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Trump, Astorinio, Paladino at pro-gun rally in Albany

ALBANY – An estimated 3,500 people rallied Tuesday at Empire State Plaza, demanding the repeal of the New York SAFE Act and the ouster of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Though a federal judge ruled the expanded ban on assault weapons is constitutional, the protestors said they are not giving up their fight.

"The SAFE Act is unconstitutional," Michelle Chiaverini, of Penn Yan, told NewsChannel 13. "I'm here to support that it be repealed."

The protestors have a supporter in billionaire businessman Donald Trump, who flew in by helicopter to address the crowd. Trump announced that he has a pistol permit.

"I'm a big Second Amendment person," Trump said. "I'm a big, strong believer in it… I wanted to be here to support you. I’ll be with you no matter where you are."

Governor signs 'grand slam' budget

ALBANY - Inside the state Capitol, Gov. Andrew Cuomo brought a baseball bat to the red room Tuesday morning.

With it being opening week of baseball season, the governor wanted to come up with a sports metaphor as he signed the state's fourth consecutive on-time budget.

He called this a grand slam.

The Senate passed the budget around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night, the Assembly passed it about 45 minutes later.

“This was a collective effort. A cooperative effort and it's a smart plan for the state of New York. It's driven by the fiscal discipline of a two percent spending cap, the two percent then produces revenue for us to make wise investments to make additional tax cuts, which I believe is fueling New York's economic turnaround,” said Cuomo.

The budget is a $140 billion spending plan.

Pre-K funding fight leads to break in budget talks

The New York State Capitol in Albany. - File / AP

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Funding for pre-kindergarten programs has become a sticking point as New York's legislative leaders work to finalize a state budget.

Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos emerged brusquely from closed door negotiations Friday morning to say that certain participants were concerned only about New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio when it comes to pre-K.

De Blasio wants to pay for citywide pre-K with a tax increase on the wealthy. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Senate Republicans both oppose the tax hike.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he's focused on the education of all the state's students and it's "unfortunate" if Shelos has a problem with that.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Civil disobedience takes over second floor of Capitol

In order to draw attention to what protestors believe is Gov. Cuomo's neglect of the middle class, hundreds of people perform a sit-in outside his office and the New York State Police arrested 59 of the participants.

Gov. Cuomo announces initiatives to help NY veterans

ALBANY - The New York governor says he is looking for ways to help veterans as they return home, and their families who have to get by while their loved ones are serving overseas.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is holding a veteran summit at the Empire State Plaza. He says there is a new appreciation and approach for military families and that post-traumatic stress disorder is taking a bigger toll than people realize.

Cuomo also says the ultimate price is paid by both the people who give up their lives and the families who survive them.

The governor also announced a specific program that the state is going to take to try to assist disabled veterans.

NY Senate budget sets stage for 3-way negotiation

New York State Capitol building in Albany. - File / AP

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The budget proposal advanced by New York's Senate sets the stage for a complex two-week negotiation with the governor and Assembly on tax cuts, campaign finance reform, legalizing medical marijuana and other issues.

The state's new fiscal year starts April 1. Talks starting Monday are intended to resolve enough differences in their respective budgets to pass one plan for spending more than $142 billion while amending many state programs and policies.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview Friday says the Senate, unlike the Assembly and him, has no renters' tax cut for low-income city residents. He calls that "a non-starter."

The Senate also would modify Cuomo's proposed property tax freeze for school districts and municipalities that stay within a 2 percent tax cap.

Pushing for change at the Capitol

Gov. Cuomo speaking at Charter School rally on Tuesday. - Kumi Tucker / WNYT

ALBANY - At a time when many school districts say they are cash-strapped and laying off staff, Assemblyman John McDonald (D - Cohoes) says lawmakers are working to restore funding before any conversation about Universal Pre-K. Some local school districts are even considering eliminating kindergarten.

"If UPK is put in place without initial funding for K through 12, you could have that odd circumstance that districts will have to make on their own," said Assemblyman McDonald. "You can have UPK for three- and four-year-olds, and then, 'by the way, find a sitter when they're five.' And that's atrocious."

Lobby day brought thousands of children and parents in bright yellow shirts to the New York State Capitol in support of charter schools.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo got a warm reception from the mostly downstate crowd.