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Minimum wage divide seen as deep by Cuomo

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday that a debate over raising the minimum wage is seeing a "broader and deeper divide" than last year's battle over legalizing gay marriage in the state, even though lawmakers say they are hardly hearing about the topic.

Criticized by some supporters for not pressing the issue, Cuomo told reporters that the push by Assembly Democrats to raise the minimum wage is raising broader political issues than gay marriage.

"I believe it's a political and philosophical divide," he said of Democratic support for and Senate Republican opposition to raising the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour. "Marriage, in some ways, was more of a personal judgment for some."

Last year's debate about gay marriage sparked a furious round of protests from both sides.

The governor also suggested Tuesday that he has no interest in testing whether his administration can unilaterally raise the minimum wage without the approval of lawmakers.

-- News Albany Bureau


Bloomberg panel urges reform of immigration

NEW YORK (AP) -- A report released Tuesday by a group headed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg says the United States needs to change its immigration system to attract the immigrants who can contribute the most to the nation's economy or else risk losing ground to other countries.

The report was issued by the Partnership for a New American Economy, the mayor's group, along with the Partnership for New York City, a coalition of business leaders.

The United States' immigration system doesn't match its economic needs, the report says, and needs to be reformed. It recommended fast-tracking permanent visas for immigrants who have advanced degrees in such areas as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and visas for foreign students who are studying for their advanced degrees in American universities.


Anti-bullying video prompts suspension

MIDDLE ISLAND (AP) -- A Long Island high school student has been suspended for creating an anti-bullying video and Facebook page featuring a fictitious suicide.

Jessica Barba, 15, made the six-minute video for a school project and posted it on YouTube on May 15, according to Newsday. The Longwood High School student told the newspaper that a school official informed her that she was being suspended the next day.

Superintendent Allan Gerstenlauer said Tuesday he could not comment on a matter involving a student.

In the video, Jesscia plays a girl who is regularly bullied. The video ends with a caption saying the girl committed suicide.

Statements at the beginning and the end of the video say the story is fictitious.


Miner, Wright tapped to head Democrats

ALBANY (AP) -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has chosen Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner and Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright of Manhattan to share the chairmanship of the state Democratic Party.

Governors traditionally run their party and determine its message, but the party chairmen help lead fundraising and voter appeals. The duties also include planning conventions and making frequent appearances to meet key supporters and donors statewide.

The full committee is expected to affirm the governor's choices. Miner and Wright would succeed Jay S. Jacobs of Long Island, who was chosen as chairman by then-Gov. David A. Paterson.