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NYCLU Sues to Overturn Landmark Sex Offender Law

Advocates charge that New York’s restrictions for sex offense registrants are “vague, expansive, and unnecessary.” On Tuesday, they filed a federal lawsuit to strike them down.

Chris Gelardi and Sam Mellins   ·   May 28, 2024
Three men in suits, including former acting prison commissioner Anthony Annucci and acting prison commissioner Daniel Martuscello III, stand at a memorial ceremony in Albany.
Hochul Quietly Nominates a Permanent Prison Chief

The Senate will consider Daniel Martuscello III’s bid to run New York’s prison and parole agency. His supporters point to his decades of experience. His opponents say that’s the problem.

Chris Gelardi   ·   May 22, 2024
a stack of newspapers, with redaction boxes covering the text, behind prison bars
Censoring the News in New York Prisons

New York prisons have banned articles from The New York Times, New York magazine, and local newspapers, often citing their potential to incite disobedience.

Rebecca McCray   ·   May 20, 2024
Joe Biden talking with reporters in 1994
After Weinstein Decision, Democrats Push Sexual Assault Measure Biden and Schumer Once Fought

After New York’s top court overturned Harvey Weinstein’s conviction, state lawmakers want to let prosecutors bring evidence from past uncharged sexual assaults.

Julia Rock   ·   May 18, 2024
Sarahana Shrestha holding a sign that says "Public Power Now"
Public Power Push Spreads to the Hudson Valley

State lawmakers are set to introduce a sweeping proposal for a public takeover of Central Hudson, the region’s scandal-plagued gas and electric utility.

Colin Kinniburgh   ·   May 16, 2024
DCPI chief Tarik Sheppard displays a bike lock retrieved from Columbia University on MSNBC's Morning Joe on May 1, 2024.
Meet the Cops Running the NYPD’s 86-Member Public Relations Team

The police department’s PR team has more than doubled in size in the past two years. Some of its recent hires have histories of dishonesty and misconduct.

Chris Gelardi   ·   May 14, 2024
Albany State Capitol building with For Rent signs in the windows.
Landlord Legislators Carved Themselves Out of Good Cause Eviction

A quarter of lawmakers in Albany are landlords. Almost none of them are covered by the most significant tenant protection law in years.

Peter Tomao and Sam Mellins   ·   May 13, 2024
Fordham University Foreshadows a Campus Culture of Growing Repression

The small Catholic university banned Students for Justice in Palestine in 2016. Amid protests and crackdowns, the move has become increasingly popular.

Sophie Hurwitz   ·   May 9, 2024
An illustration of a McDonalds sign above the New York State Capitol
McDonald’s Franchise Owners Fight Wage Theft Crackdown

New Yorkers for Local Businesses has spent half a million dollars trying to kill a bill to help workers recover stolen wages. Almost all its backers appear to own McDonald’s franchises.

Julia Rock   ·   May 9, 2024
The New York State Department of Labor office in Brooklyn, New York.
New York’s Labor Department Wants Your Unemployment Benefits Back

In New York, unemployment recipients can be found guilty of fraud even if they thought their information was true. The state demands repayment at the highest rate in the country.

Maxwell Parrott   ·   May 9, 2024
hands holding yellow camera in a plastic trash bag, press badge visible
NYPD Tackled and Arrested Journalists Covering Latest Encampment Sweep

The journalists said the arrests interfered with their ability to document the police raid at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Meghnad Bose and Uzma Afreen   ·   May 8, 2024
Governor Kathy Hochul at Planned Parenthood rally
Judge Strikes Abortion Referendum From November Ballot

New York’s Equal Rights Amendment would enshrine the right to abortion in the state. A judge threw it off the ballot for the fall, but an appeal is expected.

Chris Bragg and Rachel Holliday Smith   ·   May 7, 2024
NYPD officers in front of the City College gates. Protesters drop a Palestinian flag behind them.
On the Ground at the NYPD Raid on the City College Gaza Solidarity Encampment

New York Focus was on the scene as cops shoved, kettled, and chased students at City College, the second campus where the NYPD razed a Gaza solidarity encampment Tuesday.

Chris Gelardi   ·   May 2, 2024
Student protesters gather at Columbia's Hamilton Hall or "Hind's Hall," renamed after Hind Rajab, a six-year-old Palestinian girl who was shot to death with paramedics on an IDF-supplied emergency route. On the right, they hang a banner that says "HIND'S HALL." Protesters sit up high on a facade.
The NYPD Descent on Columbia, Told by Student Journalists

The mayor and the police blamed “outside agitators” for campus protests. Student journalists reported what they saw.

Uzma Afreen, Angelica Ang, Fahima Degia, Mukta Joshi, Arshi Qureshi, Indy Scholtens and Sammy Sussman   ·   May 2, 2024
A man at a white voting booth with an american flag and a New York City insignia on it.
State Campaigns Are About to Rake in Public Dollars — and Spend All the Private Money They Want

While New York City’s public campaign finance system endures scandals, the state won’t audit the majority of campaigns.

Alyssa Katz   ·   May 1, 2024
New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks in front of a blue and yellow banner that reads  District Attorneys Association of the State of New York.
Three-Year-Old Commission Hochul Tapped for Rochester DA Traffic Stop Has Never Taken a Case

After DA Sandra Doorley berated a police officer, Hochul referred her to a commission that is yet to become active — and lacks the authority to issue discipline.

Chris Gelardi   ·   April 30, 2024
Albany’s New Housing Plan Would Build Only a Fraction of the Housing New York Leaders Say Is Needed

It’s the first step New York has taken to address its housing shortage in years — but tenant groups are fuming and real estate wants more.

Sam Mellins   ·   April 22, 2024
Your One-Stop Guide to the 2024 New York State Budget

A version of good cause eviction and new hate crimes are in; new taxes on the wealthy and education cuts are out. Here’s where things landed in this year’s budget.

New York Focus   ·   April 20, 2024
Carl Heastie in front of gas pipelines
Assembly Spikes Biggest Climate Proposal in New York Budget

The Assembly rejected legislation that would have sped up New York’s transition away from gas.

Julia Rock and Colin Kinniburgh   ·   April 19, 2024
Workers set up barriers on a street in New York City.
Last-Minute Budget Change Could Weaken Workers’ Claims to Weekly Pay

Low-wage manual laborers can sue to make their bosses pay them weekly. Hochul’s late-breaking budget addition may undermine that right.

Chris Bragg   ·   April 18, 2024
Charged With Regulating Conflict of Interests, Ethics Commission Hid Its Own

New York’s transparency watchdog found that the ethics commission violated open records law by redacting its own recusal forms.

Chris Bragg   ·   April 17, 2024
New York Governor Kathy Hochul stands at a blue and yellow podium that says "Consumer Protection & Affordability / 2024 State of the State."
How the State Budget Could Crack Down on Bad Business Practices

New York has one of the weakest consumer protection laws in the country. This year’s state budget may change that.

Sam Mellins   ·   April 16, 2024
The outline of New York state, inside a badge, with a cracked effect on top and a blue and red gradient background.
Behind the Badge: In New York City Homeless Shelters, the Same ‘Peace Officers’ Abuse Residents

Previously unreleased disciplinary files expose officers who beat, slap, and pepper spray the residents they’re supposed to protect. Most are back at work within a month.

Sammy Sussman, Annika Grosser and Sanjana Bhambhani   ·   April 15, 2024
State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a major opponent of Hochul's cuts to Health Homes, speaks at a rally for health workers on April 17, 2023.
As Families in Crisis Struggle to Reach Services, Medicaid Cuts Threaten to Make It Worse

Hochul’s proposed Medicaid cuts include $125 million from Health Homes, a program that connects the neediest New Yorkers with medical care, food assistance, and more.

Eliza Fawcett   ·   April 9, 2024
New York City Governor Kathy Hochul sits in front of a group of small children on a blue carpet.
Washington Failed to Expand the Child Tax Credit. Can Albany Get Kids Out of Poverty Instead?

One in five kids in New York live in poverty. Legislators are pushing Hochul to fulfill her promise to cut that rate in half.

Julia Rock   ·   April 9, 2024
Transmission lines running through the North Country.
Clean Energy Transmission Battle Pits Speed Against Worker, Farm Protections

The Assembly and Senate want to beef up labor standards and farmland protections for clean energy projects. Developers say that would slow down the energy transition.

Colin Kinniburgh   ·   April 5, 2024
Activists and New York state Senator Julia Salazar rally to pass good cause eviction in Albany. They stand in the high-ceilinged halls of the Capitol with a white banner reading PASS GOOD CAUSE and various red signs.
Wage Disputes and Tenant Protections Stall Albany Housing Deal

As real estate developers resist wage guarantees and try to roll back tenants’ rights, a potential budget deal is at an impasse.

Sam Mellins   ·   April 4, 2024
Governor Kathy Hochul of New York stands behind a podium with a Buffalo Bills logo and her arms spread wide.
Politicians’ Rush for Bills Box Meets Little Ethics Defense

Guidelines limiting gifts of taxpayer resources have “no teeth whatsoever,” according to good government watchdog.

Chris Bragg   ·   April 4, 2024
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrats of New York, smile in front of american flags
As State Police Expand Surveillance, Privacy Advocates Turn to US Congress

Local regulations haven’t kept up with the rollout of new surveillance tech. Some reformers see Washington as their best hope.

Chris Gelardi   ·   April 2, 2024
A closeup photo of a natural gas stove flame
After Scolding by Regulator, National Fuel Renews Campaign Against Gas Transition

State investigators accused the gas utility of “sloppiness” in managing customer funds, but took a light touch in enforcement.

Colin Kinniburgh   ·   April 1, 2024
A blue car suspended on a post against a blue sky with a sign below reading "PATRIOT AUTO SALES: LETS DEAL TODAY"
Looming Change to Repair Costs Drives Auto Industry Fight

As the state legislature considers a bill to change warranty payments, unions join their bosses to make car companies pay more.

Chris Bragg and Julia Rock   ·   March 29, 2024
Governor Kathy Hochul, Representative Jerrod Nadler, and others march in the June 4, 2023 Israel Day Parade in New York City.
New PAC Launches to Boost Pro-Israel Democrats in New York

Backing primary opponents to progressive Democrats, the new Solidarity PAC resembles a state-level analog to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Julia Rock and Chris Gelardi   ·   March 26, 2024
New York State Assembly speaker Carl Heastie stands in front of a tile wall with TV microphones.
Lobbyist Dating Carl Heastie Cleared to Return to Assembly — and Ethics Attorney Quits

As the relationship was coming to light, Heastie returned $5,000 in campaign cash to a labor group from which he’d recused himself.

Chris Bragg   ·   March 26, 2024
In These State Prisons, Addiction Treatment Is Out of Reach

Stark disparities in access to life-saving medication for opioid addiction persist between facilities — and racial groups.

Spencer Norris   ·   March 22, 2024
Albany Capitol superimposed over 100 dollar bill money printer
Get Billions of Dollars to Pay for Medicaid With This One Weird Trick

New York legislators have a plan to claim billions in federal funding for health care, driving a fight between industry groups.

Sam Mellins   ·   March 21, 2024
New York City Police Department members stand in a line wearing NYPD baseball caps.
New Bill Would Stop Cops From Citing Debunked ‘Excited Delirium’ Syndrome

Referencing a New York Focus story, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas introduced legislation to prevent public agencies from naming the medically discredited condition in their reports.

Chris Gelardi   ·   March 19, 2024
New York Governor Kathy Hochul at a podium next to her budget director, Blake Washington, with a binder, both superimposed over a photo of two stacks of paper files.
Your Guide to the 2024 State Budget Fight

We read the governor’s, Senate’s, and Assembly’s budget proposals — so you don’t have to.

New York Focus   ·   March 15, 2024
New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie speaking at a press conference in 2021
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie Has Been Dating a Legislative Lobbyist

While Heastie privately pledged to avoid meetings with relevant interests, lobbyist Rebecca Lamorte has sought to keep representing them before the Assembly, according to her employer’s attorney.

Chris Bragg   ·   March 14, 2024
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Governor Kathy Hochul, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins before three tall stacks of paper.
How the New York State Budget Is Made

We answer your questions on the state’s notoriously opaque budget process.

Sam Mellins   ·   March 11, 2024
These Local Agencies Hand Out Over a Billion in Tax Breaks Across New York

What are industrial development agencies?

Arabella Saunders and Julia Rock   ·   March 6, 2024
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