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White smoke? First major budget bill heads to printer

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- The so-called Article VII budget bill dealing with public protection and general government has gone to the legislative print shop, a sign of progress after a week of on-again, off-again movement.

Under one plan, lawmakers are being told to be available late Saturday afternoon to begin passing budget bills, and then coming in later in the day Sunday. [That leaves at least part of Monday for some last-minute action before Passover starts at sundown.]

Some details:

-- Senate has so far killed funding for Dream Act, giving financial aid to children of illegal immigrants.

-- A major infusion of unrestricted aid to cities and villages is on life support.

-- Relaxing of marijuana possession laws will apply to New York City only.

-- Unions believe they have beaten back statewide plan to let state education commissioner impose evaluation plans if teachers and districts cannot agree on teacher evaluation systems.

-- Negotiators think they have restored $30 million of $120 million cut to programs for developmentally disabled. Feds will kick in another $30 million, so $60 million of $240 million cut proposed by Cuomo to be restored. However, there is suddenly a new pot of $300 million in federal money, some of which may be dipped into to make more restorations. A fed/state working group will be formed to work out the funding issues.

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

tprecious@buffnews.com


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | jterreri@buffnews.com


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

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