News from the Associated Press - March 14, 2014

Associated Press
March 14, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Lawmakers in the state Senate worked past midnight to finalize the chamber's budget resolution, two days after the Assembly approved its spending proposal. Talks on the Senate's budget resolution had been going on for days and they finally agreed on a spending plan early this morning. The one-house proposals from the Senate and Assembly represent what the majorities want to see in the budget due April 1. Leaders in both chambers will now begin negotiating with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on a final budget plan.

Klein: NY Senate budget plan without Dream Act

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State Senate co-leader Jeff Klein says the Dream Act is not in the Senate majority coalition's budget proposal, a fiscal plan that outlines the chamber's position during state budget negotiations.

Klein, co-sponsor of the bill, says it "seems to have some trouble with votes." The majority coalition includes Republicans and Klein's small group of breakaway Democrats.

Klein says he plans to push for a separate Senate floor vote on the bill.
The Dream Act would allow students in the country illegally to access state tuition assistance programs.

Klein says Thursday afternoon he is confident funding for universal pre-Kindergarten and some language about public campaign financing will be in his chamber's budget resolution although negotiations are ongoing.

Senate officials say members are expected to vote on the resolution Thursday afternoon.

Developers to detail proposal for Catskills casino

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Developers who hope to build a $750 million casino resort on the site of an old Catskills hotel say the project would create thousands of jobs.

Kansas City, Mo.-based EPR Properties and the operators of the Monticello Casino and Raceway on Thursday are unveiling details of their plans for the site of the old Concord Hotel, which is in Sullivan County about 90 miles northwest of New York City.

They will be among the applicants for one of four casino licenses state regulators will grant this year in upstate New York. Voters in November passed a state constitutional amendment allowing the expansion of Las Vegas-style casinos beyond Indian-owned land.

Developers claim that the resort will employ 2,200 full- and part-time workers. They'll call the hotel Adelaar, which is the Dutch word for eagle.

Schneiderman: New agreements on background checks

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says four of the nation's largest agencies providing background checks have agreed not to automatically disqualify applicants with criminal convictions.

Instead, they will defer hiring decisions to employers to individually consider candidates.

Schneiderman says that comports with New York state laws that prohibit automatic disqualification based on criminal history.

The announced agreements are with HireRight, First Advantage, General Information Services and Sterling Infosystems.

Employers are required by state law to consider the nature and gravity of an applicant's criminal conviction, how long ago it happened, and its bearing if any on a job's responsibilities.

Hanger exits Democratic race for Pa. governor

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Democratic race for Pennsylvania governor is down to five candidates following John Hanger's announcement that he is dropping out.

At a Capitol news conference Thursday, Hanger said York businessman Tom Wolf's highly effective TV advertising has made him the clear front-runner. Hanger said it left his campaign with "no path to victory."

Still, Hanger said his candidacy had helped focus the issues in the Democratic candidates' primary campaign, particularly his call for legalizing marijuana and taxing its sale.

Hanger is a former state environmental protection secretary and former state utility regulator.

His departure leaves five Democratic candidates: Wolf, state Treasurer Rob McCord, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, former state environmental protection secretary Katie McGinty and former state Auditor General Jack Wagner.

The primary is May 20.

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