(Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday he would create a so-called Wage Board, a move apparently designed to allow him to raise the minimum wage without the approval of state lawmakers. Cuomo in his January budget recommended raising the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour in New York City and $10.50 elsewhere in the state, only to see that proposal rejected by the state legislature. "On Thursday, I am directing the commissioner to impanel such a board, to examine the minimum wage in the fast-food industry," Cuomo said in the editorial. "The board will return in about three months with its recommendations, which do not require legislative approval." Cuomo said the Wage Board could "set fast-food workers on a path out of poverty" as well as ease the financial burden on taxpayers and create a new national standard.
HONOLULU (AP) — About a dozen women arrested over the weekend in a Honolulu prostitution sting at massage parlors won't be charged with prostitution. Instead, they face the more severe charge of sex assault.
A BNSF train that derailed in central North Dakota on Wednesday was carrying railcars owned by Hess Corp, 10 of which caught fire and forced the evacuation of a nearby town, the oil producer told Reuters late Wednesday. Hess, the third-largest North Dakota oil producer, said BNSF is leading cleanup efforts but added it stands ready to assist. The New York-based company said it is "fully compliant" with new North Dakota crude-treatment standards that went into effect last month. The standards, designed to mitigate the incendiary effect of crude-by-rail disasters, require combustible elements be filtered out of crude oil.
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii lawmakers have put the state at the front of a national discussion over the future of ethanol in gasoline by passing a bill that puts an end to a requirement that the corn-based additive be mixed into fuel sold in the state.
By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - California regulators on Wednesday adopted the first statewide rules for the permitting of seawater desalination projects that are expected to proliferate as drought-stricken communities increasingly turn to the ocean to supplement their drinking supplies. The action, which sets uniform standards for minimizing harm to marine life, was welcomed by developers of the state's two largest desalination projects as bringing much-needed certainty and clarity to the regulatory approval process. "It reaffirms that the Pacific Ocean is part of the drinking water resources for the state of California," Poseidon Water executive Scott Maloni told Reuters after the rule was enacted on a voice vote in Sacramento by the State Water Resources Control Board. Before Wednesday's action, developers and regulators of desalination plants had no specific guidance for meeting federal and state clean water standards, complicating review of the projects, state water board spokesman George Kostyrko said.