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New York State Capitol in front of question marks
Senate Democrats Lock Down as Secret Committee Comes to Light

A secret group of Senate Democrats helped decide the fate of nearly 650 bills over the last month. Just don’t ask any questions.

Chris Bragg and Sam Mellins   ·   June 6, 2024
Governor Kathy Hochul at an event
Hochul Waves Away Questions on Congestion Pricing Replacement

After the governor declined to answer questions, a New York Focus reporter was ejected from her event.

Sam Mellins   ·   June 24, 2024
The New York State Department of Labor office in Brooklyn, New York.
New York’s Labor Department Wants Your Unemployment Benefits Back

In New York, unemployment recipients can be found guilty of fraud even if they thought their information was true. The state demands repayment at the highest rate in the country.

Maxwell Parrott   ·   May 9, 2024
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
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 blurred Kathy Hochul
Hochul in Hiding as Congestion Pricing Hangs by a Thread

Since announcing her plan to put the program on ice, the governor has not appeared in public.

Sam Mellins   ·   June 7, 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.

Julia Rock and Chris Gelardi   ·   March 26, 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
Your One-Stop Guide to the 2024 New York State Budget

A version of good cause eviction and new hate crimes are in; new taxes on the wealthy and education cuts are out. Here’s where things landed in this year’s budget.

New York Focus   ·   April 20, 2024
Governor Kathy Hochul at an event
Hochul Waves Away Questions on Congestion Pricing Replacement

After the governor declined to answer questions, a New York Focus reporter was ejected from her event.

Sam Mellins   ·   June 24, 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
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
Albany State Capitol building with For Rent signs in the windows.
Landlord Legislators Carved Themselves Out of Good Cause Eviction

A quarter of lawmakers in Albany are landlords. Almost none of them are covered by the most significant tenant protection law in years.

Peter Tomao and Sam Mellins   ·   May 13, 2024
DCPI chief Tarik Sheppard displays a bike lock retrieved from Columbia University on MSNBC's Morning Joe on May 1, 2024.
Meet the Cops Running the NYPD’s 86-Member Public Relations Team

The police department’s PR team has more than doubled in size in the past two years. Some of its recent hires have histories of dishonesty and misconduct.

Chris Gelardi   ·   May 14, 2024
An ornate Senate staircase in New York's Capitol building in Albany
This Secret Senate Committee Decides Whether Bills Live or Die

You haven’t heard of it, and your state senator might not have either. The Working Rules group helps determine the fate of hundreds of bills at the end of each legislative session.

Sam Mellins, Chris Bragg and Akash Mehta   ·   May 30, 2024
New York Governor Kathy Hochul at a podium next to her budget director, Blake Washington, with a binder, both superimposed over a photo of two stacks of paper files.
Your Guide to the 2024 State Budget Fight

We read the governor’s, Senate’s, and Assembly’s budget proposals — so you don’t have to.

New York Focus   ·   March 15, 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
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
MTA workers in a tunnel
Does Anyone Have a Backup Plan to Fund the MTA?

We asked 26 lawmakers who support the congestion pricing pause how they propose to fund transit upgrades. Most shrugged.

Sam Mellins   ·   June 21, 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
People gather outside a stone arch with sign that says "Hospital & Emergency Room" displaying letters A, C, D, F, G, H, and an emergency cross.
Retired Teachers Seek Union Shakeup to Dodge Medicare Advantage

In the New York City teachers union, anger over a plan to privatize retiree health care could send a longshot campaign over the edge.

Sam Mellins   ·   February 26, 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.

Julia Rock and Colin Kinniburgh   ·   April 19, 2024
New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks in front of a blue and yellow banner that reads  District Attorneys Association of the State of New York.
Three-Year-Old Commission Hochul Tapped for Rochester DA Traffic Stop Has Never Taken a Case

After DA Sandra Doorley berated a police officer, Hochul referred her to a commission that is yet to become active — and lacks the authority to issue discipline.

Chris Gelardi   ·   April 30, 2024
A sign outside of Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.
Trans Man Forced to Undergo Prison Genital Exams Wins $275,000 Settlement

He hopes the settlement will lead to reforms in New York prisons, where three-quarters of trans people say corrections officers have inappropriately touched or sexually assaulted them.

Chris Gelardi   ·   June 17, 2024
“The Worst Prison in New York State”

The situation at Rikers is bad, but at Great Meadow Correctional Facility, a maximum security facility more than 200 miles north of New York City, it’s worse.

Victoria Law   ·   November 10, 2021
An upwards-pointing arrow made of a hundred-dollar bill, against a background of an energy bill.
Why Your Energy Bills Are Going Up

New York’s labyrinthine “rate case” process, explained.

Colin Kinniburgh   ·   August 7, 2023
New York State Assembly speaker Carl Heastie stands in front of a tile wall with TV microphones.
Lobbyist Dating Carl Heastie Cleared to Return to Assembly — and Ethics Attorney Quits

As the relationship was coming to light, Heastie returned $5,000 in campaign cash to a labor group from which he’d recused himself.

Chris Bragg   ·   March 26, 2024
Fordham University Foreshadows a Campus Culture of Growing Repression

The small Catholic university banned Students for Justice in Palestine in 2016. Amid protests and crackdowns, the move has become increasingly popular.

Sophie Hurwitz   ·   May 9, 2024
Here’s Every Bill That Kathy Hochul Vetoed in 2023

One hundred and fifteen laws that almost were.

New York Focus   ·   January 3, 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
Sarahana Shrestha holding a sign that says "Public Power Now"
Public Power Push Spreads to the Hudson Valley

State lawmakers are set to introduce a sweeping proposal for a public takeover of Central Hudson, the region’s scandal-plagued gas and electric utility.

Colin Kinniburgh   ·   May 16, 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
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
New York Governor Kathy Hochul shakes hands with someone in a Buffalo Bills uniform at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey.
Ethics Commission Subpoenaed Hochul Administration Over Bills Box Seats

Asked for records related to top politicians’ use of a Buffalo Bills suite, Empire State Development cited potential interference with a law enforcement investigation.

Chris Bragg   ·   May 31, 2024
Kathy Hochul in front of traffic
Is Hochul’s Plan to Stop Congestion Pricing Legal?

Lawsuits had threatened to kill congestion pricing. Now, it might take a lawsuit to save it.

Julia Rock   ·   June 6, 2024
Governor Kathy Hochul holds two signed bills, superimposed over a background showing the state of New York.
As It Happened: Kathy Hochul on the State of the State

The governor gave a preview of her budget priorities — and we looked out for 2024’s major fights. Follow along to see what we’re watching.

New York Focus   ·   January 9, 2024
A woman in a purple dress and a black head covering opens a door to show a sunny world outside.
Adams Administration Shelter Policy Disproportionately Evicts African Migrants

Migrants from Mauritania and Senegal were the most likely to receive eviction notices, but not the most populous groups in shelters, a New York Focus analysis found.

Churchill Ndonwie   ·   February 15, 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 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
The outline of New York state, inside a badge, with a cracked effect on top and a blue and red gradient background.
Behind the Badge: In New York City Homeless Shelters, the Same ‘Peace Officers’ Abuse Residents

Previously unreleased disciplinary files expose officers who beat, slap, and pepper spray the residents they’re supposed to protect. Most are back at work within a month.

Sammy Sussman, Annika Grosser and Sanjana Bhambhani   ·   April 15, 2024
A hand places a ballot with the Solidarity PAC logo in a ballot box.
Pro-Israel PAC Floods Assembly Races With Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

The recently formed Solidarity PAC has mobilized big finance and real estate to target socialists and the Working Families Party.

Chris Gelardi and Julia Rock   ·   June 6, 2024
Transmission lines running through the North Country.
Clean Energy Transmission Battle Pits Speed Against Worker, Farm Protections

The Assembly and Senate want to beef up labor standards and farmland protections for clean energy projects. Developers say that would slow down the energy transition.

Colin Kinniburgh   ·   April 5, 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
Three men in suits, including former acting prison commissioner Anthony Annucci and acting prison commissioner Daniel Martuscello III, stand at a memorial ceremony in Albany.
Hochul Quietly Nominates a Permanent Prison Chief

The Senate will consider Daniel Martuscello III’s bid to run New York’s prison and parole agency. His supporters point to his decades of experience. His opponents say that’s the problem.

Chris Gelardi   ·   May 22, 2024
State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a major opponent of Hochul's cuts to Health Homes, speaks at a rally for health workers on April 17, 2023.
As Families in Crisis Struggle to Reach Services, Medicaid Cuts Threaten to Make It Worse

Hochul’s proposed Medicaid cuts include $125 million from Health Homes, a program that connects the neediest New Yorkers with medical care, food assistance, and more.

Eliza Fawcett   ·   April 9, 2024