Hoosick Falls residents speak out on water crisis

Last November, we took you to the small and rural village of Hoosick Falls, which was grappling with a report of contaminated water after elevated levels of the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA was detected in the water supply.
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Matt Ryan/WMHT

Wayne Barrett reflects on his decades covering Donald Trump

No one has covered real estate mogul and now leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump longer than Wayne Barrett.
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Matt Ryan / WMHT

Business leaders, particularly those in Upstate New York, say the 2016 legislative session, which recently concluded, was the worst for small businesses in quite some time.
 
Business owners say that a session that saw the minimum wage increase, to eventually $15 in New York City and $12.50 upstate, along with a phased in partial paid family leave, will be costly to smaller employers who operate on the edge in a shaky economy.
 

Karen DeWitt

The New York State Farm Bureau is inserting itself  into a legal fight over whether farm workers can be allowed to unionize.

The New York Civil Liberties union is suing the state for the right of farm laborers to collectively bargain with their employers, and Governor Cuomo said earlier this year that he would not defend the state in the lawsuit. The New York Farm Bureau says it wants to defend the ban. Farm Bureau spokesman Steve Ammerman says farms don’t work like factories or shops, and an ill timed strike could wipe out a year’s crop.

Matt Ryan

What began in January as an ambitious reform package to address a wave of corruption at the Capitol, proposed by Governor Cuomo, dwindled to just two proposals by the time the session closed in the pre dawn hours of Saturday morning.  Here’s a look at what happened.

Back in January, Governor Cuomo proposed a number of changes to react to a wave of corruption that led to the convictions of the two former leader of the legislature on felony corruption charges.

Matt Ryan

While state lawmakers are still hung up over how to cancel the pensions of legislators convicted of felonies,  among other end of session issues, they have agreed to extend the hours each week that New Yorkers can legally drink at bars and restaurants.

New Yorkers will now be able to order a drink, or two, with their brunch, or in some cases breakfast, at bars and restaurants on Sunday morning.  The current law forbids sale of alcohol before noon on Sunday. But starting when Governor Cuomo signs the bill into law, alcohol will be available starting two hours earlier.

Matt Ryan/WMHT

The legislature was closing down on an end of session  deal that would strip convicted lawmakers of their pensions, extend mayoral control of New York City schools for one more year, and legalize Daily Fantasy sports gambling.

Legislators already agreed to expand the hours New Yorkers can drink alcohol, permitting drinks to be served at 10 am on Sunday, instead of the current noon starting time. On certain special occasions, bars and restaurants can apply for a permit to start serving liquor at 8 am.

  Hoosick Falls residents, worried about PFOA in their water systems and in their blood, according to recent tests , came to the Capitol to demand hearings on the Cuomo Adminstration's handling of the water crisis. They instead got a meeting with  Governor Cuomo's director of State Operations, Jim Malatras, after they assembled outside the governor's door. .

After some initial hesitation, Cuomo aides allowed a reporter to be present.

Matt Ryan

Hoosick Falls residents came to the Capitol on Wednesday to demand hearings on the water crisis that has revealed high levels of a toxic chemical in many people’s blood streams. They did not get hearings but did get a private meeting with a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Karen DeWitt

With the legislative session down to the wire, groups for and against bills including expansion of Uber ride services and ethics reform came to the Capitol to make their voices heard.

The hallways of the Capitol were noisy with protesters, advocates and even groups of school children on field trips, with only two days left in the session.

Karen DeWitt

As part of the push to end the legislative session by Thursday, state lawmakers representing the PFOA contaminated village of Hoosick Falls want to extend the statute of limitations to bring lawsuits against polluters.

Matt Ryan / WMHT

There are only three more days left in the legislative session, and lawmakers are talking with Governor Cuomo about a number of bills, but keeping details close to the vest.

Following a private meeting with Governor Cuomo, legislative leaders were reluctant to divulge any details of their talks.

This back and forth between Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and reporters is typical of the answers that legislative leaders commonly provide.

“We may be close on a couple of things,” Heastie said. “We’re still talking about everything.”

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