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ALBANY – New York voters will be asked this fall to approve a change in the State Constitution legalizing up to seven Las Vegas-style casinos that backers say will bring destination resorts to economically battered upstate areas.The casino agreement by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders, due to be adopted by lawmakers by Friday, calls for no new casinos in Wester…

Sergio R. Rodriguez, the Republican candidate for mayor, was sued by New York State in 2008 for nonpayment of college expenses.Rodriguez paid the overdue bill last year, just months before he announced his candidacy for mayor, and now admits he made a mistake in not addressing the issue sooner.“I dropped the ball,” he said. “I neglected to pay.”Rodriguez’s legal fight with…

ALBANY – Lawmakers say they have struck a tentative deal to expand the number of Las Vegas-style casinos in New York, letting four new gambling halls operate upstate but honoring a recent deal with the Seneca Nation to keep any new casinos from locating in Western New York.Key lawmakers say they expect a bill to be ready today that would also allow gambling facilities offe…

Construction and Growth

ALBANY – Businesses that locate new jobs on vacant public or private college land will get treated to 10 years without any state or property taxes under a deal finalized Wednesday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders.The tax-free bonanza will, if Cuomo’s predictions come true, lead to one of the greatest job-producing benefits for upstate New York in generations…

About 100 Western New Yorkers were scheduled to board buses headed to Albany today. Their mission: to demonstrate against hydraulic fracturing and to call for New York’s elected officials to do more with clean energy.A number of local groups – from PUSH Buffalo and Communications Workers of America District 1, to the Western New York Peace Center and Occupy Buffalo – will …

ALBANY – With the rhetoric getting ugly in the casino revenue-sharing dispute between the state of New York and the Seneca Nation of Indians, the two men at the center of the feud sat at a table last month in a 38th-floor office in a Manhattan skyscraper.“There was tension. There had to be,” said Seneca President Barry Snyder Sr., describing the 90-minute meeting he had w…

An Albany agreement to restore money for programs for the developmentally disabled will come as a relief for small agencies like Autism Services Inc. in Amherst and its 400 clients.The deal, first reported by Newsday, still counts on savings, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reportedly agreed to restore funding to programs if agencies cannot come up with the $90 million in saving…

The State Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would bar all sex offenders from living within 1,350 feet of any school, park, playground or day care center. The bill was brought to the Senate floor by Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, after criticism by Niagara County Legislature Democrats of Maziarz’s own bill, which would have instituted a 1,500-foot buffer zone, but only …

ALBANY – Top Seneca Nation and Cuomo administration officials huddled into the night Wednesday in hopes of forging a deal to end a years-long $600 million dispute that could keep the tribe from facing any new casino competition in Western New York.Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder Sr. joined members of the Senecas’ ruling government council in meetings with legislative …

Local News

If there is any case to be made for new regulations to ensure integrity in state government, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo quickly points to the rash of recent scandals erupting in Albany.“The past few months have been a setback,” he said of reform efforts at the University at Buffalo Law School on Wednesday. “They also present an opportunity.”And he made it clear he wants the Stat…

Buffalo

Peace Bridge traffic would be taken out of Front Park in a construction plan introduced by the state Department of Transportation in a public “scoping” meeting Tuesday in the Porterview Room in the D’Youville College Center. It was the first step in a yearlong process of studies, comments and approvals for what the DOT is calling the “N.Y. Gateway Connections Improvement P…

Hundreds of thousands of New York consumers are victimized by “predatory” debt-collection practices in which “debt buyers” flood the courts with unsubstantiated lawsuits and give inadequate legal warning to consumers in the hope that no one shows up to contest the claims, a new report by a consumer group said Monday.The report by the New York City-based New Economy Project…

Catholic leaders across the region on Sunday railed against the part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s “women’s equality” package of bills that deals with abortion, calling it a “radical measure” that would expand the number of late-term abortions.The governor introduced the package – composed of 10 separate provisions that deal with women’s issues, including a crackdown on sex tr…

Buffalo

WASHINGTON – The Canadian government is objecting strenuously to pending New York legislation that aims to dissolve the Peace Bridge Authority, saying the measure threatens to stall $50 million in improvements to the bridge’s American plaza the authority agreed to last year.“At this time, there is a climate of doubt that puts progress on planned capital projects at risk, d…

WHEATFIELD – The host communities of the Niagara Power Project responded with anger, sarcasm and a veiled threat of litigation Thursday to a proposal to confine Niagara River Greenway funding to the riverbank.Members of the Niagara Power Coalition declared that a bill sponsored by two state lawmakers from Buffalo is simply an effort by Erie County interests to rob them of …