Sam Mellins

Sam Mellins is senior reporter at New York Focus, which he has been a part of since launch day. His reporting has also appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Intercept, THE CITY, and The Nation.

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Environmental Hazard or Economic Boon? Legislators Spar on Bitcoin Mining in New York
Legislators opposed to a bill enacting a temporary moratorium on proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining are warning that it could harm New Yorkers often excluded from traditional financial markets, sources say.
April 27, 2022
An Upper East Side Assembly Candidate Accepted Over $10,000 in Illegal Corporate Cash
After New York Focus reported on illegal contributions to candidate Russell Squire, his campaign announced it would return the money.
April 25, 2022
Zoning Laws Are Blocking the Conversion of Hotels into Affordable Housing
The state’s grand plan to convert unused hotels into affordable housing hasn’t gotten off the ground. Lawmakers just boosted funding — but developers and housing advocates say that won’t help without lifting onerous zoning restrictions.
April 19, 2022
What’s In New York’s $220 Billion State Budget?
A comprehensive tracker of the issues at stake in New York’s budget.
April 11, 2022
Hochul Opposes Rental Voucher Program On Basis of Inflated Cost Estimate, Sources Say
The legislature wants to spend $250 million to combat homelessness. Hochul says it’ll actually cost $6 billion.
April 6, 2022
Read the Senate’s Draft Compromise on Bail Reform
New York Focus obtained and analyzed a proposal presented by Senate leadership to the chamber’s Democratic caucus.
March 30, 2022
As Albany Debates Health Coverage for Undocumented New Yorkers, Lawmakers Say Hochul is Inflating Costs
The governor’s projected price tag is five times higher than estimates by the legislature and outside researchers—but she hasn’t said how she arrived at her figure.
March 29, 2022
Hochul Wants to Save for a Rainy Day. Lawmakers Say It’s Already Pouring.
Budget negotiations center on one crucial question: should New York save or spend?
March 24, 2022
Here’s What You Need to Know About the 2022 State Budget
How the three budget proposals from the governor, Assembly and Senate stack up.
March 21, 2022
Legislature Likely to Propose Health Coverage But Not Cash Relief for Undocumented New Yorkers, Sources Say
Both chambers are set to release budget proposals that will represent a mixed bag for New York’s undocumented population.
March 11, 2022
State Board of Elections Begins Enforcing Campaign Finance Disclosure Laws
The move comes after New York Focus reported on widespread violations of campaign finance law and the Board’s lack of enforcement.
March 11, 2022
Retired NYC Workers Celebrate Medicare Switch Court Win
The court ruled retirees who opt-out of the switch to Medicare Advantage plans can keep their current insurance free of charge. The Adams administration is appealing the ruling.
March 3, 2022
Hochul Campaign Donors Blow Past Corporate Contribution Limits
Circumventing a law designed to close the so-called LLC loophole, donors to campaigns across the state are using multiple companies to give far over the $5,000 cap.
March 2, 2022
More Than Three Thousand Campaigns Violated Campaign Finance Law. The State Board of Elections Brought Enforcement Actions Against Zero.
Since taking office last July, enforcement counsel Michael Johnson has not taken action against any campaigns that failed to file required campaign finance reports.
February 25, 2022
Hochul Leads Pack of Candidates Who Fail to Disclose Sources of Corporate Cash
A 2019 reform following corruption scandals was supposed to cap political donations and unveil the people behind companies giving cash. Records show it hasn’t.
February 9, 2022
Former Obama Advisor and Finance Executive Confirmed as New York’s Top Financial Regulator
Adrienne Harris was approved to lead New York’s Department of Financial Services by a wide margin, as a progressive push to block her nomination sputtered.
January 25, 2022
On Medicaid, Hochul’s Budget Departs from Cuomo Era
Hochul proposed raising the cap on Medicaid spending, which Cuomo created, and boosting reimbursement rates, which Cuomo cut.
January 21, 2022
Hochul’s Budget Charts a Middle Path on Climate
The $216 billion budget would ban gas in new construction, but otherwise offers few dramatic moves on climate.
January 20, 2022
Hochul at Divide with Lawmakers on Child Care, Once A Top Priority
Child care used to be Hochul’s marquee issue. Now, she’s proposing a modest expansion—but only if Congress doesn’t act.
January 12, 2022
Hochul Proposes Medicaid Expansion for Seniors and Disabled, Marking a Shift From Past Governors
Two proposals in Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State would constitute the most significant expansion of New York’s health plan for low-income individuals in years.
January 7, 2022
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