Morning News Brief
Written by Michael Baldwin on April 28, 2021
Twenty-three new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Genesee County. Twenty-eight of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. In Orleans County, ten new cases have been confirmed. Two of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Meanwhile, Wyoming County health officials report seven new cases.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined Senate colleagues to reintroduce the Medicare at 50 Act, legislation to give New Yorkers between the ages of 50 and 64 years old the option of buying into Medicare. As of July 2020, nearly 3.7 million people aged 65 and older were covered by Medicare in New York. Lowering the Medicare participation age to 50 would help 63 million uninsured and under-insured Americans — including those approaching retirement, or those facing mandatory retirement or layoffs — afford their health care costs. Additionally, the bill would strengthen the Medicare program and lower Medicare costs for older Americans.
State Senator Tom O’Mara has joined the growing chorus of opposition to legislation under consideration that could raise the state’s gas tax by 55 cents. The legislation, known as the “Climate and Community Investment Act,” calls for accelerated state-level actions to achieve climate change policies. It includes a new 55-cents-per-gallon gas tax and increased taxes on heating oil, propane, and natural gas, which is estimated to increase home heating fuel costs by 26%. New Yorkers already pay the third-highest gas taxes in America at 42.7-cents-per-gallon on gasoline and 43.43-cents-per-gallon on diesel. In a statement, the senator said the ink on the new state budget is barely dry and the Democrats are already eyeing their next tax hike opportunities.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that beginning Thursday, all New York State mass vaccination sites will be Open to eligible New Yorkers for walk-in vaccination on a first come first serve basis for all. The walk-in appointments are reserved for first doses only with second doses to be scheduled automatically after administration of the initial shot. The Governor also announced the mass vaccination site located at 10 Gannett Drive in Johnson City will move inside the building at the same address. The move will allow for increased capacity and will be less impacted by any adverse weather conditions.
Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced some additions to the upcoming Rockin’ the Downs Summer Concert Series. Now kicking off the series on Friday June 11th is Almost Queen. Donning genuine costumes, Almost Queen recaptures the live energy and precision that is the Queen experience. Closing the Summer Concert Series now on Aug. 27th will be American rock band The Spin Doctors, who will be making their Batavia Downs debut.
The New York State Senate plans to vote Wednesday to repeal several executive orders issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the orders being repealed is a mandate that patrons at bars and restaurants order food with the purchase of alcohol. In a released issued Tuesday, state senate Democrats said they plan to vote to reverse the restrictions as a way to get back toward “a sense of normalcy” and “enhance the quality of life for volunteers, patrons, and business owners.”