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Three NY state lawmakers run for NYC council

ALBANY, N.Y.  — In New York state government news, three lawmakers are closer to making a move to the New York City Council, opening up vacancies in the Assembly and Senate.

Meanwhile, the Senate is planning a hearing on identity theft, a timely topic after a massive breach at the credit-monitoring firm Equifax exposed sensitive information of about 143 million Americans, including 8 million New Yorkers.

A look at what’s coming up:

SHORTER COMMUTE, MORE MONEY

Three more state lawmakers appear headed to the New York City Council, opening up vacancies in Albany.

State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, both of the Bronx, and Assemblyman Francisco Moya, of Brooklyn, all won Democratic primary elections for City Council on Tuesday. Moya does not face any general election opposition and the other two are expected to win in November in heavily Democratic New York City. If that happens, they will be replaced in a special election.

It might seem odd to give up a state legislative post for local government, but in addition to skipping out on the commute to Albany, members of the City Council make a lot more than their colleagues in the state Capitol: $148,000, compared to the base legislative salary of $79,500.

Two other state senators have recently departed. Former Democratic state Sen. Bill Perkins, of Manhattan, was elected to the City Council earlier this year. State Sen. Daniel Squadron, D-Brooklyn, announced he’s moving to the private sector.

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D’AMATO JOINS MARIJUANA GROUP

Former Republican U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato has become a senior adviser to a leading marijuana policy organization.

D’Amato is joining the Marijuana Policy Project, which just announced the formation of a New York affiliate. The project, long active on the national stage, favors marijuana legalization but is starting out with an easier goal in New York state: improving the state’s fledgling medical cannabis program.

Under that program, patients with certain qualifying conditions may receive permission from their doctors to obtain non-smokeable forms of marijuana at state-regulated dispensaries. It began as one of the nation’s most strict medical marijuana programs, but Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has already made changes to increase patient access.

D’Amato says he wants to work to make the states program “the best in the country.”

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IDENTITY THEFT

New York’s Senate is planning a Sept. 26 hearing on ways to protect the public from identity theft, shortly after a massive breach at the credit monitoring company Equifax exposed the sensitive information of about 143 million Americans.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that includes 8 million New Yorkers affected by the cyberattack. He says his office is investigating how cybercriminals were able to access personal data including Social Security numbers, birthdates and driver’s license numbers.