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Cuomo signs plastic bag ban

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Monday that will ban single-use plastic bags in New York state starting next year. WXXIs Karen DeWitt reports. As Earth Day was celebrated Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that bans single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and other retail shops in New York state. Cuomo, crumpling a plastic bag in his hand for effect, said the bags “look harmless enough” but are actually dangerous to the environment -- and New Yorkers use 23 billion of...

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A new effort aimed at reducing minors' use of flavored tobacco products downstate could also be expanding to the Rochester area and across New York.

The Flavors Hook Kids campaign is part of an effort to inform young people that flavored tobacco products are addictive and can hurt their health.

The effort to ban those products in New York City officially launched Wednesday, but the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network has also begun a push in Albany to ban those products statewide.

The south shore of Lake Ontario might become a national marine sanctuary.

Ellen Brody is the Great Lakes regional coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

"In many ways," she said via phone, "sanctuaries are like national parks in that our mission is to protect a resource."

She said this effort was spearheaded by the counties along the shore of Lake Ontario, which pushed for recognition and protection of the lake’s shipwrecks.

There are 13 other marine sanctuaries in the U.S. – but only one in the Great Lakes.

color:#2C2C2C">ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  Democrats in the state Legislature are backing a proposal to expand free public college tuition for families of New York military members who die while performing their official duties.

A change effected in the recent state budget legislation may have a big impact in immigrant communities.

It’s called the One Day to Protect New Yorkers Act, or One Day Act, and it changes the maximum sentence for Class A misdemeanors from 365 days to 364 days.

The change means these convictions will no longer trigger automatic deportation proceedings. Immigrants convicted of Class A misdemeanors may still be deported, but the change gives judges more discretion on a case-by-case basis.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer was in town Monday to demand more federal funding and resources be sent to Social Security field offices.

The Democrat said when it comes to the longest wait times at a Social Security office, Rochester’s office ranked first in New York state and second in the country.

Speaking at the Henrietta Senior Center, Schumer said the number of baby boomers retiring is increasing every day.

There was a lot of disappointment among staffers at a Rochester high-tech company after an Israeli unmanned spacecraft crash-landed on the moon Thursday.

The local company is called Stamper Technology, and staffers there spent months putting together what is essentially a sophisticated time capsule, that was on board the small spacecraft built by a private organization from Israel.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  New York's comptroller is reporting a big increase in the number of questionable or fraudulent state tax refunds this year. 

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office says Friday that it had blocked more than 12,000 bogus refunds worth $43.7 million as of the start of the week. 

Last year at the same point, DiNapoli's office had identified $24 million in erroneous refunds. 

Many of the incorrect returns understated income or listed too many dependents.

color:#2C2C2C">ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he would sign legislation allowing people with a terminal illness to seek life-ending medication from a physician.

There are signs that state regulators and Charter Communications may be getting closer to an agreement that would keep that media company from being kicked out of New York State.

The NYS  Public Service Commission has granted another extension to Charter, which is the parent company of cable, internet and phone provider Spectrum, while the two sides continue their negotiations.

An audit by New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says the New York State Education Department needs to improve its efforts to ensure school districts are following state requirements for school safety planning.