NEW THIS MORNING
Mayor Bloomberg announced that starting next month, individuals who are arrested on charges of possessing a small amount of marijuana will be released with appearance tickets if they have identification and no open warrants, the Associated Press writes: http://bit.ly/Xdqnyo
A state appeals court ruled that the way New York City enacted a policy requiring homeless adults to prove they had no alternative housing before being allowed into shelters was illegal, The Times reports: http://nyti.ms/15htcoV
A group of New York City livery cab owners have filed a lawsuit accusing city officials of improperly drawing up rules last year that allow customers to use apps to hail cabs, with those rules set to take effect today, The Wall Street Journal writes: http://on.wsj.com/XIN80h
The News' Juan Gonzalez writes that Mayor Bloomberg will use his final months in office to ram through a string of long-term deals for charter school operators and real estate developers, and that these projects will be his enduring legacy: http://nydn.us/12QJQvV
State Sen. Malcolm Smith can add a new title to his illustrious career chairman of the Independent Democratic Conference. He quietly picked up the position on Tuesday now that state Sen. Jeff Klein has assumed the role of co-leader of the Senate with state Sen. Dean Skelos as temporary president. "[Malcolm] is a great senator," said IDC spokesman Eric Soufer, who did not divulge details about Smith's new responsibilities. Conference chairman is the latest title for the man who was once Senate majority leader and openly flirted with running for mayor of New York City on the Republican ticket. So far this week, the conference has released a report on the benefits of raising the state's minimum wage to $8.75 and got the makers of Four Loko, a once popular alcoholic malt beverage, to change its packaging to reduce binge drinking. But some Democrats are skeptical that Smith's post will come with any real power. "Is that a title or did he fight Jeff [Klein] ... And emerge victorious?" said one Capitol source. A spokeswoman for Smith declined to comment about the designation.