- New York officials announced plans to close six state prisons in March 2022, all of which are well under capacity as the state’s prison population has declined to 31,469. The closures are expected to save taxpayers $142 million, and officials say it will not result in layoffs as the workers will be transferred to other facilities or agencies.
- Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell introduced a bill to create a “correctional ombudsman” to provide oversight of Rikers Island.
- The City Council passed legislation to regulate and track data on the city’s so-called “body shops,” where labor brokers often connect recently released prisoners with limited employment options to low-wage, non-union construction jobs. The legislation will require these brokers to register with the city and provide written notice to workers about their rights and details about each job they are assigned to, including pay and how many hours they will work.
- Queens DA Melinda Katz moved to expunge 60 convictions, based on evidence provided by the Legal Aid Society that police officers had fabricated evidence.
- A group of ten state Senators, including NYC DSA-endorsed Jabari Brisport (D-Brooklyn) and Julia Salazar (D-Brooklyn), penned a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul requesting her to appoint a public interest lawyer to fill a vacancy on the NY Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.
- A pilot postal banking program in the Bronx yielded zero customers. Some in the New York Metro Area Postal Union believe the Baychester Station was intentionally chosen to undermine the program.
- The Attorney General’s office has released hours of transcripts from its interviews conducted with former Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of its sexual harassment investigation.
- New York City leaders are trading proposals for how to spend the infrastructure money recently passed by Congress.
- New York City has begun constructing The Living Breakwaters: eight huge rock piles off the southern tip of Staten Island to minimize the impact of wave erosion and rising sea levels. The $107 million project, which will also provide new marine habitats, will protect an area once devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
- The New York Gaming Commission issued temporary mobile sports betting licenses to nine of the largest companies in the business as the newly-legalized industry gears up for the Super Bowl, rather than going with small businesses. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli estimated that online betting could bring in $99 million in tax revenue in 2022.
- Zephyr Teachout has announced she will enter the race for New York State Attorney General, a role currently occupied by Letitia James, who is planning to challenge Kathy Hochul for the governor’s office. Teachout ran for the NY AG seat once before, in 2018, ultimately losing to the current AG James.
- Mid Hudson Valley DSA endorsed Sarahana Shrestha for NY State Assembly District 103, covering Ulster and Dutchess counties.
- There are currently about eight main contenders for the Council Speaker race, which will take place in January.
- Assembly Member Maritza Davila is calling for the resignation of Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn after Bichotte-Hermelyn’s husband sang a vulgar song, allegedly directed at Davila, at a party Zoom meeting.
- Chinese New York voters across the city seemed to shift towards the Republican Party in this month’s election.
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