The New York Times reports that federal investigators are probing outside income paid to the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, among other lawmakers. A reform group says the article is one more reason that Governor Cuomo and the legislature should adopt long overdue ethical changes. Susan Lerner, with Common Cause, says legislators are finding that if they don’t change their policies, they are increasingly in the cross hairs of federal prosecutors.

Next week, an Assembly Committee will hold a hearing on improving access to financial aid for college students.  One of the issues will be better access for part time community college students, who are the fastest growing group of students.

Governor Cuomo’s primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, has joined up with the state’s Working Families Party to criticize what she says is a Wall Street hedge fund takeover of  the state’s educational policies.

Opponents of hydrofracking say they want Governor Cuomo to declare a three to five year moratorium on fracking in New York. The gas drilling process has been on hold for several years.

A coalition of groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, say Cuomo should immediately issue an executive order postponing any gas drilling in New York for the next three to five years. NRDC’s Kate Sinding  says that’s preferable to trying to get a bill passed through a divided state legislature., where the Senate will be controlled by the Republicans in January.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says the $5 billion dollar plus pot of money due to settlements with banks and other financial institutions over alleged wrongdoing in the Wall Street crash should not be looked at as a budget surplus.

“I wouldn’t call it a surplus,” Di Napoli said. “It’s really more a windfall.”

And so, the Comptroller says, it should not be used for recurring expenses, like tax cuts or increased school aid, as some legislators have suggested.