News from the Associated Press - November 19, 2013

Associated Press
November 19, 2013

NY legislator wants state facilities kept open

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A ranking state legislator is urging the Cuomo administration to hold off on a plan to close state facilities that house mentally ill and disabled New Yorkers.

Sen. Thomas Libous, a Binghamton Republican and deputy leader of the coalition that controls the Senate, is also backing legislation to prohibit closing of the Greater Binghamton Health Center and Broome Developmental Center and other facilities before April 1, 2015.

The Office of Mental Health wants to consolidate 24 inpatient psychiatric hospitals statewide into 15 regional centers. The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities plans close four institutions for the disabled in its shift to group homes and community settings.

Libous says he's meeting next week with a top deputy to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

An administration spokesman declined comment.


Pa. transport proposal narrowly defeated in House

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania state House has dealt a major blow to hopes for a major transportation spending proposal in a test vote that raises doubts about the measure's future.

The House voted 98-to-103 last night against a proposal to raise gasoline taxes and a host of motorist fees to spend billions on roads, bridges and mass transit systems.

Opponents describe it as a large tax increase on Pennsylvanians, while proponents say there's wide consensus the state's transportation infrastructure needs an infusion of funding.

Governor Tom Corbett and others had hoped a positive vote in the House would have cleared the way for the Senate to take it up in the coming days.


NY gives $700,000 for police interrogation videos

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York is awarding nearly $700,000 in grants to local police departments for equipment to videotape interrogations of suspects, saying they help prevent wrongful convictions and false allegations of investigator misbehavior.

According to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, prosecutors in 29 counties will administer the grants to buy or upgrade equipment for about 150 police departments and sheriffs' offices, including 55 getting them for the first time.

That's expected to bring the technology to about 400 of the more than 500 law enforcement agencies statewide.

The state has spent more than $3 million on the program since 2006.

District attorneys are expected to partner with police to develop protocols detailing types of crimes that would require recorded interviews.


NYC to ban tobacco sales to anyone under age 21

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is set to sign a bill banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age 21.

The legislation expected to get the mayor's signature Tuesday would make New York the first large city or state in the country to prohibit sales to young adults.

City health officials hope that raising the legal purchase age from 18 to 21 will lead to a big decline in smoking rates in a critical age group.

A majority of smokers get addicted to cigarettes before age 21.

Tobacco companies and some retailers had opposed the age increase. They say it will simply drive teenagers to the city's thriving black market.

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