News from the Associated Press - March 5, 2014

Associated Press
March 5, 2014

De Blasio calls for pre-K push at Albany rally

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says universal pre-k needs one more push to get through the state Legislature.

De Blasio made the comment at a midday rally in Albany on Tuesday to try whip up support for a tax hike on wealthy New Yorkers to fund universal pre-kindergarten and expanded after-school programs. The tax is opposed by Cuomo and the Republicans in the state Senate.

Cuomo was addressing more than 3,000 charter school proponents at the same time.

De Blasio is holding a series of meetings with Cuomo and legislative leaders after the rally.

The lobbying comes less than a month before the April 1 budget deadline for Cuomo and lawmakers. Pleas for state funding typically become more urgent in March, while the budget is negotiated behind closed doors.


Cuomo to addressed charter school rally at Capitol

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo tells a massive state Capitol rally for charter schools that he's committed to making sure they have money and physical space to thrive.

More than 3,000 parents and students turned out Tuesday at an event organized after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to reverse a decision to give three charter schools rent-free space in public school buildings.

Cuomo attended the Albany rally at about the same time de Blasio addressed a crowd blocks away as he tries to keep alive a tax on New York City's wealthy to fund his signature pre-kindergarten plan. Cuomo has opposed giving the city authority for the tax, favoring funding pre-K through the state budget.

De Blasio and Cuomo are set to meet later Tuesday.


Judge approves deal between NY and Oneidas

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A federal judge has approved a deal between the Oneida Indian Nation and New York that guarantees the tribe exclusive territory for their central New York casino and guarantees payments to the state of around $50 million annually.

Tribal and local officials say U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn on Tuesday approved the deal reached by the Cuomo administration last May.

The wide-ranging deal helped pave the way for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to shepherd expanded casino gambling in New York and settled longstanding tax and land claim issues.

Oneida Representative Ray Halbritter said in a prepared statement that the nation is excited about "a new era of shared prosperity."

The Oneidas agreed to give the state 25 percent of the Turning Stone casino's net revenue from slots.


NY gets a new gambling regulator

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The New York Senate has confirmed Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges President Mark Gearan to head the state commission that oversees gambling.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated Gearan to become chairman of the state's Gaming Commission in January.

The Gaming Commission is expected to appoint members to a casino siting board when it meets March 12.

New York officials can award up to four casino licenses upstate after voters in November passed a state constitutional amendment to allow Las Vegas-style casinos beyond Indian land.


NY wants to make farmers' markets more accessible

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York state wants to make farmers' markets more accessible to low-income consumers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state will make $130,000 in grants available this year to support at least 13 traditional farmers' market and youth market grant projects.

Individual grants up to $10,000 will go to applicants with the best ideas on how to improve access to farmers' markets participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, once known as food stamps.

The money comes from the "FreshConnect" Farmers' Market program, which promotes the sale of locally-grown food.

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