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News stories tagged with "albany"

Bid renewed to bar lobbyists from NY pensions

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Two New York legislators are renewing their bid to remove employees of municipal trade associations from the state pension system for government workers after efforts failed to do it through the new state budget.

Their bills would prohibit the private-sector staff of the New York State Association of Counties and the New York Conference of Mayors from the system.  Go to full article
Neon sign at a medical marijuana dispensary in California. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/caveman_92223/3410000930/in/set-72157624415963106">Chuck Coker</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Neon sign at a medical marijuana dispensary in California. Photo: Chuck Coker, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Medical marijuana: What's coming for NYS?

Now that the state budget is done, the focus at the Capitol shifts to some other priorities, including whether to allow medical marijuana. Advocates came to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers, but the bill is getting bogged down over political skirmishes.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver caused a bit of a stir when he seemed to say that a bill to legalize medical marijuana might be dead for the year, saying he does not think "it has a future" in the 2014 session.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cindy47452/106023919/">Cindy Seigle</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Cindy Seigle, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Brush burning banned in some towns until May 14

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State environmental regulators are reminding New Yorkers that residential brush burning is prohibited in towns with less than 20,000 residents until May 14 because of increased risk of fires during spring months.

The Department of Environmental Conservation said Tuesday wildfires can start and spread due to open burning of debris and dried out foliage. The agency said that open burning of debris is the largest cause of wildfire in the state.  Go to full article
Educators  and community leaders talk about how to collaborate. Photo: Sarah Harris
Educators and community leaders talk about how to collaborate. Photo: Sarah Harris

Will community partnerships save North Country schools?

The 2014-2015 New York State budget grants an additional $1.1 billion to schools. It sounds like a lot of money.

But many North Country schools are still struggling financially. They're not getting the state aid they need. They've cut staff and classes. And next year, many schools still have will have to dip into their fund balances to pay for programs. Yesterday at St. Lawrence University, educators and community leaders came together at an annual gathering called the North Country Symposium. This year, they talked about how to keep schools and the economy strong.  Go to full article
NYSUT's new officers: Martin Messner, Secretary-Treasurer; Catalina Fortino, Vice President; Karen Magee, President; Andrew Pallotta, Executive Vice President; Paul Pecorale, Vice President. Photo: <a href="www.nysut.org/news/2014/april/first-woman-to-head-nysut-promises-to-be-a-strong-voice-for-change">NYSUT Media Relations</a>
NYSUT's new officers: Martin Messner, Secretary-Treasurer; Catalina Fortino, Vice President; Karen Magee, President; Andrew Pallotta, Executive Vice President; Paul Pecorale, Vice President. Photo: NYSUT Media Relations

New teachers' union president wants more clout for group

There's a big change at state's largest teacher's union, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), as members elected new leadership.

The union's new president, Karen Magee, is the first woman to run the organization. The shakeup comes over concerns with the state's flawed implementation of the new Common Core learning standards. Teachers are complaining that they were not adequately prepared to teach to the new standards, and that the test results should not be used to evaluate their performance.  Go to full article

DiNapoli: I won't be "sacrificial lamb" on campaign finance reform

New York state comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he won't be participating in a new pilot public campaign finance program agreed to in the state budget, and government reform groups say, they don't blame him.

Saying he won't be a "convenient sacrificial lamb", DiNapoli says he won't opt in to a test system for public campaign finance that applies only to his office, and would use money from the comptroller's unclaimed funds to pay for it.  Go to full article
This graph shows the rise in lobbying between 1992 and 2013. Image: JCOPE annual report
This graph shows the rise in lobbying between 1992 and 2013. Image: JCOPE annual report

More than $200 million spent on NYS lobbying, report finds

A new record has been reached in spending on lobbying in New York, according to a report released by the state's ethics commission. It finds over $200 million was spent, mostly by a few top interests, to try to influence government and policy in Albany.

The report, by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, finds $210 million was spent by lobbyists to mostly influence state and local governments. That's nearly $1 million for each of the 213 Senators and Assemblymembers.  Go to full article
Dr. Kristen Esterberg will become the new president of SUNY Potsdam, and Dr. Zvi Szafran will take over at SUNY Canton. Photos via <a href="http://readme.readmedia.com/SUNY-Board-of-Trustees-Appoints-Dr-Kristin-Esterberg-as-President-of-SUNY-Potsdam/8400638?utm_source=newswire&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=media_pr_emails">SUNY Potsdam</a> and <a href="http://educate.spsu.edu/zszafran/">Southern Polytechnic State University</a>.
Dr. Kristen Esterberg will become the new president of SUNY Potsdam, and Dr. Zvi Szafran will take over at SUNY Canton. Photos via SUNY Potsdam and Southern Polytechnic State University.

SUNY Potsdam, Canton each get their own president

Canton and Potsdam's state universities each got new presidents Thursday.

In a press release, the State University of New York's Board of Trustees announced that Kristen Esterberg will be the 16th president of SUNY Potsdam. She'll be the first woman to lead the college.

Esterberg is currently the provost and academic vice president at Salem State University, in Massachusetts.  Go to full article

NY ethics panel: $210M spent lobbying last year

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's ethics commission reports $210 million was spent on state and local lobbying last year.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, in its 2013 annual report, says its enforcement cases resulted in more than $450,000 in penalties.  Go to full article

NY out-of-network insurance coverage mandated

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York has decided that starting next year, patients will be protected against surprise out-of-network medical bills that have pushed some toward personal bankruptcy.

The measure, signed into law this week, is scheduled to take effect next April 1.  Go to full article

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