Jun 17th - 6:57 pm
Here’s a preview of Liz’s interview with US Attorney Preet Bharara, which airs tonight at eight and 11:30 . He says he won’t be coming up to Albany to lobby lawmakers about ethics reform. But he will be keeping an eye on them.
“We investigate cases very aggressively, and we are going to continue to do that whether the legislature is in session or not. You can expect more cases to come, because there is a lot more corruption that has not yet been brought to light. And if a byproduct of that it causes people to debate new reforms that might come into play, that might help us do our jobs, or dis-incentivize people from committing crimes, then that’s a great thing. But I don’t think it’s part of my job to got and tell the legislature particular things that they need to do. I think the cases that are brought shine a light on the kinds of problems that we have and I’ve been speaking about the experiences of our office and the prosecutors cases speak for themselves. I think people of good will and good faith will apply common sense and some courage to the issue, can come up with some things that will help the state quite a bit.”
Jun 17th - 6:51 pm
Deals are coming together at the state Capitol for an overhaul of the Long Island Power Authority, an expansion of casino gambling and the late addition Tax Free NY program.
But lawmakers appear to continue to be at odds on creating a system of publicly financed elections and the abortion component in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s women’s agenda.
With Cuomo insisting he will not issue any messages of necessity to waive the three-day aging process for bills, that gives lawmakers and the governor’s office until tonight to reach final agreements so bills can be printed by Thursday.
Senate Co-Leaders Jeff Klein and Dean Skelos, along with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, emerged from an hour-plus leaders meeting behind closed doors with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to give little indication as to the progress of the potential agreements.
But Silver did elude to vague “framework” agreements on proposals that have been reached, adding that he’s hopeful the bills can be printed this evening.
The speaker also confirmed that he plans to hold a vote on the full women’s agenda, including that controversial abortion piece which will not be taken up in the coalition-led Senate.
“Everything is on the table, nothing is off the table,” Silver said.
Klein said all agreed that Thursday, the scheduled end for the legislative session, was the final day lawmakers wanted to be in Albany.
“We agree that we want to be finished by Thursday,” Klein told reporters.
Dozens of smaller-bore issues remain to be fleshed out in the next six hours, including an ethics overhaul, which Cuomo says is a needed response in the wake of a parade of corruption scandals.
Jun 17th - 6:50 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and top lawmakers are preparing for a late night to try and hammer out deals on major outstanding bills. They aim to wrap things up by Thursday.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly blasted the NSA, saying it should “come clean about domestic spying.”
In a 7-to-2 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that Arizona cannot require documentary proof of citizenship from people seeking to vote in federal elections there.
Cuomo attended the wedding reception of Sen. Tom Libous’ son, Matthew.
Mayor Bloomberg called the UFT’s endorsement “almost the kiss of death.”
Cuomo nominated former state Secretary of State Basil Paterson (former Gov. David Paterson’s father) to be a Port Authority Board commissioner.
Former Assemblyman Nelson Castro gave an “apparent warning” to his wire target, Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, to the dismay of his minders in the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Stevenson, who has been indicted on corruption charges, lost his executive post with the Assembly’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus.
NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the Democratic mayoral frontrunner, went on the attack against her opponents.
New York received a failing grade for its manufacturing climate in a Ball State University report.
Bloomberg is hosting a fundraiser for a Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate.
Chelsea Clinton says her mother’s tweets are “deliberate and intentional and full of so much energy and effort.”
Jersey City Mayor-elect Steve Fulop joined Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns group.
Thanks to a state Supreme Court decision, retired Port Authority Police lieutenants will be able to cross the PA’s bridges and tunnels for free, and park at PA-run airports without charge.
Rep. Michael Grimm endorsed Republican Joe Lhota for mayor.
A legal challenge to the 2012 election of Jeremy Zellner as chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee has been dismissed by the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court.
Sarah Palin returned to FOX and blasted Bloomberg for his “bizarre bucket list” of public health measures and treating city residents like “a bunch of little babies.”
Jun 17th - 6:20 pm
It’s all about the votes.
That’s what Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein is holding to as a rather significant roadblock to the passage of the entire women’s agenda as introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Klein, who along with his breakaway faction of Democratic senators met privately with Cuomo earlier today, reiterated the votes in the Senate aren’t available to include the abortion provision.
If that were the case, the pacakge would have passed alongside the budget, Klein said.
“We’re all about getting votes,” Klein told reporters before a leaders meeting with Cuomo. ”The magic number is 32. If we had 32 votes for the 10 points we wouldn’t be having this conversation, we would have passed it probably six months ago as part of the budget.”
Klein added that his conference is the “only conference that is all pro-choice.”
Senate Democrats have at least one member — Sen. Ruben Diaz — who would vote against the measure. Sen. John Bonacic, a Republican, confirmed today he would vote no on the abortion language if it’s put before him.
“We stand behind a woman’s right to choose,” Klein said. ”I would love to see al 10 points pass as well as the five points the Independent Democratic Conference is pushing.”
Klein has been under mounting pressure from women’s groups and Cuomo to force a vote on the legislation after he introduced a package that included nine of the 10 points Cuomo is pushing.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told reporters post-leaders meeting that he expects to take up the full women’s agenda. The Assembly, unlike the Senate, has a large Democratic majority.
Jun 17th - 5:48 pm
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin is “strongly” considering a run for governor in 2014, he said in a Capital Tonight interview set to air this evening.
McLaughlin first told The New York Post’s Fred Dicker he was inclined to run, but told me in the interview a number of the traditional factors are in play, including his family considerations and Cuomo’s $20 million war chest.
“I do think we can raise enough money,” McLaughlin said. ”The truth is we’ve been out spent in every election.”
In the interview, he stressed that he’s still in the consideration phase of making a run, but believes a decision could come as early as the summer or fall.
McLaughlin is a second-term Republican lawmaker who would certainly struggle with name identification and the heavy Democratic enrollment in New York.
But he believes the anger over the state’s gun control law passed in January could help move the needle in his direction.
“I do think this governor is starting to wear thin on everyone, especially in upstate New York,” he said. ”There’s no doubt people are irritated, they’re mad and from what I hear it’s the same way on Long Island.”
Whether he has the discipline is also a factor. McLaughlin is known for shooting from the hip on his criticism and it’s gotten him into some hot water (he’s said that “Hitler would be proud” of Cuomo’s effort to pass the gun law, which he apologized for).
But McLaughlin believes that style can be a strength.
“I think it’s a positive,” he said. ”And I don’t shoot from the hip, I shoot from the brain. I think about what I’m saying before I say it and then I tell you that. A lot of politicians don’t do that.”
The full interview airs tonight at 8 and 11:30 on the re-air.
Jun 17th - 4:27 pm
Sen. John Bonacic would vote against the full women’s agenda that contains the abortion provision he said in an interview this afternoon.
Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, Orange County, had become the focal point for advocates backing the women’s agenda as a possible swing vote in the coalition-led Senate.
Last week, after advocates backed an amendment that would have explicitly forbade “partial-birth abortions” Bonacic in a statement declared the move was “probably too little, too late.”
The measure in the women’s agenda is aimed at codifying Roe v. Wade in state law.
But that statement did not give any indication as to how Bonacic would have voted if given the chance.
Today, Bonacic said altering the language “wouldn’t have made a difference.”
“I believe — I’ve never been a supporter of late-term abortions let me start with that. Change of language wouldn’t have made a difference,” Bonacic said. ”Roe v. Wade is on the books, this I’m satisfied with, but I really think between the two chairs in our coalition that bill is not going to come to the floor for a vote.”
Asked if he would vote against the abortion measure if given the chance, Bonacic said, “I would have.”
The women’s coalition formed to back the agenda and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have pressed for a full vote on the 10-point package.
Cuomo has gone as far to suggest that the package should be voted on in its entirety even if it fails in order to see how lawmakers stand on the abortion issue.
Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein, who is now in a governing coalition with Senate Republicans, released his own women’s agenda that did not include the abortion provision.
In a statement, Klein said he did not believe the votes were available in the narrowly divided Senate.
Jun 17th - 2:31 pm
Advocates that backed the abortion plank in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s women’s agenda are blaming the Independent Democratic Conference for failing to force a vote on the full women’s agenda which could ultimately doom the entire women’s agenda.
Klein, the co-president of the Senate and leader of the breakaway faction of Democrats in the Senate, introduced his own package for the women’s agenda that did not include the provsion aimed at codifying Roe v. Wade in New York law.
Klein determined that not enough votes existed in the chamber to pass the abortion piece, but the move drew the ire of women’s groups that had wanted the full 10-point plan to pass the coalition-led chamber.
The move was also rejected by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said in a radio interview he wants the full agenda to be voted on.
“I am outraged by the actions of Sen. Klein and his colleagues in the Senate Independent Democratic Coalition,” said Family Planning Advocates of New York President Tracey Brooks. “Not only have they blocked a vote in the Senate on the widely supported Women’s Equality Act containing important reproductive health provisions, now they have introduced a counter “women’s” bill, purposely leaving out updates to the state’s outdated abortion law.”
NARAL Pro-Choice New York, meanwhile, released a radio ad set to air in Albany starting today that criticizes Klein for providing political cover to his governing partner in the Senate, Republican Leader Dean Skelos.
“Leaders who thwart the will of those they claim to represent will not long remain in leadership positions,” said NARAL Pro-Choice New York President Andrea Miller. If the State Senate’s majority coalition will not even allow a vote on a bill that reflects the values of a deeply pro-choice electorate, then the overwhelming pro-choice majority will have no choice but to fight as hard as possible to elect a Senate that does reflect those core beliefs.”
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins released her own statement today in response as well, calling on a full vote. She did not mention the IDC.
“The Senate Democratic Conference stands with Governor Cuomo in calling for all 10 points of the Women’s Equality Agenda to be brought to the Senate floor for a vote. Women’s health and equality should not be a Republican or Democratic issue. The women of New York deserve a vote on the entire Women’s Equality Act and deserve to know where their elected officials stand on these important issues.”
Jun 17th - 1:42 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a statement this afternoon endorsed Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s measure to publicly finance campaigns, backing away from his own legislation introduced last week.
The move is a surprising one for Cuomo, who has sought to drive his own legislative agenda through introducing program bills that differ from similar measures already working there way through both chambers of the Legislature.
Cuomo introduced his own elections reform package last week that included a public financing component and an emphasis on greater enforcement at the state Board of Elections.
The Silver-backed legislation, which previously passed the Democrtic-controlled Assembly, is the legislation that is favored by the coalition of labor-backed and left-leaning organizations in favor of public financing, Fair Elections.
Both the Cuomo system and the Silver proposal would create a system of publicly financed political campaigns through non-taxpayer dollars that is modeled on the New York City program. A key difference is that Silver’s system does not address housekeeping or “soft money” committees, which Cuomo’s propsoal would have made for new restrictions and limits on contributions.
Support for Silver’s legislation comes after some on the left accused Cuomo of not pushing hard enough for the public financing measure in the final month of the legislative session.
Public financing is opposed by Senate Republicans, who are in a governing coalition with four independent Democrats.
“As I have made clear to the Legislature, I believe that we need a comprehensive package of reforms to address public corruption in Albany and I have introduced such a package over the course of this Session that includes campaign finance reform, election reform, and improvements to the criminal law to facilitate State prosecutions of corrupt public officials. Part of that agenda calls for establishing a public financing system for elections in New York State,” Cuomo said. “The bill introduced by Speaker Silver, passed by the Assembly and introduced by Senate Democratic Leader Stewart-Cousins in the Senate (A4980C/S4705) to establish a public financing system for New York State’s elections would do just that. Senator co-leaders Klein and Skelos should bring this bill, as well as the other bills that would address public corruption, to the floor for a vote of the full Senate before the session concludes this week.”
Jun 17th - 12:39 pm
Brian Ellner, a key lobbyist during the lead up to the legalization of same-sex marriage, has joined Patricia Lynch Associates, the company announced this morning.
Patricia Lynch was one of several prominent lobbying shops to push the same-sex marriage bill through the Legislature.
Ellner was a top strategist for the Human Rights Campaign and launched New Yorkers For Marriage Equality, a prominent campaign featuring celebrities, atheletes and other well-known figures endorsing same-sex marriage.
Ellner, a lawyer and former community board and Bloomberg administration member, will be based out of PLA’s New York City office.
“Brian is a savvy and seasoned professional who understands how the business of government relations is evolving. He is an insider’s insider whose advice and counsel is sought by a wide range of decision makers and opinion shapers. His experience and ability to synthesize the competing demands of the public and private sectors will be great assets as our firm grows and diversifies. Moreover, Brian’s solid portfolio from the education, legal, tech, communications and government worlds will be crucial in guiding our clients particularly with the changing of the guard at City Hall and with elected officials and agencies across the City. ”
Jun 17th - 12:14 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo predicted in a radio interview this morning that public financing of political campaigns and abortion rights will be election-year issues should lawmakers fail to approve them this week.
In an interview with Susan Arbetter on The Capitol Pressroom, Cuomo trained his fire on the four-member Independent Democratic Conference for failing to get a vote on those key issues, which are generally opposed by Republican lawmakers in that chamber.
“I think campaign finance, public finance, and the choice issue will be significant Election Day issues next year,” Cuomo said in the interview. “I think that’s what it was about. I think they made a decision would you whether do it and pass it or deal with it in an election contest. I think they decided by their actions they want to deal with it in an election contest. I think it’s a serious mistake on their part, but I’m sure I’ve done things they think are a serious mistake on my part.”
Cuomo today admitted that he did not think the abortion component in the 10-point women’s agenda would be approved, nor will public financing.
The governor rejected the possibility of passing nine out of the 10 points in the agenda, a package that was formally introduced by the breakaway faction of independent Democrats late Sunday.
“I don’t believe the Senate was ever going to put choice on the floor,” Cuomo said. ”The question was will the IDC put choice on the floor.”
All 213 seats in the Legislature are up for election in 2014 and Cuomo is running for a four-year term. If recent history is any judge, he will face a Republican opponent who is opposed to abortion rights.
Still, it paints Cuomo into an interesting corner: Does he support a takeover of the Senate by his own party after deciding in 2012 to sit out the question of who controls the chamber?
Rejecting a package without the abortion provision is line with what the coalition of groups backing the agenda wants, Cuomo said.
“I am in solidarity with the women’s coalition,” Cuomo said. “They are in solidarity that if they dno’t get the choice vote, they don’t want the nine.”
Cuomo said he wanted to push the contentious issue in part because it was “important to me to argue just from a political, electoral point of view.”
Whether this is posturing or not on Cuomo’s part is unclear.
The governor vowed to not issue any messages of necessity this week to waive the three-day aging process for bills. That means legislation agreed to and printed within the next 24 hours in order to be voted on by Thursday, the final day of the legislative session.