Cuomo Won’t Deploy Guards Troops To Border

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a statement Monday said New York will not deploy National Guard units to the southern border amid the heightened controversy surrounding migrant families being separated upon entry.

“In the face of this ongoing human tragedy, let me be very clear: New York will not be party to this inhumane treatment of immigrant families,” Cuomo said. “We will not deploy National Guard to the border, and we will not be complicit in a political agenda that governs by fear and division.”

It was not clear how many units were to be deployed to the border. The statement comes as Cuomo has been increasingly vocal in his push back against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, including the detention of an undocumented immigrant residing in New York who was detained after delivering a pizza to an Army base in New York City.

“Day after day, I am increasingly disturbed by the reports of disgraceful tactics used by ICE both in our own state and along our nation’s border,” Cuomo said. “I have called on the Acting Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security to investigate illegal and discriminatory ICE tactics in New York and to tell us what his office is doing about the assault on immigrant families along our border.”

Extras

President Trump remained resistant in the face of growing public outcry over his administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border, repeating the false assertion that Democrats are to blame for it, and suggesting that criminals — not parents — bring juveniles to the U.S.

As an immigration crisis unfolded at home on the U.S. border with Mexico, Trump trained his ire this morning on Germany, a country he falsely said has a rising crime rate.

The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics said Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy separating families “amounts to child abuse.”

Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker canceled the deployment of his state’s National Guard troops to the border in protest of the “zero-tolerance” policy.

American voters oppose 66-27 percent the policy of separating children and parents when families illegally cross the border into America, according to a new Q poll.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz defended his scathing review of the federal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, maintaining that there was no “documentary evidence” that political bias affected investigative decision making.

The U.S. Supreme Court sidestepped a potentially historic ruling that would have stopped states from drawing election maps intended to help one political party dominate the other, but the issue could return as soon as next term.

Attorneys for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a state agency will make their case to block a motion for expedited discovery from the NRA, which is suing over the administration’s pressure on state contractors to sever ties with the gun-rights advocacy group, in Albany July 11.

The former head of SUNY Polytechnic University and three upstate developers pointed the finger at Todd Howe, a lying lobbyist with “extraordinary” access to Cuomo’s office, on the first day of their trial for a bid-rigging scheme involving the Buffalo Billion economic development project.

Former SUNY Polytechnic Institute president Alain Kaloyeros, “needed support from the governor and the governor’s office to get a promotion” and so rigged bids for hundreds of millions of dollars in New York development contracts, prosecutors maintained.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon ripped into the pay-to-play scandals that have rocked Cuomo’s administration while unveiling a plan to severely limit campaign contributions.

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins described former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s entrance into the governor’s race as an effort to chip away at support for Cuomo – particularly among centrist voters.

Leadership of the newly founded political party backing Miner’s run for governor has ties to national Republicans, but its leaders say they are not in any way intending to help the candidacy of Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro.

Eric Soufer, who was communications director at the state attorney general’s office, is headed to work for the venture investor Bradley Tusk.

The state Senate has unanimously voted in favor of blocking energy company Circular enerG from building a waste incinerator in the Town of Romulus – six days after Schuyler County Legislators voted unanimously against the multi-million dollar project, which would have been build at the former Seneca Army Depot.

This fall, the Newhouse School will launch a first-of-its-kind course called Esports & Media, developed in collaboration with social video service Twitch. It will explore the rapidly growing world of esports, tracing the historical roots of competitive video games to the current multibillion-dollar industry.

Congrats on the new job, LCA alum Erica Orden!

Nixon Releases Ethics Plan

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon on Monday released a package of ethics and campaign finance reforms that would dissolve the oft-criticized lobbying and ethics regulator in the state and replace it with a Moreland Commission.

At the same time, Nixon would empower the state attorney general’s office to tackle public corruption cases through what’s known as a standing referral.

The ethics proposals came as the “Buffalo Billion” trial gets underway in New York City, with several prominent developers, as well as the former president of SUNY Polytechnic, facing bid rigging and corruption charges stemming from economic development projects.

The broad strokes of Nixon’s additional proposals — public financing of public campaigns, closing the so-called LLC loophole in state election law, banning play-to-pay donations to campaigns — have been proposed in various forms over the years by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Nixon is challenging the governor for the Democratic nomination this September as he seeks a third term.

Cuomo has been a prodigious fundraiser during his two terms as governor and has often taken advantage of the state’s existing election laws, which government reform advocates have decried as too lax.

But Cuomo has also pushed the Legislature to take up term limits, as well as public financing of campaigns and the closure of the LLC loophole to little success.

Virtually every year Cuomo has been governor a new ethics package has been approved, forcing new disclosure requirements for lawmakers.

Still, Cuomo’s opponents contend that has not been enough.

“The unchecked influence of big money in state politics is why our state government currently serves to benefit corporations and the rich, leaving the rest of us behind,” Nixon’s campaign said.

Campaign Finance Plan by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Poll Backed Fantasy Sports Firms Finds New Yorkers Back Sports Gambling

A poll funded by fantasy sports companies DraftKings and FanDuel found few New Yorkers plan to place wagers on sporting events, but most want to see the Legislature approve a law regulating sports betting.

The poll, conducted by McLaughlin Associates and The Parkside Group, found 22 percent of New Yorkers plan to wager on a sporting event, but 73 percent said they would back regulatory action by the state Legislature, with 19 percent opposing it.

The poll comes as lawmakers are seeking to potentially salvage a bill that would regulate sports gambling in New York, a proposal made after the Supreme Court in May struck down a federal ban on sports gambling, leaving the issue up to the states.

Disagreements on Monday at the Capitol continued between lawmakers over how to regulate sports betting, but New York voters surveyed backed the idea of placing strict regulations on the practice.

The poll found most New Yorkers, 72 percent, would support making it illegal for players, coaches and umpires to place bets. Eighty-percent would back requiring casinos to cooperate with integrity commissions to conduct investigates backed by the major sports leagues.

The poll also found 61 percent of voters would support mobile betting on a cellphone or tablet as neighboring states like New Jersey begin to allow sports betting outside of casinos.

Pence To Appear With Katko In Syracuse

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Syracuse on Tuesday for an appearance with Republican Rep. John Katko.

The appearance with Katko is a campaign-related one, holding a $1,000-a-person fundraiser for the central New York lawmaker.

Katko is running for a third term in a competitive central New York House seat that has changed hands between the two parties with regularity over the last several election cycles.

Democrats Juanita Perez Williams and Dana Butler vying for the nomination in the district to challenge Katko this fall.

NY-21: Wilson Releases Second TV Ad

Democratic congressional candidate Katie Wilson on Monday released her second television ad of her bid for the Democratic nomination in the 21st congressional district.

“Running for Congress is surprisingly like motherhood.I’m trying to be a force of good in the world, I’m trying to advance a positive agenda and I’m constantly putting out fires,” Wilson said.

“Yet I struggle every single day, and I worry about the same things. Will my kids have access to a good education and will my father be able to afford health care and end of life care when the time comes” she continues, echoing the themes that she’s championed across the district since entering the race for NY-21 almost a year ago.”

Wilson is among the Democratic field running for the North Country House seat that’s held by Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik.

DOH Report To Recommend Legalized Marijuana

The state Department of Health in a report to be finalized and released in the coming days will recommend a commercial and recreational marijuana program for New York, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said Monday in Brooklyn.

“The pros outweigh the cons, and the report recommends a regulated legal marijuana program be available to adults in the state of New York,” Zucker said.

The details are yet unclear on what age marijuana would be made available to New Yorkers and how a tax plan would be devised to generate revenue from it.

The report was first announced in January by Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his State of the State address as a way to assess the impact of legalized marijuana programs in neighboring states. After launching her campaign for governor in March, Cuomo’s Democratic primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon, called for a legal recreational marijuana program in New York.

Still, Cuomo has in the past been skeptical of full marijuana legalization, and was even slow to come around on the use of the drug for medical purposes. He pushed hard for a strict medical marijuana program, though the number of ailments for which the drug can be prescribed has been broadened over the years, as has the number of people capable of prescribing it.

Cuomo has previously called marijuana a “gateway drug,” but in January said the “facts have changed” on the issue.

On Monday, Zucker said medical evidence does not show marijuana to be a gateway drug.

“When those facts change, we need to do a better analysis of that,” Zucker said.

“This is no different than medicine,” Zucker added. “When new facts come in, you have new data.”

At the same time, the DOH will add prescription opioid usage to the list of illnesses that qualify patients for the medical marijuana, Zucker said.

The hope is that a medical marijuana prescription would potentially help a patient avoid an addiction to a prescription opioid, expanding the program to a broader universe of patients who qualify for prescription painkillers.

“The goal here is to make sure the program is inclusive and individuals who would benefit would,” Zucker said, adding the regulations would be “tailored to individual patients.”

The state over the years has sought to expand the medical marijuana program through regulatory action since it has come on line in the last four years, adding illnesses like PTSD.

“This is a program we have grown responsibly,” Zucker said. “We feel this is another way to add the program forward.”

Miner To Launch Campaign For Governor

Former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is running for governor as an independent, a culmination of a years-long break with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Miner told The New York Times in a story posted Monday morning she would launch her bid, basing it around political corruption that has engulfed the Capitol in recent years.

Miner’s entrance into the race is an evolution for the ex-mayor, who had served briefly as Cuomo’s hand-picked Democratic Party co-chairwoman in New York.

Miner emerged as a critic of the administration’s policies toward local governments, an eyebrow-raising development for someone who had been aligned with a governor who brooks little dissent.

After leaving the Syracuse mayor’s office last year, Miner had been considered a potential candidate to challenge Republican Rep. John Katko in central New York, a battleground congressional district.

Her entrance into the race for governor means Cuomo will be fighting a multi-front war for re-election on several fronts heading into the general election.

“Mayor Stephanie Miner has been an outspoken critic of Andrew Cuomo’s reckless administration of this state, and I welcome her into the governor’s race,” said Marc Molinaro, the presumptive Republian nominee for governor and the Dutchess County executive.

“As yet another criminal corruption trial involving the Cuomo Administration kicks off in federal court today, it comes as little surprise that this is now a four-way contest. Governor Cuomo’s corrupt and disastrous pay-to-play policies have cost New York taxpayers billions of dollars they can’t afford, lining Mr. Cuomo’s campaign coffers with an obscene amount of money at everyone else’s expense. The Cuomo corruption holding New York back from reaching its true economic potential must end.”

It’s not yet clear what the immediate impact of Miner’s candidacy will be: She could either shave votes from the governor or split the anti-Cuomo vote in New York. A Siena College poll released last week showed Cuomo with a 19-percentage point lead over Molinaro in a head-to-head contest among likely voters.

4 Things To Watch For As The Session Ends

From the Morning Memo:

There are three more days scheduled in the legislative session for the remainder of the year. That can simultaneously be both a blink of an eye or an eternity, when it comes to final agreements. Here are four things to watch for as the legislative session winds down.

1. Teacher evaluation changes. Lawmakers in both the Senate and Assembly are generally supportive of a push to gut a 2015 law that links student performance on state examinations to teacher evaluations. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has tacitly signaled he would sign it. The New York State United Teachers union is pushing hard for it to get done. But the push and pull over the bill’s passage leaves it in doubt, as Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan earlier this year added what amounts to a poison pill for Assembly Democrats: Expanding charter schools in New York City. The Flanagan bill, which also gives more autonomy to Yeshivas, has turned NYSUT’s scorn onto Senate Republicans, many of whom continue to push for a vote on the bill the Assembly has already approved. With more time, an agreement is possible. But Democrats are disinclined to do more on charter schools at this point in the session, while Republicans appear to have little incentive to change the law at the moment.

2. Speed camera expansion. Supporters of expanding speed cameras near New York City schools were disappointed this March when the state budget agreement failed to deliver on that proposal. The plan would have increased camera locations from 140 locations to 290, but now the continuation of the entire program, credited with slowing down cars near schools, is in jeopardy. The speed camera expansion is mired in Albany political gamesmanship, as Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat aligned with Senate Republicans, wants to add police officers at New York City schools — a measure resisted by Assembly Democrats. The impasse is leading New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to rally later for the bill that both preserves and expands the existing speed camera program. Felder’s stance carries a lot of weight given his key status with preserving the majority for Republicans in the state Senate.

3. Sports betting. Barring a last-minute miracle, don’t put any money on lawmakers reaching an agreement on crafting regulations for sports betting in New York. Spurred by a Supreme Court decision in May leaving the issue up to the states, New York lawmakers for the last several weeks have sought to hammer out an agreement for a sports betting regulatory plan. Officials from the major sports leagues, basketball and baseball included, have given input, hoping for language that helps them to crackdown on illicit bets. At the same time, the bill would enable lawmakers to set regulations for wagering on mobile devices. Still, action seems unlikely after Assembly Democrats met last week to discuss the plan in a closed-door conference. Lawmakers have raised concerns over constitutionality issues as well as the impact on tribal-run casinos. One lawmaker, Assemblyman Walter Mosley, in a statement Friday cited the NFL’s policy restricting public protests by players during the National Anthem as impetus for opposing the move. New York could still have a form of sports betting at its existing casinos, with the gaming commission empowered to develop regulations under a pre-existing law.

4. Will Gov. Cuomo engage? Seeking a third term and fighting a two-front war of both a primary and general election opponent, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been a rare sight at the Capitol since the budget was approved at the end of March. Cuomo has said publicly most of his priorities were accomplished in the state’s spending plan. He’s spent the last several weeks hammering Republicans in the Senate over a proposed “red flag” gun control bill that is meant to keep guns away from those considered a danger to themselves or others. The bill appears unlikely to gain a vote this week in the state Senate, though supporters believe it would pass if considered by the full chamber. Cuomo, instead, has been playing a very visible outside game, speaking directly to voters on the gun control issue three months before he faces actress and public education advocate Cynthia Nixon in a Democratic primary. Well ahead in the polls, Cuomo is nevertheless leaving little to chance when it comes to his own re-election bid. It’s led some Republicans to accuse Cuomo of already sliding to the political season as he promotes the gun control bill. Bottom line, Cuomo’s absence suggests he won’t be playing air traffic controller for a “big ugly” deal with lawmakers weaving every measure together.

Here and Now

The biggest news today is the excessive heat forecast to blanket New York, with air quality alerts issued. Be smart and be safe if you have to be outside. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

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

At 6 p.m., Cuomo holds a “Best of Broadway Gala” fundraiser for his re-election campaign, The Plaza Hotel, 768 5th Ave., Manhattan.

The Buffalo Billion trial gets underway in Manhattan federal court. Democratic state AG candidate Zephyr Teachout will attend opening arguments.

Also planning to be outside the courthouse: GOP gubernatorial candidate and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, GOP LG candidate Julie Killian, and Reform Party Chairman Curtis Sliwa, who “will call on (Cuomo) to return millions of dollars in ‘dirty donations’ given to him in corrupt pay-to-play government contract schemes over the past eight years.”

The state Legislature is in session, with just three scheduled work days remaining on the 2018 session calendar.

President Donald Trump meets in the late morning with the National Space Council, then participates in the signing ceremony for H.R. 3249, Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act of 2018.

In the afternoon, Trump meets with U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Shelley Moore Capito.

Vice President Mike Pence will also attend the National Space Council meeting, and this evening will host a reception for members of the National Space Council and Users’ Advisory Group.

At 6 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will make a taped appearance on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

At 8:30 a.m., the MTA Metro-North and LIRR Committee meets, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., NYU McSilver Institute and New America New York City host the 2020 Census: Tech Revolution or Risk forum, with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Reps. Adriano Espaillat and Carolyn Maloney, NYU Law School, Greenberg Lounge, 40 Washington Square S., Manhattan.

10 a.m., the MTA, NYCT and MTA Bus Committee meets, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Councilwoman Alicka Ampry-Samuel holds an emergency NYCHA town hall meeting, 137 Belmont Ave., Brooklyn.

At 11 a.m., the Senate Democrats will hold a press conference on a series of property tax relief proposals, Room 315, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks at the Trust for Public Land’s grand opening of a new playground for P.S. 19, 185 First Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Westchester County Executive George Latimer and the Putnam Work Force Development Board announce that the Jobs Waiting Program has placed its 300th individual in a healthcare job in the county, 148 Martine Ave., 9th Floor, White Plains.

At 11:15 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul rallies to pass Cuomo’s red flag bill, Nottingham High School, Syracuse.

At 11:30 a.m., the MTA Bridge and Tunnel Committee meets, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

At 12:15 p.m., government and budget watchdogs highlight corruption risks identified by the Buffalo Billion bid rigging trial and call on the Assembly pass transparency and accountability bills already passed by the state Senate and supported by state comptroller, Worth Street entrance, Moynihan Courthouse, 500 Pearl St., Manhattan.

Also at 12:15 p.m., the MTA Finance Committee meets, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

As 12:30 p.m., members of the de Blasio Administration, elected officials and street safety advocates gather to urge for the passage of a bill that would preserve existing speed cameras near school zones while also expanding them to additional, high priority school zones where speeding is prevalent, P.S. 264, Bay Ridge Elementary School for the Arts.

At 1 p.m., the state Senate is in session, Senate Chambers, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 1 p.m., immigrant New Yorkers and elected officials will stand with Sandra Chica and her children as she submits a formal release request to ICE to immediately free her husband, Pablo Villavicencio, who was detained after delivering a pizza to Fort Hamilton Army base in Brooklyn, 26 Federal Plaza, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., family members of individuals killed by members of the NYPD and others will rally “to demand action from Mayor de Blasio” on police “accountability and transparency” for the officers who killed Eric Garner, Delrawn Small, Saheed Vassell, and others, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., over a dozen advocacy organizations from across the state will join together to demand action on issues all New Yorkers deserve: early voting, reproductive health, bail reform, childhood sexual abuse statute of limitations reform and more, Million Dollar Staircase, 3rd Floor, state Capitol, Albany.

At 2 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza delivers brief remarks at NYC teaching fellows welcome event, Kings Theatre, 1027 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn.

At 4 p.m., Tishman Speyer President Rob Speyer, NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Pfizer Executive VP Sally Sussman mark the start of construction on The Spiral, Hudson Boulevard Park, 34th Street between 10th and 11th avenues, Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., NYC Public Advocate and Democratic state AG nominee Tish James will deliver remarks at the Project FIND annual gala, Fifth Ave Presbyterian Church, Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., state Senate Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan and Sen. Bill Larkin hold a reception in support of state Senate candidate Tom Basile, The Fort Orange Club, 110 Washington Ave., Albany.

Also at 6 p.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli speaks at the Cattaraugus County Youth Bureau Celebration, Main Chalet Resort, Ellicottville.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio will make his weekly appearance on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

Headlines…

Former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner will run for governor as an independent.

Leading figures of both parties demanded that President Trump halt his administration’s practice of separating children from their parents when apprehended at the border, as the issue further polarized the already divisive immigration debate in Washington.

Melania Trump’s spokeswoman has said the first lady “hates to see children separated from their families,” in a rare public statement at odds with her husband’s policy of separating children from their parents at the Mexico border.

Hours after First Lady Melania Trump issued her statement calling on Congress to come together to stop the separation of parents at the border, a previous Republican first lady, Laura Bush, forcefully condemned the policy in a Washington Post OpEd.

As outrage grows over traumatic stories of families being torn apart, the big question this week in Washington is how long the controversial practice will be politically sustainable amid a wave of criticism.

Trump did not directly address the family separations yesterday, saying only that Democrats should work with Republicans on border security legislation. “Don’t wait until after the election because you are going to lose!” he wrote on Twitter.

The nation’s homeland security chief insisted that immigrant children are not being separated from their parents at the border — despite the Trump administration defending its policy and eyewitness accounts of government-snatched boys and girls being held in cages at a private detention center in Texas.

Members of Congress from New York and New Jersey – including Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, of Brooklyn; and Carolyn Maloney and Adriano Espaillat of Manhattan – got into a detention center in New Jersey for a surprise visit yesterday, where they met with arrested immigrants separated from their families.

Trump administration cutbacks have left some prisons short on correctional officers, requiring support workers like teachers and secretaries to step in.

Trump isn’t giving out any pardons during the Russia investigation, but might when the probe concludes, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani said.

Through his lawyer, Republican operative Michael Caputo of the Buffalo area has told a House committee that he wants to add to the testimony he gave a year ago as the congressional panel investigated Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Caputo now says that in 2016 he helped connect a Russian who was offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton with GOP operative Roger Stone, a friend who, like Caputo, was helping Trump’s campaign.

Trump has always been happy to act as his own chief spokesman, and amid the ongoing shakeup of the White House communications office, staffers seem increasingly happy to let him.

An endorsement by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is one of the most coveted gifts in Democratic politics. But the Vermont senator and liberal darling is notoriously reluctant to back many politicians, including, it turns out, his own son, who is running without his father’s formal support for a New Hampshire House seat.

Some schools in the New Jersey area are planning to close early due to excessive heat.

The NYT editorial board weighed in on the NY-19 Democratic primary, backing “charismatic” former Cuomo press aide Gareth Rhodes, who grew up on a farm in the district, to take on – “and beat” – Republican Rep. John Faso in November.

More here on what to watch for during the final days of the 2018 legislative session, which has been eventful, but not terribly productive.

With the clock ticking down on the legislative session, state Senate Republicans have tossed a bunch of unconnected issues into a single bill — an Albany casserole — that Democrats say has little chance of passing.

Democrats privately say they have little interest in giving up much on key issues – such as eliminating cash bail in most cases – to the Senate’s Republican majority as the session winds down, because they are banking on taking the Senate majority in the November elections.

Advocates have given up hope that physician-assisted suicide will be legalized this year in New York. In a letter to lawmakers, two groups — Compassion & Choices and the Death With Dignity National Center — vowed to redouble their efforts to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act in 2019 — a nonelection year for state lawmakers.

The state Senate and Assembly have reached a deal to extend an expiring ticket-scalping law, with added protections. The law was set to expire at the end of the month, but will now run through June 30, 2021.

Talk in Democratic circles over the weekend is that former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is getting ready to announce as early as tomorrow an independent bid for governor. If she gets in the race, Miner would circulate petitions to run not as a Democrat but on a party line she will create.

More >