News from the Associated Press - June 4, 2014

Associated Press
June 4, 2014

Head of NY agency for the disabled resigns

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The head of the state agency responsible for care and services for 126,000 disabled New Yorkers has resigned.

Laurie Kelley, former executive director of Ulster-Greene ARC, was named acting commissioner of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last July.

A statement from the state agency doesn't say why she's leaving, only that the agency continues its commitment to supporting the disabled and wishes Kelley well.

The agency says executive deputy commissioner Kerry Delaney will serve as acting commissioner.

Kelley got the post when Commissioner Courtney Burke was named the Cuomo administration's deputy secretary for health.

The agency has faced criticism and lawsuits over treatment of some clients in residential care.

It reported more than 60,000 abuse allegations and 23,000 serious reportable incidents from 2008 to 2012.


Senate panel OKs bills to eliminate some top posts

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania state senators are signaling support for amending the constitution to eliminate some top state government offices, including lieutenant governor and two Supreme Court justices.

Two bills that passed the Senate State Government Committee on Tuesday would affect all three branches of government.

Under them, the House would shrink from 203 to 153 seats while the Senate would shrink from 50 to 45 seats. Eliminating the post of lieutenant governor would put the Senate president pro tempore in line to temporarily succeed a governor who dies or otherwise vacates the post.

Eliminating two of the state's seven Supreme Court justices would leave five in place. Each proposal faces a multi-year path in the Legislature before going to voters in a statewide referendum no sooner than 2015.


GMO label bill passes another hurdle in New York

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A proposal to require labels on food products containing ingredients from genetically modified crops is inching closer to a vote in the New York Legislature.

The labeling legislation was endorsed Tuesday by the state Assembly's Committee on Codes, a key panel that often signs off on bills before they proceed to a vote of the full House.

Proponents say labels would inform consumers. Many agricultural and food companies disagree, noting that there's no evidence to suggest genetically engineered food is harmful.

The bill would apply to genetically modified fruits and vegetables and products containing ingredients like oil or sugar that are derived from genetically engineered crops.

Vermont has already adopted a labeling law. Maine and Connecticut have too, but their requirements won't take effect until other states follow suit.

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