Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $500 million broadband expansion program will be discussed in the 2015 State of the State address in January. The expansion would create a “NY Broadband Fund” that would offer grants to any broadband company that offers to match public funding to expand and improve existing infrastructure. Officials reported that the guidelines for the beginning of the expansion will be released shortly after the State of the State address next month & projects should be underway by mid-summer.
State Police from Sidney arrested 21 year old Dillon Kemmerer of Port Crane for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana and other vehicle and traffic law violations following a vehicle and traffic law stop when a Trooper observed he was driving a vehicle with a suspended registration while on State Route 41 in Afton. An investigation determined Kemmerer had several suspensions on his driver license and was driving without valid insurance. Also, after smelling marihuana, the Trooper found he unlawfully possessed a small amount inside the vehicle. Kemmerer was arraigned in town of Afton Court and sent to the Chenango County Jail on $5,000 bail
A controversial plant could fuel a new agriculture and manufacturing boom in New York according to supporters of a law that would ease restrictions on growing industrial hemp. A bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo would permit hemp to be grown as part of an agriculture pilot program starting next year. It passed unanimously in the Assembly and Senate. It is now awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature. Lupardo said the goal is to establish capacity & interest in producing hemp products on New York land, with New York labor, to generate money and taxes that stay in the state.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said the FDA released a final rule that sets standards for the use of prescription drugs and other biological products by mothers that are pregnant or breastfeeding. The new content and formatting label requirements, will provide a more consistent way, to include relevant information about the risks and benefits of prescription drugs, and biological products used during pregnancy and breastfeeding
New York Farm Bureau has come out with its annual “Circle of Friends,” naming 125 State Legislators to their annual list of lawmakers who’s voting record closely echoes the Farm Bureau’s agenda. The “Circle of Friends” locally included State Senators John Bonacic, Jim Seward & Tom Libous, and Assembly Members Cliff Crouch, Bill Magee, Donna Lupardo & Pete Lopez.
A proposal to create a single-payer, government-financed health care system for all New Yorkers was the subject of a public hearing at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. Richard Gottfried, chair of the Assembly Health Committee, has been pushing the proposal for more than 20 years. Under his “New York Health Act” bill, the state would get rid of private health insurance and replace it with a publicly funded system. The proposal is opposed by the insurance industry and business groups. Proponents of the single-payer approach said it would lower cost and improve access to care.
State Police at Oneonta arrested 28-year-old Justin Cody of Oneonta for torturing, injuring and failure to feed animals after a Trooper responded to a report of animal cruelty at a residence at the Lantern Hill Trailer Park on State Route 23 in Oneonta. An investigation determined two kittens had died while under the care of Cody who then put the remains under his trailer. He was issued a ticket for town of Oneonta Court December 9th
The chairman of the state Thruway Authority resigned, saying he will return to focus on his business interests. Howard Milstein, the billionaire New York City developer, is leaving the board. The 570-mile highway faces financial problems and is building a $3.9 billion new Tappan Zee Bridge between Westchester and Rockland counties. Milstein’s departure won’t impact the agency’s operations, and they are in the process of finding a replacement to fill the unpaid post. An analysis by a consultant to the Thruway Authority estimates the highway system’s revenue will be $67 million short of its needs in 2015 under the current toll rates.
The Otsego County Board of Representatives passed an annual budget plan at their most recent meeting this week. The budget spends 103 million dollars in the next fiscal year, and lowers the tax levy by 2% from last year’s budget.

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