- Associated Press - Sunday, June 4, 2017

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - In this week’s New York state government news, control of New York City schools tops the list of issues facing lawmakers as they return to Albany to wrap up their annual session.

After a week off, the Assembly and Senate will reconvene in Albany on Monday to begin the last three weeks of their legislative work for the year.

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces the return of a $100 million downtown revitalization contest and

A look ahead in Albany:

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MAYORAL CONTROL

The state law giving Mayor Bill de Blasio control over New York City public schools will expire this year unless lawmakers vote - again - to renew it.

An extension is expected, but not without what has become an annual back-and-forth between the Democratic mayor and his Republican adversaries in the state Senate.

Democrats in the Assembly support a multi-year extension but the Republicans in the state Senate have blocked similar proposals in the past. Instead, lawmakers have voted to continue mayoral control of schools for only a single year in each of the last two years.

Republican Senate Leader John Flanagan wrote to de Blasio last week seeking greater details about school spending and operations before another extension can be authorized. Last year, as part of the renewal, Senate Republicans passed greater financial reporting requirements for the city.

“As there are three weeks remaining in the legislative session to consider extending the statute, I am no longer requesting, but am demanding, that you comply…” Flanagan wrote the mayor. “This is your opportunity to prove that the billions of dollars are not being misspent and mismanaged.”

Mayoral control was implemented at the behest of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who argued it made sense to give City Hall control over public education in the nation’s largest city.

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CUOMO’S DOWNTOWN CONTEST

Cities and towns around the state are expected to compete for $100 million in downtown revitalization funding announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

It’s the second year the Democrat has sponsored the contest, which awards $10 million each to 10 cities or towns who create the best plans to improve their urban cores.

The money is intended to spur efforts to attract more residents, businesses and visitors downtown through investments in transportation, housing, economic development, arts and recreation and other services.

Applications are due June 14. One winning community will be selected from each of the state’s 10 economic regions. Last year’s winners were Jamestown, Geneva, Elmira, Oswego, Oneonta, Plattsburgh, Glens Falls, Middletown, Westbury and Jamaica, Queens.

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HUMAN TRAFFICKING

On Wednesday, the state Assembly plans to hold a hearing to examine what the state is doing to help the victims of human trafficking.

Lawmakers passed the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act in 2015 to ensure victims have access to legal, housing and health care services. The hearing is intended to focus on how well that law is working, and what more state officials can do to crack down on human trafficking and support victims.

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