Andrew Cuomo

WRVO News (file photo)

Supporters of a measure to ensure better workplace safety during future pandemics are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the bill, which was passed by both houses of the state Legislature this week.

The bill -- known as the New York Health and Essential Rights, or HERO, Act -- requires that the state health and labor departments design minimum standards for health and safety during outbreaks of airborne viruses and all infectious disease outbreaks.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

The leader of the New York State Assembly’s impeachment inquiry gave a brief update Wednesday regarding several investigations into Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Lavine said a hotline set up by the committee has generated over 200 tips on probes into sexual harassment allegations made by multiple women; whether Cuomo illegally used staff to help him write and promote a memoir; and if his family and friends got preferential access to coronavirus tests when they were hard to get earlier in the pandemic.

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YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) — Walk-in COVID-19 shots will be available to anyone over 60 at mass vaccination sites run by New York state starting Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

“You can just walk in to any of the mass vaccinations sites across the state, and walk in, and they will give you the vaccine,” Cuomo said during a virtual briefing in Yonkers. “You don’t have to go onto the internet. You don’t have to make a phone call. You don’t have to do anything. Just show up at the vaccination site if you’re 60-plus and they will give you vaccine.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has extended the curfew for bars and restaurants from 11 p.m. to midnight. While business owners welcome the change, some say it’s still not enough. 

Jon Page opened the vintage arcade bar Three Lives in downtown Syracuse’s Armory Square, in the summer of 2020.

“I’m a musician so I have impeccable timing with things,” Page said. “It’s definitely a challenge, but it’s not impossible.”

New York Now

Next year’s race for governor in New York has officially begun.

Republican leaders in New York gathered in Albany Monday to hear from potential gubernatorial nominees, who would go on to compete next year against either Gov. Andrew Cuomo, or whichever Democrat lands on the ticket in his place.

Steps from the state capitol, eight interested Republicans took on the task of convincing their colleagues they could be the first Republican elected statewide since 2002.

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State lawmakers in New York could take the first step this year toward scrapping the state’s current ethics agencies and replacing them with a new, more powerful panel less likely to be influenced by elected officials.

Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, said in an interview on New York NOW, that there’s appetite in the state Legislature for an ethics overhaul in Albany, and that it could start this year.

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A new poll finds that scandals surrounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo have taken a toll.

While New Yorkers continue to believe the governor did a good job leading the state through the COVID-19 pandemic, most believe the multiple women who have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment and do not think the governor should run for office again.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

New York state’s comptroller is authorizing the state’s attorney general to begin a potential criminal probe of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s book deal, looking into whether he used his staff to help him write a memoir about his handling of the pandemic.

The referral from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli allows Attorney General Tish James to look into whether senior and junior staffers were coerced into helping the governor write and edit the book, "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic," or whether they simply volunteered their time, as the governor claims.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Large internet service providers will be required to officer plans for high-speed connections at $15 per month to low-income customers starting in the middle of June after legislation on the mandate was signed into law Friday.

New York state will also partner with philanthropic organizations to provide free high-speed internet access to 50,000 students in low-income school districts for one year.

“For America, broadband holds great power,” Cuomo said. “It will either be the great equalizer for society, or it will be the great divider.”

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York will push back its curfew for bars and restaurants an hour to midnight, starting Monday, as the state continues to relax coronavirus-related restrictions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The governor also announced during a telephone briefing Wednesday that auto and horse racing events will be able to accommodate spectators at 20% capacity starting April 23. Spectators will be required to wear a mask, social distance and provide proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccinations.

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New York paused administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, after the federal Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control recommended halting the doses because a few recipients developed blood clots.

Out of the 6.8 million Americans who have already received the J&J vaccine, six women developed blood clots after receiving the doses. One died, and another was hospitalized in critical condition.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo will appoint three new judges to New York’s highest court this year, and a group of state lawmakers is asking that at least one of them be representative of the LGBTQ+ community after the court’s only openly gay judge retired this year.

Four openly LGBTQ+ state lawmakers are urging a panel that vets potential nominees to the high court to give Cuomo options representative of the LGBTQ+ community.

NEW YORK (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin announced his candidacy for governor of New York on Thursday with an attack on incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the subject of investigations over sexual harassment allegations and COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents.

“The bottom line is this; to save New York, Andrew Cuomo’s gotta go,” Zeldin, a fourth-term Congress member from Long Island, said in a news release.

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Progressive Democrats in the New York State Legislature took a victory lap after passing a budget that achieves many of the groups’ long-term goals, including a substantial increase in taxes on the wealthy and the fulfillment of a 15-year-old court order to fully fund the schools. Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, embroiled in several scandals, put the best face on items that did not go his way.

Progressive advocate and director of Invest in Our New York, Rebecca Bailin, spoke at a rally held in the April sunshine outside the Capitol, just below the windows of Gov. Cuomo’s offices.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo commented for the first time on Wednesday about allegations that he gave priority to COVID-19 tests for his family and friends, last spring when the tests were scarce.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — An aide who accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of groping her at his official residence told a newspaper in her first public interview it was a frightening physical encounter in which the Democrat slammed a door and said “I don’t care” when she warned someone might see what he was doing.

“It was almost like I felt like a piece of garbage to him. I felt degraded,” she said.

WRVO News (file photo)

 

Six days after it was due, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York State’s legislative leaders announced a final agreement on a $212 billion dollar budget deal. It increases taxes on the wealthy and adds funds for schools, renters and small businesses — including restaurants — who struggled financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate and Assembly held a marathon session that lasted into Wednesday morning to approve budget bills. The Senate has finished voting on the bills. The Assembly will finish Wednesday.

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Five days into the new fiscal year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders say they have a “conceptual agreement” on a new state budget. If the deal holds, it would include $4 billion in new taxes, including higher income tax brackets on millionaires and a tax increase for some large corporations.

If the budget agreement is approved, New Yorkers who make more than $1 million a year would see their taxes increased by nearly one percentage point. Two new higher tax brackets would be added for those with annual incomes over $5 million and over $25 million.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have violated state ethics laws, according to published reports, that he used his staff to help him write a book on how he managed the COVID-19 pandemic, and that he gave his family and politically connected associates priority access to coronavirus tests.

But the state’s ethics commission, which has the power to investigate the allegations, has a poor track record investigating claims of corruption.

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April 1 has arrived with no agreement on the state budget, and for the first time in over a decade, there’s no clear indication of when a spending plan might be passed.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli warned that if the impasse lasts beyond next Monday, the paychecks of some essential state workers might be delayed.

On the first day of the new fiscal year, just one of 10 budget bills had been approved. The debt service bill was passed on the evening of March 31. Senate Finance Chair Liz Krueger could not say when the remaining nine might be ready for passage. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

This is one of a series of stories from WRVO on how the COVID-19 pandemic changed life in central and northern NY over the last year. Find all of the stories from our series here. 

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing the adult use of recreational marijuana into law Wednesday, hailing it as an historic moment and saying, in a statement, that it “rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences” and will embrace an industry that will grow the state’s economy.

Updated March 31, 2021 at 11:45 AM ET

Democrats who dominate New York state politics pushed through a marijuana legalization measure Tuesday that backers say will expunge the felony drug records of tens of thousands of people.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law on Wednesday. He had said earlier that it will bring "justice for long-marginalized communities."

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Lawmakers in New York began debating a bill Tuesday that would legalize marijuana sales to people over the age of 21.

Legislative leaders in the state Senate and Assembly launched hours-long debates Tuesday afternoon, with votes in both chambers expected later on in the evening.

New York would become the 16th state to legalize marijuana sales to adults. New York would become the third state where lawmakers, rather than voters, have approved legalization.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — An upstate New York woman said Monday that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo grabbed her face and kissed her cheek at her home during a visit to inspect local flood damage, becoming the latest woman to accuse the embattled governor of inappropriate behavior.

Elsa Olofsson / Flickr

New York will legalize marijuana for adult, recreational use after Democrats struck a deal on the issue Saturday, with a vote expected next week from the state Legislature.

The agreement is the result of years of negotiations between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature in New York, which will become the 16th state to approve legalization.

Lead sponsors Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, and State Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, cheered the agreement in statements Saturday evening.

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Survivors of alleged sexual harassment by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, disgraced ex-movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and former Columbia University gynecologist Robert Hadden joined with state lawmakers Friday to call for a law that would give victims a platform to bring their alleged abusers to court. 

Among those speaking at the Zoom news conference was Lindsey Boylan, who has accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, including an unwelcome kiss and a suggestion that they play strip poker while flying in the governor’s private plane.  

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Critics of some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic marked the anniversary of the controversial March 25, 2020 order that required the homes to take back from hospitals residents who were ill with the disease.

They said an ongoing federal probe does not go far enough in investigating all that may have gone wrong in the governor’s management of nursing homes during the pandemic.  

When New York was hit hard in the early days of the pandemic last March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration gave his family members preferential access to coronavirus testing, according to several news reports.

The allegations were first reported in Albany, N.Y.'s Times Union and later in The Washington Post and The New York Times. The reports, which NPR has not independently confirmed, cited unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter.

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With one week to go before the state budget deadline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are at odds over key points of the spending plan, including whether to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations by $7 billion.

Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is refuting a claim by Cuomo that the speaker’s COVID -19 diagnosis might make the budget late.  

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