Legislature passes tax plan, thousands left without power, Saratoga housing projects residents say there's a huge bedbug problem

The state Assembly and Senate passed the state tax code restructuring bill during the night. Said Andrew Cuomo of the new tax brackets: "The more you make the higher rate you pay. That I believe is fair." The bill moved with unusual speed from announcement to passage, raising criticism about a lack of transparency. Some legislators said they had little time to examine the legislation, commented Jim Tedisco: "Pretty soon they'll just say, 'Stay home, and just send in your votes when we bring the bills out.'" [NYDN] [TU] [State of Politics] [NYT]

Occupy Albany has received a permit to stay in Academy Park for 24 hours a day until December 22. [TU]

Though there wasn't much snow to yesterday's storm, it left about 3,700 people without power around the region. [Daily Gazette]

A resident of the StoneQuist housing project in Saratoga Springs said people who lived in the buildings were warned by the director not to talk about the bedbug problem, and that if they didn't live living there, they could move out. The director said yesterday that bedbugs were not an epidemic in the 176-unit building. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Judge Anthony Cardona, who spent his life serving on many courts in the Capital Region, will be remembered at his funeral this week as a man who loved family, food and his Italian heritage. [TU]

Transgender rights advocates are hoping to use the momentum created by the passage of same-sex marriage this summer to get more protections and medical coverage for the trans community. [TU]

A woman was seriously injured when she was struck by a car while walking down Albany Street in Schenectady yesterday evening. Police say she was walking in the middle of the street during rush hour. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

The head bookkeeper of a steel fab company in Glenville has been charged with stealing $64,000 from the company over five years. [Daily Gazette]

Some Niskayuna parents are balking at a plan to cut costs by teaching their kids in mixed-grade classes. [Daily Gazette]

The rate of alcohol use among Shenendehowa students is far higher than the national average. [YNN]

Cohoes officials are trying to entice Capital District Community Gardens into picking their city for its new headquarters. [Troy Record]

Four Pearl Harbor survivors -- the youngest is 89 -- were among the more than 100 vets present at a Pearl Harbor memorial yesterday in Colonie. [Troy Record] [TU]

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If you've never checked out a Friends meeting (Quakers), I recommend giving it a go. I'm Jewish, but have been sporadically attending Friends meetings for several years. We sit in silence. There's no pastor. The idea is that G-d is within all of us, and if someone's truly and deeply compelled to speak, they share their message. Sometimes it's a full hour of silence and then at the end of the meeting we share joys and sorrows and community updates and you realize that the people sitting silently beside you are some of the most engaged, empathetic, and fair-minded activists around.

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