May 14th - 3:38 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded to the criticism of his abortion strengthening push by Cardinal Timothy Dolan by noting the opposition to the policy is nothing new.
Cuomo, in a Red Room question-and-answer session, said he and Dolan will “agree to disagree” on the issue.
“The archbishop has mentioned his opposition to the choice law multiple times,” he said. “The Catholic Church has made their opposition to choice known for many, many, many years. So there’s nothing new to that. We agree to disagree on that respectively and that’s where we are.”
In an interview on Fred Dicker’s Talk-1300 radio show this morning, Dolan said the murder conviction of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell is evidence that Cuomo’s support for codifying the Roe v. Wade decision should be abandoned.
Dicker at one point asked whether Cuomo was a Catholic “in good standing” because of his support for abortion rights. Dolan declined to go into detail, but did say he’s spoken to the governor before on that issue.
Cuomo dismissed the idea that Dolan was questioning his standing in the Catholic faith.
“I didn’t hear that in what he said,” Cuomo said.
May 14th - 3:11 pm
After huddling with local government officials and lobbyists today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pressed his financial restructuring proposal this afternoon for municipalities facing fiscal stress.
Cuomo said he would introduce legislation this week on the proposal that would create a restructuring board that includes the state comptroller, attorney general, the director of the Division of Budget and an unnamed restructuring expert.
Going before the board would be a voluntary exercise for both a local government and labor representatives.
But Cuomo believes there’s enough of an incentive given the chances of a locality receiving aid to consolidate and restructure.
“If the panel offers state resources which it very well might — financings, cash, consolidation assistance — then the locality is bound to implement the plan that was agreed to,” Cuomo said.
The state budget repackaged about $80 million in incentive grants that would be funneled through the panel.
Under the proposal, Budget Director Bob Megna would be charged with determining which local governments would be under fiscal stress, which could include pension costs and structural, chronic deficits as key indicators.
And if a local government wants to receive spin up aid, they would have to go before the board, Cuomo said.
“I’m saying if (the city of) Albany wants assistance, they’re going to have to come and talk to a panel about a real restructuring plan and if the state is to give assistance it’s going to be pursant to that plan,” Cuomo said a Red Room news conference.
The shape and structure of the board, along with its intent, came into sharper focus today as well. The board would differentiate from fiscal control board given the voluntary nature of the recommendations and the participation.
“This is one step before a financial control board,” Cuomo said. ”The involuntary powers that you speak about for a bankruptcy court really are a province for a financial control board that has the power to override,. This is before that.”
Cuomo called financial ccontrol boards “invasive” because of their broad powers.
Possible recommendations from the panel include not just consolidation and the forging of new contracts with labor groups, but could also require the downsizing of elected officials.
A new favorite statistic of the governor’s — a chart showing the decrease in population but the inflation of the local government’s cost to taxpayers — was again displayed.
Running on a parallel track, meanwhile, is the expiration of binding arbitration laws. Cuomo said he is negotiating that effort separately, but said the restructring board would be an option for local governments to go before binding arbitration.
“This is just a different venue to access binding arbitration,” he said.
May 14th - 12:13 pm
Cardinal Timothy Dolan called the case of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell “naseuating” that also called into question New York’s own push for strengthening the state’s abortion laws.
Dolan, who phoned into Fred Dicker’s Talk-1300 radio show this morning, said the silver lining of the murder conviction of Gosnell is it will force more people to question the issue.
“I’d like to think that maybe this will unmake some of the horror that is obvious in this unfettered abortion on-demand culture that we’ve got,” Dolan said. “We’ve gone beyond safe, legal and rare. We’ve got now that abortion is dangerous, it’s rampant, it’s being paid for by the tax dollars of people who are opposed to it.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo backs a proposal that would enhance the state’s abortion laws by codifying the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, a provision that’s part of a larger package of bills aimed at curbing gender discrimination in housing and the workplace.
Asked if Cuomo remains a Catholic in “good standing” Dolan said he’s discussed the matter candidly with the governor.
“That’s something that we talk about and that’s something that I talk turkey with him about,” Dolan said.
But the reproductive rights measure has become a flashpoint for those opposed to abortion, including Catholic groups and some Senate Republicans.
“I am at a bit of consternation as to why at a time when there seems to be a sobbering up at the horrors of unfettered access to abortion why in New York we’re talking about even expanding it further,” Dolan said in the interview.
Dolan even echoed much of what has been said by Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, who has said he would not allow a vote on the measure.
Dolan questioned why the codification was even needed, given there’s little chance of abortion rights in New York from being stripped away.
“I don’t know of anybody in the state of New York who feels there right to an abortion is threatened,” he said. “It’s available evrywhere So I don’t know why we feel like we’re gibving time and attention to an area of the state that needs improvement or extension.”
And, like Skelos, Dolan indicated support for the remaining 9 points in the women’s agenda, which includes anti-domestic abuse measures and a proposal to crack down on human trafficking.
“Of that wider act with the 10 points, we’re in his corner with most of them,” he said. “In fact, nine out of 10 we are. It’s just that one about the expansion of abortion that really causes us and pause and says, ‘Please, that’s the last thing this state needs.’”
May 14th - 11:15 am
Mark Sanford may not be the only former governor in the House of Representatives.
Former Gov. David Paterson in an interview with Fred Dicker on his Talk-1300 radio show did not rule out running for the Harlem seat held by Rep. Charlie Rangel, but he acknowledged the longtime Democrat incumbent will likely seek another term.
“I think he’ll run,” Paterson told Dicker. “When you’ve done anything for 44 years, where do you go?”
Paterson says he would “listen to people” before committing to a run for Congress.
“I watch the political landscape,” Paterson said when asked about his interest the seat. “People are not talking about issues that affect people.”
There’s an obligatory grain of salt with everything Paterson says: He has a tendency to speak off the cuff and then, on occasion, contradict himself later.
The former governor, who succeeded Eliot Spitzer after his resignation after becoming engulfed in a prostitution scandal, is now a professor at Touro Medical College in New York City.
Paterson, of course, brings his own baggage to a Congressional run.
Among them: He declined to run for a full term after it was reported he intervened in the domestic abuse case of one his aides, while also accepting World Series tickets from the Yankees and then lying about it under oath.
But since leaving office, Paterson has remained in the public conversation, including a stint as a drive-time radio host on WOR in New York City.
Rangel was nearly unseated last year when Sen. Adriano Espaillat made a serious run for the post, but lost in a Democratic primary.
The heir apparents to the seat also include Assemblyman Keith Wright, the state Democratic Party co-chairman.
May 14th - 10:48 am
From the morning memo:
On a day-to-day basis, not much news is actually made in Albany.
But there’s still a 24-hour news cycle to feed, news to print, blogs to post to, air time to fill and tweets to, uh, tweet.
And after the deluge of corruption news over the last few months, state officials have no desire to feed the news beast as it were.
Lawmakers, never ones to relish a journey to the building they were elected by their peers to travel to, are avoiding Albany this week like it’s a plague town.
Though it was a previously scheduled light week to begin with given today’s Jewish holiday, the Senate decided to not hold any legislative session days and the Assembly packed up and left town after only a day.
The side effect is the spotlight turns to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is plugging away in Albany on his casino siting proposal, as well as a separate economic development project with extremely nebulous details.
Cuomo, in some small way, has a luxury with lawmakers out of town. He can focus on governing and doing what he loves best: Portraying the state as functioning, even in the rolling crisis that is the public corruption arrests and possible investigations.
The governor once again laid out his case for privatizing the Long Island Power Authority in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and the poor response from the publicly held utility.
He met with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, both of whom exited the closed-door meeting with the governor to report the legislative session sunny with a chance of job creation.
The Assembly met to approve — yet again — a version of the farmworkers labor bill that stands little chance of approval in the Senate.
Either way, there was a true lack of “news” in the traditional sense yesterday at the Capitol with the governor in control of the show.
Given the day as a moment in time, one would be forgiven for thinking that Albany is at a true standstill, stuck in the mud of corrupt activity and a lack of inertia following the passage of a sweeping gun control law that forced Cuomo to expend a large quantity of political capital.
Cuomo at a question-and-answer session with reporters Monday afternoon warned against viewing each day as a snapshot.
Accomplishments in Albany, after all, are done so in chunks, not in drips.
For now, Cuomo and top lawmakers appear to be following the very traditional playbook of allowing things to simmer for much of the post-budget spring before pushing the button on a so-called “Big Ugly” toward the end of June.
What is finally in that package remains to be seen. Given this isn’t an election year for state electeds, there may be very little incentive for even responding to the corruption cases.
But consider the economic development program that hangs out there: Cuomo and lawmakers may be leaning toward an end-of-session victory should everything else fall away.
It’s all speculation of course. But hey, slow news day.
May 14th - 6:41 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.
At 8 a.m., state Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson discusses the work of the Medicaid Redesign Task Force while speaking to Citizens Budget Commission members during the commission’s breakfast meeting; Cambridge Room, Harvard Club of New York City, 35 W. 44th St., Manhattan.
At 9 a.m., Fair Elections for New York, 99Rise and students demand publicly financed elections, New York City Public Library steps, 5th Avenue and 41st Street, Manhattan.
At 10 a.m., New York State Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce officials discuss a lawsuit challenging a study used by the city as part of efforts to revise a law designed to increase the number of government contracts awarded to businesses owned by minority residents and women; 20th floor, 152 Madison Ave., Manhattan.
Brooklyn DA candidate Abe George, Jeffrey Deskovic, families and “victims of wrongful convictions” by incumbent DA Charles Hynes will announce the filing of a lawsuit against the DA and CBS to prevent the airing of a reality TV show about him. 1:30 p.m., CBS Corporate Headquarters, 51 W. 52nd St., Manhattan.
At 3 p.m., the New York State Youth Leadership Council drops off eight-foot-tall doughnut built by undocumented youth for IDC leader Jeff Klein, P.S. 89, 980 Mace Ave., Bronx.
At 7 p.m., former NYC Environmental Protection Commissioner Albert Appleton, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, attorneys, environmental advocates and scholars discuss fracking and lung cancer caused by radon gas during a free public forum; The Great Hall, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, 7 E. Seventh St., Manhattan.
Prince Harry is in NYC today. He’ll meet UK business people who have enjoyed commercial and creative success in the US at Milk studios at 1 p.m. with Prime minister David Cameron.
Cuomo pledged not to allow “scandal mania” to derail his agenda for the remainder of the legislative session, but didn’t sound optimistic about getting lawmakers to pass his plans.
Cuomo and legislative leaders proposed freezing the energy rates of Long Island Power Authority customers for three years as part of a plan to privatize operations of the utility.
The governor tried to dispel a New York Post report that claims several key staffers are jumping ship, right before he launches his re-election campaign.
Pistol permit opt-out forms continue to stream into the offices of county clerks in Dutchess and Ulster, sent by thousands of residents who want to keep their records private when pistol permit data becomes available this week. They have until Wednesday to file.
NYC Council President and Democratic mayoral frontrunner Christine Quinn revealed for the first time that she struggled with bulimia and alcoholism and spent some time in a Florida rehab center in her 20s. She’ll discuss her experience today at Barnard College.
May 13th - 11:15 pm
In November of 2010 Tom Reed was forced to look at things a little differently. On the day he was supposed to be sworn in as a U.S. Congressman, he was confined to a hospital bed, recovering after four clots in his leg broke free and traveled to his lungs.
“It just shows you that life is so tenuous,” Reed told me in 2010.
After three days on blood thinners, Reed took the oath of office on his 39th birthday. With his children and his wife by his side, he gained a new perspective.
“I dodged a bullet. I have to make my health a priority,” Reed said.
With a new outlook, the Corning Republican worked to balance the busy schedule of being a U.S. Congressman with a new concern for his health. Part of that meant losing weight, but tipping the scales at more than 300 pounds, Reed knew it wouldn’t be easy.
“Like millions of Americans I have wrestled with this,” said Reed.
Leading up to the 2012 election Reed started to make some progress, and drop some weight. But like many who struggle with this issue, Reed had a setback and gained back all the weight he lost.
“After wrestling with this issue, my family and I decided to go to the next step,” Reed said.
For Reed and his family the next step was gastric bypass surgery. It’s an invasive procedure designed to make the stomach smaller.
“When my doctor said Tom you have a choice, you can either go and leave this earth at 61 years of age or 81 years of age. Man, I got a wife, I got a daughter, I have a son. They’re 12 and 14,” Reed said.
Reed had the surgery on February 28th. Monday he appeared at a press event in Owego looking noticeably thinner.
“I’m about two months plus from gastric bypass surgery and my health has tremendously improved. And we’re already down 70 pounds and my family and I are very happy with the decision we made,” said Reed.
Reed’s admission he had the surgery comes just one week after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie revealed he had a similar gastric banding procedure.
“And we’ve communicated with Governor Christie in regards to his decision and he and I have had conversations before,” Reed said.
Christie is rumored to have presidential aspirations and Reed was seen as a rising star among House GOP leaders even before he had the surgery. Reed said for both men the decision to have the surgery was driven by something more important than politics.
“It’s our families. It has nothing to do with politics; it has nothing to do with that. And when you talk about 20 years being added to your life, it really opens up your eyes and we came to the conclusion that it was the right thing for me, for us, for my family,” Reed said.
One week after surgery, Reed said he was back voting on the House floor. Today he believes he’s fully recovered.
“Now we’re 100 percent and going strong. But we’re glad we did it and we feel so much better,” Reed added.
May 13th - 6:54 pm
As the state Assembly passes the latest version of the farm workers labor bill, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it was on his agenda for the end of the legislative session.
The measure that passed the Assembly 82-53 would allow farm laborers to bargain collectively, grant them disabilitiy and unemployment beneifts and set an eight-hour workday.
The Democratic-led Assembly has approved previous versions of the bill which has met resistance in the Senate under either party.
Passage today came as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver touted the bill in a news conference alongside advocate Kerry Kennedy, the ex-wife of Cuomo.
“Everyone here understands how important farming is to our state economy and we are delighted that New York is the yogurt capital of the nation,” Silver said at a news conference. “We also appreciate that jobs are scarce in upstate communities, but farm workers are not farm animals. They’re physically taxing, sometimes dangerous work, fuels our agricultural sector and puts food on our table. Their rights matter.”
The measure has been opposed by the state Famr Bureau, calling the bill misguided.
“This legislation will force serious change in our family farms, causing many of our members to stop producing the diverse fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy products that we do now and turning more to row crops that can be grown more readily in this state, which is already an extremely costly one in which to farm,” the bureau said in a statement.
But Cuomo, recalling his days as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said the rural poverty he witnessed while on that job informs his support today.
“I am supportive of it,” he said at a news conference. “I am working and talking to the legislative leaders, Larry had a meeting today with people who are pushing the bill, so it’s one of the items that we have on our agenda towards the end of the legislative session.”
May 13th - 6:32 pm
On opposite sides of the abortion debate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos had typically different takes on the murder conviction of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell.
Cuomo’s 10-point women’s agenda includes a provision to enhance the state’s abortion laws through a codification of Roe versus Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision.
In the State of the State, Cuomo referred to the measure as the Reproductive Health Act, but has since said he would write his own legislation, which is yet to be released.
At today’s news conference, Cuomo said the Gosnell case, which has become a lightning rod for those opposed to abortion, won’t impact his efforts in New York, given the doctor was known for practicing late-term abortions.
“No, I don’t,” he said when asked if the plan was hindered. ”There’s always clearly been a difference between procedures that are authorized and procedurs that are unauthorized.”
Skelos, meanwhile, released a statement through his office saying the conviction only re-affirms his position.
The Nassau County lawmaker has been steadfast in his opposition to the proposal, which he says goes too far in expanding abortion laws.
“Today’s guilty verdict in the Kermit Gosnell trial in Pennsylvania highlights the potential danger in passing the so-called Reproductive Health Act, sponsored by Senate Democrat Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, that would greatly expand late-term abortion in New York, and open the door to similar horrors,” Skelos said in the statement. “Rather than pass an unnecessary and extreme measure that would allow non-doctors to perform abortions right up to the day of a baby’s birth, I believe we should be doing everything possible to protect the health, safety and economic well-being of every New York woman.”
NARAL Pro Choice New York has zeroed in on Skelos to make him the face of the opposition in New York, even taking out a radio spot airing in his Senate district.
May 13th - 6:14 pm
State lawmakers are angry at the spate of corruption scandals that hit Albany in recent weeks, saying they’ve been unfairly painted with a broad brush, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this afternoon.
Cuomo called the corruption news — three lawmakers arrested, an ex-senator sentenced to 366 days in prison, six sitting senators secretly recorded as part of a federal investigation — has been “emotionally draining” on elected officials.
“There’s a broad range of reaction among the legislators,” Cuomo said. “Some are angry at their colleagues. Some are angry at the broad brush by which the media has painted them. You have a whole range of emotion. You know, the way you react when someone says the media or the LCA is blank. You take it personally.”
He rejected the idea in a question from NY1′s Zack Fink — jokingly, it would appear — that there’s a “climate of fear” at the Capitol in the midst of the scandals and wire-wearing lawmakers.
“Do you feel fear, Zack? Are you afraid,” Cuomo asked, repeating the question to his top aide Larry Schwartz. ”I don’t detect a climate of fear.”
In the news conference, which came after a legislative leaders meeting and a presentation on the ongoing effort to privatize the Long Island Power Authority, Cuomo seemed hesitant to even discuss the issue of whether his post-budget agenda would be hurt by the scandals.
Do you really want to discuss this?” he asked to reporters.
Cuomo still wants to pass a plan to locate casinos and a women’s agenda that includes a plan to enhance abortion rights. Both face headwinds in the Legislature even before the public corruption arrests.
But already the governor is seeking to paint the session as a success: the third on-time budget in a row, the passage of a sweeping gun control control law and the increase to the state’s minimum wage being among them.
“You tend to focus on snapshots that are episodic,” Cuomo said. ”The legislative session has been a phenomenal success. The first week of the session we passed nationally impactful legislation that will save lives. In the budget, we passed all sorts of laws and made all sorts of policy in the budget.”
He added “there’s still significant issues” to tackle.
As for scandals, Cuomo said he’s not going to be sidetracked.
“It’s basically irrelevant unless you allow it to become relevant,” he said.