Government news


Libraries in New York are facing new challenges in the 21st century, but the state isn't funding them well enough to meet them.

That's according to witnesses who testified before the Assembly's Committee on Libraries and Education Technology today.

Mike Neppl is Director of Government Relations and Advocacy for the New York Library Association.

Citing statistics from a Siena poll, he told lawmakers the current funding formula provides libraries tens of millions of dollars less than they need to deliver the services their patrons rely on.

freeimages.com/Ned Horton

Governor Andrew Cuomo could decide this week whether to sign or veto legislation that would require private schools to report suspected child abuse.

The New York State Senate and Assembly both passed bills this year that would close the existing loophole in the law.  Currently, only public schools are required to report alleged abuse to law enforcement.

Federal law for mandated reporting applies to both public and private schools, but it only pertains to suspected abuse committed by parents and guardians, not teachers and other school employees.

Harris Corporation

Harris Corporation has been awarded a nearly  $196 million contract to help build a space-based telescope.  

The work involves the Wide Field Infrared Survey  Telescope, or  WFIRST, for short.

Much of the work is being done by the Harris operations in Rochester, and Senator Chuck Schumer says the federal contract from NASA will help support 160 local jobs.

Laura Abplanalp  is Director of Civil and Commercial Imaging for Harris Space and Intelligence Systems.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for the implementation of a law that would allow airports to stop using toxic chemicals that are said to poison local waterways.

PFAs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are found in firefighting foams used at airports across New York, and she says those chemicals can seep into groundwater and possibly contaminate drinking water.

Prior to FAA authorization changes this year, commercial airports were required to use PFAs in these foams, legislation Gillibrand fought to pass that eliminated this requirement.

Office of NY Gov. Cuomo

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will deliver his third inaugural address at Ellis Island on New Year's Day. 

The Democrat announced his plans on Tuesday, calling Ellis Island a ``fitting'' location to begin a new term that he says will be focused on fighting for New Yorkers and setting a ``progressive example'' for the rest of the nation. 

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. 


Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee say they are playing “Mythbusters” when it comes to the proposed county budget.

In November, County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo introduced a spending plan that decreases the tax rate by 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

But the important number is the tax levy, according to Legislator Howard Mafucci.


Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter has made a couple of key leadership appointments.

One of them is the naming of  a new Jail Superintendent. Matthew VanDuzee will be the first Jail Superintendent to be promoted from within the jail ranks.

He replaces Ronald Harling, who was reassigned this past summer after Baxter said he wanted to move the jail “in a new direction” after two escapes and a mistaken release.

VanDuzee has 26 years of service with the Sheriff’s Office.


Area political leaders reacted this weekend to the death on Friday of former President George H.W. Bush:

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senate Minority Leader released this statement:

President George H.W. Bush will be greatly missed in many ways. He was a fine man and even when he opposed your views, you knew he was doing what he thought was best for America. His yearning for a kinder and gentler nation seems more needed now than when he first called for it.”

Congressman Joe Morelle, (D-Irondequoit), issued this statement:


NEW YORK (AP & WXXI News)  A federal judge says the Trump administration can't withhold over $29 million from six states and New York City in a clash over their immigration policies as so-called "sanctuary" jurisdictions.

Friday's decision involves Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington state, and the state and city of New York.

Other federal courts have issued similar rulings.

Alex Crichton

Rochester has reached a long-term agreement with an affiliate of Pegula Sports & Entertainment to manage the Blue Cross Arena.

Mayor Lovely Warren made that announcement Thursday, saying that the agreement will put the arena in the hands of a proven management company while significantly reducing the city’s expense to maintain it.

The Pegulas own the Bills and the Sabres, and also the Rochester Amerks.  They will also own a new franchise for lacrosse, keeping the Rochester Knighthawks name next year.