Government news

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Democrat Todd Kaminsky has emerged as the winner of a New York state Senate race on Long Island — though Republican Chris McGrath still isn't conceding.

Election officials finished counting absentee ballots Friday and determined that Kaminsky won just over 50 percent of the vote and beat McGrath by some 862 votes.

The vote must be certified before it is official.

Kaminsky declared victory after last week's special election showed him ahead of McGrath by less than 800 votes. But McGrath refused to concede until absentee ballots were counted.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's governor is seeking federal approval to extend Medicaid coverage to inmates who face serious health challenges immediately before they're released from prison.

Andrew Cuomo's office announced Friday that the state is the first in the nation to make such a request.

The Democratic governor says that too many inmates leave prison with serious mental health and addiction challenges and that helping them get the care they need improves their chances of successfully re-entering society.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that his administration retained a former criminal prosecutor to review his upstate economic development initiatives after learning federal investigators are examining potential conflicts of interest and improper bidding related to the programs.

It looks like Congresswoman Louise Slaughter will not have a Democratic Primary challenge in June, at least not from Noah Sargent. He lost his potential ballot line in the June 28th federal primary because the Monroe County Board of Elections ruled he didn't have enough valid signatures.

A candidate needs at least 1,250 signatures, and the elections board disqualified more than 300 of them.  Elections officials say some of the disqualifications relate to not having enough signatures of of registered Democrats or of people who live in the district.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York State has made $3 million available to help people with disabilities get air conditioning. 

To qualify, households must meet income guidelines and include someone who suffers from a health problem that gets worse with heat

Applicants must submit written and signed medical documents saying they need air conditioning. 

More than 4,100 households received assistance for air conditioning last summer. Western New York had the majority of those households: 1,782. 

The Center for Dispute Settlement held its award luncheon Tuesday, honoring several individuals for their peaceful conflict resolution methods.

The organization also welcomed Cedric Alexander as the keynote speaker.

Alexander, the public safety director in Dekalb County Georgia, served as acting Rochester Police Chief in 2005.

He addressed the theme of the luncheon, "Building a Culture of Trust," saying while Rochester is no different than any other city around the nation, that trust can be strengthened if both sides work toward that goal.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state is making free state park passes available to fourth graders and their families as part of an effort to encourage kids to enjoy the state's outdoors.

The passes are available on the New York State Parks website,

The passes are good for the students and those in their families' vehicles. They can also be used at state historic sites for free tours for a student and up to three adults.

Ginna Nuclear Power Plant

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's four nuclear plants, which generate more than a quarter of the state's electricity, are going through turbulent times amid slumping power prices. And depending on how things play out, one or more could shut down entirely, affecting jobs, power reliability, electricity bills and carbon emissions.

Though opposed by many environmentalists, New York's nuclear plants are seen by state regulators as a steady source of electricity that doesn't contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New Yorkers spent more on the state lottery and state-regulated electronic gaming machines than ever before last year, generating a record of almost $10 billion in revenue.

The state's Gaming Commission released the numbers on Friday. They cover the fiscal year that ended March 31.

Most of the $9.7 billion in revenue came from traditional lottery tickets and instant scratch-off games. Nearly $2 billion of it came from video lottery terminals, which are similar to electronic slot machines.


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed state Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson as special adviser for policy and community affairs at the state agency responsible for building and preserving affordable housing and enforcing rent regulation laws.

Hassell-Thompson, a Democrat, will leave the Senate and begin work at the Division of Homes and Community Renewal starting in July.

She was first elected in 2000 to represent parts of the Bronx and Westchester County.