Legislature To Meet For 60 Days In 2018

calendarChristmas is coming early for those who care about such things: The 2018 legislative calendar was released on Wednesday, showing state lawmakers are scheduled to be in Albany for 60 days come 2018.

The session will begin Jan. 3 and run until June 20.

Notably, lawmakers are not scheduled to meet on March 30, Good Friday, or March 31, the first day of Passover. The first day of the state’s fiscal year is April 1.

The state budget was approved 10 days after that date this year.

Lawmakers are also potentially mindful of the calendar since this is an election year for all 213 seats as well as all statewide offices.

Extras

Programming note: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no Capital Tonight show tomorrow or Friday. There will also be no blog updates – barring really significant news breaking – or memos. Everything will be back to normal Monday. Enjoy the next few days!

Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, apologized after a graphic image of his genitals and a screenshot of a sext he sent circulated online.

The Washington Post published a detailed list of the sexual misconduct allegations against President Trump and names of those corroborating the claims a day after he offered support for Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore.

A sports doctor accused of molesting girls while working for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University pleaded guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault and will face at least 25 years in prison.

The ethics chief for former President George W. Bush said Trump administration official Kellyanne Conway should be fired for her comments about the Alabama Senate race.

Moore’s communications director, John Rogers, has resigned from the disgraced Senate candidate’s campaign.

Fifty percent of American voters think​ Sen. Al Franken should resign over allegations of sexual misconduct against him, while 46 percent said ​he should be expelled from the Senate, according to a new poll.

Hillary Clinton said in a new interview that she doesn’t know whether she can be friendly with Trump again.

New York may force health insurers to cover three-dimensional mammograms for routine breast cancer screening, even though experts say there’s not enough evidence showing the procedure is better for women than traditional mammograms.

The results of a grand jury investigation into Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel E. Abelove’s handling of the 2016 police shooting death will be revealed at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1.

Uber is already facing legal action and probes from regulators after the company disclosed yesterday that it paid $100,000 to hackers to delete stolen customer data.

The state’s fiscal picture is worsening, and here are five fiscal issues New Yorkers face next year.

Suffolk lawmakers approved a last-minute resolution to borrow $7.8 million to pay off a court-ordered judgment against the county for blocking a private firm from installing solar panels in the parking lot of the Ronkonkoma LIRR station.

The Trump Organization has reached a deal that will allow the company to walk away from its hotel in SoHo, marking the second time this year the Trump name was erased from a hotel development, after a June announcement in Toronto.

Environmental groups are recommending a variety of safety initiatives to further protect the Hudson River, including limiting where barges and tankers can anchor on the Hudson.

DEC: PCB Cleanup Of Hudson Not Complete

The state Department of Environmental Conservation on Wednesday said more work is needed on the federal project to remove PCB-laden sediment from the Hudson River.

The determination by the DEC puts the state and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration at odds with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which has insisted the multi-billion dollar project is coming to close.

“The Hudson River is a national historic treasure and we cannot let the PCB contamination persist any longer,” said Commissioner Basil Seggos. “It’s clear from the state’s ongoing research that EPA’s job is not done and they cannot declare that this remediation is complete. If the federal government fails New York, we will explore all legal options to challenge the EPA’s decision and ensure this river is not left to suffer the consequences of pollution for generations to come.”

Removing PCBs from the river was ordered by the federal government in a landmark 2002 order, decades after General Electric Co. legally discharged the chemical into the river as part of its upstate operations.

State environmental officials in a letter to the EPA released Wednesday outlined what they said were “significant issues” with declaring the project complete, including unfinished remediation goals. The state pointed to data collected by the DEC that shows greater amounts of PCBs in the river than federal officials had initially projected as part of the dredging project.

“Based on all of the existing evidence, it would be wholly inappropriate for EPA to certify this cleanup is complete,” Seggos said. “Until this remedy can be credibly found to be protective of human health and the environment, EPA must do more to reevalute the effectiveness of this remedy and require additional actions to restore the health of this important ecosystem.”

Seggos added the state is calling for an additional federal evaluation of removing additional sediment in order to ensure reductions in fish are met.

The announcement from the DEC dovetails with a letter released earlier in the day by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office to the EPA, which questioned whether the project’s goals had been achieved.

“The law is clear: EPA cannot possibly support a finding that GE’s limited dredging has been sufficient to protect New Yorkers’ public health and the environment,” Schneiderman said. “The EPA must ensure that New York sees the full, timely cleanup and restoration of the Hudson River that has been promised.”

EPA_HRLtr_11_22_2017 by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Gillibrand Calls On Senate To Pass The DREAM Act ASAP

A group of Democratic women in U.S. Senate are calling for the body to pass legislation to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children, also known as Dreamers, before the December break. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, is among the 11 women who signed a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging action.

In September, the Trump Administration announced a six-month phase out of the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, originally created through an Executive Order from Barack Obama. At the same time, the President put the onus on Congress to take up legislation.

DACA expires on March 6 and nearly 800,000 recipients could be affected. Gillibrand said women DREAMERS and their families would be hit the hardest.

“Women make up 53 percent of DACA recipients. According to the largest survey of DACA recipients, about one-quarter are parents of American citizen children,”she wrote. “The futures of these mothers and their U.S. citizen children have been thrown into uncertainty. If Congress does not act to protect them, hundreds of thousands of women will lose their status and face deportation.”

According to the White House, Dreamers range in age from their mid-teens to their mid-thirties.  Many of them, Gillibrand pointed out, are parents who could be forced to leave their children.

She said DACA has allowed many immigrant women to secure jobs and educational opportunities and could struggle to provide for their families if the DREAM Act is not passed. Gillibrand said the program also protects victims of domestic violence and sexual assault from further exploitation, by eliminating the fear that reporting incidents could lead to immigration enforcement.

“There is absolutely no doubt that America will benefit from passage of the Dream Act, and too much is at stake not to act,” she wrote. “We urge you to bring this legislation to the Senate floor for consideration as soon as possible.”

Other senators who signed the letter include California Democrat Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

State Officials: New Yorkers Encouraged To Carry Naloxone

New Yorkers are being encouraged by state officials to carry naloxone in case someone is having an opioid overdose.

The call to carry the drug, which can prevent deaths from overdoses, is part of a broader campaign to raise awareness of fentanyl overdoses, which Gov. ANdrew Cuomo called a crisis.

“Fentanyl abuse is feeding this nation’s devastating opioid epidemic that destroys lives and families, and we are taking aggressive action to get these deadly drugs off our streets and protect communities across New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “By shedding light on the dangers posed by this dangerous and addictive drug, we will help save lives and create a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

New Yorkers can purchase naloxone at either a low cost or for free at pharmacies as part of the state Department of Health co-pay assistance program. New Yorkers with a health insurance plan can receive up to a $40 co-pay for purchasing the drug.

Those without insurance or prescription drug coverage can access naloxone through a no-cost network of registered prevention programs.

Also part of the campaign is an English and Spanish advertising effort that includes digital banners on social media, advertisements on buses and ads in shopping malls as well as laundromats.

Enviros Thank Schumer For Trump Opposition On EPA

A coalition of environmental and conservation organizations on Wednesday released a letter thanking Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York for pushing back against Trump administration policies they contend favors polluters.

In the letter, the groups point to Schumer’s opposition to cuts to the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“With the Trump Administration and their allies in Congress working to gut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and rollback key environmental protections and safeguards that prevent people from getting sick and dying, it is gratifying to know that there are leaders in Washington standing up to prevent such recklessness,” the letter states.

The letter was released by the Environmental Advocates of New York and signed on to by more than 160 groups representing local, state and national organizations.

“The Trump administration’s efforts to gut EPA will undergo a reckoning, and it begins with lawmakers and citizens saying, ‘enough is enough.’ Senator Schumer’s battle cry is a rallying point for us all to Save the EPA. We won’t stop until the agency that protects us all is spared the recklessness of those that put polluter-friendly policies ahead of public health,” said Environmental Advocates of New York Executive Director Peter Iwanowicz. “We thank Senator Schumer for leading the fight in D.C. and urge all New York representatives to take the same stand.”

Thank You Senator Schumer by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Republican Begins Fundraising For Larkin’s Seat

From the Morning Memo:

Republican Tom Basile on Tuesday released a fundraising email for a potential campaign for the state Senate seat held by Sen. Bill Larkin.

Basile, a former state committee executive director, had formed a campaign committee to run for the district should Larkin not seek another term in the chamber.

But Basile’s fundraising appeal certainly makes him sound like a candidate for the job, telling potential donors in the email he’s attempting to reach a fundraising goal by the next reporting deadline.

“This race will be among the most fiercely contested in New York because it will likely determine who controls the State Senate,” the email states.

“Total Democrat control of state government here would mean disastrous government-run healthcare, a multi-billion-dollar ‘free’ college entitlement we can’t afford, and even more job-killing regulations. I’m determined to stop that agenda and fight for pro-growth policy reforms. With experience in government, business, media and politics I believe I am uniquely suited to represent the people of the Hudson Valley.”

There’s been no indication that anything has changed for Larkin and his decision to seek re-election in 2018. Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif responded to a message Tuesday about the fundraising email with a link to an article on the initial formation of the committee by Basile.

In it, Basile called the committee a “foundation” for a campaign should Larkin not seek 15th, two-year term in the Senate.

Should the district be contested without an incumbent next year, the race would likely be one of the most hotly contested in the race for control of the narrowly divided Senate. Assemblyman James Skoufis has been mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate for the seat

Higgins: Tax Reform is ‘A Massive Giveaway To Corporate America’

From the Morning Memo:

Western New York Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins, a member of the House Ways and Committee, railed against the Republican tax reform plan yesterday in Niagara Falls, accusing his GOP colleagues of misrepresenting the plan as a middle-class tax cut, when it is really a gift to large corporations.

Higgins seemed to concede there may be some measures in the proposal passed by the House that could benefit most Americans, but insisted they will be fleeting.

“It’s a massive giveaway to corporate America,” he said. “All the tax cuts supposedly for middle America are temporary. All the corporate tax cuts are permanent.”

The congressman said he doesn’t buy the GOP argument that more money for corporations will help create jobs and stimulate the economy. He pointed to roughly $2 trillion worth of U.S. Treasury Bonds, and another $2 trillion in non-taxed foreign accounts that the companies could already be spending.

“If they wanted to invest, they could use that money,” Higgins said. “They already have the money, so this would really just give them that much more money, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that to be about $1.7 trillion.”

Higgins was also skeptical of a proposal to “repatriate” those oversees earnings by instituting a one-time tax, hypothetically allowing corporations to bring the money back to the country to be invested.

“Why should they be given a discount to bring those monies back,” he said. “I think there’s other ways of going after that money.”

The issue of tax reform has now been kicked to the U.S. Senate, which is expected to take up its own bill next week following the Thanksgiving break.

“Many Republican senators whose votes are needed to pass this have expressed concerns about deficit, have expressed concerns about health care now being thrown into this again,” Higgins noted. “Will that influence them to vote against it? I’m not quite sure.”

He said the U.S. does need a real middle-class tax cut to stimulate economic growth. Higgins said 70 percent of the economy is consumption, so if people have more money, they’re almost sure to spend it.

 

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

President Donald Trump is in Florida at his Mar-a-lago resort for the holiday.

At 9 a.m., clergy leaders “take a knee” at march “against injustice at LaGuardia Airport fighting for minority inclusion in the procurement of prime contracts,” 94th Street at Ditmars Boulevard, East Elmhurst, Queens.

At 10 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will join the Zaro family and other community leaders to host the grand opening of the new Zaro’s Family Bakery retail location in Parkchester, 1309 Metropolitan Ave., the Bronx.

Also at 10 a.m., Ruth Hassel Thompson, Cuomo’s special advisor for Policy and Community Affairs at NYS Homes and Community Renewal, distributes Thanksgiving meals at the Hope Soup Kitchen, 50 Washington Ave., New Rochelle.

Also at 10 a.m., Mike Green, acting commissioner of the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, distributes Thanksgiving meals at the Delavan Grider Community Center, 877 E. Delavan Ave., Buffalo.

At 10:45 a.m., Ramarley Graham’s mother and her supporters hold a press conference following court arguments in a lawsuit against the NYPD for not complying with open records law and concealing information on his killing, 71 Thomas St., Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., members of progressive advocacy groups will deliver turkeys stuffed with cash to the Trump building on Wall Street, “highlighting how Trump’s tax plan will take massive sums of money from working people to benefit the richest Americans,” 40 Wall St., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Vincent Bradley, state Liquor Authority chair, distributes Thanksgiving meals at Mulberry House Senior Center, 62-70 W. Main St., Middletown.

At 11:30 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray and NYC Health Commissioner Mary Travis Bassett will make an announcement about HealingNYC, Montefiore Wellness Center at Port Morris, 804 East 138th St., the Bronx.

Also at 11:30 a.m., Matthew Driscoll, acting NYS Thruway Authority executive director, distributes Thanksgiving meals at Deacon South West Community Center, 401 South Ave., Syracuse.

At noon, Asian Americans for Equality holds its annual Thanksgiving Community Lunch with Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, Golden Unicorn, 18 E. Broadway, Manhattan.

Also at noon, Karim Camara, executive director of the state Office of Faith Based Community Development Services, distributes Thanksgiving meals at the Community Church of the Nazarene, 1414 Central Ave., Far Rockaway.

At 5:15 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill will deliver remarks at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s balloon inflation, Columbus Avenue and West 77th Street – Southeast Corner, Manhattan.

Headlines…

President Trump, who has himself been accused of – and denied – sexual impropriety – broke with leading Republicans and voiced support for Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama who has been accused of sexual misconduct with teenagers and has seen his campaign’s prospects imperiled.

“He totally denies it,” Trump said of Moore, who has been accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulting another teenager. “He says it didn’t happen.”

A pastor defended Moore, saying the controversial judge, who is accused of pursuing teenage girls as young as 14, was seeking the “purity of a young woman.”

Moore said he is considering legal action against one or more of the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, and also the news outlets that have been reporting most aggressively on the story, particularly the Washington Post, which broke the news of his scandal.

SUNY Oswego says it is considering revoking the honorary degree Charlie Rose received in 2014 after the longtime news anchor was accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women.

“CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King said last night that the accusations of sexual harassment against her former colleague Rose are “still very painful,” but added the network nonetheless had to report on them.

“CBS This Morning” reportedly wants King’s best friend, Oprah Winfrey, to save the day and fill in for Rose.

Trump talked for just over an hour by phone with Russian leader Vladimir Putin about war-torn Syria and a host of other international issues yesterday morning, the White House said.

Three U.S. military service members have been removed from their White House duties after allegedly having improper contact with foreign women during Trump’s Asia tour.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, 88, has dealt with various ethics investigations and a public corruption case that landed his wife in prison during a U.S. House career spanning more than five decades — longer than any other current member. Allegations that he sexually harassed female staff members may be the toughest opponent he has faced yet.

Conyers confirmed the settlement of a wrongful termination complaint in 2015 from a staff member who had accused him of sexual harassment. But he denied that the staff member was fired for refusing to have sex with him.

FCC Chair Ajit Pai followed through on his pledge to repeal 2015 regulations designed to ensure that internet service providers treat all online content and apps equally, setting up a showdown with consumer groups and internet companies who fear the move will stifle competition and innovation.

Trump issued the traditional Thanksgiving presidential pardon to a turkey named “Drumstick,” saying: “I feel so good about myself,” while laying a hand on the bird after seeking permission to touch it from turkey professionals.

Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, made a relaxed appearance at New York University last night, answering questions about her life in economics and her time at the Fed one day after she announced plans to leave the central bank next year.

Hillary Clinton is touting her memoir’s No. 1 spot on Time magazine’ list of the best 10 nonfiction books of 2017.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio took his fight against the Republican tax plan to Trump Tower, calling the proposal a “scam” at a rally with seniors and local union workers.

As de Blasio railed against the president-to-be in the weeks after November’s election, he was also sending chummy messages to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his daughter, Ivanka Trump.

Rep. John Katko said he voted “yes” on the House tax reform bill for two basic reasons: “The vast majority of my constituents will receive a tax cut under this plan, and this effort will allow local businesses to invest in Central New York and our workforce.”

For Republicans, the tax bills working their way through Congress are about simplification and putting more money in middle-class pockets. But for New York teachers, bicycle commuters, divorcees, actors and others, it’s more like “death by a thousand cuts.”

More >

Extras

Speaking to reporters before departing today for Mar-a-lago, President Trump said of Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore’s sexual harassment scandal: “we don’t need a liberal Democrat in that seat.”

CBS News and PBS both said that veteran TV anchor Charlie Rose’s contracts with them had been terminated.

On today’s “CBS This Morning” broadcast, Rose’s co-hosts, Diane King and Norah Donnell weighed in about their colleague, denouncing his actions and saying he does not get a pass because of his fame.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre has rescinded an award it planned to give Rose after learning of the allegations of sexual harassment against him.

A leading Democratic lawmaker on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, says the House Ethics Committee should investigate allegations of sexual harassment against Rep. John Conyers, of Michigan, and the committee apparently is heeding that call.

Conyers, the longest-serving current House member, insists that contrary to a BuzzFeed report, he has never settled a sexual-harassment complaint and vehemently denies the allegations lodged against him.

Disney Animation head John Lasseter is taking a leave of absence from Pixar after acknowledging “painful” conversations and unspecified “missteps,” he wrote in a memo to staff.

Sixty percent of American women voters say they’ve experienced sexual harassment, according to a new Q poll, and 69 percent of them say that harassment occurred at work.

What started off for former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg as an effort to provide quick emergency assistance in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where his Bloomberg L.P., co-founder Tom Secunda has a home, has turned into new kind of project for Bloomberg and his key aides, putting them at Ground Zero of efforts to rebuild the tiny U.S. territory.

Former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto was hit with a superseding indictment that includes more than 20 new federal criminal charges involving securities fraud in the issuance of the town’s public offering of hundreds of millions of dollars in securities between 2010 and 2016.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said tens of thousands of New Yorkers may have had their identities stolen in a “massive scheme” during the FCC’s public comment process on net neutrality.

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara really isn’t planning to run for elected office, saying: “I don’t think I would enjoy politics in any shape or form.”

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who is mulling a primary challenge to the governor next fall, is taking a wait-and-see approach about the Cuomo administration’s handling of the Sam Hoyt sexual harassment case.

Two months to the day before Dan Loeb accused Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins of doing more harm to people of color than the KKK, the billionaire hedge fund manager was scolding Richard Buery, one of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s most senior black officials, about his apparent ignorance of the obstacles faced by black children in the city.

When New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore needed someone to lead a task force on the state’s constitution, she turned to a well-connected attorney with more than 40 years of experience. Her husband, Dennis Glazer.

Former Gov. David Paterson is one of at least two dozen current or former state lawmakers to purchase a house, condo or apartment in the Albany area and use their per-diem payments to help cover the costs.

Incoming Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen has filled her first town position — with a new rescue puppy named Luna. “No pay, no benefits, just a lot of love,” she said, adding that the new dog fulfills a campaign pledge she made to her four kids.

An employee of the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities won a workplace retaliation lawsuit against the agency this week that could set a precedent enabling employees to tell the public about problems at facilities such as Sunmount, based in Tupper Lake.

James Milliken, the chancellor of the City University of New York, the largest public urban university system in the country, announced that he would step down at the end of the academic year

A bill adding “Buy American” provisions for bridge and road projects in the state is expected to be signed by Cuomo, who wanted an even tougher provision.
Now Ontario and Quebec officials are not ruling out taking retaliatory trade measures against New York.

The current Niagara Scenic Parkway above Niagara Falls should be replaced with a new road that wouldn’t cut off the City of Niagara Falls from its waterfront, Rep. Brian Higgins said, and NYPA should foot the bill.

As the state has moved to cashless tolling, millions of dollars in MTA bridge and tunnel tolls and fines have gone unpaid, a new audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found, with $11.3 million written off or uncollected from November 2012 through January 2017.

Niagara County officials are optimistic about receiving state funding for construction of a breakwater in Lake Ontario that would protect the low-lying hamlet of Olcott from flooding.