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health provisions, now they have introduced a counter “women’s” bill, purposely leaving out updates to the state’s outdated abortion law.”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.
Jun 17th - 11:27 am
Senate IDC Leader Leader Jeff Klein this morning ruled out the possibility of his chamber passing a provision designed to update and strengthen the state’s abortion laws, but pledged the other nine planks in the women’s agenda will be considered.
The statement comes after a weekend of television ads aired in Klein’s district urging him to take up the full agenda, which includes a measure supporters say codifies Roe versus Wade but is staunchly opposed by abortion opponents.
Klein comes to the conclusion that “the votes just are not there” to pass the abortion component in the coalition-led Senate.
“This a comprehensive, progressive package that ensures pay equity for women in the private and public sector, guarantees working mothers real paid maternity leave, and finally provides every New York family with the help they need to afford quality child care. We encourage the Governor and the Assembly to give swift consideration to all of these proposals this week.
“The legislative process is the art of negotiation. We are prepared to do nine of the ten points and believe that women should not be forced to wait any longer for progress on these important issues. As we have made clear, all four members of the IDC remain steadfast in their support of a woman’s right to choose. Throughout this legislative session, I have yet to encounter a single pro-choice Republican to make up for the few right to life members of the Senate Democratic Conference. The IDC would like nothing more than to bring this provision to the floor, but the votes just are not there.”
Klein, along with the other three members of the IDC, had been under pressure from abortion-rights groups and other members of the coalition assembled to promote and boost the women’s agenda, which includes anti-discrimination measures for women in the workplace and housing, along with anti-trafficking legislation.
Sen. John Bonacic, an Orange County Republican lawmaker, had been one of the last possible GOP “yes” votes on the abortion piece. But Senate Republicans, including Bonacic, rejected last week a possible amendment that would explicitly rule out partial-birth abortion.
Jun 17th - 8:56 am
As Texas Gov. Rick Perry seeks to drain jobs from New York through a TV and radio campaign and a personal tour, one businessman is doing the reverse.
In an open letter due to be sent to newspapers today and obtained Capital Tonight, Presidian Hotels & Resorts President and CEO Drake Leddy writes that he was attracted to upstate New York — particularly the Capital Region — because of the high-tech companies like GlobalFoundries and the NanoCollege at UAlbany as part of a growing economy.
Presidian is based in San Antonio.
His company is engaged in its first New York-based project: The restoration of the Rip Van Dam hotel in Saratoga Springs.
“At the same time, we are exploring additional locations that are ripe for high-end, four-star development that is befitting the Capital Region and upstate New York,” Leddy wrote. From a business standpoint, we used to view this region as a four-month market. Now, with the continued nanotechnology growth at the NanoCollege in Albany, the arrival of GlobalFoundries in Malta, and the development of the high-tech industry statewide, we see this as not only a 12-month market, but one that has great potential for explosive future growth.”
As for Perry’s ad campaign to lure away New York companies, Leddy writes, “recent news reports on the effort to lure New York businesses to Texas are, as we like to say in Texas, ‘full of more broth than beans.’”
Perry hopes that a combination of his state’s low regulatory climate and no income tax will attract more businesses away from New York and its high-tax reputation.
But Leddy says he thinks Cuomo’s proposal to create Tax Free zones around college campuses — legislation that is due to be considered this week by the Legislature — will have the effect of bringing in new businesses.
The Tax Free NY program, rolled out by the Cuomo administration a month before the scheduled end of the legislative session, would provide new businesses with across-the-board tax breaks for a number of years.
The program is primarily targeted at boosting upstate job growth.
“Add to that Governor Cuomo’s ‘Tax-Free New York’ proposal, which will give companies a most compelling reason to take another look at New York as a location to do business, and you have an innovative recipe for success in our 21st century economy.
And, I suspect, one that will have more Lone Star businesses doing the “Texas Two-Step” to New York.
The full letter is after the jump. More >
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.
Jun 16th - 6:34 pm
The current Cuomo occupying the governor’s office honored his father’s time in office the installation of Gov. Mario Cuomo’s portrait in the Hall of Governors.
Watch a video of the unveiling here.
Work on the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge inched along as two giant cranes mounted on barges will be assembled to begin construction of permanent structures.
Cuomo is circulating revised legislation that would allow for a New York City racino should the Constitutional amendment to expand casino gambling fail.
The aftermath of the Queens casino proposal.
Nearly 200 advocates for the women’s agenda rallied Sunday to pressure Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos on holding a vote on the full package.
Can the governor of New York actually dissolve an international authority?
The Post-Standard editorial board urged leaders in Albany to take up the Tax Free NY program, anti-corruption legislation and provisions in the women’s agenda.
The TU opines that this is the best time for lawmakers to make an effort and purge the state of corruption.
For anything to succeed in the final week of the legislation session, compromise will likely be the name of the game.
The Post raps Bloomberg for the Department of Health’s fines levied against city restaurants.
Anthony Weiner and son hit the campaign trail this Father’s Day (The puns on this one are sure to be awful).
Meet Joel Rivera, running to replace… Joel Rivera.
Lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on a LIPA privatization plan.
The White House claims to not know the whereabouts of NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Jun 14th - 5:40 pm
The effort to get a vote on the entire 10-point women’s agenda is about to get more intense.
The coalition of women’s groups backing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 10-point agenda are taking aim at Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein, the co-president of the Senate, in a TV ad that directly blames him for blocking the measure.
“Senator Jeff Klein made a promise to New York’s women,” the narrator of the ad says. “Klein promised to support our right to choose. Now Klein is blocking a vote on the Women’s Equality Act.”
The ad released late this afternoon comes right before the final week of the legislative session in Albany and a day after Republicans in the Senate rejected an amendment that would have added additional language to the abortion component in the bill.
Cuomo and supporters included an abortion plank aimed at codifying Roe v. Wade decision in New York law, but opponents contend the move is an expansion of existing abortion rights.
The proposed language would have acknowledged a ban on partial-birth abortion, which is illegal on the federal level and can’t be changed by a state.
Klein, who is in favor of abortion rights, shares power in the Senate with Republican Leader Dean Skelos. Under the terms of the power-sharing agreement, both Skelos and Klein must agree jointly to which bills come to the floor for a vote.
Skelos and the Republican leadership have said they would not allow a vote on the abortion plank in the women’s agenda, but are open to the other nine points aimed at strengthening anti-discrimination and human trafficking laws.
Cuomo in a radio interview this morning once again urged the coalition’s leadership to hold a vote on the entire bill, even if it doesn’t pass.
“Here, you have two parties stopping a vote, in essence,” Cuomo told Susan Arbetter on The Capitol Pressroom. “They want to say they’re not and point the finger at the other guy, and the truth is, in some ways, they’re both stopping the vote. And I believe the vote should be taken so there is clarity.”
And passage of the entire plan is indeed uncertain. Deputy Senate Republican Leader Tom Libous told reporters on Thursday that he doesn’t believe enough votes are available in the chamber for the measure to pass.
“I’m not sure the votes are there. People say there are votes in the conference,” Libous said. “I think the conference is pretty firm on the issue. I don’t know where those votes are. I’ve read about the fact that they exist somewhere, but I don’t know if they are there.”
In a news release announcing the TV spot, the women’s coalition said, “We look forward to working with Sen. Klein and the rest of the legislature over the next week in passing this bill.”
The legislative session is scheduled to conclude Thursday.