Morning News Brief

Written by on September 1, 2021

Now that a statewide universal masking mandate is in place for all persons in school buildings, a requirement that all teachers and staff be fully vaccinated could be next. Paul Pettit, public health director for Genesee and Orleans counties, said he has heard that Gov. Kathy Hochul is advocating for that to happen, just as she did in instructing the New York State Department of Health to issue the mask mandate — even after many school districts had developed their own reopening plans based on information that there would be no state guidance. To prepare for this situation, Pettit said the local health department is working with schools on testing. He admitted that the changing directives pertaining to masks in schools over the past three weeks “has been confusing.”

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the theft of “Butterscotch” the decorative cow from a residence in the Town of Elba.  Anyone with information regarding the theft or knowledge of “Butterscotch’s” location is being asked to contact the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

New York’s health benefit costs increased faster than the national average in 2020, leaving it with the second-least affordable coverage in the U.S. The state’s average total cost for employee-sponsored individual coverage was $8,177 and for family coverage was $23,381, according to an annual survey by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that Adrienne Harris has been nominated to lead the New York State Department of Financial Services as its next Superintendent. Formerly a top economic advisor to President Obama, Ms. Harris will become the state’s top financial regulator tasked with overseeing the banking and insurance industries and their compliance with state laws as New York works to rebuild its economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, if confirmed by the Senate.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday she will work with localities, the state health department, and other health agencies to put in place a mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing program for unvaccinated public and charter school employees. The governor made the announcement from University of Buffalo Tuesday where she hosted a COVID-19 briefing to discuss the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts. Gov. Hochul said she won’t be micro-managing from the governor’s office, but will be giving guidance.

State officials have announced that applications are now open for the next New York State Police Trooper Entrance Exam. The exam, which will be administered from January through April of 2022, will be given online at authorized testing centers for the first time in State Police history, part of an effort to reportedly make the exam more accessible to the general public.

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that Adrienne Harris has been nominated to lead the New York State Department of Financial Services as its next Superintendent. Formerly a top economic advisor to President Obama, Ms. Harris will become the state’s top financial regulator tasked with overseeing the banking and insurance industries and their compliance with state laws as New York works to rebuild its economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, if confirmed by the Senate.

***The State Legislature will be back in session today, looking to extend New York’s eviction moratorium to Jan. 15. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced an extraordinary session for the Legislature Tuesday, aimed at also addressing the state’s cannabis program and the Open Meetings Law.

Plans continue to evolve for the projected new Bills stadium. On Tuesday, John Wawrow of the Associated Press reported the team is proposing Buffalo’s new stadium to hold about 60,000 seats, which is more than 10,000 seats less than what’s currently in Highmark Stadium. The team’s current lease is set to expire during the Summer of 2023, but pending approval for a new stadium the state and county are expected to extend that timeline.


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