Jun 19th - 6:03 pm
Deputy Senate Republican Leader Tom Libous is undergoing a second round of chemotherapy, leaving him to ponder his future in elected office after the cancer that started in his prostate spread to his lungs.
The UFT endorsed Democrat Bill Thompson in the NYC mayor’s race.
Asked if he’ll personally campaign to try to convince voters this fall to pass the casino referendum, Gov. Andrew Cuomo replied: “I haven’t even thought it through yet.”
The Bloomberg administration slammed Democratic mayoral candidate/NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s new policy book.
“Women for Weiner” exists.
Weiner says he has the support of at least one UFT member: His mom.
Cuomo has moved to fill expired seats on the Adirondack Park Agency board, including two appointments that would replace veteran members of the commission.
A new report is designed to help the next mayor of NYC maintain Bloomberg’s “innovative edge.”
New PSC Commissioner candidate Audrey Zibelman, who currently lives in Pennsylvania, revealed she’s slated to become the body’s next chair.
Eight NYC mayoral hopefuls discussed transit this morning.
As of this morning, the state’s DAs hadn’t yet given up hope on the Public Trust Act.
Really organizers from Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns issued an apology for including the dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect on a list of gun-violence victims.
The New York Post has a new City Halll bureau chief – Yoav Gonen will replace David Seifman, who is the new political editor.
Congrats to NYT reporter (and LCA alum) Michael Cooper on his new job.
Jun 19th - 12:21 pm
GENDA – the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which protects transgender people under the State Human Rights Law – has been considered a bit of a tough sell in the closely divided Senate, especially since some GOP members are still smarting from the conservative backlash over passage of the same-sex marriage bill two years ago.
But a new version of the bill, which was amended with an eye toward addressing some public safety concerns of a trio of key GOP members, was quietly introduced two days ago, and supporters say there is some last minute movement on the measure.
A source familiar with the amendment said language was added to make it clear that a “crime is a crime” even under a law that protects against bias in areas including public accommodations.
The thinking is that passage of GENDA could give a much needed progressive win to IDC Leader Jeff Klein & Co. at a time when the breakaway Democratic conference is under intense pressure from the left for (so far) failing to force a vote on some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top agenda items, including the all-inclusive 10-point Women’s Equality Act and the campaign finance reform bill.
Also, GENDA supporters yesterday released a letter to the Senate leaders from NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, who noted that the New York City Human Rights Law was amended by Local Law 3 in 2002 to protect against bias in areas including public accommodations and no there was no “significant increase” in crime as a result of that change.
“Commissioner Kelly’s declaration that no safety risk resulted from passing a GENDA-type measure in New York City in 2002 is proof positive that GENDA can run on its record,” said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan Schaefer.
“Add Commissioner Kelly’s words to the supportive statements of six of New York’s most prominent law enforcement officials, and it’s clear that law enforcement is behind this measure. The words of Ray Kelly and six of his colleagues throw cold water on any shred of suspicion that GENDA is a threat to public safety. In fact, all evidence from law enforcement maintains that GENDA has enhanced public safety.”
The other five law enforcement officials referenced by Schaefer are from Albany, Rochester, Yonkers, Binghamton and Suffolk and Tompkins counties. Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, Rochester, and the counties of Suffolk and Tompkins already have local GENDA laws, as do 15 states and 90 localities across the country.
In late April, the Democrat-led Assembly passed GENDA for the sixth time
fifth year in a row. If the amended bill is approved by the Senate before the week is out, the Assembly would also have to pass a same-as version before it could be sent to the governor for his consideration.
Jun 19th - 6:40 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.
There was a flurry of activity down at the Capitol late last night as the governor and legislative leaders rushed to lock down deals and get bills into print so lawmakers could pass them and depart Albany before the end of the week.
As was widely reported shortly before midnight, the governor relented on his insistence that his 10-point Women’s Equality Act not be broken down into separate pieces and sent 10 individual bills to the Legislature.
That essentially concedes defeat of the abortion rights plank of the plan, because the Senate Republicans reiterated last night through their spokeswoman Kelly Cummings – as they have said all along – that they won’t pass it.
The move came less than 12 hours after Cuomo’s office released an updated version of the omnibus bill. And as of 7 p.m., Cuomo’s office and advocates were still insisting they had no intention of breaking up the 10-point plan.
Another wrinkle: Assembly spokesman Mike Whyland said last night that there’s no deal on the 10 separate bills and the Democratic conference plans to pass the plan in its original, whole form.
In addition, there were reportedly late night deals on casino expansion that will authorize four casinos upstate – two in the Catskills, but none in New York City for seven years – some elements of Cuomo’s anti-corruption plan and also his Tax Free-NY initiative.
According to Newsday, Long Island will get VLT parlors with up to 2,000 terminals (1,000 in Nassau, 1,000 in Suffolk) as part of the casino deal – something Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, of Nassau County, had been pushing.
Earlier in the day, Cuomo and the leaders announced an agreement on his plan to create a 10-member state board to help financially ailing local municipalities.
Also happening today…
At 9 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli speaks to attendees at the Local Government Leadership Institute, Student Union, SUNY New Paltz, New Paltz.
At 10 a.m., Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner sign a bill merging the Onondaga and Syracuse planning agencies, Washington Station, 333 West Washington St., Syracuse,
At 11 a.m., LG Bob Duffy attends GEICO’s celebration of 2,500 associates in Western New York, GEICO, 300 Crosspoint Parkway, Getzville. (GEICO owner Warren Buffett is also expected to attend).
At 12:30 p.m. three Democratic leaders – Brooklyn Chairman Frank Seddio, Manhattan BP Scott Stringer, and Brooklyn BP Marty Markowitz will endorse City Council Candidate Antonio Reynoso against former Assemblyman Vito Lopez. Brooklyn Borough Hall steps.
At 5:45 p.m., the UFT will announce its endorsement in the NYC mayor’s race, UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, Manhattan. (Insiders expect Bill Thompson to receive the union’s backing).
Democratic NYC mayoral frontrunner/Council Speaker Christine Quinn is launching a whirlwind, five borough jobs tour today. She’ll be in the Bronx at 9 a.m. (Milea Truck Sales, 885 East 149th St.), Manhattan at 10 a.m. (La Marqueta and Hot Bread Kitchen Incubator, 115th Street and Park Avenue), make two stops in Queens – Songza Headquarters, 526 46th Ave, 2nd Floor at 11:30 a.m. and Salma Jewelry, 4040 82nd St. at 12:45 p.m.), Brooklyn’s Wholesale Meat Market, 5600 1st Ave. at 2:30 p.m. and the Downtown Stapleton and Associated Economic Development Projects
on Staten Island at 4 p.m.
At 7 p.m., NYC mayoral contenders will participate in the Latino Leadership Institute/NY1 debate at Hunter College’s Danny Kay Theater, 695 Park Ave., Manhattan. (This event will be streamed live on NY1.com and NY1Noticias.com).
In other news…
Jun 18th - 5:24 pm
The Assembly honored the winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Arvind V. Mahankali, (of “knaidel” fame), and he was a big hit with lawmakers.
Former Senate Democratic staffer-turned-left activist Mike Kink was arrested at the Capitol along with 20 fellow progressive protestors demonstrating against the IDC.
Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. worries someday all the Senate Democrats will have to join the IDC.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who helped push the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to a surprise victory in 2011, is “quite optimistic” that the federal Defense of Marriage Act will be repealed by the end of the year.
Former Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada’s son – Pedro Gautier Espada - was sentenced to 6 months in prison for his involvement in father’s theft and tax fraud case.
Kevin Finnegan, political director of powerful health care workers’ union 1199 SEIU, will be the WFP’s placeholder candidate for the Democratic NYC mayoral primary.
Even though they aren’t united behind a candidate NYC labor leaders are gearing up to re-establish political primacy after Bloomberg’s departure.
The co-founders of POLITICO are having a war of words with Nate Silver.
Chelsea Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are moving on up, going from a nearly $5 million pad to $10 million-plus place.
A new web video highlights NYC Council Speaker/Democratic mayoral frontrunner Chris Quinn’s efforts to help communities struck by Sandy.
In what was billed as his first major policy speech of his campaign, Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner attempted to woo members of NYC’s business community.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, who surprised fellow Democrats when she backed Barack Obama for president in January 2008, has become the first sitting senator to endorse Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.
Gillibrand, who has been mentioned as a potential presidential contender, met with Clinton recently to re-pledge her support for a run by the former secretary of state.
The state Senate passed a bill creating a registry for convicted animal abusers.
The Senate and Assembly reached a compromise on a bill that will delay any primary runoff in the NYC mayoral race and allow the city Board of Election to use lever machines.
Jun 18th - 12:09 pm
The New York Gaming Association, which believes Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s casino expansion proposal would put its members at a competitive disadvantage, has commissioned a poll that finds voters aren’t big on the governor’s Plan B if the Legislature fails to pass his gaming bill: Expand VLTs across the state, including in New York City’s outer boroughs.
The poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, found 51 percent of New Yorkers support the plan to expand non-Indian gaming in the state, eventually resulting in up to seven new casinos, while 41 percent are opposed.
But 56 percent said they don’t support the idea of building more VLT gaming facilities, with the same number saying they prefer more casinos to more VLTs.
When told that the governor’s plan is to push for more gambling in New York regardless of whether a public referendum passes or fails this fall, with VLT casinos as the default plan, New Yorkers were even more strongly opposed, with 65 percent saying they feel that’s a bad idea. A whopping 70 percent said they are opposed to the idea of a VLT center in their own neighborhood.
Also, 43 percent of voters said Cuomo’s support for more VLTs makes them have a less favorable opinion of him – something that might hit home with the governor, given his slow and steady drop in the polls over the past several months.
Cuomo and legislative leaders are trying to hammer out a casino deal before the session ends this week. It is one of the issues that appears to still be “live” down at the Capitol, as opposed to public campaign financing and the Women’s Equality Act, which Cuomo himself has admitted are unlikely to pass before lawmakers leave Albany for their summer vacations.
Jun 18th - 6:57 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.
At 9 a.m., ESDC President and CEO Ken Adams will discuss Cuomo’s Tax Free-NY initiative at SUNY Purchase, Student Services Building, Red Room, 735 Anderson Hill Rd., Purchase.
At 10 a.m., OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito will speak about Tax Free-NY at Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome Campus, Festine Auditorium, 1101 Floyd Ave.
Also at 10 a.m., Rep. Joe Crowley and Food Bank For New York City President and CEO Margarette Purvis criticize proposed reductions in federal funding for the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” (food stamps) as part of the Farm Bill under consideration by Congress; Key Food supermarket, 46-02 Queens Blvd., Queens.
Also at 10 a.m., legislators and advocates will gather in the Well of the LOB (Albany) to mark the centennial of the suffrage campaign and unveil a resolution honoring the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon used in organizing women to vote in New York.
At 11 a.m., the Senate Republicans and local law enforcement officials hold a press conference on the Public Assistance Integrity Act, Room 124, state Capitol, Albany. (The act prohibits welfare recipients from using cash assistance to purchase tobacco, alcoholic beverages, lottery
tickets or to gamble).
Also at 11 a.m., civil rights and legal advocates and residents discuss planned legal action challenging the NYPD’s surveillance of businesses frequented by Muslim residents and area mosques; One Police Plaza, Park Row and Pearl Street.
Also at 11 a.m., Syracuse Mayor/state Democratic Party Co-Chair Stephanie Miner urges the Legislature to pass the Women’s Equality Agenda, Harriet May Mills House, 1074 West Genesee St., Syracuse.
At noon, NYC Council members Margaret Chin and Brad Lander discuss funding for social services and express support for state legislation that would withdraw Madison Square Garden’s property tax exemption; steps, City Hall, Manhattan.
At 1 p.m., Progressive coalitions unite to call on the Independent Democratic Conference to pass bills opposed by Senate Republicans, Million Dollar Staircase, Third Floor, State Capitol, Albany.
At 1:30 p.m., Sen. Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. host Bronx Day in Albany, The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany.
At 5:30 p.m., City and State hosts its 40 under 40 reception, Taste Albany, 45 Beaver St., Albany.
Cuomo acknowledged it is unlikely lawmakers will agree to strengthen abortion rights or create a public financing system for state campaigns before the legislative session ends this week.
“Tainted by a series of corruption scandals and at loggerheads over the highest-profile legislative issues, lawmakers seem eager simply to return home.”
Cuomo and legislative leaders spent over an hour behind closed doors trying to finalize legislation to privatize the LIPA, create tax-free zones on upstate university campuses, reauthorize binding arbitration with special provisions for fiscally distressed cities, and authorize up to four new casinos around the state.
Cuomo’s early victory this year in getting Senate Republicans to pass the SAFE Act may have made them “gun shy,” says Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, and hampered the governor’s ability to push them on the rest of his progressive agenda at the end of the session.
The governor suggested the loss of his Women’s Equality Act will likely come back to haunt some senators – especially the IDC members – in next year’s elections.
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 - 6:50 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 - 6:40 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.
Members of Cuomo’s cabinet make one last push around the state for his Tax Free-NY plan as lawmakers gather in Albany for the week of the scheduled 2013 legislative session.
- Canal Corp. Executive Director Brian Stratton will be at Buffalo State College, (Cleveland Hall, Room 418, 1300 Elmwood Ave.) at 9 a.m. and at Niagara County Community College’s Business & Hospitality Building (Room B131, 3111 Saunders Settlement Rd., Sanborn) at noon.
- Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government Dede Scozzafava will speak at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Baker Laboratory, Room 148, 1 Forestry Dr., Syracuse) at 10 a.m. and Jefferson Community College (Walker Instructional Dining Room, 4-009, 1220 Coffeen St., Watertown) at 1 p.m.
- At 11 a.m., OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito will be SUNY Cobleskill’s Bouck Hall Auditorium, 2nd Floor, 106 Suffolk Circle.
- At 11:30 a.m., Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky will be at Nassau Community College, College Center Building (CCB), 1 Education Dr., Garden City.
- At noon, Secretary of State Cesar Perales will be at Monroe Community College, 1000 East Henrietta Rd., Monroe A Room, Rochester.
- At 1 p.m., Environmental Facilities Corp. CEO and President Matt Driscoll will be at Cayuga County Community College, Student Lounge M-214, 197 Franklin St., Auburn.
At 9:30 a.m., Manhattan BP/NYC Comptroller candidate Scott Stringer, Sen. David Carlucci and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic announce legislation to keep New York’s workforce competitive, Queens College, Benjamin Rosenthal Library, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Queens.
At 10 a.m., Democratic mayoral candidate/NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn gives a speech, East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence, 161-169 East 110th Street, Manhattan.
Also 10 a.m., LG Bob Duffy cuts the ribbon at at St. Joseph’s Hospital Surgical Suite, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, 301 Prospect Ave., Syracuse.
And also at 10 a.m., Sen. Eric Adams and advocates will gather outside Catholic Charities St. Charles Jubilee Senior Center to push for quick passage and implementation of legislation which would prevent financial crimes against seniors, 55 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn.
At 11 a.m., GOP NYC mayoral candidate Joe Lhota receives the endorsement of Rep. Michael Grimm, Mount Loretto Senior Center, 6581 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island.
Also at 11 a.m., Democratic NYC mayoral candidate Bill Thompson calls for immediate steps to fix the city’s 911 response system, Engine Company 4 and Ladder Company 15, 42 South St., Manhattan.
At noon, thousands of fracking opponents will rally and march against the controversial drilling process and in support of renewable energy, East Capitol Lawn, Albany.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and state Sens. Betty Little of Warren County and Brad Hoylman of Manhattan hold a press conference at Amtrak’s Albany-Rensselaer train station this morning to call for adding baggage cars to passenger trains that are capable of carrying bicycles.
Feisty but little-known GOP Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, once compared the governor to Hitler and Mussolini, tells Fred Dicker he’s mulling a challenge to Cuomo in 2014.
The final week of the 2013 session is here, and Cuomo’s top progressive agenda items – the Women’s Equality Act (with an abortion plan), marijuana law reform and public campaign financing – look increasingly unlikely to pass. The administration is instead doubling down on casinos and Tax Free-NY.
The super PAC Friends of Democracy is prepared to fund primary/general election challengers next year to some Senate Republicans and IDC members over the likely imminent failure of public campaigning financing.
The Syracuse Post-Standard says there’s still time for the Legislature and Cuomo to do “big things” in Albany.
Jun 17th - 6:00 am
Today’s Siena poll brings bad news for two of Albany’s top leaders – Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver – both of whom have hit new favorability rating lows as the 2013 legislative session draws to a close.
Things are far less dire for Cuomo, whose 58-35 rating (down from 64-32 last month) remains fairly well above that magic 50 percent mark, though it is the lowest it has been since took office.
Actually, the last time his numbers were this low, it was October 2010 – one month before Cuomo was elected governor.
The same goes for his job performance rating, which is 50-49, down from 52-47 in May. For the fourth consecutive month and fourth time ever, more voters think Cuomo is doing a poor job as governor than an excellent job
And in even more troubling news, especially considering he’s gearing up for his first re-election bid next year, his drop this month is more attributable to a loss of faith among Democrats than to Republicans or independents.
Sixty-two percent of voters said they’re prepared to re-elect governor next November, which is more than enough for a comfortable win. But that number has dropped 10 percentage points, and the percentage of those who say they would prefer someone else in office has climbed 12 points.
This continues a downward trend in favorability for Cuomo that has been underway more or less since he pushed the controversial SAFE Act through the Legislature in the wake of the Newtown massacre six months ago.
It looked in the last Siena poll like Cuomo’s numbers had stabilized. But apparently that’s not the case.
As for Silver, his 20-43 (with 37 percent undecided) favorability rating is his worst-ever showing in a Siena poll. The speaker also has a negative three-to-one job performance rating.
He also does not have the confidence of New York voters, with more than half suggesting that he step down as speaker following his botched handling of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal.
That’s pretty much in keeping with a recent Quinnipiac poll, which found 51 percent of voters believe it’s time for Silver to relinquish his leadership post.
Just to put things in perspective, however, Silver’s favorability rating has never been terribly high in Siena polls. His best showing was 28 percent – a number he hit in April of this year after the third on-time budget was passed, and in July of 2005.
As for what New Yorkers would like to see the Legislature accomplish in this last week of session, a plurality of voters – 44 percent, including a majority or plurality of voters from every region, party and demographic group – say passing new laws to address public corruption should be the top priority in Albany.
That’s up three percentage points from last month.
Approving the governor’s Women’s Equality Act came in second at 23 percent – up two points from last month – followed by public campaign financing at 13 percent (down two points), and passing the casino amendment at 12 percent (down one point).
Even though Cuomo has devoted a lot of time and energy to touting his Tax Free-NY plan, most New Yorkers still don’t have a clue what it’s all about. A full two-thirds of voters say they’ve heard or read little to nothing about the initiative.
Familiarity with the proposal is greatest upstate (which makes sense, since that’s the region Tax Free-NY is mainly designed to assist).
Overall, 4 percent said they do not have enough information to give an opinion on the plan, while 18 percent support it and 17 percent oppose it.
Also in this survey, opposition to fracking increased a little this month and opponents outnumber supporters 44-37 percent, which is up from 41-39 percent last month.
The seven-point edge in opposition is the largest it has been, according to Siena pollster Steve Greenberg.