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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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
He Was Homeless, So the Judge Kept Him at Rikers

How a lack of stable housing, combined with bureaucratic hurdles in New York’s labyrinthine re-entry process, kept one man at Rikers during the height of its crisis.

January 3, 2022
State Lawmakers Push to Scale Back Fossil Fuel Subsidies

The state spends $1.6 billion a year subsidizing oil and gas. Lawmakers are trying to eliminate about one-fifth of that spending.

December 23, 2021
Hochul Signs Bill to Remove Barriers to Addiction Treatment

In the latest of a series of steps Hochul has taken to change the direction of drug policy, doctors will no longer have to ask insurance companies for permission to prescribe opioid use disorder medications to Medicaid patients.

December 23, 2021
Judge Orders City to Delay Retiree Health Care Switch Until April 1

Retired city employees will be able to opt out of their newly-privatized health insurance until June 30, the judge ruled

December 14, 2021
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