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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's governor has launched an investigation into racial bias in the state prison system following an investigation by The New York Times.

The newspaper reports  that black prisoners were punished at higher rates and subjected to solitary confinement more often than white inmates.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that he has directed the state inspector general to look into the allegations and recommend immediate changes if necessary.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York regulators are launching a comprehensive review of energy service companies, saying the competitive residential market created by utility deregulation hasn't lived up to its promise.

The Public Service Commission filed a notice Friday saying it will solicit sworn testimony from consumers, energy marketers and others in preparation with pushing through reforms.

Rochester Councilman Matt Haag says he won't seek re-election to a third term next year.  Haag says there are a couple of main reasons for that, and one of them is his full time job at the University of Rochester.

“Over the last 14 months the scope of my work at the university has grown in a way that has become much more challenging for me to manage my calendar on a day to day basis.”

Haag says he also needs more time to help his mother who is dealing with health issues.

State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb has been unanimously re-elected to that post.

The Republican from Canandaigua was elected to the Assembly in 2000, and has been the minority leader since 2009.

Kolb issued a statement saying that all of the Assembly Republican incumbents are returning and they  have seven new members.

Kolb says he looks forward to working on policies that will benefit families, create good jobs and stimulate the economy.

The legislature returns to Albany for the new session in January.

TWC News

A Rochester City Court judge who was convicted of drunk driving last August has now been relieved of her judicial duties.

Judge Leticia  Astacio  is no longer assigned to any work in her role as a city court judge and she also is no longer allowed access to any non-public area of any courthouse while she deals with her personal matters.

That according to State Supreme Court Justice Craig Doran, who is the administrative judge for the courts in the Rochester area.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A bill creating a tax break for New York State farmers who donate food to food banks is awaiting action by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Farmers already donate millions of pounds of food every year, but say the credit of up to $5,000 annually would reduce the costs of harvesting and transporting surplus crops that would otherwise go to waste.

The Hunger Action Network of New York State has made the bill a priority, saying it will address a growing hunger problem around the state.

A former top adviser for Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and seven other people have been indicted in their federal corruption case.

The indictment was unsealed Tuesday in New York City. It charges Joseph Percoco and his co-defendants with crimes including fraud conspiracy, bribery and extortion. 

The case's most serious allegations are against Percoco, formerly Cuomo's executive deputy secretary and one of his most loyal advisers. 

A law firm that has filed a class action suit seeking expansion of residential opportunities for people with developmental disabilities is expecting to get a legal response soon from the state.

The law firm of Kenney, Shelton, Liptak, Nowak LLP filed the suit earlier this year against Governor Cuomo  and the head of the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Special Counsel Bruce Goldstein says the waiting list for adults who need these kinds of residential opportunities is growing, with about 2,000 families in Western New York on a waiting list right now.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Rochester’s Mayor and other local officials and community groups are vowing to clean up issues with heroin sales along North Clinton Avenue.

Mayor Lovely Warren says she started hearing about the problems this past summer, but the city has had a renewed focus in that northeast neighborhood in recent weeks. She says people who live in the area, homeowners, are upset with the aftermath of heroin sales and usage they are seeing on their streets.

Office of NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced several actions on Sunday designed to protect civil rights and combat hate crimes.

Speaking at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City he directed the State Police to create a new hate crimes unit to investigate and offer help to other law enforcement agencies investigating potential hate crimes.

Cuomo said that “demonizing our differences injects a social poison” into the fabric of the country.

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