Lost in all the hoopla this week surrounding the long-awaited decision on hydrofracking and the citing of the upstate casinos is the fact that New York State Education Commissioner John King is finishing up his final days on the job.
A new poll finds New Yorkers don’t want legislators to gain a pay raise if they agree to ethics reforms by the end of the year.
The Siena College poll finds that 63% of New Yorkers oppose a pay raise for state lawmakers, who earn a base salary of nearly $80,000 a year for what is technically a part time job. Siena spokesman Steve Greenberg says voters also say, even though they would like to see reform measures as well as other issue resolved, they still don’t think legislators should be allowed to trade agreements on these items for more pay.
The state is losing it’s education commissioner, as John King takes a job with the Obama Administration. King was in charge of school policies during a tumultuous time, and he admits there are things he might have done better.
King is leaving after five and half years to become assistant US education secretary under Arne Duncan. In an interview with public radio and TV, He says he hopes his legacy in New York will be his intense focus on getting the Common Core learning standards push started in the state.
Cuomo Administration officials who are devising regulations for medical marijuana in New York say it’s unlikely any patients in the state will get the drug before 2016. They say they are working through the details of how to implement the program, but there are still many unanswered questions.
Aides to Cuomo say they’ve made some progress on figuring out how to manage a medical marijuana system that is still technically illegal in the United States.
The preliminary rules on how to carry out New York’s medical marijuana program are due by the end of the year.
Governor Cuomo has written a letter to state education officials, saying he wants answers on why 99% of teachers scored highly on the most recent evaluations, while other data shows two thirds of school children performing below acceptable levels in math and English.
A reform group studied votes taken by local governments across the state on whether to allow hydrofracking, and found numerous potential conflicts of interest that they say could have tainted the outcome of the votes.
The New York Public Interest Research Group studied 59 municipalities that have voted to permit hydrofracking in the past few years, if New York State eventually approves the process. They found numerous questionable activities, including local elected officials holding gas leases and town attorneys who also represented oil and gas companies.