi persecution in Europe, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced.

The conference, to be held in May, was announced on International Holocaust Remembrance Day as Cuomo is in Poland to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

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Gestational Surrogacy Supporters Release Poll

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A coalition of groups backing the legalization of commercial surrogacy on Monday released a poll it commissioned finding New Yorkers support the move 63 percent to 13 percent.

At the same time, the poll found women support commercial surrogacy legalization 71 percent to 7 percent.

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256 Women Write in Support of Surrogacy Law

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

A letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the top legislative leaders in the Senate and Assembly urges them to legalize gestational surrogacy in New York.

The letter was signed by 256 women who have been surrogates themselves. The letter is being released later Thursday amid a renewed effort this year to legalize the process, which is backed once again by Cuomo as part of his agenda in the new year.

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Here and Now: January 14

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Good morning! It's going to be a busy first lobby day of the new year in Albany. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, is departing for Puerto Rico. Here's today's schedule: At 8:15 a.m., Gov. Andrew Cuomo will hold a press briefing before departing for Puerto Rico. JFK International Airport, Queens.

At 9:30 a.m., Assembly Real Property Taxation Committee Chair Sandy Galef will take testimony to examine changes to the STAR Program provided in the State Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget. Hearing Room C, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

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Sanders, Warren: Don't Roll Back Bail Law

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The two leading progressive candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday pushed back publicly against efforts to alter New York's new bail law.

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren posted to Twitter that it would be a mistake to roll back the law, which ended cash bail for misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges.

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Cuomo Signs Bill Creating Hemp Regulatory Plan

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A bill approved Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will establish a regulatory system for the sale and production of hemp and hemp-related products in the state amid the growing popularity of the ingredient in consumer products.

Meanwhile, Cuomo announced plans to hold a hemp summit in January to discuss policies related in the industry.

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