Local News for Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Lavine, Myrick Say County Ethics Chair Should Step Down

Disputes between the Tompkins County Ethics Board and the City of Ithaca continue. According to the Ithaca Voice, in December former Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick and current City Attorney Ari Lavine called for the County ethics committee chair Rich John to resign. The committee is currently investigating complaints brought by alderperson Cynthia Brock regarding the Reimagining Public Safety Initiative. Newly uncovered emails between John and Brock show that he heavily edited an Op-Ed she published before bringing the complaints. Myrick and Lavine say that amounts to collusion on the ethics complaint that Brock later filed. John denies having known Brock would file the complaint.

Judge Rules Against Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers

A state Supreme Court judge has struck down the statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all healthcare workers. Judge Gerard Neri sided with the group that brought the suit, calling the mandate “null, void, and of no effect.” Ithaca attorney, Sujata Gibson brought the case on behalf of Medical Professionals for Informed Consent. Neri’s ruling states the Department of Health did not have authority to impose the mandate, and added it could only come from the state legislature. WWNY in Watertown reports that the Health Department says it “strongly disagrees” with the judge’s decision and is exploring its options.

Governor Hochul Proposes New Bail Laws

In Governor Hochul’s State of the State address last Tuesday, she proposed amending state bail law to make it easier for judges to keep alleged perpetrators in jail before trial. 2019 reforms to bail laws were intended to change the cash bail system to reduce discrimination based on people’s ability to pay bail.  According to the Times Union, Republicans in the legislature support the governor’s proposal. Public defenders joined progressives in criticizing it. They argue, eliminating the “least restrictive means” standard encoded in the 2019 reforms violates both the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent.

Keep up to date on local news. Follow us wherever you get your podcasts.