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State officials on the lookout for a new invasive insect

There’s a new invasive insect that state officials want to keep out of New York. It’s called the spotted lanternfly, and it has the potential to cause great damage to crops like grapes, hops and apples. Native to Asia, it has been found in parts of Pennsylvania, and a dead adult was found in New York last fall. Statewide grape and hop specialist with Cornell’s Integrated Pest Management Program, Tim Weigle, says the large insect, with its colorful wings, can also be a noxious pest to...

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The newly approved New York State budget includes a work around for the partial loss of state and local tax deductions in the federal tax overhaul.

The legislature largely accepted Cuomo’s plan to provide an optional pay roll tax to substitute for the state income tax for businesses who adopt the program. The employer would still be able to take a deduction for the pay roll tax, and workers would have less taxable income to pay to the federal government.    

Governor and lawmakers strike deal for new state budget

Apr 11, 2018

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Lawmakers in New York state passed a $168.3 billion state budget in the early hours Saturday that includes surcharges on taxi, Uber and Lyft rides in Manhattan and a new state sexual harassment policy written following the #MeToo movement.

The massive spending plan also sets out $1 billion in new education spending, investments in New York City subways and upstate water quality, along with new disclosure rules for online political ads.

The new state budget includes anti-sexual harassment measures that will apply to both government and private-sector workplaces.

The new rules will end state taxpayer-financed settlements for state officials who are found to be abusers. It also will prohibit mandatory arbitration for cases of alleged sexual harassment. And it will end secret settlements, unless it’s at the request of the victim.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Cathy Young, who sponsored the Senate’s version of the measure, says it’s a “victory” for New Yorkers.

State budget talks became heated in the final hours of negotiations Friday, as ultimatums were offered and there were threats of a government shutdown.

With just hours to go before the Passover holiday, the budget remained stuck over one or two key issues.

One, said Assembly Democrats, was a demand from the lone Democratic senator who sits with the Republican Senate majority. Sen. Simcha Felder wanted religious yeshiva schools to be exempt from some curriculum rules imposed by the state education department.

Budget tensions are coming to a head at the State Capitol, as lawmakers pressed for time due to the beginning of the spring holidays, are offering ultimatums in order to get the spending plan done.

On Friday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced he’s agreed with Governor Cuomo to send up the budget as is.

He says 99 percent is agreed to by all sides. It’s essentially a take it or leave it measure to the Senate. Heastie says if the government shuts down, it’s going to be the Senate’s fault.

On Saturday, March 30th, FLX Live in downtown Geneva hosted a fundraiser for Adelante Student Voices. Adelante was founded in 2015 by Gabriela Quintanilla to provide a space and an opportunity for undocumented students, especially those in rural areas, to gather and to share resources on their legal status and options for the future. Quintanilla based the program on her own experience as an undocumented high school student figuring out her own route to college.

WXXI News is partnering with ideastream in Cleveland and Oregon Public Broadcasting to bring you special coverage of the opioid epidemic in America. 

Evan Dawson hosts a panel that will discuss pain management, prescription policy, and disparities in care related to the opioid crisis. The conversation begins at 2 p.m. on WXXI AM 1370, WEOS 89.5 FM, and wxxinews.org. You can join the conversation by calling in at 1-844-295-TALK (8255). 

State lawmakers hoped to begin to pass budget bills Thursday night, even though some major issues related to the spending plan are still not resolved. They need to finish by mid-day Friday so legislators and staff can get home for the Passover and Easter holidays.

Senators emerged from a party conference Thursday afternoon after discussing what’s in and what’s out of the budget.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is asking the International Joint Commission to maximize outflows of water from Lake Ontario.

He sent a letter to the U.S. Chair of the IJC  in advance of the commission’s scheduled decrease in outflows, which happened on Thursday.

Cuomo said that, "After the disastrous flooding situations on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River last year, it is critical that we remain vigilant and take whatever measures are necessary for ensuring that history does not repeat itself."

Governor Andrew Cuomo is not sounding sympathetic to bailing out del Lago or any other casino for that matter, just because they are not generating enough revenue.

Earlier this week, Tom Wilmot, principal owner of del Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca County, was in Albany seeking help from state lawmakers, with revenues for the casino coming in less than expected.

The casino has said it is at a competitive disadvantage with  casinos owned by the Seneca Nation.