Government news

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) A Finger Lakes park that's one of the most popular in the New York state system is getting a $6.5 million makeover for its main entrance. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that the project at Watkins Glen State Park will relocate the parking area away from the gorge, allowing the parking lot at the main entrance to be returned to green space. 

State parks officials say the changes will create ``a less congested and more welcoming approach'' to one of the Finger Lakes region's top tourism destinations. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Two Assembly members and other advocates of letting the terminally ill end their lives say the proposed law would limit suffering and has safeguards to prevent mistakes and abuse.

Opponents, who on Tuesday included the Senate majority leader, aren't convinced.

Bills pending in the Assembly and Senate since last year are getting a new push in Albany.

Irondequoit Razes Zombie Home

Feb 9, 2016

A crew from Frederico Construction and Demolition tore down a vacant home at 159 Montcalm Drive in Irondequoit this morning.

Town Supervisor Adam Bello says it's a result of some new town laws and Irondequoit getting tough on vacant property owners.

Bello says the town has a registry of vacant properties and a certification of standards for so-called zombie homes.

Congressman Tom Reed wants the Obama administration to see first-hand how the upstate area is being impacted by the opioid abuse epidemic.

He's joining other representatives in the region in requesting that a representative of the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy to hold a hearing in upstate New York to highlight and raise awareness on this issue.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued executive orders to stop therapists from providing so-called "gay conversion therapy" for New York minors. 

Gay rights groups are applauding the move, but others say barring the treatment limits options and undermines individuals’ religious liberty. 

Conversion therapy claims to reverse some people's same-sex attraction, but Scott Fearing, executive director of the Gay Alliance in Rochester, says mental health professionals have long known that one cannot change their sexual orientation.

NEW YORK (AP) — New York is taking steps to stop therapists from trying to change young people's sexual orientation, joining a number of states that have taken action against what's known as "gay conversion" therapy.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans for new regulations Saturday. They will bar New York insurers from covering the therapy for minors and will prohibit mental health facilities under state jurisdiction from offering it to minors.

It's not immediately clear how many insurers or facilities statewide provide the coverage or therapy now.

Wayne County Rep. John Katko (R-NY) delivered the weekly Republican Address on Saturday.

This information is provided by the Speaker of the House website:

Katko discusses the Obama administration’s failure to enforce a new visa waiver law—intended to keep Americans safe—in order to accommodate Iran.

“I am a former federal prosecutor, and I can tell you a law is only as good as how you enforce it,” said Rep. Katko. “This is not a time to start lowering our guard. And we should not put Iran’s feelings before America’s security interests.”

ALBANY (AP) A New York state lawmaker who has sponsored bills targeting synthetic marijuana is calling on the NFL to require players to take drug tests for the substance.

State Senator Jeff Klein cited reports of NFL players using synthetic marijuana because existing drug screenings don't test for it.

Klein, who has sponsored state laws prohibiting the substance, says the NCAA has already added synthetic pot to its list of banned substances. He says the NFL should screen for the drug to protect players and send a signal to the public about its dangers.

Funke Says Parole System in New York Needs Fixing

Feb 4, 2016

State Senator Rich Funke says the people in his district feel if the parole system isn't broken, it's severely cracked.

During a joint legislative hearing on Public Protection today, he cited several instances where parolees were involved in other crimes, including Thomas Johnson III, who shot and killed Rochester police officer Daryl Pierson.

Funke questioned Anthony Annucci, the acting commissioner of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, about the merger of the Department of Correctional Services and the Division of Parole...

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  Pregnant women in New York who have recently traveled to countries impacted by the Zika virus can now get free tests for the infection, the state announced Thursday. 

Authorities had already announced free testing for anyone exhibiting signs of the virus. So far, 11 New Yorkers have tested positive for Zika, including one person in Monroe County.