News from the Associated Press - February 11, 2014

Associated Press
February 11, 2014

Panel: Extend phase-in of tougher NY Regents exams

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - New York education officials are planning to give high school students more time to meet the new Common Core learning standards.

A Board of Regents work group on Monday recommended making the class of 2022, not the class of 2017, the first group required to pass Common Core-aligned English and math exams at what are considered "college- and career-ready levels."

It's one of several recommendations made by the group tasked with improving the way New York is implementing the Common Core.

Education Commissioner John King says current high school students will be able to pass Common Core-aligned Regents exams with a score of 65, but the class of 2022 will be expected to get a 75 on the English language arts exam and an 80 on math.


Advocates for higher NYC minimum wage go to Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Advocates for allowing New York City officials to raise the minimum wage locally are heading to the state Capitol.

The advocates will be in Albany Tuesday, a day after Mayor Bill de Blasio said he planned to ask state lawmakers next week for the power to raise the minimum wage.

Labor unions including SEIU 1199 and the Working Families Party are members of a coalition starting a statewide campaign to raise the state minimum wage. Proponents say the cost of living is higher in New York City and many upstate areas, and wages should reflect that.

The state's minimum wage is $8 per hour and rises to $9 by 2016.

Republicans in Albany have traditionally been concerned that raising the minimum wage could raise prices and reduce employment.


NY builders head to Albany to urge law's reform

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Builders and business owners from across New York plan to gather in Albany to push Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers for changes in a law blamed for driving up the cost of every construction project in the state.

The Associated General Contractors of New York State says hundreds of advocates from various professions will gather Tuesday at the state Capitol to urge reform of New York's Scaffold Law.

The century-old law holds building owners and contractors liable for elevation-related injuries at construction sites, even if the worker is found to be at fault.

The contractors' trade group says the law adds considerable expenses to every private and public construction project in New York state. The organization has about 1,000 member contractors, subcontractors and others who bid for public and private large-scale construction projects.


NY health exchange insures thousands more

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The state's new health exchange reports nearly 697,000 New Yorkers have completed applications for insurance while more than 412,000 of them have now enrolled for specific coverage.

The health department says enrollment for individual and family coverage since October includes 251,306 New Yorkers in the 16 commercial and nonprofit insurers in the exchange and 160,915 in government-funded Medicaid.

Open enrollments continue through March for 2014 coverage at state-approved rates. Applicants with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for tax credits to help offset premium payments.

Another online exchange offers insurance for businesses with up to 50 employees.


NY launches online business filings to save money

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo says businesses in the state can now save time and money by filing their Certificates of Incorporation and Articles of Organization online.

The new online filing system allows the business filings to be processed in minutes rather than a week, and eliminates the need to pay an expedited processing fee.

Cuomo said on Monday that by streamlining the process, it will lure entrepreneurs to do business in the state and create more jobs.

The online filing system is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. thorough the Department of State's Division of Corporations website.

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