Governor Cuomo announced the State Liquor Authority has approved advisories to help support the continued growth and development of New York’s Farm based beverage producers. The SLA Board adopted changes, effective immediately, to eliminate unnecessary paperwork and clarify standards on brand label registrations, authorize the sale of “growlers” for beer and cider, eliminate a $1,000 bond requirement for farm wineries, reduce costs for manufacturers and wholesalers with multiple licenses by allowing them to deliver all their products in one shipment, and provide guidance to the industry concerning the new “roadside farm market law. More information is available at taste.ny.gov.
Local counties will receive money from the state in their efforts to rid streets of potholes. The money is part of the $40 million Governor Cuomo said would be divided among the state’s 64 counties, to clean up roads after one of the harshest New York winters in years. The winter left roads, bridges and more in various states of disrepair, after heavy snow and extreme cold temperatures. Locally, Chenango County will receive $932,000, Delaware County $610,000, and Broome County $640,000. The money can be used for current or future projects.
Governor Cuomo said the state health commissioner’s resignation has nothing to do with a review of whether New York should move ahead with hydraulic fracturing. When asked about Nirav Shah’s departure to an executive post with the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Cuomo talked about the imbalance between government-sector and private sector salaries. Shah will step down at the end of June. Shah was tasked with examining potential guidelines for fracking in September 2012, and had repeatedly said a conclusion was weeks away. Since then, Shah has declined to say when his work would be completed. A final decision on whether to allow shale-gas drilling in New York still awaits the finalization of the health review.
The special commission appointed last year by Governor Cuomo to investigate political corruption is winding down. The governor said he appointed the group because lawmakers failed to enact reforms last year and is dismantling it because the legislature has now passed new laws to toughen bribery prosecutions and to establish a new campaign finance policing office. Cuomo established the panel after federal bribery and embezzlement charges were filed against several state lawmakers. The new laws establish felonies of corrupting the government and corrupt use of position or authority.
New Yorkers are reminded to take precautions to prevent diseases that are transmitted by ticks as springtime weather returns. Lyme disease is caused by the bite of an infected deer tick. Ticks are active when the weather stays above freezing. The time of greatest concern is in late spring and early summer when the ticks are active. While this past winter was harsh, the abundant and long lasting snow cover likely provided insulation to allow the ticks to survive. Deer ticks, carriers of at least four different pathogens, are starting to emerge, and will be present for the next several months across the state.
A new study shows continued gains in the number of New York children with health insurance, driven mostly by increased converage through public programs. The Robert Wood Johnson foundation report shows the percentage of childen without insurance dropped from 5.6% in 2008 to 4.3% in 2012. It shows significant gains among minority children, and children in low income families, as medicaid and children’s health insurance programs offset a decline in the number of children covered through private insurance, from 66.6% in 2008 to 6.5% four years later.