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Tuesday headlines

Aug 16, 2011 12:55 am
Cuomo signs ethics bill
Governor Andrew Cuomo today signed into law the "Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011," creating new regulations around ethical issues in New York. "Today's signing is a major step forward in restoring the people's trust in government and changing the way Albany does business," Cuomo said in a press release. "This new ethics reform law brings an aggressive new approach to returning integrity to the halls of our Capitol. It provides for much-needed disclosure of outside income by lawmakers, creates an independent monitor to investigate corruption, and issues strong new rules for lobbyists. I thank the Legislature for working to pass this important legislation." The Governor is touting the following aspects of the law:
• Financial disclosure statements filed with the new Joint Commission on Public Ethics from elected officials will now be posted on the internet and the practice of redacting the monetary values and amounts reported by the filer will be ended. The Act also includes greater and more precise disclosure of financial information by expanding the categories of value used by reporting individuals to disclose the dollar amounts in their financial disclosure statements. The Act requires disclosure of the reporting individual's and his or her firm's certain outside clients and customers doing business with, receiving grants or contracts from, seeking legislation or resolutions from, or involved in cases or proceedings before the State as well as certain of such clients that were brought to the firm by the public official.
• The Act establishes a new database of any individual or firm that appears in a representative capacity before any state governmental entity.
• Lobbyists must now disclose any "reportable business relationships" of more than $1,000 with public officials.
• Forfeiture of pensions for public officials convicted of a felony.
• A Joint Commission on Public Ethics replaceS the Commission on Public Integrity.
• Tightens rules and enforces fines for election violations.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="104" caption="Gala apple."][/caption]McDonald’s menu move could boost NY apple growers
Eric Anderson in the Albany Times-Union reported last week that McDonald's decision to mandate apples in all Happy Meals might mean good news for New York apple growers. “If we can get them to serve as many apples as they do hamburgers, we’ll be all set,” said Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association.[caption id="" align="alignright" width="104" caption="Empire apple."][/caption] Anderson reports that McDonald’s has been using New York-grown apples in its Happy Meals since 2004, especially Empire and Gala varieties, "because of their flavor and resistance to browning." New York is the second-largest apple producing state, according to the Times-Union, with 700 orchards producing 30 million bushels annually. Read the full story in the Times-Union.

Greene crafting law on sex offender residency
Ariel Zangla in The Daily Freeman reports that Greene County could have a draft of a local sex offender residency law in committee by Sept. 12, according to Public Safety Committe Chairman William Lawrence, R-Cairo. Lawrence told Zangla that at the Aug. 8 Public Safety Committee meeting Department of Social Services Commissioner Kira Pospesel said the law would make her department’s job harder, while Hunter town Councilman Daryl Legg said it was needed. “I don’t think it’s over-burdensome or too shallow,” Lawrence proposal the committee is considering. Read the full story in The Daily Freeman.

Greene lawmakers give initial OK for Industrial Development Agency appointments
Ariel Zangla in The Daily Freeman reports that Greene County legislators may appoint a former legislator, Kenneth Dudley, and Catskill car dealer Dan Lacy, to fill vacancies on the Greene County Industrial Development Agency’s Board of Directors at a meeting this Wednesday. Legislators on the Government Operations Committee on Monday, Aug. 15 gave approval to resolutions appointing Dudley of Freehold and Lacy of Catskill to the IDA's board. The appointments must be approved by the full Legislature on Wednesday. Dudley is a former county legislator and the owner of Tip Top Furniture in Freehold. Lacy is a co-owner of Lacy Ford. If approved, there would still be one other vacancy on the seven-member Board after resignations from Hugh Quigley, Robert Snyder, and Martin Smith. Legislature Chairman Wayne Speenburgh, R-Coxsackie, said Monday another board member wants to resign. Read the complete story in The Daily Freeman.

Stuyvesant election today
Voters in Stuyvesant vote today, Tue., Aug. 16, from 2 to 9 p.m. at the Stuyvesant Town Hall, 5 Sunset Drive, Stuyvesant about whether to approve a $845,000 bond to repair a highway garage and construct two salt sheds at the highway department storage area on Sharptown Road.
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