William Blake has been held in solitary confinement at Elmira Correctional Facility in New York State for nearly 26 years, after he murdered a Sheriff's Deputy and wounded another in a failed escape attempt back in 1987. Sentenced to 77 years to life, he will be eligible for parole in 2064. But Blake has no chance of ever leaving prison alive, and almost no chance of ever leaving solitary — a fate he considers "a sentence worse than death." (Via) [more inside]
Early this morning, the law that legalized Same-Sex Marriage in New York State went into effect, with many couples choosing to tie the knot at the stroke of midnight. In New York City, the city clerk will be working overtime to process marriage licenses for the 823 same-sex couples expected to wed there today, having adding extra capacity to ensure that all couples who signed up in advance would not be turned away. LGBT weddings are expected to bring an additional $155 million in tourism revenues into the state over the next 12 months, and governor Andrew Cuomo's approval ratings are currently the highest of any US state governor following the passage of the bill.
New York State Congressman Anthony Weiner (D) did an IAMA (I Am A Democrat Who Fights) Q and A on reddit last week. While he answered many questions, he responded to the top five most popular questions questions in video form. [more inside]
The Shinnecocks have been a fixture in New York State for centuries — their beads became the wampum Dutch settlers used as money in the colonies — but the US Department of Interior never included them on its official list of Native American tribes. That all changed on June 14th. Almost four centuries since their first contact with Europeans and after a 32-year court battle, the 1,300 member impoverished Shinnecock Native American Nation was formally recognised by the US federal government. The tribe's tiny, 750-acre reservation in the middle of the Hamptons (home and summer playground to some the country's wealthiest Americans,) is now a semi-sovereign nation, allowing them to apply for Federal funding to help them build schools, health centers and to set up their own police force, as well as the right to open a casino. [more inside]
New York State is now poised to pass the nation's first laws mandating that domestic workers receive overtime pay, vacation and sick days and the right to a weekly day of rest. The legislation signed by the state Senate yesterday is based in part on the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which was conceived and lobbied for by Domestic Workers United, who estimate there are over 200,000 nannies, caregivers, and housekeepers in the New York Metropolitan area. Domestic Workers are currently exempt from most US employment laws and as a result remain unprotected by basic workplace guarantees that are given to most employees. [more inside]