Several months after New York officials finalized a plan to make the state’s fleet of nearly 50,000 school buses electric by 2035, 51 new bright yellow vehicles are now officially slated to hit New York City’s streets as early as next school year. The endeavor is being funded through a $18.5 million federal grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. And while the new electric buses will only account for about 1% of the city’s 5,000 school buses, officials say it’s an important first step toward rolling back the use of heavily polluting diesel fuel, which traditional school buses use in far larger amounts than regular cars. The 51 electric buses may only be the first too – more money could be allocated in the future, and the state still has the 2035 deadline to meet. Read on for more recent important news here.
All hands on deck
As the New York gubernatorial race officially hit the final stretch, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Lee Zeldin’s campaigning efforts intensified. In the final week and a half, Both candidates traversed across the state, held rally after rally where they urged New Yorkers to hit the ballot box, and attempted to enlist allies behind the scenes. While Hochul made appearances at events like the Brooklyn Democratic Party Gala and rallied with Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Adriano Espaillat in an attempt to increase Black and Latino enthusiasm, Zeldin drummed up support from several Brooklyn-based Orthodox Jewish groups, which could lead to thousands of additional votes. In a sign of how close the race seems to have gotten, the Democratic Governors Association made a rare entry into New York by forming an independent expenditure committee in hopes of boosting Hochul’s bid. A surge of high-profile political stars have also streamed into the state to support the candidates further illustrating New York’s status as a battleground state. While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin campaigned for Zeldin, touting his unprecedented success in the deep blue New York, former President Barack Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined their voices with Hochul.
Pay transparency’s rocky debut
Big news for literally anyone applying for a job in New York City: Employers are now legally required to include job postings under a new law that took effect Nov. 1. That means advertisements for jobs that are “publicized to a pool of potential applicants” must now include both the minimum and maximum amounts that employers are allowed to pay. City officials have touted the law as something that’ll bolster pay equity, thus correcting longstanding inequalities and discrimination – at least in theory. Less than a week into its rollout, many companies were circumventing the new rules by posting overly broad salary ranges, making it impossible to glean information on other employees’ salaries. While the law requires businesses to post “a good faith salary range” that an employer “honestly believes” they are willing to pay, enforcement will likely be tricky, and whether or not the city will crack down on the broad ranges remains to be seen.
Trump sues AG
In an attempt to shield records from the trust that owns the Trump Organization, former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against state Attorney General Letitia James, alleging that she’s engaging in a “war of intimidation and harassment” and that she’s abusing her power by investigating him. The lawsuit, which was filed in a Florida court on Nov. 2, follows James’ decision to file a $250 million civil lawsuit against Trump in September, which claimed that the former president falsely inflated his net worth to obtain loans for his family organization.
Absentee voting lives on
With early voting already underway and thousands of absentee ballots already distributed, a state appeals court sided with Democrats in two cases to uphold New York’s absentee voting ballot laws for the coming general election. In both cases – the first involving New York Republican and Conservative parties suing the state for “unconstitutional measures'' on how the state validates ballots, the second centering on whether people should continue to be allowed to vote with an absentee ballot if they are afraid of contradicting COVID-19 or other illness – the court unanimously shut them down due to the lawsuits’ timing. With the election less than a week away, thousands and thousands of absentee ballots have already been cast. Overturning the absentee ballot laws, the court wrote, would impose “impossible burdens” on election boards to carry out the election in “a timely and fair manner.”