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Amherst is ready to seek state permission for a future exchange of town parkland that would make way for development in the area near the town's Northtown Center athletic facilities and preserve most of the former Westwood Country Club as green space. The Town Board on Monday will hold a public hearing and a vote on whether to begin that process, known as alienation, Su…

Local News

ALBANY – After two decades of widely expanded state-sanctioned gambling opportunities in New York, officials with the Cuomo administration now want to find out what kind of societal problems have been created by the gambling explosion. The state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, known as OASAS, recently issued a request for bids for a statewide gambling…

Local News

ALBANY – Owners of motorized boats – from row boats with small outboards to large cabin cruisers – will be required under a new deal at the state Capitol to take a boating safety course no matter how many years they’ve been on the water. The measure seeks to push boaters in their mid-20s and older to take a certified safety class – which can be done online in a couple h…

Local News

ALBANY – The Cuomo administration is not officially declaring dead – not yet anyway – a new legislative effort at the Capitol to legalize mobile sports betting in New York. Robert Williams, the head of the administration’s New York State Gaming Commission, told a Senate racing and wagering committee Monday that officials are still examining new amendments to a sports be…

Local News

ALBANY – In the 6,200 words it took to compose Senate bill 5072A and an accompanying memo explaining its need, the words “Donald Trump” do not appear. Nor do the words “President of the United States.” The bill, being called the Trust Act, is intentionally broad, but it has a single target: Trump. It seeks to provide a means – via the New York State tax commissioner …

Local News

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday said suggestions that he needs to take an active role twisting legislators’ arms “is a problem” because it shows a lack of support among lawmakers to legalize marijuana in the remaining weeks of the 2019 session. “They told me they had the votes," Cuomo said in an interview Friday on WXXI, a Rochester public radio station. An e…

Bills

ALBANY – Through more than four hours of testimony during a legislative hearing Wednesday on how sports betting might work in New York State, stakeholders – from the NFL to upstate casinos to NHL players – all had their own ideas. Pro sports leagues want only their data to be used when guiding how betting outcomes are determined. They also want to collect royalty paymen…

Business

If it ticks you off that Albany seems about to offer driver’s licenses to undocumented workers, maybe you should ask yourself a fundamental question: How much more am I willing to pay to get native-born citizens to "do the jobs Americans won’t do"? It wouldn’t cost that much, for instance, to raise farm wages significantly. But even then, some experts say, it might not m…

Local News

ALBANY – State legislation newly tweaked by its sponsors would specifically authorize the Seneca Nation and two other tribes in New York with casinos to offer mobile sports betting to consumers anywhere within the borders of the state. The bill would mean a bettor in Buffalo or anywhere else in New York could make bets on pro and college sports from their smartphone, la…

Local News

ALBANY – Lawmakers say they have reached a deal to permit school districts to use cameras to catch drivers who fail to stop when students are boarding or getting off buses. “We have to put in place measures to keep our kids safe,’’ said State Sen. Tim Kennedy, a Buffalo Democrat who chairs the Senate transportation committee. He said he and Assemblyman William Magnarell…

Local News

ALBANY – A dozen years ago, then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer launched an effort to let undocumented immigrants obtain New York driver's licenses. Spitzer, who had sour relations with the Legislature at the time, took a do-it-myself approach to push the license plan – an effort that sputtered and died within a couple of months in the face of sharp opposition from many lawmakers, …

Local News

Howard Zemsky, a Buffalo businessman who heads Empire State Development Corp., is stepping down from his state post but will remain chairman of the agency's board of directors, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed. "Howard's original commitment to us was for two years, he's served this administration and the people of this great state for eight – with no compensa…

State

ALBANY – The all Democratic-run State Legislature continued its policy change march Tuesday, with lawmakers pressing ahead with long-stalled environmental measures that could affect everything from the chemical composition of toys to constitutional guarantees for clean air and water in New York State. Lawmakers passed bills to try to reduce bird deaths via flying into b…

Business

Former State Sen. George Maziarz, once a kingpin in Niagara County politics, has been making a range of allegations about former allies and about the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., where many of those former allies have landed. Now, the FBI has begun an inquiry into the OTB and some of the contracts it has issued to well-connected businessmen, two sources wit…