News from the Associated Press - March 19, 2014

Associated Press
March 19, 2014

Call for elections for empty NY legislative seats

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Advocates who want special elections to be held for 12 vacant seats in the state Legislature say minority communities are being deprived of proper representation.

The New York Voting Rights Consortium is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to order special elections for the vacant seats in the State Assembly and State Senate by April 24.

Cuomo has noted the need to balance the communities' rights to representation with the elections' costs.

The consortium says the vacancies are depriving about 1.8 million New Yorkers of full representation. The say about 800,000 of those New Yorkers are people of color.

Most of the vacancies occurred because lawmakers were elected to another office or took another job. Others were vacated after scandals or felony convictions.

 

Pa. lawmakers OK protective orders in sex cases

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A bill headed to the desk of Gov. Tom Corbett would give victims of sexual violence the ability to ask a judge for a protective order against their alleged attackers.

The Senate voted unanimously for the bill Tuesday, a week after it passed the House unanimously.

The sponsor, Sen. Stewart Greenleaf of Montgomery County, says the bill was first introduced a decade ago. Under the bill, a victim of sexual assault can petition a judge to order the defendant to stay away from them. A similar process is available to victims of domestic violence.

The court would be required to hold a hearing within 10 days of the filing, and the victim would be required to prove, by a preponderance of evidence, that he or she requires protection.

 

Schneiderman: Fast stock trade advantages unfair

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's attorney general has begun investigating the split-second stock trading advantages by high-frequency traders and is asking the exchanges to end them.

Calling them "unfair" at the expense of other investors, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says federal and other state regulators should join in structural reforms.

While Schneiderman discussed his concerns at a symposium Tuesday at New York University, his office began investigating last year.

Advantages include extra computer network bandwidth, ultra-fast connection cables and special high-speed switches to computer servers.

He says millisecond timing advantages let those traders make "rapid and often risk-free trades before the rest of the market can catch up."

New York's attorney general has authority to investigate and prosecute securities fraud under the Martin Act, which it has used to force Wall Street reforms.

 

NY health exchange reports 666,000 enrolled

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The state's new health exchange reports more than 995,000 New Yorkers have completed applications for insurance while more than 666,000 of them have now enrolled for specific coverage.

The health department says enrollment for individual and family coverage since October includes 327,020 New Yorkers in the 16 commercial and nonprofit insurers in the exchange and 339,377 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.

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