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Hochul pledges to recuse herself from state matters involving husband's firm

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul
Office Of N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a series of steps to improve transparency in state government that overturn many of the policies practiced by her predecessor, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo, who resigned in August over a sexual harassment scandal, was criticized for not following the spirit of the state’s Freedom of Information Laws (FOIL), which require state officials and agencies to hand over documents requested by the public and the media.

Hochul said FOIL requests will no longer have to be vetted by the governor’s office. That practice led to long delays and denials of the requests. Hochul said the requests will instead be carried out expeditiously by state agencies.

The governor — whose husband, William Hochul, is executive vice president and general counsel for Delaware North — also issued new rules for recusals by top state officials to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. Hochul has signed documents saying she will recuse herself from any matter before state government that Delaware North is involved in, and she pledged not to use her position to benefit the company’s interests. Deleware North spent over $360,000 lobbying the Legislture in 2021, according to the website Open Secrets.

The governor also followed through on a previous promise to require live ethics training for all state employees as soon as they are hired, with a refresher course to be taken every three years, or every two years for workers in the governor’s office.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.