June 30, 2014
GOP's patchwork $29.1B budget speeds toward votes
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania state lawmakers are gone for the night after an unusual weekend session in the Capitol as Republicans try to advance an approximately $29.1 billion spending plan for the new fiscal year that's nearly here.
A preliminary Senate committee vote Sunday night set up floor votes on budget legislation Monday, the last day of the fiscal year.
The Republican-crafted budget plan calls for about $950 million more in spending, primarily for public schools, public employee pensions, health care for the poor and social safety-net programs.
It doesn't raise taxes, and instead cuts business taxes.
Democrats oppose it, saying it doesn't do enough for schools. They also say it's flimsily built on more than $2 billion in one-time items, including postponing bills, raiding off-budget programs and draining reserves to help paper over a massive shortfall in tax collections.
Crews contain land-based oil spill at Albany port
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Environmental clean-up crews have responded to an oil spill at the Port of Albany after 100 gallons of oil spilled out of a rail car.
Richard Hendrick, general manager at the port, said the spill was contained by Sunday afternoon and that no oil went into the Hudson River.
Hendrick says crews from the state Department of Environmental Control responded quickly to the incident.
Albany's river port has emerged as a major hub for rail and barge shipments of crude oil, prompting concerns about spills and fires from some residents and environmental groups.
Response crews held an oil spill drill at the port last month.
NY health officials urge mosquito bite precautions
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York state residents are being urged to avoid mosquito bites this summer now that health officials have found the season's first trace of West Nile Virus.
The state's Department of Health says the virus was confirmed in a mosquito sample from Rockland County last week.
Acting state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker says residents should cover up when outdoors, use insect repellent and eliminate sources of standing water, where mosquitoes breed.
There have been no reported human cases of the virus so far this year. Last year there were 33 human cases and no deaths. In 2012 there were 107 human cases that resulted in nine deaths.
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