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State Prisons Are Routinely Violating New York’s Landmark Solitary Confinement Law
Five months after a law to scale back solitary confinement went into effect, a majority of the New York prison system’s solitary population had been held there for longer than the law permits.
Chris Gelardi and Emily Brown   ·   September 12, 2022
Adams and Unions Strike Deal on Shift to Cost-Cutting Medicare Plan
The mayor and major city unions plan to press the City Council to clear a path for a privatized Medicare plan for retired city workers.
Sam Mellins   ·   September 8, 2022
Lawmakers, Judge Seek Evidence Behind Prison Package Ban
The prison agency has stonewalled lawmakers’ requests for information justifying the policy.
Rebecca McCray   ·   September 8, 2022
‘Heatflation’ Hits the Farmers Market
This summer’s heat and drought have driven New York farmers’ input costs up and their yields down, straining their finances and further pushing up food prices.
Colin Kinniburgh   ·   September 6, 2022
A Prison Used Solitary Confinement to Force a Trans Man to Undergo a Genital Exam, Lawsuit Alleges
Prison officials had already seen his genitals three times. But the superintendent ordered a more invasive exam, the lawsuit alleges. (Note: detailed descriptions.)
Chris Gelardi   ·   August 31, 2022
New York Lawmakers Look to Boost E-Bikes After Federal Snub
The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act turbocharges the market for electric cars at the expense of other forms of transit. A New York bill aims to help e-bikes catch up.
Colin Kinniburgh   ·   August 30, 2022
Did New York’s Chief Judge Break the Law to Pick Her Interim Successor?
Janet DiFiore may have gotten a say in picking her interim successor, boosting a judge who has never once voted against her.
Sam Mellins   ·   August 29, 2022
Did New York’s Chief Judge Break the Law to Pick Her Interim Successor?
Janet DiFiore may have gotten a say in picking her interim successor, boosting a judge who has never once voted against her.
Sam Mellins   ·   August 29, 2022
New York’s High Court Tried to Protect Parents’ Rights. Lower Courts are Ignoring It.
Many judges have ignored a 2016 mandate from New York’s top court that parents must be allowed to present evidence in their defense before they lose custody of their kids.
Sam Mellins   ·   August 24, 2022
Distrust, Power Wrangling, and the Battle Over Rochester’s Next Public Defender
The Monroe County legislature’s president, Sabrina LaMar, has denigrated public defenders and shut them out of the now-eight-month-long process to appoint the next head of their office.
Chris Gelardi   ·   August 23, 2022
Judge Strikes Down New York Jail’s Prolonged COVID Visitation Ban
The ban had helped the local sheriff rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit from detainee video and phone call fees.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg   ·   August 18, 2022
Montefiore Health System Reshuffles Bronx Operations Ahead of Looming State Policies
A plan to move a family medicine clinic in a low-income Bronx neighborhood has sparked backlash from patients and staff.
Maxwell Parrott and Kudrat Wadhwa   ·   August 16, 2022
Medicare Standoff Threatens Cuts to Current City Workers’ Benefits
The cancellation of a proposed cost-saving health plan after retired city workers sued could drain a special fund City Hall and unions use to pay employee benefits.
Sam Mellins   ·   August 10, 2022
Amazon Likely To Win Nine-Figure Tax Break To Build Western New York Warehouse
The deal has been two years in the making, but it’s been a secret for most of that time.
Julia Rock   ·   August 9, 2022
Real Estate Is Funding Eric Adams’s Fifth Homeless ‘Outreach’ Initiative. What’s the End Game?
The partnership split homeless advocates: Some welcomed the additional dollars, arguing “more is better,” while others predicted they would function mainly to keep people off corporate property.
Chris Gelardi   ·   August 2, 2022
Is Eric Adams About to Gut the Nation’s Most Important Local Climate Law?
Enormous pollution cuts and tens of thousands of jobs depend on how Adams implements New York City’s landmark climate law in the coming months.
Pete Sikora   ·   July 26, 2022
Weeks Before Heat Wave, New York’s Program to Help Poor People Stay Cool Ran Out of Money
Heat kills hundreds of New Yorkers every summer - but health experts say a “cold weather bias” keeps policymakers from prioritizing the issue.
Maria Parazo Rose   ·   July 25, 2022
Health Insurers Just Killed The Medicare Plan City Retirees Railed Against
With the plan tied up in court, insurers Elevance Health and Empire BlueCross BlueShield pulled out of a controversial deal to switch retired city workers to privately run health insurance.
Sam Mellins   ·   July 19, 2022
New York Judges Are Watering Down Protections Against Evictions
For housing advocates, getting the legislature to expand the right to a court hearing before evictions was one thing. Getting judges to implement it is another.
Sam Mellins   ·   July 19, 2022
An Opening for Defendants’ Rights on New York’s Highest Court
The court’s last term included a slew of cases rolling back defendants’ rights. Progressives hope to reset that trajectory.
Chris Gelardi   ·   July 14, 2022
With Chief Judge Out, Will Conservatives Lose Control Of Top New York Court?
Governor Hochul’s pick to replace the resigning Court of Appeals Chief Judge could break up the conservative bloc that controls the court—or entrench it.
Sam Mellins   ·   July 12, 2022
Eric Adams Wants to ‘Drill Into’ Complaints Against NYPD Gun Unit Trainees. So We Did.
Officers trained for the NYPD’s new Neighborhood Safety Teams average nearly double the number of substantiated civilian complaints than the NYPD as a whole.
Chris Gelardi   ·   July 11, 2022
A New Conservative Majority on New York’s Top Court is Upending State Law
A new four-judge bloc has consistently voted together in its most recent term, impacting criminal defendants, workers and people suing police.
Sam Mellins   ·   July 7, 2022
The Fossil Fuel Investments Driving Up ConEd Energy Bills
ConEd wants to jack up electric bills by 10 percent, and gas by 15 percent. Here’s what that would pay for.
Colin Kinniburgh   ·   July 6, 2022
We’re About to Know a Lot More About NYPD Misconduct
Two years after the repeal of a state law that kept police performance records secret, documents narrating alleged NYPD abuse are starting to become public. But it could still be years until they’re all released.
Chris Gelardi   ·   June 30, 2022
Forged Signatures Found on Petitions for Candidates Backed by Queens Machine
New York Focus reached four voters listed as signatories who said they never signed. A review of other signatures suggests they might not be the only ones.
Sam Mellins   ·   June 28, 2022
Will Eric Adams Let Landlords Buy Their Way Out Of Energy Upgrades?
Recent transmission projects could enable building owners to get out of upgrading their buildings for a decade, if Adams doesn’t intervene.
Colin Kinniburgh   ·   June 27, 2022
Corporate PACs Fail to Disclose Cash Behind Attacks in Primary Races

With less than a week left before the primary, two groups boosting moderate Democratic candidates for the state legislature have not submitted disclosures required by campaign finance law.

Sam Mellins   ·   June 22, 2022
Robert De Niro’s Astoria Film Studio Backs Out of Promise to Hire Union Construction Workers
“We’re basically being blocked out in the process of even trying to bid on the work,” said one union leader.
Sam Mellins   ·   June 22, 2022
The Failure to Ban Gas in New Construction is a Bad Sign for New York’s Climate Law
The state’s own expert council, tasked with planning the law’s implementation, told the legislature to pass a gas ban this year. They were ignored.
Pete Sikora   ·   June 21, 2022
How Lobbyists Killed a Bill to Protect New York Elections, With An Assist from the NAACP
New York elections could soon be more vulnerable to hacks, after lobbyists, the NAACP, and the Assembly elections committee chair teamed up to kill an election security bill.
Sam Mellins   ·   June 16, 2022
City Employee Health Plan Could Switch to Lower-Cost Company Under New Proposal
Hundreds of thousands of city workers and their dependents could have their healthcare shifted to a cheaper plan by 2024, documents show.
Sam Mellins   ·   June 15, 2022
Our Group of Freelancers Took on Albany’s Byzantine Legislative Process. Here’s How We Won.
An organizer for the Freelance Solidarity Project describes how getting a bill passed through Albany takes “running into a brick wall repeatedly, waiting for a tiny crack to show.”
Eric Thurm   ·   June 15, 2022
Jail Visitation Ban Drives Big Profits for Sheriff on Phone Calls
More than two years into the pandemic, the Broome County Sheriff’s Office is still prohibiting all jail visits. That helped rake in more than half a million dollars last year.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg   ·   June 14, 2022
Electrical Workers Union Fights to Expand Fossil Fuel-Powered Crypto Mining in New York
The IBEW opposes a bill awaiting signature by Gov. Kathy Hochul that would put a moratorium on new fossil fuel power plants for the crypto industry.
Paige Oamek   ·   June 14, 2022
NYPD “Business Improvement” Officers Dismantled a Homeless Encampment During a Memorial for a Dead Resident
As part of an initiative by Mayor Eric Adams, the city has swept the encampment where Jose Hernandez would often sleep nearly 10 times this year.
Chris Gelardi   ·   June 14, 2022
The State Police Sent You a Friend Request
Twice this year, Kathy Hochul has ordered a State Police-run fusion center to beef up its social media monitoring. Documents show that analysts create fake accounts to do that work.
Chris Gelardi   ·   June 13, 2022
Nursing Home Industry Cozies Up to Hochul, Disclosures Reveal
After New York Focus revealed that Hochul had failed to disclose the individuals behind corporate donations to her campaign, she provided that information for recent donors — revealing major support from a nursing home industry powerhouse.
Sam Mellins   ·   June 7, 2022
This Is Not The First Time Maloney Has Snubbed His Party, Local Democrats Recall
Maloney’s announcement that he will exit his old district for a slightly safer seat alarmed Democrats—and rang a familiar bell back home.
Lee Harris   ·   June 3, 2022
Hochul Stores Billions in Slush Funds, Continuing Cuomo-Era Budgeting Practices
The comptroller sounded the alarm that the budget includes $18 billion in “unnecessarily opaque” spending, most of it under Hochul’s control.
Sam Mellins   ·   June 2, 2022
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