Gallivan Delivers Petitions To Block Release Of Judith Clark

Sen. Pat Gallivan, a key Republican lawmaker who has negotiated juvenile justice reform in the state budget, delivered 10,000 petition signatures in support of blocking the release of Judith Clark, who drove a getaway car in a 1981 robbery of a Brink’s armored truck that left two police officers dead.

Clark was made eligible for parole by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who commuted her sentence earlier this year.

The move angered lawmakers from both parties and law enforcement organizations who oppose Clark’s release.

“Residents across New York have expressed great concern about the possible parole of Judith Clark,” Gallivan said in a statement. “Citizens who signed the on-line petition agree that releasing her from prison would minimize the lives of
those killed and is a slap in the face to all law enforcement officers who dedicate their lives to protecting our communities.”

Gallivan was one of the GOP negotiators on a measure that would raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York to 18 as part of the state budget. A deal is close to being finalized that would include nearly all felony charges heading to criminal court and also include diversion courts for minors.

Report Reviews Impact Of Federal Funding

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo raises the possibility of an “extender” budget blamed on federal government-level uncertainty over potential cuts in spending to the state, the Fiscal Policy Institute has released a report examining the impact of D.C. aid to New York state and local governments.

The report, released Wednesday by the left-leaning Fiscal Policy Institute, examined the $70 billion in funding that is sent from the federal government to state and local municipalities.

Overall, the report points to the third of New York’s all-funds budgeting coming from the federal government as well as the billions sent to local governments, schools and for transportation spending.

“This year’s New York State budget negotiations take shape against a worrisome backdrop. The president and congress seem poised to make drastic cuts to programs that help millions of New Yorkers, and create a hostile environment for the state’s four million immigrants,” said Ron Deutsch, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute. “This should be New York State’s cue card to step up and prepare for significant budget shortfalls.”

Federal Funding Brief by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Q-Poll: Most Voters Don’t Think Cuomo Would Be A Good President

A majority of voters in New York approve of the job Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doing, up slightly from December, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday.

But most voters by a similar margin do not want think Cuomo would be a good president, the poll found.

Voters approve of the job Cuomo is doing, 52 percent to 31 percent, up slightly from 49 percent to 34 percent.

This is the best job approval rating for Cuomo from the poll since December 2014, when he reached 58 percent approval.

Still, as Cuomo is considered a potential White House contender in 2020, most voters don’t think he would make a good president, 52 percent to 37 percent. New York City voters are divided at 43 percent evenly on that question.

“Use the bully pulpit against President Donald Trump, Governor, but stay out of Washington – that’s the mixed message that New Yorkers have for Gov. Andrew Cuomo,” said Mickey Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Budget Update: Deal Nears For Raise The Age

From the Morning Memo:

Budget bills need to start passing today if the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are to be able to lay claim to an “on time” deal, which is constitutionally due midnight April 1.

There were conflicting reports yesterday as to whether there was a deal. Cuomo said yes – more or less, though conceded he was talking mainly about policy and not spending. Lawmakers and their leaders, however, contradicted the governor, saying nothing’s done until everything is.

Sen. Patrick Gallivan, a Buffalo-area Republican who chairs his chamber’s Corrections Committee, joined us last night on CapTon immediately after closed door meetings with the governor on the so-called “raise the age” issue – raising the age at which offenders are treated as adults from 16 to 18.

New York is one of just two states (along with North Carolina) that still does that, and the effort to end this practice has become a big rallying cry for Assembly Democrats and the IDC, as well as a big sticking point in the budget talks.

Though he was light on details, Gallivan said there’s more or less a deal, which will include diversion of offenders accused of certain non-violent crimes to family court. (Republicans are also pushing for more resources for the family court system, since it’s already fairly overloaded).

He also expressed confidence that there will be an on-time budget that is not merely an extender – an idea the governor floated to address big question marks regarding federal funding cuts.

Meanwhile, the left was angered yesterday when Cuomo said he doesn’t want to raise taxes in the final budget deal – a signal that he’s standing firmly against the push, led by Assembly Democrats and their liberal allies, to not merely extend, but also expand, the millionaires tax. He’s also not interested in a big education funding hike much beyond the almost $1 billion boost he proposed in January.

Another major issue still unresolved, according to Tom Precious of The Buffalo News: whether to drive more money to charter schools, as Senate Republicans want, or into the traditional public school systems, as Assembly Democrats insist upon.

All of these issues are apparently linked, as tends to happen this time of the year, with a push for the 421a real estate tax abatement by Republican lawmakers underway, along with Democrats trying to preserve foundation aid funding for public schools.

One major area of agreement: direct care workers employed in nonprofit agencies that serve developmentally disabled people will see $55 million for the salary hikes in the final budget, which is $10 million more than the $45 million organizations received in the respective one house proposals.

All parties return to the negotiating table today. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no announced public schedule as of yet.

UFT Backs Home Stability Support Plan

From the Morning Memo:

The United Federation of Teachers this week is backing a plan that aims to replace all existing state rent support for a new rental supplement with the goal of bridging the gap in subsidies and fair market rents.

The measure is backed by Democratic Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and Bronx Sen. Jeff Klein, the leader of the Independent Democratic Conference.

“There are more than 150,000 homeless children in New York State, children whose learning is at great risk,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “Home Stability Support is a way forward for the state to help ensure that every child has a stable home. We’re proud to stand with Assembly Member Hevesi and Senator Klein in supporting this initiative.”

The proposal, backed in the Assembly’s one-house budget resolution, would be phased in over the next five years, including $40 million in the first year. The money would be used to provide subsidies to rental costs up to 85 percent of fair market rent.

The program would target families facing homelessness because of domestic violence or eviction.

A provision that would provide assistance for heating costs for upstate renters would also be included.

“The current homeless crisis impacts our local communities in so many ways, with school children and their parents bearing some of the greatest burdens,” Hevesi said.

“It’s well-demonstrated that homelessness leads to lower school performance and absenteeism, problems that generate longterm consequences for our state. Enacting Home Stability Support will help change this.”

Warren On Immigration Rules: ‘We’re In Compliance’

From the Morning Memo:

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said she’s not worried, despite the fact U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned cities earlier this week they could lose federal grant money for failing to cooperate with immigration authorities.

According to Warren, even though Rochester has passed a resolution recognizing its status as a “sanctuary city,” the local government is in compliance with federal rules.

“The courts have been very, very clear on what cities…our role, when it comes down to border patrol and when it comes down to enforcing immigration, and we are following what the courts have already outlined,” the mayor said.

The mayor said the city’s lawyers are staying on top of the issue, and plan to follow the lead of the state Attorney General’s office. AG Eric Schneiderman has made clear he doesn’t believe the Trump administration has constitutional authority to broadly cut off federal funding to municipalities.

Warren said city officials remain concerned about protecting their community as a whole, and not just the bottom line.

“Our city is a very inviting city,” she said. “We have immigrants from all over the world here. And to put them in a situation where they feel they are not part of our community, is something we’re not going to do, and I think the fear-mongering has to stop.”

Rochester will receive more than $5.5 million dollars in federal grants this year.

Here and Now

Budget bills need to start passing today if the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are to be able to lay claim to an “on time” deal, which is constitutionally due midnight April 1.

There were conflicting reports yesterday as to whether there was a deal. Cuomo said yes – more or less, though conceded he was talking mainly about policy and not spending. Lawmakers and their leaders, however, contradicted the governor, saying nothing’s done until everything is.

Sen. Patrick Gallivan, a Buffalo-area Republican who chairs his chamber’s Corrections Committee, joined us last night on CapTon immediately after closed door meetings with the governor on the so-called “raise the age” issue – raising the age at which offenders are treated as adults from 16 to 18.

New York is one of just two states (along with North Carolina) that still does that, and the effort to end this practice has become a big rallying cry for Assembly Democrats and the IDC, as well as a big sticking point in the budget talks.

Though he was light on details, Gallivan said there’s more or less a deal, which will include diversion of offenders accused of certain non-violent crimes to family court. (Republicans are also pushing for more resources for the family court system, since it’s already fairly overloaded).

He also expressed confidence that there will be an on-time budget that is not merely an extender – an idea the governor floated to address big question marks regarding federal funding cuts.

Meanwhile, the left was angered yesterday when Cuomo said he doesn’t want to raise taxes in the final budget deal – a signal that he’s standing firmly against the push, led by Assembly Democrats and their liberal allies, to not merely extend, but also expand, the millionaires tax. He’s also not interested in a big education funding hike much beyond the almost $1 billion boost he proposed in January.

Another major issue still unresolved, according to Tom Precious of The Buffalo News: whether to drive more money to charter schools, as Senate Republicans want, or into the traditional public school systems, as Assembly Democrats insist upon.

One major area of agreement: direct care workers employed in nonprofit agencies that serve developmentally disabled people will see $55 million for the salary hikes in the final budget, which is $10 million more than the $45 million organizations received in the respective one house proposals.

All parties return to the negotiating table today. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no announced public schedule as of yet.

Meanwhile, down in D.C., the president and vice president will participate this morning in an opioid and drug abuse listening session.

In the afternoon, VP Mike Pence participates in a women’s empowerment panel (President Trump is planning to “drop by” as well), and then attends the swearing-in ceremony for the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

A full calendar of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.

Headlines…

Democrats are calling for the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, California Republican Devin Nunes, to step down from the investigation of ties between Russia and the Trump administration, but he’s refusing to recuse himself.

Hillary Clinton gave one of her first – and most political – public speeches since losing the presidential election and criticized the much-circulated photo showing an all-male group of Republican lawmakers last month negotiating women’s coverage in health care legislation.

President Trump said last night that he was going to make a bipartisan deal on healthcare “very quickly” during an event with US Senators at the White House.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will take on a role in Trump’s White House to combat the country’s opioid epidemic.

House Republicans blocked more attempts by Democrats to obtain Trump’s tax returns from the IRS.

Trump excitedly revealed the sex of his next grandchild (it’s a boy) before the parents were ready, Eric Trump said.

An online petition calling for first lady Melania Trump to move to the White House or pay for the security required for her to live in Manhattan is quickly gaining signatures.

Congress sent proposed legislation to the president that wipes away landmark online privacy protections, the first salvo in what is likely to become a significant reworking of the rules governing Internet access in an era of Republican dominance.

White House staff plan on skipping this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on April 29 in “solidarity” with Trump, who has announced he won’t attend the annual event this year, the organization announced.

Democratic Govs. Jerry Brown of California and Cuomo said in a joint statement that they will help fill the void left by Trump’s decision to unravel former President Barack Obama’s plan to curb global warming.

Cuomo is resurrecting a 1932 state car used by Franklin Roosevelt when he was New York governor. The 12-cylinder, standard shift Packard Phaeton with leather interior has been for years sitting as an exhibit on the fourth floor of the state Museum.

“It’s a cream puff,” Cuomo said of the vintage car. “Standard shift, 40,000 miles, good on gas. What more could you ask for?”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is celebrating a state Supreme court ruling to uphold a recent rent freeze for people living in 1 million of the city’s rent-stabilized apartments.

More >

Left Knocks Cuomo Amid Budget Talks

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has never had the best relationship with what he has derided as the professional left in state politics.

For advocates in the Working Families Party and education organizations that have pushed for more school funding, the feeling has been mutual, suspicious a Democrat who they believe is a bit too transactional.

On Tuesday, both the WFP and the Alliance for Quality Education lashed out at Cuomo over his public budget stance in the negotiations.

For the WFP, it was Cuomo’s statement that he doesn’t want to raise taxes in the budget (he wants to extend a tax rate millionaires pay that expires at the end of this year; Assembly Democrats want to hike taxes on the rich, Senate Republicans want the rates to expire).

“Trump and Republicans have already said their next priority will be giving massive tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires,” said WFP State Director Bill Lipton.

“We know what that will mean: immense, immediate, real pain for New York’s working families. New York is about to pass the first state budget in the nation under Trump. Gov. Cuomo says he doesn’t want to raise taxes, but if he wants to show progressive leadership and meet New Yorkers’ needs, the budget he signs must include fair share taxes on the wealthy such as an extended and expanded millionaires’ tax and the mansion tax.”

For AQE, which is pushing for education spending on par with a decade-old court ruling, the problem for them was Cuomo suggesting a short-term extender may be a viable option for the state budget considering the uncertainty emanating from Washington over the federal government’s budget cuts.

AQE Executive Director Billy Easton said Cuomo is simply “holding up Donald Trump as the bad guy here.”

“This means our kids, particularly in Black, Brown and low income communities, would lose out on small class sizes, art and music, libraries and more,” he said. “By threatening to delay the budget he is attempting to bully legislators by withholding their paychecks; if he succeeds our school children will be the ones who pay the price.”

Black Car Fund Starts Ad Campaign

Amid the ongoing debate over whether to allow ride hailing services outside of New York City, the Black Car Fund has launched a statewide advertising campaign that is aimed at building awareness of what it does for for-hire drivers and passengers.

The fund, a non-profit created by the state that administers safety and health programs, provides benefit to for-hire drivers.

The campaign includes a social media push on Facebook and in emails, along with print advertising and targeted political mail. The campaign is set to run until the end of the legislative session, which is scheduled to conclude in June.

The campaign comes as lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo consider a state budget that would include ride hailing outside of New York City.

The Democratic-led Assembly’s proposal would use the Black Car Fund and require participation in it to ensure compensation coverage for drivers. The fund currently provides for downstate taxi and livery drivers.

Extras

Speaker Paul Ryan said he’s going to give battered House Republicans another crack at a health care overhaul. But he offered no timeline, and leaders haven’t resolved how to overcome the deep GOP divisions that crumpled their legislation last week.

“It’s an open wound within our conference right now,” Rep. Chris Collins said of the American Health Care Act’s demise. “The mood within our conference is very tense; it’s going to take awhile.”

Just days after Trump said he was moving on to other issues, senior White House officials are now saying they have hope that they can still score the kind of big legislative victory on health care that has so far eluded him. Vice President Mike Pence was dispatched to Capitol Hill today for lunchtime talks.

The president’s executive order today that rolls back the Clean Power Plan would be “terrible” for America and good for Russia, a pair of Syracuse University professors said.

Trump’s funding request for a border wall will likely be put on hold, Senate Republican leaders signaled.

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said that she has been “aggressively” pushing Chief Judge Janet DiFiore to figure out how to limit the presence of ICE officers in the city’s courts, where advocates report the federal agents have snatched up foreign nationals awaiting processing.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is defying the Trump administration by ordering the NYPD to keep the feds off school grounds unless they have a “valid judicial warrant,” and to make sure the warrant is legit before opening the doors.

Utica would like some personal attention from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Reps. Claudia Tenney and Collins joined together to call on the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate ongoing problems with the Veterans Crisis Line.

NYC has failed to sign up young inmates for high school classes and in many cases neglected to develop special education plans for students, an audit by Comptroller Scott Stringer showed.

The average Syracuse basketball player is worth more than $1 million to the school annually, according to calculations made by the website BusinessInsider.com.

An aide at a Utica-area state-run psychiatric hospital has been arrested on charges that he forged a doctor’s note that would get him extended medical leave, according to the state Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.

Uber’s leadership is 78 percent male and 22 percent female, according to a new diversity report released by the company, which comes about a month after it launched an internal investigation into sexism allegations.

The American Conservative Union, a group that promotes what it describes as Reagan conservatism on the fiscal as well as social fronts, is out with a 2016 ranking of the NYS Legislature. To perhaps almost no one’s surprise, the organization found relatively little to like.

Convicted ex-State Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson looks to be heading for prison after a federal appeals court denied his last-ditch effort to avoid prison while fighting his case.

Westchester County will pay a former employee $380,000 to settle a lawsuit after she claimed she was fired because of a political feud.

A fire on the roof of the Chelsea Market, where the studios of our sister station, NY1, are located, forced a building evacuation today.

Legislative leaders John Flanagan and Carl Heastie will discuss the issues that will shape the conclusion of the 2017 session in “The Six-Week Forecast” – the inaugural event at the new Hearst Media Center at the Times Union in Colonie, scheduled to take place May 9.