May 21st - 5:34 pm
The president of the Boy Scouts of America called for an end to the group’s blanket ban on gay adult leaders.
Robert Zimmerman, a Democratic national committeeman and Long Island PR executive, was nominated by President Obama to be a member of the National Council on the Humanities.
Just hours after Letterman said farewell last night, Ed Sullivan Theater crews hauled off blocks of blue stage and hacked up pieces of the iconic New York City bridges that made up the set of the “Late Show.”
Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said the board is “tinkering” with how to weigh a new rating system for teacher ahead of a June 30 deadline for the board to have regulations in place.
Reclaim New York, a conservative nonprofit group tied to hedge funder Robert Mercer, is planning to expand next month.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio today echoed the frustrations of many an aggravated New York City driver stuck in traffic: the Cross Bronx Expressway is the worst.
Sandra Lee, still in the hospital recovering from her double mastectomy, is not feeling so great today. But she has reiceved a lot of (white) flowers.
In the face of a court challenge from a broad coalition of environmental and community groups and massive community opposition, the DEC today halted Global Companies’ proposed expansion of its massive Albany oil train facility to handle tar sands oil.
Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate for president, will attend a fundraiser at an unspecified location in Queens on June 1.
She’s also due for a $2,700 per person fundraiser on the same day in the Laurel Hollow home of Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs.
Protests at the Council testimony of NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton today grew so intense that police and building security ejected more than a dozen members of the public from the chambers. The commissioner called the demonstrators “selfish.”
The State Department is expected to release the first batch of emails from Clinton’s private email address in the coming days. They will be drawn from some 55,000 pages and focused on Libya.
Rep. Louise Slaughter has revamped her congressional website.
For the first time in its history, Rochester does not rank among the 100 largest cities in the nation, according to new population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Upcoming budget decisions by Congress – more than ISIS or China or any other international crisis – present the current No. 1 concern for the secretary of the U.S. Army, John McHugh.
RG&E is asking New York state regulators to approve rate changes that would cost consumers a net of about $10 million a year, in what would be the first rate hike for the company since 2012.
The Board of Regents that will choose the state’s next education commissioner is a lot different than the panel that was in place when the previous leader left last year.
LG Kathy Hochul penned an OpEd for the Syracuse Post-Standard in suppotr of the governor’s Parental Choice in Education Act.
Rep. John Katko took to the floor of the House to honor the life of the beloved Central New York radio host, Joe Galuski, who passed away last week following a battle with cancer.
New York State’s population increased by more than 50,000 in the year preceding July 2014, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sen. Brad Hoylman recently introduced a bill banning “the importation, breeding or introduction into the wild of Chinese fire belly newts.”
After months of searching, Suffolk Republicans leaders finally screened three potential candidates willing to run against Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone in November.
IPPNY, a trade group of the state’s power generation plants, is hosting a fund-raiser for Sen. Joseph Griffo, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications.
PR consultant Lis Smith, and her live-in boyfriend, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, adopted a kitten named Silk.
May 21st - 3:35 pm
Extending mayoral control of New York City schools picked up key Republican support on Thursday as Brooklyn Sen. Martin Golden announced support for keeping the arrangement in place.
Golden, in a statement, re-affirmed his support for mayoral control, though he did not say how long it should be extended.
Updated: Golden, on Twitter, says he endorses three or more years for extending mayoral control.
Updated X2: Golden’s office now says the number of years for the extension is still under mayoral control and the initial tweet was deleted.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio initially this year sought a permanent extension of mayoral control; the Assembly this week approved a bill that would have it expire after three years.
De Blasio, of course, has not necessarily seen eye to eye with Senate Republicans politically. The GOP conference did little to oppose efforts to give their political ally and major campaign contributor Michael Bloomberg a longer extension for mayoral control than what is being discussed for de Blasio.
“In my days in the New York City Council, I worked with students, teachers and families under a system governed by the Board of Education,” Golden said in a statement. “And now as a New York State Senator, I continue to address the needs of my schools and my students under a system of mayoral control. Confidently, I can tell you that the system has and continues to work better since mayoral control was enacted, and I am proud to support this renewal.”
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan in a statement released on Sunday indicated he backed unspecified reforms to mayoral control.
Flanagan has also said he’s turning to the Republican conference members who represent New York City to help him on the issue — that includes Golden, Staten Island Sen. Andrew Lanza and Simcha Felder, a Democrat from Brooklyn who sits with the GOP in the Senate.
May 21st - 3:03 pm
The state attorney general’s office on Thursday released the previously unseen portions of an investigative report on the 1971 uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility.
The initial report, dubbed the Meyer Report, had been released in December 1975 as a stand-alone volume. But volumes two and three, a total of 46 pages, had been sealed.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in 2013 requested a state court unseal the report in 2013, which was granted on conditions: References to relating to evidence, testimony and witness matters or those related to grand jury proceedings were redacted.
“Today, we are shining new light on one of the darkest chapters of our history,” said Marty Mack, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs. “We hope that, with the release of the Meyer Report, we can bring the families of Attica uprising victims closer to closure and help future generations of Americans learn from this tragic event.”
Files related to the Attica uprising not part of the grand jury proceeding will be sent to the New York State Archives for permanent preservation.
The uprising at the Wyoming County prison began with inmates at the facility seizing control and demanding better living conditions.
After four days of negotiations, then-Gov. Nelson Rockefeller ordered the State Police to retake the prison, resulting in the deaths of at least 43 people.
May 21st - 1:48 pm
The five Republican borough leaders in New York City are backing George Pataki’s likely bid to run for president in a statement released on Thursday.
The statement from the Republican chairs of Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens was released by We The People, Not Washington, the super PAC formed by the former governor.
“After having served this great state as Governor for 12 years with honor and integrity, it is a privilege for us to enthusiastically encourage Governor George Pataki to enter the race to seek the Republican nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America,” the chairs said in a statement.
Pataki, a former three term governor from 1995 through 2007, is expected to make his presidential intentions official on May 28 in New Hampshire.
He will join a crowded field of Republican presidential candidates that is expected to grow to nearly 20 by this summer.
May 21st - 1:02 pm
The state’s unemployment rate was unchanged last month from 5.7 percent, according to new data released Thursday by the Department Labor.
New York added 18,300 private-sector jobs last month, a 0.2 percent increase.
“New York State’s economy has remained resilient, adding more than 125,000 private sector jobs over the past year. In addition, the state’s unemployment rate remained at its lowest level since August 2008,” said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, Deputy Director of the Division of Research and Statistics.
New York City’s unemployment, meanwhile, dipped from 6.6 percent to 6.5 percent. Unemployment outside of the city stands at 5.1 percent, the DOL said.
Nationally, the unemployment rate on average is lower, 5.4 percent in April.
Over the last year, the state has gained 126,200 private-sector jobs since April 2014, a 1.7 percent increase.
May 21st - 12:03 pm
A company already in business under Minnesota’s strict medical marijuana regulations is eyeing New York’s nascent program as a chance to expand in Fulton County.
The company, Empire State Health Solutions, is one of several that are applying for a state license to manufacture medical marijuana, with the goal of setting up shop at the Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center in Perth, Fulton County.
In pitching themselves to reporters at a news conference on Thursday, the company’s CEO and founder, Dr. Kyle Kingsley, said New York’s regulatory structure is one he’s comfortable with given that he has experience with Minnesota’s strict medical marijuana program.
“It’s our opinion that the New York law is likely the most sound from a medical and scientific stand point, but it does have a close cousin in Minnesota,” he said.
Indeed, the New York measures are similar to what is already in place for Minnesota, where medicinal marijuana cannot be smoked and the number of manufacturers are limited by regulators and where a sister company, Minnesota Medical Solutions LLC, has been operating for a number of years.
“All we know is strict oversight and regulation,” Kingsley said. “We get uncomfortable if we don’t have that.”
Kingsley, a medical doctor who has directed his professional focus on medical marijuana, said he is skeptical of expanding legalized marijuana for recreational use, adding that prescribed medical marijuana is “not a panacea” for all patients.
Still, the competition for the medical marijuana licenses — the state will award five in all — is believed to be especially intense.
“The thing I like about the New York law is this is going to require you to be a medical and scientific organization to have any chance of success,” Kingsley said. “Just the scientific and medical requirements are really going to bring the cream of the crop.”
The facility the company is proposing to use to manufacture medical marijuana, once used as a now-closed juvenile detention center, is within a START-UP NY economic development zone, said Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ralph Ottuso.
“It’s a huge impact on the area. They’re going to create starting up to 20 or 30 jobs, going up to 100.”
Ottuso the county itself hasn’t provided any tax incentives or benefits to the company to entice them to the area. Meanwhile, state regulators should take into consideration the economic struggles of areas when considering which licenses to grant, Ottuso said.
“This is a big kick start to that area,” he said. “They should look at the impact it’s going to have to on the areas — areas in need of economic growth. I believe Fulton County is one of those areas.”
Officials at the state Department of Health pushed back the deadline for accepting license applications has been pushed back to June 5 in order to handle the level of questions over the process. The DOH still expects to begin the program official by January.
The licensing process is underway as some state lawmakers push a measure that would set up a medical marijuana program on what amounts to an emergency basis in order to provide relief to patients, especially children, with severe epilepsy.
It’s unlikely such a measure, which would import medical marijuana from outside the state would be approved.
Even if it was, Kinglsey said there would be no impact on their business.
“It won’t be a large impact on us,” he said, “we are kind of going through the standard channel here in New York.”
May 21st - 8:13 am
From the Morning Memo:
Republican Sen. Joe Griffo, one of the main sponsors of a bill aimed at legalizing mixed-martial arts in the state, is open to making changes to the measure should it lead to its passage this year.
“In order to get something done this year, I’m open and willing to have those discussions and consider what’s being proposed,” Griffo said in an interview. “At this point in time I haven’t seen anything specifically.”
Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle is discussing potential amendments to the bill, such as adding a health-insurance provision for those who participate in MMA bouts.
Those potential changes were reported by The Daily News on Monday.
On Wednesday, Morelle said he continued to work to line up the votes in his chamber.
“We’re looking to see if we can find some amendments which would be appealing to the number of members who are concerned about the health and welfare of our participants,” Morelle said.
Assembly Democrats have previously discussed the bill in a closed-door conference this year, but emerged without a consensus on whether the bill comes to the floor for a vote.
Supporters have maintained that should the bill be voted on by the full chamber, it would likely pass.
“I think if a vote is allowed, it will pass,” Griffo said.
But concerns remain from MMA opponents who cite the sport’s violence. There is also labor opposition from the Las Vegas-based culinary union, which is in a dispute with Ultimate Fighting Championship, a top MMA promoter which is lobbying on behalf of the bill.
Still, Griffo added the UFC and other MMA event backers in the industry should be consulted before moving forward with changes.
“We treat our sports very similarly here and to do something different than what we already do in boxing and professional wrestling, I’d have to see what is being done and why,” he said.
May 21st - 8:09 am
From the Morning Memo:
The state’s cap on property tax increases doesn’t expire until next year, but some lawmakers at the Capitol are already looking to make the measure first passed in 2011 a permanent one.
“Making the property tax permanent is in the best interests of the taxpayers and the people of the state of New York.
The state Senate on Wednesday voted for a bill that would create a permanent extension of the cap, which limits local levy increases to 2 percent or the rate of inflation.
It’s a key provision this year, especially for upstate and suburban Republican lawmakers.
“Keeping property taxes down has been a priority for me in the Senate and something I’ll continue to advocate for,” said Sen. Patty Ritchie, a North County Republican.
The drive to make the tax cap permanent, through a straight extension, is also backed by statewide and regional business groups, who argue it will bring a new level of certainty to businesses that want to settle in New York.
But it’s a different case in the Assembly, led by Democrats, who question the need to make the cap a permanent fixture.
“I’m actually a big fan of sun setting more legislation than not simply because as circumstances change it gives you an opportunity to make adjustments and amendments as time goes on,” Majority Leader Joe Morelle said.
And Democrats in the chamber are suggesting that some changes could be made and school aid should be boosted as well to help districts budget within the cap.
“I think that the cap has been an effective tool, but we need to make sure we do the rest of here at the state, make sure that critical state aid is going to our schools, make sure they’re properly funded,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a Schenectady Democrat.
There is a growing drive from local government advocates as well to make some changes to the cap that could be coupled with mandate relief or even a boost in state aid.
For now, lawmakers have said the discussions do not center around linking the cap’s renewal to mandate relief provisions.
The vast majority of school districts this week had their budgets approved by voters and nearly 99 percent all budgeted within the legal limit. An override is possible, but only with a 60 percent majority.
While the cap doesn’t expire this year, it is linked to rent control regulations for New York City, which are due to lapse next month. Extending rent control is a top priority for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
“The Senate has a list, we have a list and where we can come to an agreement on some of the things we want, that’s what usually happens,” Speaker Carl Heastie said Wednesday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo backs a permanent property tax cap, which as a signature economic achievement from his first term.
May 21st - 5:37 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.
At 8 a.m., the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Nisha Agarwal, NYC Councilman Rafael Espinal, NYC Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin and volunteers mark the start of citywide “Nail Salon Day of Action” events to distribute flyers in multiple languages about health concerns, labor practices, regulations and wages at nail salons; inside the Flushing-Main Street station of the 7 subway train, Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, Queens.
Also at 8 a.m., Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch discusses charter schools, mayoral control of city schools, standardized testing, teacher evaluations and other education issues in the state during a breakfast forum presented by the news organization Crain’s New York Business; The Yale Club of New York City, 50 Vanderbilt Ave., Manhattan.
At 9 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill e Blasio will host a roundtable with senior military officers, Veterans’ Affairs Commissioner Loree Sutton and Veterans’ Advisory Board members to discuss veterans’ issues in honor of Fleet Week, City Hall, Manhattan.
At 9:30 a.m., Sen. Marty Golden presents military decorations to veterans during the lawmaker’s annual award ceremony and breakfast marking the Monday, May 25, observance of Memorial Day; The Bay Ridge Manor catering facility, 476 76th St., Brooklyn.
At 10 a.m., Sen. Rich Funke will announce he is working to deliver a new traffic signal at the intersection of Route 250 and the shared-use entrance to the Eastside Family YMCA and Wickham Farms, 1835 Fairport Nine Mile Point Rd., Penfield.
Also at 10 a.m., Sen. John DeFrancisco, Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey, Syracuse GOP Chairwoman Janet Berl Burman and others attend a press conference where Joseph Carni will make an announcement regarding the 2015 City of Syracuse elections, Thanos Import Market, 330 North Salina St., Syracuse.
Also at 10 a.m., the Assembly will hold a public hearing to solicit comments on fishery management, Montauk Point Room, Babylon Student Center, 2nd floor, Suffolk County Community College, Ammerman Campus, 533 College Rd., Selden, Long Island.
At 10:30 a.m., state Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez and the president and chief executive of the Mental Health Association of New York City, Giselle Stolper, introduce a text messaging service as part of the free, confidential “New York State HOPEline” referral and support telephone hotline; 11th floor, 50 Broadway, Manhattan.
Also at 10:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul speaks at the Wingate by Wyndham Niagara Falls Ribbon Cutting, Wyndham Hotel, 333 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls.
Also at 10:30 a.m., Empire State Health Solutions will announce plans to produce cannabis-derived medications at a facility at the Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center in Perth, LCA Press Room (130), LOB, 198 State St., Albany.
Also at 10:30 a.m., Assemblyman Jim Tedisco joins with Doug and Mary Lyall of the Center for Hope, and DeCrescente Distributing Company, to launch a new round of “Coasters for Hope” to help find Capital Region missing persons and find answers to several unsolved homicides, Ravenswood, 1021 Route 146, Clifton Park.
At 11 a.m., community leaders and local district representatives will call on the state to pass legislation delivering $11.5 million to support schools’ ability to provide a quality education for all students, The Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, 150 Broadhollow Rd., Suite #118, Melville.
At 11:30 a.m., de Blasio holds a press conference to make an announcement, corner of Tysens Lane and Primrose Place, Staten Island.
At 11:45 a.m., NYC Councilman Robert Cornegy, local drivers for Uber Technologies Inc., the company’s regional general manager, Josh Mohrer, and other local government officials hold a rally to express support for the service; 26 Bridge catering facility, 26 Bridge St., Brooklyn.
At 1 p.m., Hochul convenes a roundtable at Rochester Institute of Technology to discuss combatting sexual assault on college campuses, 1 Lomb Memorial Drive, University Services Center, Building 87, Rochester.
At 1 p.m., Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. and others hold a press conference to announce an agreement that the elected officials have reached with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission to alleviate some of the financial burdens and fines that taxi drivers have been facing, KISS Car Service, 2774 Webster Ave., the Bronx.
At 3 p.m., Sen. Terrence Murphy will be joined by county and local officials to highlight water safety and new ways to acquire the necessary training to obtain boating licenses, il Laghetto Restaurant, 825 South Lake Blvd., Mahopac.
At 3:30 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina attends a Teen Thursdays event with PS 7 students, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.
At 6 p.m., a supervising attorney for legal aid organization Brooklyn Defender Services, Michael Baum, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and nonprofit youth writing organization 826NYC will be honored by officials from the legal aid organization during the organization’s annual award ceremony and gala; 22nd floor, Feil Hall, Brooklyn Law School, 205 State St., Brooklyn.
At 7 p.m., Rep. Chris Gibson will join Sen. Sue Serino and the Council on Addiction, Prevention and Education of Dutchess County for a conversation on the dangers of heroin and what citizens can do to combat drug use, Haviland Middle School, Hyde Park.
Court of Appeals Judge Susan Read, one of two Republicans on the court, said she may not complete the remainder of her 14-year term that expires at the end of 2016. Her departure would open the door to Cuomo appointing his fifth and sixth high court judges since taking office in 2011. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman is leaving at the end of the year.
Soon-to-depart state Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky plans to split his time between New York, where he wants to open his own legal and consulting firm, and California, where he’ll serve as a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s new cyber initiative focusing on cyber security.
News of Lawsky’s imminent departure was announced just hours after he and other U.S. authorities announced a near-$6 billion settlement with major global banks over manipulation of foreign exchange rates.
Cuomo tapped Steve Cohen, a longtime adviser and former aide, to join the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. If confirmed by the state Senate, Cohen would become the sixth New York appointee on the board, balancing an equal number of commissioners from New Jersey.
Across New York, a small if vocal movement urging rejection of standardized exams took off this year, maturing from scattered displays of disobedience into a widespread rebuke of testing policies. At least 165,000 kids, or one of every six eligible students, sat out at least one of the two standardized tests this year – more than double and possibly triple the number who did so in 2014.
A much-anticipated bill giving ultimate control of the Buffalo school system to the mayor has been finalized in the Assembly. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes is looking to push the legislation through both houses before the legislative session ends next month.
The state Education Department told all 15 groups that submitted plans to open new charter schools that they did not meet the state’s standards, marking the first time since at least 2010 that an open application period will end without an approval for a New York City applicant. More here.
Cuomo’s summit on transparency and email retention will take place tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Manhattan. The Assembly GOP will be the only legislative conference represented there.
Federal safety investigators said they are examining cellphone records, a locomotive event recorder, surveillance video and other data to determine whether the engineer involved in a fatal Amtrak derailment earlier this month in Philadelphia was using his phone while operating the train.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to hire Karen Hinton, a longtime communications executive and strategist and wife of former top Cuomo aide Howard Glaser, as his new press secretary. She will be in charge of the day-to-day dealings of the mayor’s office with the news media.
Hinton, 56, who lives in Westchester County, would fill a position left vacant when Phil Walzak, the mayor’s former press secretary, became the mayor’s senior adviser earlier this year.
May 20th - 5:20 pm
Sawyer Fredericks, the 16-year-old winner of “The Voice” Season 8, has no plans to move to L.A., and is looking forward to getting back to his family’s farm in Fultonville.
Former state Supreme Court Justice Anthony Giacobbe is one of several meeting with the GOP to discuss a potential run for the Staten Island DA post vacated by Rep. Dan Donovan.
Here’s video of the fast food wage board’s initial public meeting held in NYC today.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to convene this wage board has improved Working Families Party’s opinion of the usually fiscally conservative Democrat.
The M.T.A. can learn from last week’s fatal Amtrak derailment outside Philadelphia, M.T.A. chairman Tom Prendergast said.
President Obama argued that global warning poses a threat to national security, and said “it will impact how our military defends our country.”
Secretary of the Army John McHugh, the former eight-term congressman from Jefferson County, will visit Syracuse University tomorrow to learn more about its work with veterans and the military.
Ben Lawsky’s imminent departure from his post as superintendent of the state Financial Services Department has sparked speculation about his successor. So far, five names are in the mix.
Sen. Phil Boyle has launched an online campaign to “keep the cap” – the 2 percent property tax cap, that is, which the Senate GOP has voted to make permanent.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will be in Staten Island tomorrow – only the third time this year that he has made a public appearance in the borough.
The state Senate is now paperless.
Hector Ramirez, a Bronx Democrat, was arrested on massive voter fraud charges in his failed 2014 Assembly bid.
A coalition pushing for a “prevailing wage” for building trades workers at developments getting 421a tax breaks has lined up the support of the New York State AFL-CIO, the state’s 2.5 million-member umbrella labor group.
A judge has recommended that Matt Libous, son of Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous, spend his prison term at FCI Fort Dix in New Jersey – the same min-security facility housing ex-Sen. Carl Kruger.
In a Newsday OpEd, Cuomo pitched his “Enough is Enough” campaign to combat sexual violence on college campuses.
Buyouts are underway in The Wall Street Journal newsroom, signaling a shift in resources at News Corp’s U.S.-based broadsheet as it heads into a new budget year.
Ali Najmi, a Queens attorney and activist, will run for Councilman Mark Weprin’s soon-to-be-vacant seat. If he wins, he would be New York City’s first elected official of South Asian descent, and only the third Asian lawmaker in the 51-member Council.
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is headed to Atlanta next week to raise some cash and shake some hands, her first visit to Georgia this campaign season.
After 33 years and 6,028 broadcasts of his late-night show, David Letterman is signing off tonight.
Clinton’s national director of Latino outreach is a DREAMer.
Suffolk Democrat DuWayne Gregory says he’s running against Republican Rep. Peter King in 2016.