Government
5:11 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Turmoil In Assembly Leads To Calls For Reform

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Schenectady).
Credit assemblymanangelosantabarbara / flickr

The maneuvering to be the next speaker of the New York State Assembly is going on largely behind the scenes, and government reform groups say that’s the wrong way to begin a new era in what’s been called the "people’s house." They asked the announced candidates to commit to an open process--and want an answer before the weekend.

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Government
10:26 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Assembly Back To Budget Hearings But Campaign To Replace Silver Is Well Underway

Democratic Assemblyman Keith Wright (r) of Manhattan.
Credit azipaybarah / flickr

The legislature continued about its business in Albany on Wednesday, despite the leadership crisis in the Assembly. Lawmakers held the first in a series of public budget hearings. Meanwhile, several Assemblymembers officially declared their candidacy to succeed Speaker Sheldon Silver, who will leave the post on Monday.

The first of the legislature’s 2015 hearings on Gov. Cuomo’s budget proposal began routinely. The topic was the environmental budget, and Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chair Denny Farrell introduced the Democratic members who were present.

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Environment
10:20 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Attendance Rises At NYS Parks

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 6:15 am

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State officials say attendance at New York state parks and historic sites hit 62 million in 2014, a 3-percent increase over the previous year.


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Education
8:14 am
Thu January 29, 2015

New York Education Group Wants Budget Aid Figures Released

Credit pscf11 / flickr

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - A group representing school business officials, parents and teachers says Gov. Andrew Cuomo should let school districts know how much aid to expect next year so they can begin putting together their budgets.

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Fracking
8:11 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Wolf To Sign Order Restoring Ban On New Drilling Leases In State Parks

Pennsylvania's Loyalsock State Forest.
Credit Nicholas_T / flickr

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Tom Wolf is poised to sign an executive order restoring a moratorium on new natural-gas drilling leases on Pennsylvania's state parks and forests.
 
Wolf's office says he'll sign the order Thursday at Benjamin Rush State Park in Philadelphia.
 
It will supersede an order former Gov. Tom Corbett signed in May and restore the ban on new drilling leases that former Gov. Ed Rendell implemented in 2010.
 

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Economy
9:54 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

State Seeks 'Transformational' Change With Economic Aid Contest

Binghamton Mayor Richard David (R) at today's meeting of the Regional Economic Development Council.
Credit Bret Jaspers / WSKG

Local officials learned more about how to win a half billion dollars in economic development aid in a meeting with state officials Wednesday. The contest would make seven upstate regions vie for three awards of $500 million each. Governor Cuomo first announced the plan two weeks ago and hired Richard Tobe of Erie County to lead it. He told members of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council that they don’t just want a laundry list of projects that need funding. He said they are looking for an "argument." 

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Energy & Environment
7:15 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

New York Ends 40 Year Ban, Issues Rules For LNG Storage

Credit Fletcher6 / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time since the 1970s, New York State will issue permits for new liquefied natural gas storage facilities. The new regulations will require a permit for every new facility, with each one capped at 70,000 gallons.

That’s enough to fill six or seven fuel tankers, says Russ Haven of the New York Public Interest Research Group. Haven says capping them at a small size is a good way to keep out heavy industrialization, but the limit can be removed after 5 years.

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Government
5:39 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Broome County Executive Debbie Preston Vetoes Pay Raise Bill

Credit artbybernadette / Flickr

Broome County Executive Debbie Preston is vetoing a measure that would have given county officials – including her own office - a pay raise anytime the largest union in the county negotiates one. 

Many residents lambasted the measure calling it a conflict of interest since the county executive’s office negotiates the union contract.

Gerald Benjamin is a political science professor at SUNY New Paltz and has worked closely with local governments.

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Economy
10:09 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Unemployment Rate Declines In Binghamton Region

Credit Elle Rae_ / flickr

Preliminary state and local jobs data released today by the New York State Department of Labor showed the unemployment rate in the Binghamton area to be to 6.1 percent, a drop of .8 percent since the same time last year. 

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Government
8:14 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Silver Will Leave Post As Speaker On Monday

New York Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle (D-Rochester).
Credit Karen DeWitt

Sheldon Silver will end his long reign as speaker of the New York State Assembly on Monday, according to Democratic members of the Assembly. They also announced that they’ll hold a new election for speaker on February 10. After two long days of closed-door meetings--and as Assembly Democrats reacted to Silver’s arrest on corruption charges--the Democrats now say Silver will leave his post on Monday.

But Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, who will serve as interim speaker for about a week, was cryptic when describing how the speaker will actually exit. “There will be a vacancy in the office of speaker,” Morelle said repeatedly.

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