NY Assembly passes $9 minimum wage, goes to Senate
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's Assembly has voted to increase the minimum wage to $9 an hour with automatic increases tied to inflation, putting pressure on Senate's Republicans who are seeking business tax cuts in a potential legislative deal.
The Assembly passed the bill 101-44 after four hours of debate Tuesday night. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate majority leaders are negotiating behind closed doors.
The minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour. Among the proposals being floated by legislative leaders is raising the wage to $8.50, then $8.75, then $9 over two or three years.
Cuomo had proposed an $8.75 wage but said he's open to negotiation.
Man accused of stabbing NY trooper arrested
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State police have arrested an 18-year-old man accused of stabbing a trooper patrolling downtown Albany's state government complex.
They say Eric Green was tracked down Tuesday at an Albany intersection.
Trooper Rodney Smith was working Sunday at the Empire State Plaza when he was approached by a man who said he was new in town and needed help. As Smith was checking his identity, the man stabbed him in the neck. Police say the man ran off with Smith's radio after unsuccessfully trying to also take his gun.
Green, who authorities say has no regular address, is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon. It wasn't initially known if he has a lawyer.
Smith was released from a hospital Tuesday.
Officer accidentally fires shot in NY high school
HIGHLAND, N.Y. (AP) A police officer on duty in an upstate New York high school has accidentally fired a shot from his gun.
The Highland Central School District says on its website that there were no staff or students nearby when Officer Sean McCutcheon's weapon went off in a hallway just after 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and nobody was hurt.
McCutcheon is a town of Lloyd officer assigned as a resource officer at the school in the Hudson Valley town of Highland.
Town Supervisor Paul Hansut tells the Poughkeepsie Journal McCutcheon was being questioned to determine what led to the gunshot.
Lloyd is in Ulster County, 65 miles south of Albany.
Hearing on utilities, storms set for Albany
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) A special state commission that's been gathering information about how utility companies have dealt with a series of disruptive storms is set to hold a hearing in Albany.
The Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response says the session Wednesday will begin at 6 p.m. at the University at Albany's Hall of Fame Room in the SEFCU Arena.
The meeting will cover Saratoga, Washington, Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady, Schoharie, Greene, Columbia, Rensselaer, and Albany counties
Anyone who can't testify in person can email comments to the commission' at comments(at)moreland.ny.gov.
The commission has already staged hearings in New York City, the Adirondacks and Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Ulster counties.
In addition to information about storm damage, the commission is reviewing the state's regulatory oversight of the utilities.
NY school marching band leads rally in Albany
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) The Cohoes High School marching band provided the soundtrack for a parade in Albany aimed at increasing state aid to schools.
Organizers of Tuesday's event say budget cuts threaten marching bands and other programs at schools throughout New York. Speakers called for adequate and equitable school funding.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal contains a 4.4 percent increase in spending for education, but advocates say that's not enough to offset previous cuts or the state's new tax cap, which limits what districts can raise in their communities.
Ryan Carson, a student from Unatego High School, says students today have fewer electives and extracurricular activities than older siblings.
Among those participating in Tuesday's "Parade for Public Education" were the Alliance for Quality Education, Educate NY Now and New York State United Teachers.
NYers invited to check for unclaimed money
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the state wants to return $12 billion in unclaimed money to its rightful owners.
Events are being held across the state this month where New Yorkers can find out if some of the money is theirs. Residents can also check for unclaimed funds online at www.osc.state.ny.us.
The first event is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at Westminster Community Charter School in Buffalo.
The unclaimed funds are from inactive accounts at banks, insurance companies, utilities and other businesses that are required by state law to surrender the unclaimed money to the state. If the money isn't claimed, it's used by the state's general fund.
NY: Technology catching driver license cheats
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State officials say a system using facial recognition technology to catch people trying to exploit driver licensing has led to 2,500 arrests and administrative action against 5,000 other people.
The Department of Motor Vehicles says the three-year-old system has triggered investigations of 13,000 possible identity fraud cases.
The system allows comparison of new and existing photographs on file with the DMV to detect people trying to get duplicate or new licenses, sometimes after they've been stripped of an original license after a crime like driving while intoxicated. Others were trying to create false identities or engage in fraud.
Among the arrests have been 100 people wanted for felonies.
NY grants another $25M for high-speed Internet
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York is investing another $25 million to provide high-speed Internet access to rural and urban areas that lack capacity.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says that will bring the total committed over the past couple of years through the Connect NY Broadband Grant Program to $56 million.
The money will go to 18 broadband projects that will build about 6,000 square miles of new infrastructure serving 153,000 homes, 8,000 businesses, and 400 community institutions.
Each of the projects will also include private sector investment.
The grants were announced Tuesday.
NY rewards 4 districts for efficiency savings
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) New York state is rewarding four school districts for finding a combined $21 million in efficiency savings.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo Tuesday held the districts up as models for the rest of the state, while promising them $12 million in competitive grants over the next three years.
Rochester is the biggest winner, receiving $4.5 million for identifying $9.5 million in savings. Newburgh and Kenmore-Tonawanda will each get $3.6 million for finding nearly $6 million in savings and Queensbury is being awarded $561,0 for finding $624,000 in savings.
Rochester did things like reorganize professional development and central office staff. Newburgh realigned bell times to do away with five buses, while Ken-Ton made health plan changes and reconfigured bus routes. Queensbury adopted an energy management program and also consolidated office staff.
(All stories copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)