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Julia Rock

Julia Rock is a reporter for New York Focus. She was previously an investigative reporter at The Lever.

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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.

May 18, 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.

May 9, 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.

April 19, 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.

April 9, 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.

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.

March 26, 2024
These Local Agencies Hand Out Over a Billion in Tax Breaks Across New York

What are industrial development agencies?

March 6, 2024
Morning scenic of a power line field in Suffolk County, Long Island, NY.
Long Island Legislators Unveil Push for Public Power, With Union Nod to Labor Provisions

A new bill to municipalize Long Island’s utility includes key worker protections that the union had sought.

February 16, 2024
A digital illustration shows two rolls of $100 bills spewing natural gas emissions over a blue sky.
Hidden Subsidies Prop Up New York’s Fossil Fuel Industry

The state wants to phase out fossil fuels. Localities have given over a billion dollars in tax breaks to help keep them around.

February 2, 2024
A man installing a solar panel
The United Auto Workers Are Unionizing Rooftop Solar

Workers at Long Island’s leading rooftop solar installation firm voted to unionize, in a New York first. Then the company furloughed almost half of them.

January 10, 2024
A Sysco truck against a background of logging
As Hochul Weighs Deforestation Bill, Sysco Steps in to Lobby

While Hochul considers a bill to pressure state contractors to stop deforestation, the massive food supplier is voicing concerns to her administration.

November 27, 2023
A group of people with signed saying "no rate hikes"
Amid Billing Fiasco, Hudson Valley Utility Pushes for Steep Gas and Electric Rate Hike

Hudson Valley legislators and advocates are urging the state to reject the double-digit hike, arguing it could illegally stick customers with the bill for the company’s own mess.

November 14, 2023
How Unelected Local Officials Dole Out Wind and Solar Tax Breaks

County and municipal economic development agencies play a key role in New York’s wind and solar buildout — but some say it’s not their job.

November 7, 2023
Long Island Politicians Claim Victory for Hochul Wind Power Veto

Climate watchers say the state can’t meet its renewable energy goals without overriding local opposition.

October 26, 2023
New York’s Ties to Israel Bring the Gaza War Home

Even as experts warn of mass ethnic cleansing in Gaza, New York politicians have remained unwavering in their support for Israel since the Hamas attack. They’ve been less vocal about their state’s ties to the occupation of Palestine.

October 19, 2023
Hochul Calls for Rail Safety Regulations — After Vetoing Keystone Rail Safety Bill

In December, the governor vetoed legislation requiring freight trains to be staffed with at least two crew members. Rail workers say it’s a bare minimum for safety.

February 28, 2023
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.

August 9, 2022
Hochul Vetoes Bill to Create Utility Consumer Advocate

Hochul argues the office would be redundant, because the state already protects utility consumers.

December 8, 2021
As Water Shutoff Moratorium Nears Expiration, Hochul Administration Isn’t Enforcing It — or Distributing Federal Water Aid

The moratorium expires in December. But New York hasn’t distributed a single dollar of the $70 million of federal water assistance.

October 26, 2021
Schumer Announces New York’s Latest Semiconductor Deal, to Subsidy Watchdogs’ Chagrin

New York is showering microchip manufacturers with billions in subsidies—on top of massive federal incentives.

July 26, 2021
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