News from the Associated Press - April 15, 2014

Associated Press
April 15, 2014

Onondaga Indian Nation plans to file petition

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Onondaga Indian Nation is asking the international community to charge the United States with human rights violations in hopes of getting help with a land claim. The nation says it plans to file a petition at the Organization of American States tomorrow. It contends that about 4,000 square miles in upstate New York was taken illegally through bogus treaties.

 

NY gets final terms for $8B Medicaid waiver

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York and federal officials report final agreement allowing the state to reinvest $8 billion in Medicaid savings to support hospital overhauls and expand primary medical care over the next five years.

The goal of the Medicaid waiver is to reduce avoidable hospital use by 25 percent while helping financially struggling hospitals shift to more primary and outpatient care.

The Department of Health and Human Services says New York will have to meet ongoing milestones for funding.

It includes $500 million for interim subsidies and $6.42 billion as incentives for overhauls.

Another $1.08 billion is for Medicaid improvements like "health homes" for complicated patients as well as long-term and behavioral care.

More than 5 million of New York's 19 million people are enrolled in state and federally funded Medicaid.

 

Cuomo taps Astorino rival for NY elections board

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has picked a former rival of his Republican opponent to serve on New York's Board of Elections.

Cuomo's office said Monday that the Democratic governor tapped former Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano.

Current County Executive Rob Astorino defeated Spano in 2009 and is challenging Cuomo in this year's governor's race.

An Astorino spokeswoman says Spano should recuse himself if something related to the campaign comes before the board.

The board enforces election laws, oversees campaign finance rules and investigates election-related complaints.

Spano, a Democrat, says he would consider recusing himself if something concerning Astorino comes up, but says it would depend on the circumstances.

Spano says he gets along well with Astorino — though he hopes he loses.

 

$380M clean-up plan for Niagara River announced

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Sewer Authority will spend $380 million over the next 20 years to reduce the amount of untreated sewage and runoff going into the Niagara River.

The work will involve sewage plant upgrades and the installation of rain gardens, pervious pavements and other techniques designed to absorb storm water and prevent it from overwhelming the sewer system.

Water from downpours or snowmelt can now exceed the sewer system's capabilities. Some 1.75 billion gallons of untreated sewage and runoff enter the Niagara River and its tributaries each year.

The effort was announced Monday by the EPA, which had required the local sewer authority to create a plan to reduce pollution.

 

NY limiting acceptance of welfare debit cards

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's new budget contains amendments to a social services law intended to keep welfare recipients from spending government money on alcohol, gambling or strippers.

The measure, scheduled to take effect at the end of May, prohibits gaming facilities, liquor stores, adult entertainment venues and some other retail outlets from accepting electronic benefit transfers from public assistance recipients.

The law already prohibits them from cashing welfare checks.

The amendments set a $50 penalty for a first offense at a liquor store or adult venue selling alcohol and possible liquor license suspension for a second offense.

For gaming establishments, the first violation carries a fine up to $100, rising to $500 for a second offense and a possible misdemeanor and $1,000 fine for subsequent violations.

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