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School bus drivers set to strike

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
January 15, 2013 1:31:56 PM PST
So will they strike? More than 8,000 school bus drivers in New York City say they'll walk off their jobs tomorrow morning if they don't get a new contract, which they've been without for a few weeks.

New York City has more than a million public school students - and only about 15 percent of them ride school buses, one of the lowest percentages in the nation. But because this is the biggest district in the country, the raw numbers are huge - more than 150,000 students.

The City has little to do with the instant problem; the drivers work for the private companies that contract with New York City. But the contract hasn't been let out in years, and that brick falls on the City's bidding process. Who are these companies? And how are they treating their workers? And the City leans on other companies that do business with government, so is there some pressure that can be applied here?

We're on the story tonight at 11, as we'll have a better idea of whether the drivers will indeed go on strike. What will parents do? And will they take advantage of the City's reimbursements?

Also at 11, we'll have the New York State Assembly vote to approve the new and tougher gun law. It's a statement more than anything else - the banning of assault weapons in New York, and the outlawing of any ammunition magazine with more than 7 bullets. Symbolic because what mass-murder-madman (and yes it's men, not women, who commit mass murder, by and large) is going to give a rat's patoony about breaking the law and having a 30-clip magazine? None.

Nonetheless, the move, despite the rantings of gun control opponents, is a huge statement in a state that already has one of the toughest gun control laws in the country. We'll have the latest, at 11.

We'll also have the latest on another big vote - the House says yeah or nay to the first part of a $50.7 billion Sandy aid package. $17 billion up for grabs at first, with another $33 billion way up in the air.

We're also in Orange County, where a 34-year-old mother was attacked at a school bus stop this morning - allegedly attacked by 3 young girls ages 12 and 13. Apparently this was no ordinary assault - they call it "mobbing" or "popping" depending on whether it's a mom or dad as the target. And cops say young kids are doing it for fun.

Charming.

Also - Meteorologist Lee Goldberg is tracking a storm system that's moving in overnight that will bring snow and rain to much of the tri-state. The morning commute figures to be slippery and icy.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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