Vermont Senate approves amended death bill. Talks begin to bring Ontario teachers back for after-school activities.
OSHA investigating crane collapse in upstate NY
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) Federal authorities say they're investigating the collapse of a construction crane in the middle of the downtown business and entertainment district in Saratoga Springs.
No one was injured when the crane toppled over Tuesday afternoon at a hotel construction site on Lake Avenue. The top of the crane crushed a chain-link fence bordering the vacant property, located next door to a popular Irish pub and across the street from a hotel.
The crane fell within view of the city's nearby police and fire stations, but officials say the accident wasn't reported to either department.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration say the agency's Albany office is investigating the accident to determine if there were any violations of workplace safety regulations.
The construction company says a lever malfunction caused the crane to tip over.
NY ethics board takes action in Legislature case
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's state ethics board says it has completed a report, but won't confirm it involves sexual harassment allegations against Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics also won't say what's in the report.
The commission presented its findings Wednesday to the Legislative Ethics Committee. The committee must make the report public within 45 days.
The ethics commission has made it clear in cryptic comments in public meetings that it's investigating the sexual harassment complaints against Lopez, who denies any wrongdoing.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver approved a $103,000 settlement for two women staffers to end one set of complaints against Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat. The commission could act on that settlement, too.
Lawmakers: Make Tubman Home a National Park
AUBURN, N.Y. (AP) There's a fresh effort to make the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn a National Historical Park.
U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a bill with Maryland's senators that would bestow the honor on the central New York site. The House sponsor is Rep. Dan Maffei.
The bill also would create the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland.
Tubman led hundreds of slaves to freedom as part of the Underground Railroad. She is buried in Auburn.
NY exhibits draft of Washington's Farewell Address
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) A State Museum exhibit highlighting New York residents who became president is featuring the original draft of George Washington's Farewell Address, written in his own hand.
The special three-day, Presidents Weekend exhibit at the downtown Albany museum opens Friday and runs through Sunday.
The exhibit honors Washington, the nation's first president, as well as political leaders who lived in New York and rose to the presidency, including Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Chester A. Arthur, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, and Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt.
Washington published his Farewell Address in September 1796 after serving two terms as president and declining the opportunity to run for a third. New York state's original draft of the document was saved from the fire that heavily damaged the state Capitol in 1911.
Vermont Senate approves amended death bill
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) A sharply divided Vermont Senate has voted to advance a much-changed bill allowing doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients.
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott broke a tie in favor of an amendment offered by Sens. Peter Galbraith and Robert Hartwell that strayed far from the original bill, but set up immunity for doctors and other caregivers involved in providing lethal medications to terminally ill patients who ask for it.
Galbraith argued that his amendment would accomplish the same goals that the underlying bill would, while not containing some provisions that drew the ire of opponents.
Backers of the underlying bill argued that the original version contained many more safeguards against possible abuses.
The bill comes up for final Senate action on Thursday, before moving to the House.
Talks begin to bring Ontario teachers back for after-school activities
TORONTO Premier Kathleen Wynne says the talks have begun in an effort to bring back extracurricular activities in public schools. Government officials met yesterday with school board representatives and the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario. Wynne says there will be more talks with secondary school union representatives soon.
Education Minister Liz Sandals wouldn't say what the teachers want in exchange for the return of the after-school activities. Extracurriculars ground to a halt in the labour battle with the province over new contracts.
The unions have said teachers could withdraw from voluntary tasks for two years in protest of a controversial anti-strike law brought in by the Liberals. Sandals says teachers want to resume extracurriculars and she's hopeful that the matter will be resolved. But she says things won't change overnight.
(The Canadian Press) (from Broadcast News Ltd.)
(All stories copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)