Extras

Anti-corruption crusader Preet Bharara took his clean-up-Albany message to Fordham Law School, defending his mission as crucial to bringing true democracy to a state hobbled by a history of graft.

“It’s not enough to simply make sure we’re getting rid of the bad folks,” the US attorney said. “We want to make sure we are empowering, or sometimes embarrassing, good folks at any institution that exists to do something when they see something.”

The NRCC attacked Democratic NY-11 candidate and Brooklyn Councilman Vincent Gentile in an email this afternoon, taking aim at the veteran lawmaker for skipping a City Council hearing.

Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell plans to introduce a bill that would change the Cuomo administration’s policy of automatically deleting emails after 90 days if they are not manually marked for retention. He’s workign with Sen. Liz Krueger to craft the legislation.

The White House, State Department and Hillary Clinton’s personal office were aware in August that House Republicans knew the former secretary of state conducted official government business through her private email account — and Clinton’s staff made the decision to keep quiet.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich plans to speak at a pair of events that recently featured GOP presidential candidates, fueling speculation that he’s mulling a 2016 run.

Former VP Al Gore will be in the important caucus state of Iowa from May 5-7, as part of a training sessions for the Climate Reality Project, of which he’s chairman.

The US Justice Department expects to file corruption charges against Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, culminating an investigation that has dogged the senator for two years.

Sen. John DeFrancisco said it’s “foolish” and “absurd” for Cuomo to refuse to release school aid runs.

Former AG Oliver Koppell, who represented the Bronx for decades, first in the state Assembly and later in the City Council before losing an uphill battle for state Senator Jeffrey Klein’s seat last year, has put his Bronx home on the market for $2.5 million.

Could it really be that this investigation is just to mess with Schneiderman because he’s messing with Cuomo? Is this high school?”

RIP Lawrence Scanlon Jr., 65, CSEA’s former executive director and a Kingston native, who was killed last week in a car crash in South Carolina. He retired in 2012 as political director of AFSCME.

The NCAA today ordered Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim suspended for nine games as a result of multiple infractions over the past eight years. SU basketball and football were both placed on five years’ probation.

Private sector employment growth in New York State continues to trail the U.S. as a whole, with upstate lagging far behind downstate, according to the latest state Department of Labor report.

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership has unveiled its Action Agenda for the 2015 state legislative session.

The road to replace Loretta Lynch in the Eastern District once she’s confirmed as US AG runs through US Sen. Chuck Schumer and his little-known screening committee.

The time involved in getting a pistol permit in Onondaga County has decreased dramatically during the past year.

Senate Republicans oppose Cuomo’s plan to create a competition for a $1.5 billion pot of economic development aid for upstate, saying it would create “winners and losers.”

Two people were sentenced today in connection with AG Eric Schneiderman’s “Operation Angry Birds,” the largest cockfighting ring bust in New York that stretched from New York City to Ulster County.

DiNapoli Questions Cuomo’s Use Of Budget Amendments

An analysis from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office released Friday took issue with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s yoking of policy to appropriations in his 30-day budget amendments.

Cuomo’s amendments to his $142 billion spending proposal would tie ethics reform such as new disclosure requirements for the Legislature and requiring receipts for travel reimbursement to spending — a move that exerts the governor’s broad control over the process, but has come under scrutiny from lawmakers.

“Several of the amendments give the Executive great latitude in spending,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “And while particular substantive proposals may be worthy, attaching them to spending bills that expire within two years or less may not be the best way to consider the merits.”

Cuomo is linking new client disclosure and private income requirements to capital projects.

Per diem reform, for instance, is tied to spending for DiNapoli’s office as well — a move the comptroller’s office says came without consultation from Cuomo’s office.

The amendments themselves are yet to be formally introduced by the Legislature as lawmakers seek to re-gain leverage with the governor in the budget talks.

The report points to other areas in which Cuomo is linking spending to policy: education, health care and transportation (Cuomo is tying the DREAM Act, the education tax credit and the Tuition Assistance Program, into one package).

“Inclusion of policy changes in time-limited appropriations means that any such provisions included in the Enacted Budget would require further legislative action within the next year or two, or would expire due to State Constitutional and statutory limits on the life of appropriations,” the report states. “For this reason and others, important policy reforms may be better addressed through statutory revision.”

30 Day Review Sfy1516 by Nick Reisman

Gianaris: Cuomo ‘Aggressive’ On Tying Spending To Policy

Majority Republicans and Democrats in the state Senate and Assembly are yet to introduced Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 30-day budget amendments that tie ethics measures to appropriations.

It’s a move that Queens Democratic Sen. Mike Gianaris found no fault with, considering the questions the strategy raises with the limits of executive authority over the budget proposal.

“That’s a bigger question that involves the potential constitutional overreach including policy language in the budget,” Gianaris said in an interview on State of Politics Live this morning. “That’s a balance of power question that’s yet to be resolved.”

Cuomo’s linkage of policy to spending in his $142 billion budget plan hinges on a court ruling that sided with Republican Gov. George Pataki that granted the governor broader latitude over the budget and emergency extender process.

But the state Court of Appeals ruling itself also sought to build in protections for the Legislature.

“That decision also made clear there’s a point at which a governor can go too far,” Gianaris said. “I don’t fault the majorities for keeping their options open to make clear that the governor is not exceeding his constitutional authority.”

Lawmakers have publicly expressed support for passing some version of ethics reform this year, though have raised concerns with Cuomo’s use of the state budget to achieve those changes. Once introduced, lawmakers can either approve or strike appropriations, but cannot alter it.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on Wednesday following a closed-door leaders meeting with Cuomo said he did not think a lawsuit over the budget amendments was necessary, but gave no indication there was an agreement to introduce the amendments.

Not introducing the amendments keeps some leverage with the state Legislature in the budget process.

Gianaris, a lawyer himself, said the mainline conference was, like the other conferences in the Legislature, reviewing Cuomo’s amendments.

“There does come a point when it goes too far,” Gianaris said. “It does seem like the governor has been very aggressive in including policy in the budget. And I think everyone, including the Senate Democrats, are reviewing the legal standard to see what are opinion is on the specific proposals in this budget.”

More broadly, Gianaris said the situation would be moot if Senate Republicans simply passed ethics reform outside of the budget process. Talk of reform returned to the Capitol after the arrest of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on corruption charges.

“They haven’t introduced a proposal for ethics reform,” Gianaris said (Republicans have introduced ethics bills, including one seemingly aimed at having the governor’s girlfriend, Sandra Lee of the Food Network, release her financial information.

Gianaris added: “There’s no excuse for the Senate Republicans to not put forward a single change in this regard.”

Partnership For NYC Backs Cuomo’s Minimum Wage Hike

The business-backed Partnership for New York City has often been aligned with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on major issues.

And his proposal for the increasing the state’s minimum wage to $10.50 and in New York City to $11.50 is no different.

The business consortium on Friday announced in its 2015 state agenda that it supported Cuomo’s two-tier wage proposal, which the governor himself has spent the last several days promoting through a tour of upstate cities.

But the Partnership also wants Albany to take “parallel action” to reduce regulations for employers, includign small businesses.

“The Governor’s budget proposes an increase in the state and city minimum wage, from the current rate of $8.75/hour statewide to $10.50 in the rest of the state and $11.50 in New York City,” the group wrote. “The Partnership supports this increase, but urges the legislature to tale parallel action to reduce legal and regulatory burdens that add to employer costs, particularly for small businesses.”

Cuomo this week rolled out a minimum wage campaign effort that included support for his plan from the state’s prominent labor unions leaders.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants a higher minimum wage for New York City than $11.50: $13, plus indexing future increases to the rate of inflation.

Gibson Says He Backs ‘Equal Protection’

Republican Rep. Chris Gibson’s office on Friday released a carefully worded statement on his same-sex marriage position following his backing an amicus brief in support of striking down bans in several states.

In the statement, Gibson separated “the rights of religious groups” to recognize marriages versus equal protection.

He does not specifically say whether he supports full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, a matter that the U.S. Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

“Equal protection under the law and religious freedom are two of the most fundamental and critical principles enshrined in our founding documents,” said Congressman Gibson. “I have consistently advocated for equal protection under the law for those who seek to certify their unions in the face of the law. Furthermore, it is a matter of religious liberty that the rights of religious groups to perform and recognize these unions not be hampered by civil law. I believe that, in the end, the courts will settle this matter on the side of our Constitution’s religious freedoms and equal protection clauses.”

Gibson, along with several other hundred Republican office holders, former elected officials and operatives backed a friend-of-the-court brief that urged the Supreme Court to strike down the bans.

Gibson in 2014 said he supported civil unions for gay couples.

“I have said, always, that we should have civil unions for all,” he said during a public television debate. “Marriage should be left to religious institutions.”

He is due to retire at the end of the current term, in 2016, as he considers a statewide run for office.

Gibson is considered one of the more moderate to liberal Republicans in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

Philanthropic Groups Sign On To Raise The Age Campaign

A coalition of philanthropic organizations on Friday released a letter to legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo urging them to adopt proposed changes to the state’s juvenile justice system.

At the heart of the push is an effort backed by Cuomo to raise the age of criminal responsibility to be in line with nearly every other state in the country.

“What the data, and the experience of other states, tells us is that this doesn’t make our communities safer,” the groups write. “Instead, children who go through the adult system are more likely to reoffend and less likely to go on to a productive life – making us less safe and ruining lives in the process.”

Those signing on to the letter include the David Rockefeller Fund, the Andrus Family Fund and Tiger Foundation among others.

The letter comes after a group of sheriffs from around state signed a letter backing the juvenile justice reforms as well.

March 5 2015 Letter to Gov Cuomo Senate Majority Leader Skelos and Assembly Speaker Heastie3 by Nick Reisman

Heastie Doubts Conference Consensus On Education Tax Credit (Updated)

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie in a radio interview on Friday doubted whether there was enough support in the Democratic conference for the approval of the education-tax credit, a controversial measure opposed by the state’s teachers unions.

“Within our conference, there wasn’t enough support to include it in our one-house resolution or bring the vote to the floor,” Heastie told WNBF this morning. “I’m a consensus builder. We didn’t have enough support to move forward with that.”

Still, Heastie wouldn’t completely close the door to the approval of the tax credit, calling it an “open discussion.”

“The governor would like to see it and the Senate supports it, so I would say we’ll stay tuned on that issue as well,” Heastie said.

The measure is being tied by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the approval of the DREAM Act, a bill that would give tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants.

Cuomo went further in his 30-day budget amendments, tying the approval of the Tuition Assistance Program to both the DREAM Act and the tax credit. Neither Democrats in the Assembly or Senate Republicans have introduced those amendments.

Heastie, in the interview, sounded a note of alarm over the governor tying policy such as income disclosure proposals to spending in the budget.

“This is not to say that the governor hasn’t put forward good ideas, but when you want to have a system of checks and balances, you don’t want to limit the powers of the Legislature,” he said.

Supported by private schools and non-profits, the education tax credit would seek to encourage donations to scholarship funds that service private schools as well as public schools.

A prominent supporter of the tax credit, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, cancelled his planned appearance at the Capitol next week to lobby for the measure following the death of his predecessor, Cardinal Edward Egan.

The Assembly plans to approve its one-house budget next week, which will also include an unspecified minimum wage increase.

Updated: Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi weighs in in a statement, addressing the balance-of-power concerns Heastie is raising.

“The Legislature simply doesn’t have the same powers that the Governor has when it comes to the budget. These powers are directly prescribed by the constitution. On the other hand, the Legislature does have powers that the Governor doesn’t have, such as Senate confirmations and the Assembly’s control of Board of Regents elections.”

Gibson Signs On To Brief Backing Same-Sex Marriage (Updated)

As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs a case that could strike down same-sex marriage bans nationally, Republican Chris Gibson signed on this week to a friend-of-the-court brief that makes a conservative case for legalization.

Gibson backed the brief, signed by 300 other Republican office holders and operatives — including fellow upstate GOP Rep. Richard Hanna — as he considers a statewide run for office after his planned departure from Congress in 2016.

The three-term incumbent from the Hudson Valley successfully won his re-election bid last year defeating Democrat Sean Eldridge.

Eldridge, who is married to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, was one of the prominent supporters of the marriage law that passed in New York in 2011.

During the campaign, Gibson said he was supportive of civil unions, but not full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Still, Gibson in 2013 appeared to be pivoting to the left on issues like gay rights.

That year, Gibson backed a measure that would have banned workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The brief Gibson signed on to this week makes a conservative, limited-government case for same-sex marriage rights as the Supreme Court considers the legality of bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

In a debate with Eldridge on Time Warner Cable News last year, Gibson told his challenger he respected the work he did on pushing for New York’s same-sex marriage law.

“Let me just say, I do respect your work on that,” Gibson said, “and I’m surprised you don’t talk more about it, because that’s the little experience that you have.”

In a separate debate on public television, Gibson said he backed civil unions for same-sex couples.

“I have said, always, that we should have civil unions for all,” he said at the time. “Marriage should be left to religious institutions.”

Updated: Gibson in a statement says he supports “equal protection” rights.

“Equal protection under the law and religious freedom are two of the most fundamental and critical principles enshrined in our founding documents,” said Congressman Gibson. “I have consistently advocated for equal protection under the law for those who seek to certify their unions in the face of the law. Furthermore, it is a matter of religious liberty that the rights of religious groups to perform and recognize these unions not be hampered by civil law. I believe that, in the end, the courts will settle this matter on the side of our Constitution’s religious freedoms and equal protection clauses.”

Following Egan’s Death, Dolan’s Trip To Albany Postponed

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s planned trip to Albany to huddle with state officials on Monday has been cancelled following the death of his predecessor, Cardinal Edward Egan.

Dolan, along with the Bishops of New York State, had planned to travel to the Capitol next week to meet with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders to discuss the passage of the education tax credit.

The bill, which has been a long-sought goal for Catholic officials, is aimed at strengthening both public and private schools through private donations to scholarships and non-profits.

The bishops and Dolan had planned a legislative reception on Monday as well.

“They hope to find an appropriate opportunity to hold such meetings at a time and place to be determined,” the New York State Catholic Conference said in a statement.

Cuomo this year is tying the education tax credit to the DREAM Act, a measure that would provide tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants. Dolan and the state’s bishops back both measures.

Here and Now

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

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner – both of whom are at odds with Cuomo at the moment for different issues – are meeting privately today at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., Fordham Law School kicks off a conference called “Fighting Corruption in America and Abroad.” Professor and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout speaks at 9:30 a.m., US Attorney Preet Bharara delivers the keynote address at 12:15 p.m., Fordham University School of Law, Skadden Conference Center, 150 West 62nd St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., a community breakfast precedes a 9:50 a.m. rally at which elected leaders and community groups called for immediate passage of the Education Investment Tax Credit, St. Athanasius School, 830 Southern Blvd., the Bronx. (Assemblyman Marcus Crespo, Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., and IDC Leader Jeff Klein are scheduled to attend).

At 9:30 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray speaks to the Staten Island Mental Health Council on the Mental Health Roadmap Initiative, Li Greci’s Staaten, 697 Forest Ave., Staten Island.

At 10 a.m., Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and United Way CEO Peter Carpino will kick-off Monroe County’s 2015 United Way Campaign, Watts Conference Center, 47 S. Fitzhugh St., Rochester.

Also at 10 a.m., the Charter Schools Committee of the SUNY Board of Trustees meets, State University Plaza, 353 Broadway, Boardroom, Albany.

Also at 10 a.m. (and running until 4 p.m.), NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Councilman Andy King and Food Bank for New York City will host a free tax preparation service for low-income families and individuals, 2049 Bartow Ave., Community Room 28, in Co-op City, the Bronx.

At 10:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul unveils a new battery prototyping lab, Rochester Institute of Technology Institute Hall – Fourth Floor, 1 Lomb Memorial Dr., Rochester.

At 10:45 a.m., de Blasio and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown make an announcement, FDNY Special Ops Command Center, 750 Main St., Roosevelt Island.

At 11 a.m., Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr., the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Cynthia Lopez, filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and Ghetto Film School representatives outline plans for a worldwide casting call for online video service Netflix Inc.’s planned original series “The Get Down”; suite 41A, fourth floor, South Bronx Post House, 79 Alexander Ave., the Bronx.

At 1:30 p.m., Hochul speaks at the Finger Lakes Community College Viticulture & Wine Center ribbon-cutting ceremony, 100 Empire Dr., Geneva.

At 2:30 p.m., Hochul tours the National Women’s Hall of Fame in celebration of Women’s History Month, 76 Fall St., Seneca Falls.

At 3 p.m., Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow will join the New York State Afterschool Network and The After-School Corporation for a tour of the new state-funded afterschool program at Cross Hill Academy, a K-8 Public school in Yonkers, 160 Bolmer Ave.

At 6 p.m., Rep. Chris Gibson will deliver remarks and meet with veterans and their families at the Renssealer County-based STRIDE Wounded Warrior Snowfest welcome ceremony, Hilton Garden Inn, Hoosick Street, Troy.

Headlines…

The office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, asked a federal judge to deny a motion by Assemblyman Sheldon Silver to dismiss his indictment on grounds that Bharara orchestrated a “media firestorm” around the arrest of the former speaker.

Bharara maintains he actually went out of his way to spare Silver undue embarrassment by having him surrender in the basement of the Javits Federal Building before being driven to the courthouse rather than subjecting him to a typical “perp walk.”

Prof. Bennett Gershman, the Pace Law School professor who has been critical of Bharara’s speech-making and TV appearances in the wake of Silver’s arrest, has ties to the assemblyman’s lawyer, Joel Cohen. The two are longtime friends.

Albany Law School Prof. Vin Bonventre has also been critical of Bharara, writing on his blog: “The United States Attorney owes it to his office, and to the justice system he is entrusted to serve, to conduct himself less like a crusading politician and more like an ethically restrained prosecutor.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new 90-day email deletion policy for all state agencies is being met with widespread disapproval. Experts say it is terrible for transparency; the people who have to abide by the mandate say they don’t feel qualified to implement it and that it isn’t good for their productivity.

Cuomo said he won’t rush for the completion of a stalled database for background checks on ammunition sales that was part of New York’s controversial gun-control law in 2013.”The State Police are working on it, but it also has to be right,” the governor said. “I’d rather they do it right than they rush it and waste money and come up with bad information.”​

Facing resistance in Albany over his calls for a minimum wage exceeding $13 an hour in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio took his case directly to business leaders, urging them to raise workers’ pay to that level voluntarily. “I need you — we all need you — to take responsibility,” the mayor said.

Obtaining an account from Hillary Clinton’s private email domain became a symbol of status within the family’s inner circle, conferring prestige and closeness to the secretary. Chelsea Clinton was given one, but under a pseudonym, Diane Reynolds, which she frequently used when she checked into hotels. Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide and surrogate daughter, was also given a coveted clintonemail.com address.

The government will examine thousands of Clinton’s emails for public release — and for possible security lapses — after revelations she used her private account to conduct official business as secretary of state, a senior State Department official said.

A lawyer with the state attorney general’s office said in court papers that neither top officials at the state Office of General Services nor a former adviser to Cuomo should be sanctioned for the automatic deletion of emails concerning the ouster of the Wandering Dago food truck from Saratoga Race Course.

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