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Capitol Bureau

Governor Hochul's office

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday that she’ll sign an emergency order to call in the National Guard and import health care workers from other states and countries to ease anticipated staffing shortages at hospitals and nursing homes due to a midnight COVID-19 vaccination deadline.

In New York, 84% of health care workers are vaccinated for COVID-19. If the remaining 16% don’t comply with the mandate by midnight, existing staffing shortages are expected to get worse.

Karen DeWitt/New York State Public Radio

In her first speech before the state’s business leaders, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday that she will focus on economic development and helping workers get better access to child care as the economy struggles to regain pre-pandemic levels.

Hochul, speaking at the annual meeting of the state’s Business Council on Lake George, said she will intensify efforts to empower the Regional Economic Development Councils, begun by her predecessor, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned in August over a sexual harassment scandal.

Darren McGee/Gov. Kathy Hochul's office

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday that embattled state health commissioner Howard Zucker is out.

Zucker, who became embroiled in a controversy over the true number of nursing home deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, submitted his resignation on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Hochul is also bracing for a Monday vaccination deadline for the state’s health care workers amid worries over intensifying staffing shortages at hospital and nursing homes.

Lane Erickson

New York’s unemployment insurance fund, which the state Labor Department says has paid out over $100 billion in benefits to millions of New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic, is now running a deficit.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is now proposing some ways to make the fund -- which owes the federal government $9 billion -- solvent. 

Karen DeWitt NYS Public Radio

The New York State Assembly held a hearing on whether the state should strictly limit the use of a chemical in pesticides linked to the die-off of honeybees, and population declines of other insects and birds.

The compounds, known as Neonicotinoids, or “neonics,” have been in existence since the 1990s and have been widely used during the past 15 years in a pre-treatment for corn, soy and wheat seeds.

Governor Hochul's office

Gov. Kathy Hochul ordered the immediate release of 191 state prison inmates Friday. Under terms of a new parole reform law signed by Hochul, they are no longer required to be incarcerated for committing technical parole violations. The governor also is taking steps to improve what she called “hell on earth” conditions at New York City’s notorious Riker’s Island jail.

The state’s independent redistricting commission was unable to avoid partisan divides, releasing two opposing maps to redesign congressional and state elected office districts, one backed by Democrats, the other backed by Republicans.

Several commissioners from both parties expressed disappointment that they could not agree on just one set of maps.

GOP Commissioner Charlie Nesbitt questioned whether releasing two different maps is even constitutional, under the rules set up for what is supposed to be a politically independent body.

Governor Hochul's office

Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday that she doesn't believe health care workers in New York should be able to cite a religious exemption to avoid getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

The governor, who held a briefing on the status of the coronavirus in the state, was reacting to a court decision temporarily upholding the rights of some health care workers to refuse the vaccine on religious grounds. 

New York State Comptroller's Office

A new report by the state’s comptroller finds that despite years of government programs, 1 million New York households still have no access to the internet, and many in rural areas have limited access to inadequate services.  

Governor Hochul's office

Gov. Kathy Hochul, responding to strict new abortion laws in Texas, said Monday that she’ll make New York a safe legal haven for women’s reproductive health.

“We have to stop extremists from taking women's rights away,” Hochul said at an appearance with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and other female state and local leaders at the Women's Rights Pioneers Monument in New York City’s Central Park.

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