WXXI AM News

Capitol Bureau

Capitol Bureau correspondent Karen DeWitt reports on what is happening in Albany, and how the decisions made by lawmakers affect you. Karen reports for WXXI and New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.

She is also a regular contributor to New York Now, the statewide public television program about New York State government seen on WXXI-TV Sundays at 6:30 p.m.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that shopping malls will be allowed to open in New York beginning Friday if they meet certain conditions.

At the same time, citing ongoing concerns about the coronavirus, he said any remaining county fairs still planned for this summer are canceled, and he hasn't yet made a decision on any school openings in the fall.

A coalition of government reform groups say the New York State Legislature should consider limiting some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency powers gained during the pandemic and return, at least remotely, to meeting in session to set policy for the state.

In early March, as the coronavirus rapidly gained ground in New York, the Legislature granted Cuomo the powers to temporarily suspend laws or create new ones to fight the pandemic.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker issued a report Monday on the likely cause of deaths from COVID-19 in New York’s nursing homes that he said shows the virus came in through infected staff, not through hospital readmissions.

The study comes as Governor Andrew Cuomo canceled the state fair and said he could not guarantee that schools will reopen in the fall.

Cuomo has been criticized for a March 25 directive that required nursing homes to accept residents with COVID-19 back from hospitals.

Matt Ryan New York Now

New rules regarding who can be held on bail in New York state took effect Thursday.

The new law rolls back some bail reform measures passed in 2019, and criminal justice advocates say it’s the wrong time to do it, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the rate of the COVID-19 virus continues to be low in New York, with 11 deaths on June 30, but he said he worries that compliance with safety rules is slipping.

Because of that, the governor said he’s postponing permission to allow indoor dining in New York City.  

Cuomo said because the virus rate is now so low in the state, some have developed a false sense of security and are neglecting to wear their masks and to social distance. 

“Citizen compliance is slipping,” Cuomo said. “We have to stay ahead of the virus.”

The state’s ongoing fiscal crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to temporary funding reductions for some cities and postponed planned pay raises for state workers. It’s also led to reductions to some smaller programs, including a key organization that has helped New Yorkers with intellectual disabilities navigate the pandemic. The program is slated for significant cuts this month.   

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is adding eight more states to a travel advisory list for states with high levels of the coronavirus. Visitors from California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee will now be required to self-quarantine for two weeks.

The new restrictions bring the total number of states included in the travel advisory to 16. New Yorkers who travel to those states will have to self-quarantine when they return.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that New York is offering help to states like Texas and Arizona that are struggling with spiking COVID-19 infections.

At the same time, the governor said he’s talking with airport officials and federal border control officers on how best to enforce a travel advisory that requires travelers from states with high rates of the virus to quarantine for 14 days.  

  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget office is temporarily withholding 20% of a state aid payment owed to several cities in New York, citing the COVID-19 pandemic-related revenue shortfall and budget deficit plaguing state government.

Cuomo and his budget director have been saying for months that if Congress does not provide another relief package for state and local governments hit hard by the effects of the pandemic, then the state will have to cut funding to schools, hospitals and cities by one-fifth.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are imposing mandatory quarantines for travelers from several states with high rates of the coronavirus, including Florida and Texas, effective midnight Wednesday.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was joined Wednesday via remote feeds by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. 

“We’re announcing today a joint travel advisory. People coming in from states that have a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days,” Cuomo said.

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