Brian Kolb

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

A board controlled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislative leaders voted Wednesday to approve more than $485 million for the Buffalo Billion project. But there were some questions from board members about details of a program that is now under federal investigation.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

One day before Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address, where he is expected to address ethics issues after the criminal convictions of the two legislative leaders, some state legislators are already demanding reforms that would break up the power of the leadership.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Three of seven regions in upstate New York were awarded $500 million dollars each in economic development money, in a contest by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that critics have called the “hunger games.”

The annual awards ceremony took on a game show atmosphere, with lots of slick videos, and an enthusiastic announcer.

The three winning regions Rochester-Finger Lakes, central New York, and the Southern Tier, each received $500 million each in economic development money, phased in over a five-year period.

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Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted Monday on charges that he used his power to illegally earn more than $5 million in bribes and kickbacks. The federal jury came back with the guilty verdict after a three-week trial. 

The state’s minimum wage is now $8 an hour, after a new law took effect Dec. 31. It’s part of a phased-in increase that will result in a $9 an hour rate for the state’s lowest income earners by 2016. But a leading lawmaker says the hike should be phased in faster, and advocates that tip earners, like wait staff, should also be included.  

NYS Assembly

The Republican leader of the state Assembly is calling for the legislature to return for a special session to wrap up some unfinished business.

The legislature adjourned at the end of June with no firm plans to meet again before next January, but Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb says there’s too much left to do to wait until next year.

“I definitely think we should go back,” Kolb said.  

The New York State Thruway Authority board is scheduled to meet again next Monday. But there’s still uncertainty whether they will finally act on a proposal to raise truck tolls.

The leader of the New York state Assembly Republicans is proposing to do away with the state’s Thruway Authority and merge it into the state Department of Transportation, in an attempt to avoid excessive toll hikes.