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 - 12:07 pm
Sen. Tom Libous shrugged off today any concern the pressure being placed on the Independent Democratic Conference threaten to blow up the majority coalition in the Senate.
“We’re all under pressure. It’s the political process,” Libous said. “People come at us all the time.”
The four-member IDC is under increasing political and public pressure to force a vote on the full 10-point women’s agenda that was formally introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo today. The measure includes an abortion component designed to strengthen the state’s laws through a codification of Roe v. Wade, but the move is a non-starter for Republicans in the Senate.
But it has been the IDC that has drawn the public ire of women’s groups assembled to promote the legislation. Under the terms of the coalition agreement, both Republican Leader Dean Skelos and IDC Leader Jeff Klein must jointly agree to bills that come to the floor for a vote.
Libous, a Binghamton Republican, drew a parallel to advocates opposed to hydrofracking holding a rally outside of his office recently.
But it’s not an exact analogy, given that Cuomo is now pivoting to making the abortion issue a political one.
“Abortion’s legal in New York state,” Libous said. ”That’s my position. You don’t need to make it a political issue in New York state.”
And he reiterated what he told The Daily News yesterday, that the Senate Republicans would back the IDC in potential primaries if they needed the help.
“If they need help in a primary, I’m more than willing to help them,” Libous said. ”I think we have colleagues who are willing to help them in whatever way we can. We’ve made a committment to be partners and when you’re partners you help your partners.”
Libous is the chairman of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.
He also took a long view of the legislative session, noting that Klein pushed hard for a minimum wage increase, which was ultimately included in the budget.
“We worked that out and got it done,” Libous said. ”Now there are certain issues that we believe in and we believe that the abortion shouldn’t be touched and we’re not going to touch it.”
Lawmakers now expect to stay through Friday, given that agreements on tax free zones around college campuses, casino expansion and the Long Island Power Authority remain outstanding issues.
Jun 18th - 11:09 am
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released his list of fiscally distressed communities today, finding a half dozen local governments around the state face “significant stress.”
“The challenges facing local governments have reached a critical point and these fiscal stress scores should serve as a wakeup call,” said DiNapoli. “Taxpayers, local officials and state policymakers need an objective analysis to help them understand the economic and budgetary challenges facing our communities. My office’s monitoring system was designed to do just that. We have identified local governments from every region of this state that are facing some level of fiscal stress and presented them with a realistic picture of their financial condition.
Six more communities face “moderate” fiscal stresses, while a dozen more could be suspectible to future budgetary issues.
Eighteen communities remain “under review” while 124 did not file information.
The criteria for determining fiscal stress includes low fund balance (commonly referred to as a rainy day fund), continuous annual budget gaps and a lack of cash on hand to pay the bills.
The steress list is designed to be an “early warning system” for local governments on the verge of or reaching a crisis point in their budgeting.
At the same time, DiNapoli’s office is creating a new budget management tool that’s aimed at helping local officials determine their own fiscal scores in coming years while also providing resources to better manage budgets.
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 - 6:51 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.