Rob Ortt

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his staff were in damage control mode Thursday as they faced two scandals: the governor’s handling of nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic and the months-long suppression of the true number of residents’ deaths, and allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed a former staffer.

New York State Board of Elections

The next time Congress and both houses of the state legislature are on the ballot, there will likely be fewer Congressional seats to fight over and very different legislative districts.

Yuki Iwamura / AP

report from New York’s attorney general finds that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration may have undercounted by as much as 50% the number of the state’s nursing home residents who died at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York last spring. The news has led the Republican leader of the state Senate to call for the state health commissioner’s resignation.

Rob Ortt / Facebook

The rollout of the next phase of New York’s COVID-19 vaccination plan continued to experience glitches on Monday, with sites for seniors to sign up for vaccines not working or overwhelmed.

Darren McGee (Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo)

During the first of four State of the State speeches, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that fighting the COVID-19 pandemic will be the top priority. 

The New York State Legislature began the 2021 session with a strengthened Democratic base and intensifying challenges, including the ongoing pandemic and the growing budget deficit. 

Karen DeWitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

Republican members of the state Legislature want to rein in some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency powers that he has held through the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it’s time for more than just one branch of government to make all of the decisions.

Matt Ryan / New York Now

New York state lawmakers held a special December session Monday to enact new protections for tenants unable to meet rent payments, due to pandemic-related job losses and other financial challenges.

New York State Senate

Democrats who lead the state Senate announced Monday that they have won enough seats to hold a supermajority. That means they can override vetoes by the governor and potentially change the balance of power at the state capital.

Public input on clean energy proposals in the Buffalo area and statewide is being welcomed starting tonight. But a state legislator says it may not be enough to include rural citizens.

Karen DeWitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

Election Day brought mixed results for Democrats and Republicans in New York’s congressional and legislative races. Republicans were quick to claim victory, but Democrats -- who will remain in the majority no matter the outcomes of contested races -- say the record number of absentee ballots needs to be counted first, and it might take weeks.

Onondaga County Board of Elections

Voters in New York who have not cast their ballots early in person or by mail go to the polls Tuesday. While Democrat Joe Biden is heavily favored to win the state over President Donald Trump, there is plenty of action in congressional and state races for voters to weigh in on.

Karen DeWitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

All 212 seats in the New York State Legislature are up for election this year. There are over a dozen contested seats in the state Senate where Democrats are favored to win in many of the contests and potentially gain a supermajority. But Republicans say they hope to gain some seats, too.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Internet broadband is a major problem in rural New York State and local public officials are blasting a new state tax as making installation of broadband even more expensive.

Matt Ryan / New York Now

The New York State Legislature is wrapping up its business for 2020 at the state capital this week, in a session that is perhaps defined more by what lawmakers are not doing than what they have been doing.

Office of the Governor

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is tightening quarantine orders for of out of state travelers with high rates of COVID-19. Cuomo said travelers from the 19 states now on the restricted list will be required to fill out a form that includes the address of where they will be for the mandatory 14-day quarantine or there will be immediate repercussions.

File photo

Western New York Sen. Robert Ortt is the New York State Senate's new minority leader.

 

New York State Senate

For the first time since Earl Brydges left the job as Republican leader in the State Senate at the end of 1972, a Western New Yorker might step back into the position However, Brydges had a majority and the new leader won't.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

An alliance of Republican lawmakers was in a Lockport heavy industry plant Tuesday pushing to reopen Western New York, as three regions of the state prepare to start opening later this week.

New York State Senate

Democrats who lead the state Senate approved several measures on Thursday to make it easier to vote. But a newly energized Republican minority wanted to talk about other topics, such as worries about undocumented immigrants voting and whether to repeal recently enacted bail reform measures.


Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Instead of chopping the State Barge Canal into different sections and perhaps closing some, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing to spend on the canal for tourism, reducing flooding and improving irrigation for Niagara County farmers.

Many observers believed David Bellavia would win the 27th Congressional seat, if he chose to run. On Sunday, the war hero announced he will not enter the race, opening the door for other interested parties. Buffalo News political reporter Bob McCarthy believes Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw will soon enter the race. Batavia Assemblyman Steve Hawley could also join a heavy Republican field that also includes state senators Rob Ortt and Chris Jacobs, and attorney Beth Parlato.


Buffalo News

A special election has yet to be called for Western New York's 27th Congressional District, but a heavy supply of political money is finding its way into the coffers of the declared candidates. While the district only recently lost its representation with the resignation of Chris Collins, Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy says campaign treasuries are on the rise for the declared candidates.

Chris Collins' departure from Congress has opened the door to Washington for an aspiring politician. Several have already announced their candidacies for the 27th district, which covers a large, mostly-rural portion of Upstate New York. For those looking to understand the complexities of the district, Batavia may be a good place to start, so says Howard Owens of The Batavian. Owens' message that Batavia sits at "the heart" of the district seems to be making an impact. State Senator Rob Ortt announced his candidacy in front of city hall and two others--State Senator Chris Jacobs and Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray--have sat down for extensive interviews with Owens.


Sen. Rob Ortt

Former North Tonawanda mayor and current state Sen. Robert Ortt  has announced his candidacy for the 27th Congressional district seat.

Credit Xeni Jardin / Some Rights Reserved

New York has commitments for $670 million on extending broadband service to every part of the state to meet a promise by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Sen. Rob Ortt says that is well and good, but he wants to know where money has been spent and where it will be spent.

File Photo / Lockport Police

Nearly $3 million in additional relief funding is going to communities in five upstate New York counties along Lake Ontario to help them recover from last year's flooding.

WBFO file photo

Attorneys for former New York State Senator George Maziarz filed new motions Friday morning in Albany to have public corruption charges dismissed.


Mason's Mission Foundation

A new $500,000 playground is now open in Pendleton - but this is not just any playground. The family who raised the money for the project say for the first time, children and parents can play together in a truly 100 percent inclusive handicapped-accessible playground.

WNED-TV

A local state senator wants New York's constitution amended to guarantee the rights of residents to hunt and fish, joining 21 other states to enshrine those outdoor rights in their state charters.

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