State budget passes, Gaming Commission releases RFA for casinos, questions ahead of Scolite site vote in Troy

The state legislature passed the package of legislation for the new state budget and it now heads to Andrew Cuomo for his signature. As part of increased education funding, the Albany school district is scheduled to get $8.7 million more, and Schenectady's superintendent says full-day kindergarten is no longer in line to be cut. Among other the local angles: no provision for the proposed new state lab on the Harriman campus, and increased VLT money for Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County, a tax incentive for Broadway-style shows at upstate theaters such as Proctors. [TU] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette]

The state Gaming Commission has released the request for applications for up to four full casino licenses upstate. The application fee is $1 million and a Capital Region casino would require at least a $50 million licensing fee. The commission's acting director said local support from a range of groups for a casino application will be "essential", along with a resolution of support from the local elected body. So does that mean Saratoga Springs is out? [NYS GC] [Biz Review] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Global Companies, which operates the crude oil transport facility at the Port of Albany that's been the subject of so much attention lately, is facing fines in Oregon after that state's Department of Environmental Quality accused the company overrunning the amount of crude the company was permitted for at a terminal on the West Coast. [TU]

Donald Trump, Carl Palladino, and Rob Astorino are expected at a gun rights rally in West Capitol Park by the State Museum today. [TWCN]

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The man accused of killing an 82-year-old former nun in her Schenectady home in December 2012 has pleaded guilty to charges that include second-degree murder. [Daily Gazette]

The two Republican members of the Troy City Council are pushing for the vote on the sale of the Scolite property -- which was one of the topics reportedly touched on in recent questions from the FBI -- to be either delayed or canceled. Council members of both parties say they're not sure how they will vote on the project given some of the news that's recently surfaced. [TU] [Troy Record]

On the last day of the first enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, the state's health exchange saw its highest traffic since it opened last fall. [TU]

Two UAlbany researchers are working on a way to identify the type of gun and ammunition used through an analysis of the gunshot residue. [TU]

Three fire departments and a dog helped rescue a horse that had fallen through ice on a pond in Rensselaer County. [News10]

Union College wants ESPN to just call it Union. [Daily Gazette]

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They should turn Maiden Lane into a stepped pedestrian street, like they have all over Europe. We don't need to reinvent the wheel, they do steep small streets pretty well across the pond, let's look for some precedents... Human scaled lighting is critical too, that goes for the whole city. And we don't need paint on the road, just signage perpendicular to the flow of traffic at the bridge entrance. I also echo the call for basic, ongoing maintenance to our current infrastructure. How about some weed removal in sidewalks, etc?

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