By Joe Spector, August 11 (via Poughkeepsie Journal)
ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he and the state Legislature will work on new laws and regulations governing cooling towers in New York buildings after an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx has led to 12 deaths.
It’s has been the largest outbreak of the disease in the city’s history, and there have been three cases in nearby Rockland County in recent days.
Cuomo said the state needs a standard policy on how to inspect buildings for Legionnaires’ disease, a form of bacteria that can lead to pneumonia especially among the elderly and people with preexisting health conditions.
By Paul Derienzo, August 6
Last week the New York State Department of Health announced that five companies have been selected for licenses to grow and distribute marijuana in the state. New York now joins 23 states and Washington, D.C., that either allow medical marijuana or have legalized pot altogether.
Despite the apparent victory for pro-pot reform groups, the licenses have attracted criticism. Marijuana activists say that the law is too narrow in scope and the selection process for marijuana suppliers lacked transparency. Under the state’s Compassionate Care Act, signed last year by Governor Andrew Cuomo, medical marijuana will be limited to the five licensees, who will set up four dispensary sites each for a total of 20 pot shops serving the state’s population of nearly 20 million.
California’s law, the result of a voter referendum in 1995, uses a broader definition of caregiver and patient than New York. Almost any malady, including depression, can be used to justify the use of the drug, and unregulated dispensaries popped up all over the state.
By Claire Hughes, August 4
Supporters of a bill that would ensure doctors have the final say in prescription disputes with Medicaid managed care plans are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the measure into law.
The measure, one of about 700 bills passed by the state lawmakers this year and under review by counsel, has not reached the governor’s desk, according to Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.
Given the administration’s past stance on language in the bill, however, supporters are concerned over the chance of a veto.
“The Health Department opposed this language when it was raised during budget discussions,” said Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, a bill sponsor.
By Capital Tonight staff, July 28
After surviving a trial by fire over the past five months, during which he negotiated his first-ever budget agreement and an end-of-session Big Ugly, Heastie now has some time to reflect and plan.
He’s in the middle of a tour of upstate members’ districts (he plans to hit all of them), during which the Bronx Democrat is trying to familiarize himself with issues outside his comfort zone of New York City.
By Scott Stiffler, July 29
Doris Corrigan died at The Amsterdam Nursing Home on July 23, 2015. She was 87. A public memorial service will be held in the fall, where we all can celebrate her life. The following represents a portion of the testimonials and reminiscences we have received over the past week:
Every thriving community and every enduring organization has one — the person who relishes learning what it really takes to get things done; the person who rolls up her sleeves and gets her hands dirty whenever there’s work, no matter how apparently menial and unpleasant; the person who persuades other people that it’s fun to do all these things, patiently teaches them the ropes and encourages them to start taking the lead.
By Dan Goldberg, Josefa Velasquez, and Katie Jennings, July 31
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced the five applicants that will be awarded two-year licenses to manufacture and distribute medical marijuana in New York, choosing companies with vastly different levels of experience and financial capability.
Bloomfield Industries Inc., Columbia Care NY, Empire State Health Solutions, Etain and PharmaCann scored highest, according to the health department.
“I am glad to see that the New York State Department of Health announced its selection of five organizations to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana under the 2014 Compassionate Care Act today. It is welcome, but insufficient to meet the needs of patients with serious debilitating or life-threatening conditions. They will still have months to wait before they can expect any relief and there are not enough dispensaries.
The Health Department chose not to use its authority under the law to approve more than five licenses, which means there are only 20 dispensaries. In a state with 20 million people and 54,000 square miles, that will not meet patient needs, especially for very ill patients in rural areas.
I hope Governor Cuomo will soon sign the Medical Marijuana Emergency Access bill, passed in June, which would make CBD oil available even sooner for the thousands of children with serious uncontrolled epilepsy children so they can benefit more quickly, even with today’s approval of the licensees. New York could have made it available to them months ago. Instead, they will suffer seizures every day for months to come
Today’s announcement is one positive step forward. New Yorkers need more to follow quickly.”
By Josefa Velasquez, July 28
ALBANY—The state health department is scheduled to award licenses to grow and dispense medical marijuana by the end of the week, but one of the bill’s sponsors believes the process should be more transparent.
So far, the public knows the names of the 43 businesses that have submitted applications to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana in the state, but little else.
“I think the documents ought to be public so people can see who is applying and whether they are people with connections, et cetera,” said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, the chair of the Assembly health committee and the bill’s sponsor. ”But what concerns me most about the process is whoever gets picked, or whoever doesn’t get picked, will not know why they didn’t win, and to me that is an open invitation to all sorts of allegations.”
By Yannick Rack, July 22
| It took years of effort by family, friends, elected officials and thousands of locals who singed the petition— but on July 18, the late Phyllis Gonzalez finally got her “Way.”
At the northwest corner of 25th St. and Ninth Ave. — on the same block where she lived for over 30 years — a street renaming ceremony paid tribute to one of Chelsea’s most dedicated housing activists, with the official unveiling of Phyllis Gonzalez Way.
“Phyllis worked on behalf of our neighborhood until the day she passed away, and she will be remembered for her unrelenting pursuit of better lives for people in the community that she loved,” said City Councilmember Corey Johnson, who led the ceremonial.
By Eileen Stukane, July 15
New York state and city elected officials are responding to the activism of the newly-created Community & Residents Protection Working Group (CRP), which this year has been alerting Chelsea residents to widespread building fraud that has previously gone unnoticed.
At meetings with representatives of city agencies and Community Board 4 (CB4), the CRP began to flush out owners, landlords and developers who received NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) permits for construction by routinely lying on their DOB Form PW1, section 26 applications, stating that occupied buildings were unoccupied — a statement which freed them from instituting required Tenant Protection Plans, and making conditions unlivable in order to pressure occupants to leave.
The CRP revealed that 80 occupied buildings in Chelsea were construction sites permitted through falsified applications. Seeing legal permits posted, residents of those buildings did not think they had any recourse. As research deepened, it also became apparent that this fraudulent situation is a citywide concern. The CRP’s findings ignited a call for action, which shows strong signs of being heard — especially by the DOB, which is receiving word from community leaders, and has its own reforms in the works. Although no specific corrective measures are in place, the drive for change has begun.
On June 30, 2015 five elected officials — Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, NYC Councilmember Corey Johnson, NY State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, NY State Senator Brad Hoylman and U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler — signed a letter addressed to DOB Commissioner Richard (Rick) Chandler, requesting a meeting with him and his appropriate staff to discuss the CRP’s findings and to “find a satisfactory way for the agencies to work together to stop the harassment and dangerous conditions facing many tenants today.”