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MarijuanaHow do our local lawmakers feel about medical marijuana?

The assembly voted this week on a bill that would legalize the drug for medical uses. (Read the bill here.)

Rochester lawmakers voted along party lines. Democrats Harry Bronson, David Gantt and Joe Morelle voted yes. Republicans Bill Reilich, Bill Nojay, Mark Johns and Brian Kolb voted no. The bill passed and is now in the hands of the senate.

The governor remains opposed to medical marijuana, but says he has an “open mind.”

Medical marijuana is legal in 18 states and Washington, D.C. Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

I believe it’s only a matter of time before marijuana is 100 percent legal in all states for recreational and medicinal uses.

Links of the Day:

“By introducing the bill, Cuomo is putting a referendum on abortion before the state Legislature.”

– A Syracuse man’s murder conviction was tossed because of a 49-hour police interrogation.

– A quadriplegic woman is accused of running a gun and drugs ring in Syracuse.

The AMC in Webster is banking on recliners.

– Amazon plans a big expansion into the grocery business, even fresh foods. (I buy all my cereal online.)

– Bazil served children mimosas by mistake. Their parents are furious and say the kids were hungover the next day.

 

Bowling shoeState Senator Pat Gallivan of the Buffalo area has introduced a bill that would prevent “bowling for dollars.”

The law (read the bill here) would require bowling alleys to post signs at exits warning bowlers not to wear their bowling shoes outside. The alleys would then be protected from lawsuits filed by people who slip and fall in their bowling shoes.

The Albany Times Union reports:

While this sounds about as common as 300-point game, those in the bowling business say slip-and-fall lawsuits roll in with regularity.

And they’ve become more common since New York’s indoor smoking ban took effect in 2003. These days, those seeking a smoke go outside. But if it’s rainy or snowy, leather-soled bowling shoes can become wet and slippery, thus the increased risk of injury. Some centers try to keep their shoes indoors. “We try to enforce that,” said Brian Loudermilk of Schenectady’s Boulevard Bowl. They also let people keep their street shoes with them to use if they want to go outside, he said.

So far, the bill hasn’t gotten out of the gutter – er – committee.

Links of the Day:

– The CityGate “plan looks like Henrietta has swallowed up the entire town of Brighton & is invading the City…RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!”

Syracuse’s I-81 stretch through the city will either be a boulevard or an elevated highway.

– A Buffalo developer wants a sales tax-free zone downtown.

“Mr. Silver is still standing strong.”

Why Oklahoma houses don’t have basements.

Craft beer in cans?

It’s been quite a week in Albany. A second major corruption scandal erupted. First, State Senator Malcolm Smith was arrested for allegedly trying to rig the New York City mayoral election. Then Assemblyman Eric Stevenson was arrested, accused of accepting bribes. A third sate lawmaker resigned and revealed he’d been cooperating with authorities.

Meanwhile, Rochester area state lawmakers insist they’ve never encountered corruption.

Twitter had fun with the scandal. Here’s how the day played out.

http://storify.com/rachbarnhart/scandal-day

Movie CameraNew York recently announced ‘Amazing Spiderman 2’ will be filmed entirely within the state. A car chase scene will be shot in Rochester. While it’s cool to envision Spiderman chasing bad guys around the Inner Loop, we might wish this production stayed in Hollywood.

‘Spiderman’ will qualify for state tax credits that can shave 30 percent off production costs. If the tax credits exceed the amount in taxes owed, the movie gets a refund check. New York’s tax credit program will cost $420 million this year. Do you know who pays for these tax credits? We do.

What’s the benefit?

The Tax Foundation says we don’t get much in return. The group found taxpayers get back less than 30 cents for every dollar of spending. The jobs created are mostly temporary and given to nonresidents.

Massachusetts found its film tax credit program cost more money than it brought in and created very few jobs. A Boston Globe columnist writes:

The Massachusetts film tax credit program has been a flop, a taxpayer rip-off that enriches one of the nation’s most profitable industries while choking off funds from more pressing public needs….

Film tax credits are based on a kind of voodoo economics — a faith that the more revenue the state manages to lose to Hollywood, the better off the public will end up. “Lawmakers understand that cutting income tax rates from 6 percent to 5 percent will cost the state revenue,” economics writer Josh Barro observes, yet they imagine “that cutting the tax rate on film productions to negative 25 percent or 40 percent can pay for itself.”

Yet, New York lawmakers are about to pass a budget that ups tax incentives to 40 percent for Upstate productions. It’s long past time the state do a serious, independent cost-benefit analysis of this program. But that’s not likely, since the state won’t even break down where the tax credit money went.

Update: The state has agreed to reveal how tax credits are spent on every movie and to an economic impact study!

Links of the Day:

Costco is looking at sites in Rochester and Albany.

– Batavia firefighters get probation for acting as bookies. The cop investigating them placed bets.

21 graphs that show American health care prices are ludicrous.

Links of the Day:

– Two New York State lawmakers want to police anonymous online comments. State Senator Tom O’Mara of the Southern Tier and Assemblyman Dean Murray of Long Island have proposed the Internet Protection Act. They say it would combat cyberbullying and not infringe upon free speech. If someone complains about a comment, websites would have to remove the offending post.

Not surprisingly, the proposal is getting a ton of heat. The New York Post writes:

These guys ever hear of free speech?

True, anonymous commenters can be obnoxious trolls. And sponsors say they hope to protect kids from cyberbullies and shield businesses from negative posts by their rivals — not that even those goals should be allowed to trump the First Amendment.
But as Assemblyman Jim Conte (R-LI) made clear, the bill will also ban “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks that . . . falsely tarnish the opponent’s reputation by using the anonymity of the Web.”

Forget the First Amendment — these guys are looking out for No. 1.

In the assembly, a bunch of GOP lawmakers have signed on. But the measure doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. Who knows what may have happened if media outlets hadn’t discovered the bill’s existence.

– Canada stands to profit a lot more than New York State and Niagara Falls from Nik Wallenda’s wire walk. Oh darn.

– Rochester TV stations WROC and WUHF have shared a building, along with news and sales staff for years. The stations have different owners, however. These “covert consolidations” are becoming more common and the FCC is investigating.

– You can buy a 176-year-old building in Clarendon for $1. It needs a lot of work.

– The first few hot days of summer feel yucky, don’t they? Our bodies gradually get used to the heat.

Why is Photoshop evil, but Instagram gets a pass?