Recent changes to the food stamp program in the new 5-year farm bill, has caused confusion, with regards to an anti-fraud provision.  Congressman Chris Gibson said that there was abuse found due to a 2008 change in the federal food stamp program, and the loophole had to be tightened:


(Gibson 2-26-14)


Gibson said that those who received the $1 heating assistance check might still be able to get the highest level of food stamps, if they are found to still qualify due to their overall financial situation.


Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver is calling on the state senate to pass the “Dream Act” to bolster state aid for higher education to the children of immigrants:


(Silver 2-26-14)


Silver said that New York is 1 of 17 states that offers tuition assistance to the children of immigrants, the Dream Act would increase the options for those students to receive tuition assistance. The bill is expected to pass in the Democratic Controlled Assembly & the move on to the Senate.


State Police arrested 29-year-old Amber Joy of Morris for Criminal Possession of Marihuana, Unlawful Possession of Marihuana, and Appearance in Public Under the Influence of Narcotics or Drugs.  The arrest was made subsequent to a 911 call of a woman screaming outside of a Morris residence, Troopers arrived & determined that Joy appeared to be under the influence of a drug or narcotic, they also observed a plastic bag on the kitchen table that contained 2.3 grams of marihuana.   Joy was arraigned at the Town of Morris Court and remanded to the Otsego County Jail in lieu of $1,500 cash bail.


The state Legislature returned to Albany this week, to continue work on the state budget.  The state Assembly came back yesterday after a week-long winter break. The state Senate began its session today. The Legislature is scheduled to work through March as they work on passing the budget due April 1. Governor Cuomo has proposed a $137.2 billion budget.


A new Siena College poll shows that 50% of state residents support a 2-year moratorium on the new “Common Core” education standards, 38% said the standards should be implemented as quickly as possible.  63% of Upstate residents backed the moratorium, 36% believe the standards are too demanding, 23% thought the standards are about right, 24% said they weren’t demanding enough.


State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office completed an audit of the Village of Oxford Justice Court operations and found financial irregularities. The audit found that Oxford justices didn’t insure that collected moneys were accounted for properly. Village Mayor Terry Stark said discrepancies may have occurred, because justices perform all aspects of their duties without oversight by the village board, and the justice involved with the case couldn’t participate in the audit, due to his ill health and subsequent death last November. The village agreed with the recommendations, but pointed out a corrective action plan would be problematic due to the justice’s death.


A new poll shows a majority of New Yorkers support giving municipalities authority to raise the minimum wage locally. The Siena College poll showed 85% support among Democrats, 48% among Republicans and 74% among independents for local authority to raise the wage. Last year, the governor and state Legislature raised the statewide minimum to $8 starting this year, it will increase at the end this year to $8.75 an hour and to $9.00 an hour at the end of 2015.



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