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New York State News Briefs

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - Updated: 9:53 PM

Medical marijuana passed

ALBANY -- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders June 19 announced agreement on a bill that will establish a medical marijuana program for New York state.

The serious conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed are cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), Parkinson's Disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication on intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington's Disease, or as added by the commissioner of the Department of Health.

Health insurers would not be required to provide coverage for medical marijuana. It is expected to take 18 months to implement the bill.

-- CRISTINE MEIXNER

Clean those boats

ALBANY -- The Aquatic Invasive Species Act passed by the Legislature the week of June 15 will, if approved by the governor, require boaters to clean, drain and dry watercraft and gear when entering and leaving any public boat launch in New York state.

The spread of invasive species threatens clean water, aquatic ecosystems, and the tourism-based economy of the Adirondacks, according to The Adirondack Council, the Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization.

-- CRISTINE MEIXNER

Large ATV bill stalled

ALBANY -- A bill that would have increased the size of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that could be registered for trail and road use from 1,000 to 1,500 pounds has been approved by the NYS Senate but held by the Assembly.

The bill would also have allowed the registration of utility-task vehicles (UTVs) that carry multiple passengers and cargo.

A second bill that would have banned the use of ATVs on state forest preserve lands in the Adirondack and Catskill mountains, the Long Island Pine Barrens and the Albany Pine Bush Preserve also failed to pass both houses.

-- CRISTINE MEIXNER

NYS credit rating raised

ALBANY -- The State of New York's credit rating has been raised by all three financial rating agencies.

Fitch Ratings raised New York state's credit rating to its highest level ever (AA+) June 19, Moody's Investor Services on June 16 upgraded NYS's credit rating to its highest level since 1964 (Aa1), and Standard & Poor's revised its outlook for NYS from "stable" to "positive."

-- CRISTINE MEIXNER

Veterans’ bill passes

ALBANY -- The NYS Legislature has passed a bill to allow veteran status to be placed on driver's licenses and ID cards issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles, free of charge.

With this status on the state-issued license a veteran has easy-to-access proof of veteran status when required to receive public and private benefits. Last year a bill was passed allowing for such status to be placed on the license, but the license addition included a $12.75 service fee.

New York State Association of Counties and the county clerks who operate DMV offices pushed for this change, as including a fee was not the intent of the original law.

-- NYS ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES

     

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