Dec 9th - 5:28 pm
An administration source with knowledge on Friday afternoon confirmed Gov. Andrew Cuomo would push for the expansion of ride-hailing services in a potential special session this month.
“If there’s a special session, upstate ride sharing is an item the governor wants to push,” the source said.
Politico New York first reported this afternoon the potential for ride hailing in a special session.
Whether a special session is actually held remains up in the air as lawmakers and Cuomo continue to negotiate a potential end-of-year return to Albany that could also address funding for affordable housing and a hate-crimes task force as well as a constitutional amendments blocking private-sector income for lawmakers and term limits for state elected officials.
Cuomo on Thursday re-affirmed his support for expanding services provided by companies like Uber and Lyft, but added he was unsure if he would include the legislation in his coming budget proposal.
Uber, meanwhile, cheered the potential for the expansion as it was gearing up for a major 2017 lobbying push on the issue.
“The voices of New Yorkers who have been demanding ridesharing in their communities have been heard. We thank Governor Cuomo for calling on the legislature to pass ridesharing now,” said Uber NY General Manager Josh Mohrer. “It is time for the legislature to act so we can finally bring Uber to Upstate New York.”
Lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a regulatory framework for ride hailing services outside of New York City in the most recent legislative session.
Dec 9th - 5:10 pm
President Barack Obama has ordered a “full review” before he leaves office of the cyberattacks that plagued this year’s presidential election, a top White House official said.
Donald Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway defended the president-elect’s decision to stay on as an executive producer of “Celebrity Apprentice” when he assumes office, saying presidents have the right to do things in their “spare time.”
Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a loyalist to Trump during the worst moments of the campaign, will not be named the nation’s top diplomat. (The president-elect announced today Giuliani withdrew his name from consideration in late November).
Hillary Clinton and her supporters spent a record $1.2 billion for her losing presidential campaign — twice as much as Trump, according to the latest records.
Lawrence D. Rosenbaum, the former chairman of the Albany County Independence Party, impersonated his deceased son — just two days after the son died by suicide on the Northway — so he and his wife could scam $12,500 from an insurance company, state prosecutors charged.
Two days after Cor Development officials contributed $25,000 to Cuomo at a December 2015 fundraiser, the administration finally dislodged a contract to sell the company 3.6 acres of state land that Cor wanted in Syracuse’s Inner Harbor – a deal that had been approved five months earlier, but was stuck in governmental purgatory.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio described the scalding deaths of two toddlers in a Bronx apartment as a “freak accident,” laying blame on a radiator malfunction and not the building or the city homelessness program that placed them there.
The state’s economic development agency has scrapped proposals to redevelop Belmont Park, including one for a 25,000-seat soccer stadium and retail complex for the New York Cosmos, rebooting the long-delayed process after four years of inaction.
Many of the companies on Cuomo’s new BDS blacklist say that they don’t actually boycott Israel.
DeWitt Town Justice David Gideon will take over as president of the New York State Magistrates Association a year from now.
Just in time for the holidays, Cuomo is throwing a dinner party with celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich — to anyone who can come up with $10,000.
Cuomo is out with the 2016 list of historic preservation awards which are given to notable renovations and acknowledgment of historic buildings and places throughout the state.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has repaid Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich for his endorsement in New York’s Republican primary in April by encouraging supporters to donate to the term-limited local lawmaker’s as-yet unannounced bid to unseat de Blasio.
New York State’s SAFE Act gun control law requires all residents who had pistol permits before 2013 to renew them or lose them, but Niagara County Clerk Joseph Jastrzemski says the state hasn’t done what it needs to do to make that possible.
Screen icon Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch to poor Jewish immigrants in the town of Amsterdam, NY, celebrates his 100th birthday today.
Commuters will be happy to know that by the end of the year, they will be able to surf the web, check social media and stream music anywhere in the New York City subway system.
Dec 9th - 4:03 pm
Several months after the Department of Financial Services released a report critical of fees paid to hedge funds in the state’s pension system, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on Friday released a rebuttal.
DiNapoli’s office was responding to a report released in October by the DFS, part of the Cuomo administration, that raised concerns with fees paid out to hedge funds that provided relatively poor returns on the investment.
The response from DiNapoli is 17 pages and argues the hedge fund investments are a relatively small portion of the state’s investment strategy.
At the same time, the comptroller’s office argues the investments from hedge fund managers provide diversification for the $184.5 billion pension fund.
Overall, the rebuttal to the report was relatively straightforward document and without the usual fireworks of a news release providing a summary of the findings or a quote from DiNapoli himself.
The DFS audit was seen at the time as the latest iteration of the ongoing feud between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and DiNapoli, who has seen oversight authority from his office transferred to other areas of the executive branch.
Updated: DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo responds to the response, noting DiNapoli isn’t disputing the main facts of their original October audit.
“DFS today has received the Comptroller’s response to DFS’s report dated October 17, in which DFS found that the Common Retirement Fund paid exorbitant hedge fund fees over the past 8 years, for underperforming investments. We will of course analyze the response in its entirety. We note that the response does not dispute, because it cannot, that the CRF has paid high hedge fund fees while performance has lagged other widely-used avenues for diversification and volatility-management. We are pleased that the Comptroller has stopped investing new money in hedge funds, and is reducing the allocation. DFS remains steadfast in its commitment to independent review and reporting, and to public transparency of important issues.”
Dec 9th - 1:39 pm
Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan on Friday announced Shawn MacKinnon, a 20-year Senate veteran, has been appointed the secretary of the powerful Finance Committee.
MacKinnon replaces Mike Paoli who is retiring after 27 years of working for the Senate as the top aide on the committee.
“Shawn possesses exceptional budgeting talents and leadership skills that will help our Majority conference continue to create better opportunities for hardworking New Yorkers,” Flanagan said in a statement. “I have been fortunate to partner with Shawn in developing important fiscal policies in the past, and I’m confident his expertise will be invaluable throughout the budget process that begins just a few short weeks from now.”
MacKinnon was most recently the deputy secretary of the Finance Committee and his work has focused on education funding, having worked with Flanagan when he was chairman of the Education Committee.
“Shawn is an effective negotiator and knowledgeable budget professional who will ensure that our Majority’s priorities to create jobs and build stronger communities are achieved,” said Finance Chair Cathy Young. “I look forward to working with him in his new leadership capacity and helping to pass a responsible budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers.”
Dec 9th - 12:04 pm
Republican Sen. Phil Boyle on Friday announced a bill that would allow the searching of the DNA database for familial searches in an effort to solve violent crimes.
Boyle, a Long Island lawmaker, wrote the legislation after speaking with the father of Karina Vetrano, the Queens jogger who was sexually assaulted and murdered.
“Having worked on DNA- related legislation for over 25 years, I see the use of ‘familial’ DNA testing as the next significant step in assisting our law enforcement officials in solving these sickening crimes and getting these violent criminals off our streets,” Boyle said. “We cannot allow any ambiguity in our state laws to delay use of this important crime-fighting tool any longer.”
The use of familial DNA searches uses a crime scene profile that is run through the DNA databank with the intent of finding a list of genetically similar profiles. In turn, that information is use an investigative tool to find family members of the close matches.
Dec 9th - 8:51 am
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee became the latest national group to push Gov. Andrew Cuomo to unite his party and gain a governing majority in the state Senate.
“New Yorkers elected a Democratic majority to represent them in both chambers of the legislature, and Gov. Cuomo has an obligation to stand up and ensure that the will of the voters is respected in the New York Senate,” said the group’s executive director, Jessica Post.
“As head of the Party in the state, Gov. Cuomo needs to unify the Democratic caucus, and as a national Democratic leader, he needs to firmly establish the Democratic governing trifecta voters clearly wanted when they cast their ballots in November.”
The statement released Friday morning is the latest in an internecine battle over control of the chamber through a public pressure campaign of calling on Cuomo to broker unity among the fractious Democrats in the Senate.
Cuomo on Thursday in Albany indicated he had desire to get involved in the issue, pointing to the deep-seated personal issues between the Democratic lawmakers.
Mainline conference Democrats hope that with the potential addition of John Brooks in the still undecided 8th Senate district the party will have a 32-member majority in the 63-seat Senate.
But gaining control would require the defection of Democratic Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder, who sits with the Senate GOP and has indicated he will continue to do so. A separate peace would also have to be reached with the seven-member Independent Democratic Conference as well.
IDC Leader Jeff Klein on Thursday blasted the mainline conference’s attempts to involve Cuomo, saying the battle has descended into a “circus.”
But the DLCC, a Washington, D.C.-based group that backs Democratic candidates running in state legislative races, is the latest organization to throw its weight behind the Cuomo pressure campaign.
Earlier this week, the left-leaning Moveon.org pushed Cuomo on the issue as well.
At the heart of the argument is the success of President-elect Donald Trump and the continued GOP control of both houses of Congress come 2017.
“New York is in a position to be a leader in the fight against Trump’s dangerous and regressive agenda,” said Post of the DLCC, “and I hope Gov. Cuomo capitalizes on this opportunity to establish his state as a firewall against Trump’s extremist policies.”
Updated: One observer questions how a Senate Democratic majority can be a “firewall” against Trump’s policies, noting lawmakers like Felder and Sen. Ruben Diaz hold conservative views on abortion rights.
Dec 9th - 6:00 am
From the Morning Memo:
In his first public appearance in Albany in weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged he has spoken with federal prosecutors about the corruption case of his former top aide, Joe Percoco.
“It was in preparation for Joe’s case,” Cuomo told reporters on Thursday. “In preparation for the case they were indicting for the nine defendants. It was several months ago.”
Cuomo chief of staff Melissa DeRosa in a statement later said Cuomo spoke voluntarily with U.S. attorneys about the case. Percoco, ex-SUNY Polytechnic President Alain Kaloyeros and prominent upstate developers accused of bribery and bid-rigging.
Cuomo says it is also possible he could be called as a witness in the trial.
“I could be. I don’t envision it,” Cuomo said. “No one has suggested that. I think the question would be more it’s up to the nine defendants who they call in their defense.”
At the heart of the corruption case is upstate economic development spending. Though the spending has been under scrutiny by federal prosecutors, Cuomo has promised to double down on his support for it. Cuomo on Thursday was in Albany to announce the latest awards in the Regional Economic Development Council projects — touting an upstate economy he says has rebounded.
“Unemployment has dropped all across the state of New York,” Cuomo said. “As a matter of fact, most regions have seen a greater drop in unemployment than has happened in New York City.”
Cuomo has also insisted upstate New York is getting the economic attention from the state that it needs.
“It was hard for the upstate members to get that the kind of attention upstate needed,” Cuomo said. “So we changed that. We changed it 180 degrees.
Nevertheless, Cuomo is pushing lawmakers to back ethics legislation in a special session that could also result in the first legislative pay increase since 1998.
“My point is the issues have to be addressed,” Cuomo said. “The reform issue has to be addressed.”
Cuomo and top lawmakers have insisted none of these issues should be linked to a pay hike, but the governor indicated state lawmakers must show some progress.
“I think the the people of the state want to see performance for the raise because in their life it’s not enough to say I need a raise, I haven’t gotten one in a long time,” he said. “What are you doing for it? And what promise of performance do I have?”
Assembly Democrats have been told to standby for a potential return to Albany next week.
Dec 9th - 5:45 am
From the Morning Memo:
The Prevention of Emotional Neglect and Childhood Endangerment (P.E.N.C.E.) conversion therapy ban isn’t the only bill being held up in the Erie County Legislature’s Government Affairs Committee. When the committee met Thursday, a resolution introduced by Republican Ted Morton, in opposition of sanctuary policies, wasn’t on the agenda either.
“Both of them deal with situations that I don’t think are a huge pressing problem in Erie County,” committee chairman Kevin Hardwick, R, said.
A sanctuary community is a broad term for areas where, in general, law enforcement doesn’t cooperate with federal immigration rules. The concept garnered increased attention during the presidential election.
President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to cut off funding to cities that promote the policy. In introducing his resolution, Morton said the policy often threatens public safety.
“This resolution essentially works to ensure that we stay in compliance with federal law and not stand in the way of our federal immigration enforcement agencies,” he said.
Hardwick said, unless there’s an unforeseen reason the committee would need to address the bill, it will remain tabled and will expire without action after a year. He believes Morton got his point across through media coverage.
Democrat Pat Burke was less diplomatic.
“It’s awful. Everybody knows it’s awful. He used statistics cited from the Center for Immigration Studies, which was founded and funded by a white supremacist. It’s a disgrace, and it has no business in this body,” he said.
Burke, the author of the much-covered P.E.N.C.E. bill, said his bill and Morton’s shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same conversation. He said while his proposed conversion therapy ban would have a very specific impact, the sanctuary policy resolution does nothing.
“Sanctuary cities are pronouncements from elected officials who are encouraging their law enforcement not to follow through on certain rules, but it’s not set policy. So you can’t have an anti-policy of a policy that doesn’t exist,” he said. “Also it’s a resolution so it’s not binding. It literally makes no sense at all.”
Morton did not attend Thursday’s committee meeting.
Dec 9th - 5:02 am
Good Friday morning!
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after making a public appearance in Albany on Thursday, is in New York City, but has nothing public planned.
At 9:30 a.m., State Education Commissioner Elia and Albany Students Visit State Museum for Archaeology Program, New York State Museum, 222 Madison Avenue, Albany.
At 11 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will tour the Riviera Theatre Expansion, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda.
At noon, Hochul will visit a small business to promote shopping local for the holidays, Platter’s Chocolates, 908 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda.
At 1 p.m., State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Grand Street Settlement staff and program participants, and the New York City Housing Authority, will unveil 25 security cameras and an upgraded monitoring system at the Grand Street Settlement 80 Pitt Street Community Center. Grand Street Settlement, 80 Pitt St.
At around 6:30 p.m., Mayor Bill de Blasio will make remarks the Pennsylvania Society Reception, Inside Park at St. Bart’s, 325 Park Ave. New York City.
Cuomo acknowledged he had spoken voluntarily to federal prosecutors in the case of his former longtime aide Joe Percoco and said it is possible he could be called as a witness in the case.
Cuomo told reporters the interview with prosecutors came after the charges were filed in September, but before Percoco was indicted last month.
A bill that would ban conversion therapy with a name inspired by incoming Vice President Mike Pence has stalled, despite a increasingly national spotlight.
There’s a push underway by officials at the State University of New York to turn public colleges into “sanctuary campuses.”
The Finger Lakes region was a top awardee at the Regional Economic Development awards on Thursday, with a combined $80.5 million.
Overall, New York economic development officials handed out more than $716 million to projects around the state.
New York’s Capital Region, too, will receive a boost with $83 million in economic development incentives.
Two Muslim Nazareth College Students, who attended a Christian Church as part of a class assignment, prompting one churchgoer to call the feds and that has angered college leadership.
Amtrak’s small Rhinecliff station is actually one of the busiest stations in New York.
Some environmental advocates say that, as the Moses-Saunders Dam has regulated water flows for the past several decades, it has also impacted local wildlife.
After a deadly fire in California, officials in Newburgh are urging a legal occupancy limit for large gatherings.
Cuomo’s veto of a bill that would have provided a tax credit to farmers who donate excess product is taken to task by the Niagara Falls Gazette.
Cuomo gave the thumbs up — once again — to a push that would expand ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft outside of New York City.
Commissioner at the bistate Port Authority are split over the adoption of a 10-year plan and the approval of a New York bus terminal.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in an op/ed suggests Democrats begin organizing on the local political level, attributing recent Republican successes to victories on the state and local level.
New York City officials are calling the recent deaths of two Bronx toddlers a “freak accident” at a homeless shelter.
Steam radiators, being blamed for the deaths, can cause burns but are rarely the cause of deaths.
The personal identification documents submitted by those seeking a city identification card will no longer be retained.
The number of people taking to the skies this holiday season is expected to jump by more than 3 percent.
New York is set to allow the wholesaling of medical marijuana products under revised regulations.
As talk continues to swirl his nomination for secretary of state, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was spotted near Trump Tower.
Hillary Clinton blasted the trend of “fake” or hoax news, saying the willful spreading of false information is putting lives at risk.
A top New York City finance official is contradicting claims being made by Mayor Bill de Blasio that the city is set to slash property taxes.
The financial giant Black Rock has reached an agreement to move its operations to Hudson Yards.
The son of The Sopranos star Michael Imperioli has been arrested in a Purchase College swastika graffiti case.
Westchester County lawmakers are not completely rejecting the push to privatize Westchester County airport as the request for proposals process continues.
The Senate and Assembly released the 2017 legislative calendar mapping out the next six months in Albany.
The union president at Carrier is standing his ground after publicly disputing Trump’s claims about saving jobs at the Indiana factory.
One of Destiny USA’s original stores at the mega mall is due to close next month.
A lawsuit is bringing a challenge to New York’s ban on stun guns.
Get ready, upstate New York: Here comes lake effect snow.
Dec 8th - 5:56 pm
Trump reportedly intends to nominate Andrew Puzder, chief executive of the company that owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. burger chains, as labor secretary.
Puzder has been an outspoken critic of the worker protections enacted by the Obama administration, opposing efforts to expand eligibility for overtime pay, while arguing that large minimum wage increases hurt small businesses and lead to job loss among low-skilled workers.
As an employer of many immigrant workers, Puzder has spoken in favor of immigration reform.
Senate Democrats immediately blasted Trump’s selection of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator and vowed to try to block his confirmation. “We have a fight on our hands and Republicans have to do a moral gut check and a political one,” said Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz.
The Women’s March on Washington, scheduled for the day after Trump’s inauguration, will have very limited access to large swaths of the national mall and Pennsylvania Avenue, thanks to a “massive omnibus blocking permit” filed by the National Park Service, acting on behalf of the Presidential Inauguration Committee.
Retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is leaving the U.S. Senate a very different politician from when he entered in 1987.
At a portrait unveiling ceremony for Reid, Hillary Clinton said fake news is an “epidemic” and “a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly.”
David Rubin, longtime former dean of the Newhouse School, has retired from SU.
The Capital Region received $83.1 million as a “top finisher” in the sixth round of annual Regional Economic Development Council awards, which were announced today at The Egg with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in attendance.
The executive director of New York’s ethics and lobbying watchdog said that since he was appointed in March, no one from the Cuomo administration has ever spoken to him about major policy matters before the panel.
Los Angeles schools this week launched a hotline to help students cope with increased anxiety about Trump’s election victory and how it might impact their families.
Rockland officials aren’t giving up on efforts to pass a law that would let school districts collect their own taxes, potentially lowering costs and saving taxpayers thousands of dollars, which was vetoed recently by the governor.
Ross Barkan: “Though political dynamics always change, it’s hard to fathom a politician more ill-suited for this populist moment than Andrew Cuomo.”
“Hillary Clinton, formerly your Presidential front-runner, now your flaxen-haired Sasquatch of Chappaqua.”
A Los Angeles-based lawyer who gained notoriety by reclaiming Jewish-owned art looted by the Nazis has filed a lawsuit in New York against the FBI seeking information on the warrant that led to its seizure of Anthony Weiner’s computer in the Hillary Clinton email case.
Cuomo and Consul General Peter Helder Bernard, Esq. of the Consulate General of Haiti, announced food, water, medical supplies and other donations from New Yorkers will be delivered to assist those devastated by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.
George Marlin gets a jump on his annual winners and losers list for Nassau County in 2016.
President Barack Obama’s Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, a Buffalo native, is “looking seriously” at running for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, saying the party could use someone who could help unify it.
Buffalo began last year with 25 schools – nearly half the district – on a state watch list that threatened them with takeover if their academic performance didn’t improve in a hurry. A year later, that picture doesn’t look nearly as dire.
RIP, John Glenn, former astronaut and Ohio senator.