New York

Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

New York state has received a multi billion dollar windfall from bank settlements this year, but a new report from the state comptroller shows the settlement took a bite out of Wall Street profits in 2014, which could have repercussions for the state budget in the future.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli reports Wall Street profits are down by 13 percent so far in 2014, compared to the previous year, 2013, when profits had already shrunk by 30 percent.

“Certainly we’re seeing profits, but down from what we saw last year,” DiNapoli said.

New York State Board of Elections

A judge has ruled that the wording on a November ballot item making changes to New York‘s redistricting process is biased and must be altered before Election Day.

The Supreme Court judge ruled that language describing a new board created to oversee redistricting in New York as independent is misleading and must be struck from the amendment’s description.

Karen DeWitt

Government reform groups are split over whether an amendment on the November ballot to change the way legislative district lines are drawn is an improvement, or will only make gerrymandering worse.

On November 4, voters in New York will decide whether they want to amend the state’s constitution to change the way Senate and Assembly lines are drawn.

After a lengthy debate of several hours, the medical marijuana bill was approved in the Senate , and now goes to the desk of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has said he'll sign it.   

Sponsor Diane Savino says she’s “gratified” by the larger than expected number of yes votes, including some surprise votes from traditionally conservative Senators.

Savino says she hopes the wide support can serve to make the vote in New York, the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana, a tipping point for the federal government to change its policies against the drug.

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York is demanding the release of the state’s environmental impact study on hydraulic fracturing, and are threatening to take legal action if the state doesn’t release the report.

The letter stated the Department of Environmental Conservation has until Feb. 13 to release the report, known as the SGEIS. The state has had a de facto moratorium on hydrofacking for almost six years now.

Dan Fitzsimmons is president of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York and says landowners have been waiting too long for the report.

ChrisYunker / via Flickr

If voters on Tuesday pass the proposed amendment to the state constitution to allow casino gambling, New York will become the 21st state to have commercial, Las Vegas-style casinos. Across much of the country nowadays, gambling seems like the natural state of things. But it wasn’t always that way.

If you’re a person of a certain age -- say about 50 -- you’ll remember when going to the casino meant a trip all the way to Las Vegas. It seems almost quaint now, but just a generation ago casinos were outlawed in 49 of 50 states. Only Nevada allowed legalized gambling.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Midwest Region / Flickr

The waters of Oneida Lake have long been a destination for fishermen in upstate New York. Fishermen come to try their hand at catching walleye, bass, and perch. But a much larger fish could someday be the ultimate prize in this body of water, and others throughout upstate New York.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The health exchanges that are part of the Affordable Care Act opened Tuesday, and in short order there were two million hits on the New York state website that's selling health insurance policies. People who weren't turning to the website in central New York were lining up to get face-to-face information on how to choose a plan.

Willie Terrell, of Syracuse, has been waiting for this day since he lost his health insurance a year ago.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

New York State of Health, the marketplace exchange that will let New Yorkers choose health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is open for business starting Tuesday. The state has plenty of help available for anyone who's taking the jump into these historic waters.

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The vast majority of the state’s county-run nursing homes are losing money and facing a shaky financial future, according to the findings of a new study by the Center for Governmental Research.

As a result, most counties are looking for alternatives to deal with an aging population.

In recent years, six New York counties have sold or closed their nursing homes. As costs continue to rise, many others are considering privatization as a solution.

Calling it the elephant in the room, researchers behind the report claim power plants are the largest source of global warming pollution. By their estimation they account for 41 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide pollution.

Eric Whalen, of Environment New York, says CO2 is what’s driving global warming.

Whatever is the outcome of Tuesday’s primaries, most mayors who win a new term in cities across the state will face a similar challenge - how to get their municipalities back on secure financial footing.   

The next political leaders of New York City, smaller cities upstate, and even large suburban counties like Nassau County, will all face a big test once they take office; how to solve mounting fiscal difficulties.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that creates new, stiffer penalties regarding texting while driving for teenaged and new drivers. The law now treats texting as seriously as speeding or reckless driving.

Teenagers just beginning to drive and older new drivers who are caught texting while driving will now see their licenses revoked for sixty days. If they repeat the offense within a half year, their driving licenses will be taken away for another six months.