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Greater New York Watch: News Digest
From the Wall Street Journal of Sat, 20 Dec 2014 00:16:43 EST
NEW YORK
Widespread Opposition to Raise for Lawmakers

New Yorkers strongly oppose giving a raise to state legislators—the subject of debate in Albany as lawmakers head toward next year’s legislative session—according to a Siena College poll released Friday.

Sixty-three percent of poll respondents oppose raising the salary of state lawmakers, the poll found, while 28% favor it.

Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg described opposition to a legislative pay raise as “an issue that unifies New York voters.”

State lawmakers are locked in negotiations over the issue with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo , who won’t agree to a raise unless the Legislature agrees to tougher ethics standards, including capping legislators’ outside income.

Lawmakers, some of whom haven’t enjoyed a pay raise since 1999, say the current $79,500 annual salary for the part-time job isn’t sufficient to live in New York state.

The poll of 639 registered voters was conducted Dec. 11-16. It has a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

—Erica Orden

QUEENS
Doctor Given Prison Term for Selling Prescriptions

A Queens anesthesiologist was sentenced Friday to 102/3 years to 20 years in prison for a conviction on charges related to recklessly prescribing oxycodone and other painkillers to patients, two of whom died.

Dr. Stan Xuhui Li, a 60-year-old resident of Hamilton, N.J., who worked in Flushing, Queens, was sentenced in Manhattan Supreme Court on 198 charges, including two counts of manslaughter in the second degree. A jury convicted him in July of recklessly causing the deaths and recklessly endangering six, to whom he had sold prescriptions of narcotic painkillers and other drugs.

Dr. Li was convicted of selling prescriptions for drugs to 20 patients, scheming to defraud insurance companies and submitting altered records to the state Department of Health’s medical oversight agency, the Office of Professional Medical Conduct. The sales included prescriptions for David Laffer in the months before the Long Island man shot four people to death in a Medford pharmacy in 2011.

The doctor, reading from notes, told Justice Michael Sonberg he was treating a group of patients who were reporting severe pain and had a high tolerance for opioids. “I did not create this problem. The problem already existed when the patients came to see me,” Dr. Li said.

The judge noted the defendant’s professional ascent from rural China to a doctor’s position in New York, saying it “shows an incredible amount of intellect, perseverance determination.” But Dr. Li was “acting as a medical dispenser, not a physician,” the judge said.

“This is a fair and just sentence given Li’s egregious criminal conduct, motivated by greed and the severity of the harm that he caused,” said special narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan in a news release. “We hope that the sentence will serve as a deterrent to other medical professionals who may be tempted to engage in similar criminal conduct.”

—Adam Janos

NEW YORK
PATH Reopenings Are Set

PATH’s stations at Exchange Place in Jersey City and World Trade Center in lower Manhattan reopen this weekend after nearly a year without weekend service because of superstorm Sandy repairs and signal upgrades.

At the same time, the rail service said additional weekend outages are planned in the second half of 2015 on the Journal Square-33rd Street via Hoboken line, along with completion of remaining work on the Newark-to-World Trade line.

—Associated Press



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