State looking at Harriman campus for new $600 million lab, it's unclear how many votes are a majority in state Senate, cow-milking robots

"A person briefed on the plan" tells the Times Union that the $600 million plan to consolidate the state's public health laboratory facilities is focused on building a new facility at a site on the Harriman State Office Campus in Albany. A state budget amendment released last week by the Cuomo admin asserts the state's current lab facilities associated with the Wadsworth Center -- which are at a handful of sites around the Capital Region, including at the ESP and the Axelrod Institute on New Scotland Ave in Albany (map) -- are "functionally obsolete and deteriorating." (Question: What does this mean for private development -- and expansion of the city of Albany tax base -- at the Harriman campus?) [TU] [NYS DOB]

The Cuomo admin announced an agreement between IBM and the NanoCollege to "maintain 3,100 high-tech jobs" at sites around the state through the end of 2016 -- though the details of the agreement aren't clear, at least publicly. (IBM is one of the NanoCollege partners in semiconductor research at the NanoCollege campus in Albany.) A rep for an IBM employees union says the agreement "still leaves room for further job cuts, considering the total employee population." [Cuomo admin] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

A civil trial began Monday in yet another case of alleged police misconduct in Troy. [TU]

A Saratoga Springs resident says it took six months (and reporter's phone call) for the the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority to respond to his FOIL request -- and then the agency dumped hundreds of unrequested documents on him, charging him almost $400. [Saratogian]


Local state Assembly members Pat Fahy and Phil Steck say they oppose some of the main parts of the Cuomo admin's property tax "freeze" plan. Also: The mayors of Green Island, Watervliet, and Cohoes on their frustrations with the plan, which wouldn't credit municipalities for consolidation and cost-sharing that's already occurred. [TU] [Troy Record]

The Empire Center, the Farm Bureau, the National Federation of Independent Business lined up to support the Cuomo admin's plan to raise the threshold for the state's estate tax. [TU]

It is currently unclear how many votes constitute a majority in the state Senate. [NYT]

Schenectady mayor Gary McCarthy wants the city to ban the sale of loose cigarettes -- that is, cigarettes sold one at a time. [TU]

The Schenectady City Council voted to appoint Ed Kosiur to a vacant seat on the council. [Daily Gazette]

Republicans in Rotterdam allege new yard waste pickup and water district fees are being used by the town board's Democratic majority to get around the 2 percent tax cap. [Daily Gazette]

An explainer on skimmers, which thieves use to steal credit and debit card info -- like the recent case at a Glenmont restaurant. [TU]

Farther afield, from a State Police press release: "Parolee Wearing Devil Mask and Accomplice Burglarized Central Bridge Church." [NYSP]

A class-action suit has been filed against Albany-based Excelsior College alleging the college wasn't upfront about all the details related to its online registered nurse program, including graduation rates. [Daily Gazette] [Biz Review]

It's been a prolific pothole winter. [TU]

A dairy farm in Washington County has robotic systems for milking, feeding, and mucking. [WNYT]

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