Topics New York State
Stay Focused
Sign up for our free newsletter, and we'll make sure you never miss a beat.
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
Former state budget director Robert Mujica sits at a table with a name card wearing a suit.
Robert Mujica, Former Budget Chief, Advises Hospital Lobby on Budget

The former budget director’s role may break a law meant to keep ex-state employees from monetizing insider knowledge.

Chris Bragg   ·   February 29, 2024
Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth Raske sits at a table and gestures with a pen in front of an American flag.
How the Hospital Lobby Pummeling Hochul’s Budget Brought in a Billion Dollars

While the nonprofit Greater New York Hospital Association lobbied, a lucrative for-profit arm may have run up costs for hospitals.

Chris Bragg   ·   February 29, 2024
A magnifying glass reveals a jail cell otherwise obscured by static.
Be a Jail Watchdog

New York Focus has published thousands of pages of county jail oversight records. Browse them in our database.

Chris Gelardi and Eliza Fawcett   ·   February 23, 2024
Governor Kathy Hochul, wearing a red turtleneck and blazer, sits at a table with other officials.
Hochul’s Plan to Close Prisons Faces a Fight

New York’s incarcerated population has been declining for decades. Why is it so hard for prison closures to keep pace?

Eliza Fawcett   ·   February 20, 2024
New York Governor Kathy Hochul stands at a podium next to a sign reading "treating addiction and preventing overdoses."
As Overdoses Soar, Addiction Treatment Funding Stagnates

Hochul’s budget would level off funding for addiction treatment — and use opioid settlement funds to fill the gaps.

Spencer Norris   ·   February 13, 2024
An overhead view shows streets, buildings, trees, and a river in the forested town of Kingston, New York, the Ulster County seat.
Ulster County Leaders Struggle to Rein in Real Estate Tax Breaks

The county is ready to restart real estate subsidies after a two-year pause. Residents fear it won’t fix their housing crisis.

Arabella Saunders   ·   February 8, 2024
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul stands in front of American flags and behind a podium reading "Our New York, Our Future."
Hochul Sparks Outcry With Proposed Cash Transfer From Legal Aid Fund

Her administration says the fund won’t be harmed. Legal experts question whether she can take it at all.

Sam Mellins   ·   February 7, 2024
A New York City subway on the left, and highway traffic on the right.
Flush With Biden’s Infrastructure Cash, New York Is Choosing Highways Over Public Transit

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law directed billions toward public transit in New York, but the state is choosing to spend billions more on highways.

Sam Mellins   ·   February 5, 2024
A sign reads "IDAs DRAIN $1.8 BILLION A YEAR FROM NEW YORK SCHOOLS."
Unions Join the Fight to Slash Economic Development Tax Breaks

When local authorities hand out subsidies, school budgets lose revenue. The state teachers union is now pushing back.

Arabella Saunders   ·   February 2, 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.

Colin Kinniburgh and Julia Rock   ·   February 2, 2024
A group of people before the judges of the Court of Appeals
It’s Hard to Get a Criminal Case Heard in New York’s Top Court. The New Chief Judge May Change That.

Some Court of Appeals judges are far more likely to grant requests to hear appeals than others, a New York Focus analysis found.

Sam Mellins   ·   January 25, 2024
A collage of book covers, including Richard Wright's Native Son
What You Can’t Read Behind Bars in New York

As book banning sparks outrage in schools and libraries, the censorship of classics like Native Son persists in New York prisons.

Rebecca McCray   ·   January 24, 2024
New York City Governor Kathy Hochul stands behind a podium reading "Combatting the Opioid Epidemic"
In Upstate New York, Treatment for Opioid Addiction Gets Harder to Find

The average New Yorker has to travel nearly 10 miles to access methadone, a New York Focus analysis found. Upstate, they have to go even further.

Spencer Norris   ·   January 23, 2024
A green welcome sign superimposed over an aerial suburban shot reads "WELCOME TO Greenburgh," with Greenburgh crossed out, and replaced with "Edgemont."
How One Wealthy Neighborhood Got Itself Exempted From State Law

Westchester’s Edgemont community wants to secede from its town — and has scored a legal carveout to let it.

Sam Mellins   ·   January 22, 2024
Governor Hochul in a hard hat
Hochul Is Ready to Start Weaning New York Off Gas

The governor and the Senate have aligned on large swathes of the NY HEAT Act. The Assembly might be ready to move on it, too.

Colin Kinniburgh   ·   January 22, 2024
New York Governor Kathy Hochul sits at a large wooden table and signs papers in Albany, New York.
How the Governor Upends Bills Before Signing Them

With chapter amendments, governors can make major changes to pending laws. Kathy Hochul uses them more than any executive before her.

Chris Bragg and Sam Mellins   ·   January 17, 2024
Window looking into a darkened foreclosed home. A yellow sign says "LENDER FORECLOSURE" and "PUBLIC HOME AUCTION." Smaller paper signs say "Warning No Trespassing" and note a lawn maintenance company.
After Foreclosing Homes, New York Towns Have to Pay Residents Back

New York municipalities used to keep the surplus from foreclosed homes sold at auction. Then the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.

Arabella Saunders   ·   January 12, 2024
1 2 3 4 5 6