The New York State Senate passed a package of bills to address the increase in heroin and opioid abuse, addiction, and related crimes in New York. The bills are part of a comprehensive legislative package proposed by the bipartisan New York State Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, that area senator Jim Seward served on:


(Seward 6-10-14)


The legislation is now in the Assembly for consideration.


Governor Cuomo today announced that the State University of New York is now accepting a 3rd round of applications for the State Master Teacher Program. To date, 319 Master Teachers have joined the program over the past year, and up to 346 additional teachers, will be selected during this next round. Interested teachers are encouraged to review the application requirements by September’s application deadline. The online application can be accessed at suny.edu/MasterTeacher/.


Governor Cuomo said he would sign a bill to legalize medical marijuana — but only if the legislation “makes sense.” Cuomo unveiled his plan to authorize up to 20 hospitals to distribute medical marijuana for research purposes in January, Advocates claim the plan doesn’t go far enough & have pushed for a bill that would legalize it more broadly. One of the major questions heading in the last two weeks of the legislative session is whether the state Senate will vote on the medical marijuana bill, it progressed through the Senate Health Committee, but remains in limbo in the chamber’s finance committee


The federal EPA announced plans last week to require big reductions in carbon output from coal-fired power plants.  The proposed EPA rules would require states to cut emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030; New York’s carbon emissions were already 23.5% below its 2005 levels. New York is one of nine states that are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a 2006 cap-and-trade agreement aimed at cutting carbon emissions. New York emits less carbon dioxide per capita than any other state.


Governor Cuomo today announced special education providers would receive a 3.8% increase in reimbursement rates. Schools benefiting from this increase serve students with diverse and complex needs who have not been able to succeed in traditional education settings. The increase is a vital boost to special education providers and recognizes the important role these schools play for New York’s children. A list of schools receiving the increase can be access at nysed.gov.


An audit by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli claims that the state Labor Department doesn’t complete many of its wage theft investigations in a timely manner, allowing thousands of cases to remain unresolved for a year or more.  Auditors found that the Labor Department had more than 17,000 open cases, an increase of about 150% from the start of 2008. The current caseload consists of about 9,300 active investigations and more than 7,800 cases pending payment.


Supporters are making a final push to pass paid family leave legislation in New York. Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins called on her colleagues to pass the bill, to extend up to 12 weeks of paid time off for employees caring for a new child or sick loved one. It would be funded through a paycheck deduction that would start at 45 cents per week & would be administered through the state’s Temporary Disability Insurance system. The state Assembly passed the legislation in March but no vote in the Senate has been announced.


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