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Sound Bites: A better look at New York’s tentative budget

New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks to reporters about legislation passed during a special legislative session, in the Red Room at the state Capitol.
Hans Pennink
Associated Press
New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks to reporters about legislation passed during a special legislative session, in the Red Room at the state Capitol.

Good morning! New York Governor Kathy Hochul and lawmakers return to Albany on Monday to finalize a tentative budget agreement, which is a month overdue. 

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said a finalized spending plan or a sixth temporary extension must be approved by Tuesday to avoid disrupting paychecks for thousands of state employees on May 4.

Before Governor Ned Lamont buckles down for budget talks this week in Connecticut, he will join Quinnipiac Men’s Ice Hockey Head Coach Rand Pecknold to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in celebration of the team winning the 2023 NCAA national championship.

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we’re hearing: 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has hit the brakes on using Twitter — to alert riders to service changes on Metro-North, Long Island Rail Road and subways in New York City. The MTA made the decision after Twitter suspended without warning last week the agency’s access to the platform’s back-end, which could soon cost as high as $50,000 a month. Alerts will still be made on the MTA’s website and app.

New Haven’s Board of Police Commissioners has delayed its Randy Cox hearing. The commissioners postponed a vote to decide whether to fire one of the police officers charged in the 2022 arrest that paralyzed Cox. Officer Jocelyn Lavandier is one of four police officers facing misdemeanor charges. She has a remote court hearing Monday to plead not guilty to reckless endangerment and negligent cruelty to persons.

Bridgeport mayoral candidates draw ire to the city’s suite at Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater. They — looking to primary Democrat Joe Ganim — say residents should have better access to the 25-seat suite that the city maintains. In 2017, the Ganim administration made a deal as part of the amphitheater contract to have "exclusive use of" one of the 24 private suites and complementary tickets. A city attorney does not consider this an ethical violation, or giving preferential treatment to elected officials.

A former WWE writer has filed a racial discrimination and hostile workplace lawsuit. Britney Abrahams was fired last year after working for over a year at the Stamford-based company. She was disciplined for taking a limited-edition commemorative chair, which other white staff were entitled to. The federal lawsuit names as defendants WWE Executive Chairman Vince McMahon, his daughter and former CEO Stephanie McMahon, another executive and four WWE writers — all of whom are white.

Connecticut may ban colleges from withholding transcripts from students with unpaid debts. The state General Assembly approved the legislation with bipartisan support last week to allow potential employers or military recruiters to access student transcripts regardless of the financial “holds” on their accounts. While supportive of the bill, the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges defends the use of financial holds to pressure current and former students to pay off millions of dollars in unpaid fees, unreturned books or due to student conduct.

Cyber intrusions more than doubled at Long Island schools last year. According to state records obtained by Newsday under a freedom of information request, about half of the 23 incidents were related to worker mistakes that exposed student medical records, including psychological evaluations, special education placements and student disabilities. The state Education Department found many school workers lack an understanding of student privacy and data security.

A former Pratt & Whitney executive was found not guilty of conspiring with suppliers not to poach one another’s engineers. Mahesh Patel and managers at five Pratt suppliers were accused of restraining trade by secretly agreeing not to recruit and hire one another’s employees. A federal judge ruled the no poach deal was effectively meaningless after the companies hired so many of one another’s employees anyway. The ruling is the latest blow against the Justice Department’s antitrust division crackdown since 2016.

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A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.