Government news

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  State officials say 6,100 immigrants living in New York state participated in a government program last year that helps them on the path to naturalization.

The administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo released the numbers for the NaturalizeNY program on Wednesday. It's a record level of participants since the program began in 2016.


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  Gov. Andrew Cuomo says a website for reporting potholes would be too pricey and the money is better spent on actually fixing roads. 

The Democratic governor vetoed a bill that would have created a website for reporting and tracking the condition of potholes on state roads.

In his veto message Friday, he said the legislation would require the Department of Transportation to divert money from road maintenance and repair. He estimated design and maintenance of the proposed website would cost $500,000 to $1 million. 

National Iroquois Wildlife Refuge

The partial shutdown affecting various federal agencies has also impacted some wildlife areas in this part of the state. Among them, the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, which is located in parts of Genesee and Orleans Counties.

Celeste Morien  is president of  a non-profit group that assists the staffers at that facility, called Friends of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

File photo

NEW YORK (AP) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is beginning 2019 and his third term with an inaugural address on Ellis Island. 

The Democrat plans to deliver his remarks Tuesday evening on the New York side of the Island, which New York shares with New Jersey. 

Ellis Island was the nation's busiest immigration station for decades, welcoming millions of immigrants from around the world. 

Cuomo calls it an ``enduring symbol'' of America's core values of hope and opportunity. 

Letitia James/Twitter

NEW YORK (AP)  Letitia James has been sworn in as New York's attorney general, becoming the first black woman to hold statewide office.

The 60-year-old Democrat took the oath of office in Albany just before midnight on Monday. She will participate in an inauguration ceremony on Ellis Island on Tuesday.

James also becomes the state's first black attorney general and is the first woman elected to the position.

Her predecessor, 74-year-old Barbara Underwood, was appointed in May when Eric Schneiderman resigned amid allegations he physically abused women.

Office of NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday granted clemency to 29 people who he says have demonstrated substantial evidence of rehabilitation and a commitment to community crime reduction.

They include some individuals with connections to the Rochester area.

One of them is Reginald Castel. The 45 year old was convicted of assault in 1999 in Rochester. The governor’s office says that Castel was born in Haiti and came to the U.S. at the age of 8.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would have added bereavement leave to New York’s paid family leave law.

The legislation, which was sponsored by two Rochester area lawmakers, Republican State Senator Rich Funke, and former Democratic Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle (who is now a member of Congress), would have allowed workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the death of a family member.

Funke had a son who died in 2001, and Morelle lost a daughter to cancer in 2017.


There is some history being made Saturday in Canandaigua.  Kitty Karle is being sworn-in as the first female Ontario County judge.

Karle is a longtime attorney, having served as both a prosecutor and defense attorney in Monroe County.

She notes that as a judge, she will be working in the Ontario County courthouse, the same building where suffragist Susan B. Anthony was put on trial for illegally voting in the 1872 presidential election. Anthony was later convicted, but refused to pay the $100 fine.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has presented legislation to City Council that would establish a new Police Accountability Board.

Warren says that board would have full investigative powers, for the first time in the city’s history.

“The PAB would have unprecedented powers to investigate complaints as well as work toward better policies related to the use of force,” Warren said. “This will improve public safety by improving the public’s trust, creating a fully transparent investigative process that’s fair to both the community and our officers.”

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  New York state is expanding a legal defense project for immigrants launched in 2017 to include social and health care services for families.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the new "Project Golden Door" will provide family support services at 12 existing sites.

In addition, a new Regional Rapid Response team will set up attorneys in the state's 10 regional economic development council areas to respond to raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Democrat Cuomo says the immigrant legal defense project is the first of its kind in the nation.