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News stories tagged with "legislature"

Congressman Bill Owens: "Cut, Cap and Balance" a "waste of time"

Lawmakers are voting today on a Republican measure to increase the government's borrowing limit and maintain America's "Triple A" credit rating. The House's GOP majority is backing a "cut, cap and balance" plan that would allow the U.S. to borrow some $2.4 trillion.

But first, politicians must agree to big spending cuts that will go into effect almost immediately. Republicans also want a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget. North Country Congressman Bill Owens, a Democrat, says he won't support the plan. He spoke with Chris Morris.  Go to full article
Todd and Michelle Asselin raise free range livestock and work day jobs.
Todd and Michelle Asselin raise free range livestock and work day jobs.

Farmers Under 40: Big and Small, We Need 'Em All

There's no doubt farming's a volatile industry. With grain and gas prices constantly fluctuating, and more and more consumers searching for low prices, it's no wonder the number of farms has dropped.

The key to farming since the 1970s has been to go big with a few cash crops, search out efficiency, utilize technology, and produce more from each acre.

Some young farmers want to do it their own way. They want to stay small, avoid mainstream distribution, and maybe grow organic. These new farmers face different challenges from their traditional predecessors, but they can't avoid the economics.  Go to full article
Let's see how it works for a few years... before we start lopping away pieces of it.

Cuomo vetoes bill to allow schools to borrow against pension funds

Governor Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would have allowed school districts to borrow up to $1 billion dollars against the worth of their pension funds, saying the bill would be fiscally irresponsible and reckless, and would undo much of what Cuomo's tried to do with his 2% property tax cap. Karen DeWitt has the details.  Go to full article

Little: change in prisoner count could cut district numbers

New York lawmakers have begun the process of reshaping electoral districts following last year's census. Last week, a redistricting task force announced it would ignore a law requiring prison inmates to be counted at their last known address.

That angered civil rights advocates, who argue home districts deserve credit for the prisoners, for electoral representation as well as state aid and services that depend on population. But the change worries North Country representatives whose districts have long counted prisoners where they're incarcerated.

The law passed in 2010 when Democrats controlled both legislative houses and the governor's mansion. The measure has since been challenged in court by nine Republican state senators. Betty Little of Queensbury is a plaintiff in that lawsuit. She isn't commenting on the suit, but she told Chris Morris the loss to her district would be significant, 9,000 to 10,000 people.  Go to full article

Redistricting begins, amid controversy

Albany lawmakers are starting work on redistricting - drawing new electoral district lines to reflect population changes found by the last Census.

Traditionally, that's a highly political process driven by the major parties. Called "gerrymandering" -- it's held responsible for insuring long-held incumbencies in the state Senate and Assembly, and Congress.

Karen Dewitt has this report on the push to find a new, nonpartisan way to draw the districts.  Go to full article
New York State district map, nysenate.gov
New York State district map, nysenate.gov

New districts won't change prisoner count, task force says

Leaders of a legislative task force on redistricting say they won't be able to count state prison inmates as residing in their home districts, because of an ongoing lawsuit.

Karen DeWitt has more from Albany:  Go to full article

Governor signs tax cap, again

Governor Andrew Cuomo has been traveling the state, holding ceremonial bill signings for his property tax cap. The governor was in Buffalo yesterday and will be in Rochester today.

But not everyone thinks the cap is a good idea, and the state's largest teachers union predicts the measure will backfire. Karen DeWitt has more.  Go to full article
In this case, Senate inaction has put that money at risk.

Health care advocates warn New York could lose millions

The New York State legislature left town without implementing changes required under the federal health care legislation. Advocates warn that failure could cost the state millions of dollars in federal funds.  Go to full article
Marie and Louise Tyo
Marie and Louise Tyo

Same-sex marriage in New York an important stepping stone, says one Potsdam couple

On Friday night, New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. And Potsdam couple Louise and Marie Tyo were watching.

Marie and Louise have been together for fifteen years, and they have a daughter. They got married in Canada a few years ago, and during the Patterson administration New York began recognizing marriages from all states and countries.

So Louise and Marie are legally married in New York already, but as far as they're concerned the passage of gay marriage in their home state is a huge symbolic victory and a stop on the road to federal recognition of their marriage.

Nora Flaherty spoke with Louise and Marie Tyo.  Go to full article
High-speed Internet in St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, according to New York state
High-speed Internet in St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, according to New York state

U.S. House cuts could stop expansion of rural broadband Internet

The annual Agriculture Appropriations Act passed by the U.S. House last week made sweeping cuts to programs ranging from infant nutrition to genetically engineered salmon.

Thanks to an amendment sponsored by Rep. Bill Owens, it still includes some funding for expansion of broadband Internet to rural areas. The Owens amendment saved $6 million.

That's still a significant cut from the original $22 million and even the reduced allocation is subject to approval by the U.S. Senate.

Either way, many rural residents will be left with the much slower dial-up Internet.

Slic Network Solutions is a Potsdam-based Internet provider. The Company has been using funding from last year's appropriations bill to expand high-speed access along dozens of rural North Country roads. That money isn't affected by the latest cuts.

Slic's President, Phil Wagschal, told Steve Knight that's OK for now, but in the long-term, more government help is vital.  Go to full article

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