News from the Associated Press - March 6. 2014

Associated Press
March 6, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino today launches a statewide campaign tour, a day after announcing his run for governor. Astorino's tour today will take him from New York City to Buffalo, where he will appear at an event with Congressman Chris Collins. Although the Republican lags in early polls, he says New York is headed in the wrong direction and that Governor Andrew Cuomo is beatable.


2 year Common Core delay bill passes Assembly

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - After nearly four hours of debate, New York's Assembly passed a bill that would delay portions of the Common Core education standards.

The bill sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan would prevent schools from using Common Core-based test scores on staff evaluations for two years and prevents schools from using scores to decide whether a student will advance to the next grade.

The bill passed 117 to 10 Wednesday evening and was sent to the Senate, where it has no sponsor and its prospects are uncertain.

Early in the evening, Assembly Republicans tried to amend the legislation to establish a panel to decide whether to use the testing standards at all. They were defeated when lawmakers said it could jeopardize the state's federal Race to the Top grants.


Assembly passes bill for paid leave

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's Assembly has passed a series of bills intended to provide affordable child care, increase funding for child care subsidies and establish paid leave for medical emergencies, the birth or adoption of a child or to take care of a sick relative.

One of the bills passed Wednesday requires employers to purchase paid family leave insurance for their employees. The cost would be offset by weekly employee contribution of up to 45 cents from their paychecks.

The bill passed on an 84 to 40 vote and was delivered to the Senate.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says the cost of the measures will be released in next week's Assembly budget proposal.


NY bill adds penalties for polluting criminals

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The New York state Senate has approved legislation designed to hold criminals responsible for the environmental damage occurring during their crimes.

Sponsors say current criminal mischief statutes don't adequately address environmental devastation, so the bill would make crimes that result in large-scale environmental damage a class C felony.

The bill approved Wednesday is sponsored by Sen. Joseph Robach of Rochester. He pointed to an incident in western New York in which criminals who broke into an electrical transformer to steal copper caused an oil spill that caused $1 million worth of environmental damage.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.


NY Sen. Schumer proposes database to track heroin

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is proposing a new statewide database to help track what he calls a rising epidemic of heroin abuse.

The New York Democrat says he's asking the President's Office of National Drug Control Policy to help counties set up a database to track heroin- and other drug-related overdoses, deaths, hospital admissions and crimes statewide.It would help police identify patterns and crack down on distribution rings.

New York City currently has the program.

Schumer says he's also urging more federal grant funding for state drug treatment and prevention programs.

He says the rise in prescription drug abuse has helped fuel the growth in illicit use of heroin as a cheaper, more accessible alternative.


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