Rep. Chris Collins Supporters Raising Money For Billboard

Supporters of Rep. Chris Collins, R-New York, have started a crowd funding campaign to raise money for a billboard. Michael Caputo, a Collins ally and former Donald Trump campaign staffer, created a GoFundMe page, which as of Monday afternoon was about $500 short of its $1600 goal.

The effort is intended to counter two electronic billboards that bash the Western New York congressman for being unavailable to his constituents. On his page, Caputo suggested those billboards were backed by leftists who hate the president and want to destroy his closest allies.

“When they’re not namecalling, attacking police, breaking windows, burning property, or physically assaulting women and men who support the President, they’re organizing online to defame good people like Chris Collins. Last week, the leftists couldn’t find any Trump supporters to beat up so they raised money to put up a billboard trashing our congressman,” he wrote.

Caputo wants to put up a billboard responding to the accusation that the congressman and Trump Transition Team congressional liaison isn’t working hard for the people he represents.

“We want to raise enough money to put up a billboard that tells the truth – 78% of NY-27 constituents are delighted with Rep. Collins’ service to our community, and the leftists are just loudmouths who lost,” he wrote.

Caputo said the number he’s referring to is the percentage of votes Collins received last election. Collins has won New York’s 27th district comfortably, but in actuality received roughly 67 percent of the vote in both 2016 and 2014.

The congressman has not endorsed the fundraising effort. Meanwhile, the groups behind the “Where’s Chris Collins?” billboards are planning a protest outside his Williamsville office Monday afternoon, again calling on the congressman to host a town hall meeting.

WFP, Nadler Push For DOJ Inquiry Into Trump’s Russia Ties

The Working Families Party and Rep. Jerry Nadler on Monday called for the passage of a resolution of inquiry into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

The WFP, a labor-backed party line, released a petition email signed by Nadler that calls on supporters to sign onto to the effort.

“Trump’s alarming foreign ties, his refusal to put the country above his business interests or even disclose his finances, and his disdain for ethics laws have been clear since before the election,” Nadler writes in the email. “A Resolution of Inquiry is the ONLY measure in Congress that can force a vote to investigate Trump and his associates’ potentially unconstitutional conflicts — business, ethical, and foreign.”

The Department of Justice through the FBI is already reportedly investigating foreign ties between members of Trump’s political circle, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort and New York political activist Roger Stone, including whether they had any contact with Russian agents prior to the election.

Democrats in Congress have seized on the links to Russia in recent weeks, drawing blood with the resignation of Trump’s national security advisory, Michael Flynn, after it was revealed he had spoken to the Russian ambassador during the transition despite his denials.

“I was appalled — but I wasn’t surprised,” Nadler wrote in the email. “We all saw this coming, and we know Flynn is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Cuomo Pledges To Boost Raise The Age, SUNY Tuition Plan

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday in Albany during a reception at the executive mansion pledged to push for a long-stalled effort to increase the age of criminal responsibility in New York as well as his own proposal to provide free tuition at public colleges and universities.

Cuomo tied both efforts to his desire to see New York be “always the first” — especially as liberals and Democrats remain fearful the gains made under President Barack Obama’s administration will soon be swept away by the new Republican leadership in the federal government.

“When it came to progressive leadership, New York is always first,” he said.

Cuomo hosted the event at the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators caucus weekend, an annual Albany gathering of lawmakers that draws honorees and activists.

The event was held to honor the newest member of the Court of Appeals, Rowan Wilson, whose confirmation this month marks the first time two black judges are serving simultaneously on the state’s highest court.

But Cuomo also sought to reiterate his own 2017 agenda at the event and his own push to have New York be a “progressive leader” in the country.

At the mansion gathering included Cuomo cabinet officials, members of the Court of Appeals, former Gov. David Paterson and nine members of the Democratic-led Assembly, including Speaker Carl Heastie.

Cuomo over the last several months has had a rocky relationship with both chambers of the Legislature following the lack of an agreement for a special session that could have led to a legislative pay increase, the first in nearly 20 years.

Still, Heastie was introduced to the audience by Alphonso David, Cuomo’s top legal aide, as a “true friend of the administration.”

In turn, Heastie praised Cuomo’s push to get liberal policies enacted, even jokingly suggesting Cuomo approved the state’s increase in the minimum wage in order to beat California by taking advantage of the 3-hour time difference.

“A year ago this time, a many people weren’t sure whether we’d get the increase in the minimum wage or paid family leave, but here we are,” he said.

Cuomo himself alluded several times to Donald Trump’s administration, though did not criticize the president by name.

Nevertheless, he suggested the Trump administration remains a foil for him in getting his agenda through the Legislature.

“With that new conservative administration in Washington,” he said, “we’re going to go the other way and we’re going to go even harder.”

Cuomo Releases Delegates In DNC Leadership Race

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has released New York’s delegates to vote their conscience in the race for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.

“There are a number of strong candidates in the race, and given the feelings on all sides,” said one Cuomo insider, “the governor wanted people to vote their conscience and has released New York’s delegates to do so.”

Cuomo himself has not endorsed in the DNC chair race, though he has given the nod to those running for vice chair posts in the national party, backing Rep. Grace Meng of Queens and Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake.

Prominent New York Democrats have lined up behind Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, including the Democratic minority leader U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Ride Hailing Debate Could Heat Up After Break

From the Morning Memo:

Lawmakers in the Assembly will take up their version of a bill to allow ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft to operate outside of New York City in the coming weeks.

“There’s a lot of different ideas, a lot of different things to cover, but I don’t think it would be too long before we come out with a bill on ride-sharing,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie earlier this month.

While the Legislature is on a break until Feb. 28, the ride-hailing companies hoping to get access to the upstate market are re-emphasizing their push.

Uber even released a new ad on Friday, touting it would “help boost the Upstate economy, attract start-ups, reduce drunk driving and just make it easier for all of us to get from here to there.”

Lyft, meanwhile, is also emphasizing the economic boon ride-hailing could bring.

“For places like western New York, you’re looking at a $40 million impact to their cities,” said Funsho Owolabi, a public policy manager for Lyft.

Both companies insist ride hailing expansion will mean jobs, even as they seek to lower the 5.5 percent tax proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his budget plan.

“We feel the combination of the flexibility of ride-sharing to our driver partners, plus the economic impact to local businesses, restaurants, small business owners, we feel there will be net positive to the communities of New York,” Owolabi said.

Traiditonal cab and taxi companies see it differently, saying the Uber and Lyft should comply with background checks and other security safeguards.

“We’re not opposed to ride-sharing. In fact, they can operate here today if they wanted to get along, go along with rules that are in existence today, but they have their own set of rules that they want the Legislature to approve,” said John Tomassi of the Upstate Transportation Association.

He is skeptical ride-hailing will have a total economic boost, especially for cab drivers whose livelihoods could be threatened.

“Just having somebody come in and pick the cream off, it doesn’t give the full-time driver enough to support himself,” Tomassi said.

The Senate approved its own version of ride-hailing earlier this month, and supporters believe the expansion can be included in the final budget deal.

Here and Now

Happy President’s Day!

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the “New York City area” with no public schedule. The state Legislature is on winter break, and thus lawmakers are not in Albany.

President Donald Trump is still at the winter White House – Mar-a-Lago – in Florida, where he spent the weekend, and will be returning to Washington, D.C. this afternoon.

At 8:45 a.m., U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara speaks at the annual meeting of the Association of Town of the State of NY, Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway, Manhattan. (State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli will also be speaking).

At 10:45 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul celebrates President’s Day with a visit to the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, 641 Delaware Ave., Buffalo.

At noon, a “Not My President’s Day” rally is planned inside outside Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

Also at 7 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks at Manhattan High School for Girls performance of “Shvester Selma,” LaGuardia High School, 100 Amsterdam Ave., Manhattan.

Headlines…

Donald Trump quietly crossed a milestone today, spending 32 days in the White House, which means that no matter what happens, his presidency will not be the shortest one in American history.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told senior European Union officials in Brussels that the Trump administration was looking at ways to “deepen our relationship” with the EU.

A week before Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for Trump to lift sanctions against Russia. Now Flynn is gone, but the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it.

Trump brought more contenders for national security adviser to his Palm Beach club for in-person interviews yesterday, hoping to fill the job in the coming days as he seeks to refocus his young administration.

The Homeland Security Department has drafted sweeping new guidelines aimed at aggressively detaining and deporting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, according to a pair of memoranda signed by DHS Secretary John Kelly.

A draft of Trump’s revised immigration ban targets the same seven countries listed in his original executive order and exempts travelers who already have a visa to travel to the U.S. – even if they haven’t used it yet.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said he worries about Trump’s grasp of issues facing the United States and his conflicting statements that create confusion among the nation’s allies.

Preparations are underway to bring senior North Korean representatives to the United States for talks with former American officials, the first such meeting in more than five years and a sign that Pyongyang sees a potential opening with the Trump administration.

The time Trump spends at Mar-a-Lago means clogged roads and strict security protocols that hurt local businesses and frustrate residents, though economic development officials are ecstatic over the free publicity provided by news reporters’ live waterfront shots.

There are questions on the right whether Trump, who has never claimed to be a conservative but so far has governed conspicuously to the right, will ultimately be loyal to conservatives’ agenda.

As a first-time government official with no prior diplomatic experience, Rex Tillerson faces close scrutiny over how successful he will be in managing both the State Department bureaucracy and its relations with Trump and his administration.

Ann Ravel, a Democratic member of the Federal Election Commission, submitted her resignation letter to Trump yesterday with a plea to embrace campaign finance reform.

In the chaotic hours after Trump signed the sloppily written executive order meant to fulfill his Muslim ban campaign promise, Stephen Miller called the home of Robert Capers to dictate to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District how he should defend that order at a Saturday emergency federal court hearing.

The federal government should pick up the ballooning cost for the 200 NYPD cops who protect Trump and the First Family in Manhattan at an estimated cost of $500,000 a day, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan accused Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, of jeopardizing New York’s interests in Washington by their continued attacks on Trump.

Maulik Pancholy, Jack’s assistant Jonathan from “30 Rock,” resigned from the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders last week, along with nine other members, in protest against President Trump’s travel ban.

Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos spoke tolerantly of pedophilia in video clips shared ahead of his speaking engagement at next week’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

Chelsea Clinton attended an anti-Trump rally in New York City yesterday to show solidarity with the Muslim community.

“We have to acknowledge that there is a change in our country…there is a shift toward more hate crimes and more hate,” said hip-hop mogul and rally co-host Russell Simmons. “We are here unified because of Donald Trump.”

Among the dozens of speeches delivered by some of the state’s top elected officials throughout caucus weekend in Albany, it was difficult to find one in which the specter of Washington – and Trump, in particular – didn’t loom large.

Craig Deare, whom Trump appointed a month ago to head the National Security Council’s Western Hemisphere division, was fired following criticism in a private speech of the preident’s policies and his inner circle of advisers.

Huge crowds of raucous progressives and quieter conservatives overwhelmed Rep. Tom Reed’s town hall meetings in Ashville and Cherry Creek Saturday morning, with the progressives repeatedly interrupting and shouting down the congressman’s comments as he tried to defend Republican plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

More >

The Weekend That Was

President Donald Trump will interview four candidates today at Mar-a-Lago to replace his dismissed national security adviser, three of them military veterans, but one of America’s most prominent retired generals, whose name had been floated, is not in the running.

A new version of a Trump administration travel ban will not stop green card residency holders or travelers already on planes from entering the United States, U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security John Kelly said.

Democratic Party leaders are trying to rein in the talk of impeachment that’s animating the grass roots, the product of a restive base demanding deeper and more aggressive investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia.

Most Americans think the resignation of Michael Flynn as the White House national security adviser last week is worthy of a congressional investigation, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds, with a near-majority saying his conduct could be indicative of a broader issue.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus insisted that Flynn, who resigned last week after admitting misleading officials about talks he had with the Kremlin before the inauguration, “didn’t do anything wrong.”

In a speech on Saturday, Trump suggested that something had happened “last night in Sweden,” prompting baffled Swedes to take to Twitter and other social media wondering what on earth the American leader might have been referring to.

Chelsea Clinton mocked Trump on twitter for his Sweden comment.

Long Island Republican Rep. Pete King, a staunch Trump supporter, urged the commander-in-chief to “stop making unforced errors,” like posting bizarre tweets and conducting free-wheeling press conferences.

Just four weeks into his administration, Trump held a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday, repeating his political promises and continuing his attacks on the “dishonest media.”

Sen. John McCain said Trump is wrong to tweet the press is an “enemy of the American people” — a label a “dictator” might use. “If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and at many times adversarial press,” the Arizona Republican said.

McCain has emerged as Trump’s main Republican nemesis – along with Sen. Lindsey Graham – a position he has accepted with some ambivalence.

The managing director of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida says his presidency “enhances” membership at the private Palm Beach club, and that “people are now even more interested” in joining as a result.

Democratic House members rallied in Manhattan Saturday to warn that Trump-led GOP plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act would “Make America Sick Again,” while critics of the president later staged a mock funeral to mourn what they lamented as the “death” of the American presidency.

Texas election officials have acknowledged that hundreds of people were allowed to bypass the state’s toughest-in-the-nation voter ID law and improperly cast ballots in the November presidential election by signing a sworn statement instead of showing a photo ID.

Two of Trump’s sons ceremonially opened a Trump-branded golf club in Dubai on Saturday, meeting privately with Emirati elites as questions remain about how separated their father is from the empire bearing his name.

The White House budget office has drafted a hit list of programs that Trump could eliminate to trim domestic spending, including longstanding conservative targets like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, AmeriCorps and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.

Trump is having difficulty filling administration posts in part because he remains fixated on the 2016 campaign as he applies a loyalty test to some prospective officials.

Meet Kyle Mazza, a 19-year-old who created UNF, or Universal News Forever, and got a moment in the national spotlight recently when he asked Trump a softball question about the first lady during a White House news conference.

Norma McCorvey, the reluctant hero of the pro-choice movement who changed abortion rights in America, has died at the age of 69. She was better as the plaintiff “Jane Roe” in a landmark 1973 Supreme Court case legalizing abortion.

The mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Egyptian-born Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, 78, also known as the “the blind sheikh,” has died in federal prison in North Carolina.

A buoyant Trump on Friday made a campaign-style speech at a Boeing plant in South Carolina — basking in the crowd’s cheers and soaking up some love from the state’s star-struck governor.

Many of Hillary Clinton’s former presidential campaign staffers – especially mid-level Brooklyn veterans – are now on the front lines of the left’s anti-Trump resistance.

Priorities USA, the main political action committee behind Clinton’s 2016 campaign, is rolling out a series of digital ads in an early attempt to target potentially vulnerable members of the GOP ahead of the 2018 midterms elections.

The Secret Service conducted only cursory reviews into more than a half-dozen social media threats against Clinton’s life after Trump floated the idea during the campaign that “Second Amendment people” could act against her.

First Lady Melania Trump’s closest confidante is only a New York minute away, and it’s the older sister nobody knows. Ines Knauss, 48, lives in a $2 million, one-bedroom apartment in a posh Park Avenue building owned by the Trump ­Organization.

The progressive protest movement that has confronted federal lawmakers from around the country swept into Western New York on Saturday, as Rep. Tom Reed encountered hundreds of protesters and loud voices everywhere he went during four town hall meetings in the western Southern Tier.

Rep. John Katko says he won’t give in to constituent requests and hold a town hall meeting until things “cool down.”

Someone did a lot of shopping at stores like stores like Target, Best Buy and BJ’s Wholesale Club with money from George Maziarz’s campaign fund when he was a state senator. The questions for investigators: Who and why?

Gov. Chris Christie boasted that months of private negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo resulted in a $32 billion Port Authority capital plan that, for the first time in the bi-state agency’s history, put New Jersey first.

The leading Democratic candidate for governor in New Jersey says he’s willing to “fight tooth and nail” to secure more funding to build a new Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, even if came down to blocking projects supported by Cuomo.

The Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago could require a $1.5 billion endowment, its architects say, three times what was raised for the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.

A source informs the NY Post that Christie is telling friends and staff he is taking a role with the Trump administration. The GOP governor’s position has not been worked out, but he would not replace ­Reince Preibus as the president’s chief-of-staff, the source said.

Cuomo is pressing for major changes to the state’s charitable gambling laws to help the charitable groups reverse the slump in revenues that has eaten into their support of local activities due to expanded lottery and commercial gaming. But is this effort too little, too late?

“I’m Sandra Lee, this is my job,” Cuomo’s longtime girlfriend said when asked, after posting a cryptic wedding-themed tweet, whether she and the governor are planning to wed.

Lee later clarified things further on her Facebook page: ” I am not engaged nor hinting at my partner about a wedding or a proposal – we have been together 12 years, we don’t hint at this point.”

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer convinced his hooker gal pal to leave an NYPD station house before she could file assault charges against him for a bloody night in his $1,000-a-night Plaza suite, new court papers claim.

The New York City Independent Budget Office found that, over the past three years, 86 percent of home sales for more than $2 million were in Manhattan, which comes after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed adding a 2.5 percent tax on such sales.

Speaking at an annual conference of black and Puerto Rican lawmakers in Albany Saturday, de Blasio tried to rally support for his proposal, which has met stiff resistance from the GOP-controlled state Senate.

The Citizens Budget Commission accuses Cuomo of fudging the numbers in his state budget to appear to stay within his self-imposed 2 percent per-year spending cap.

While NYC regulations already require addresses to be visible, a bill recently approved by the City Council would strengthen the rules by requiring all public doors — even side exits — of buildings in the city to carry an address number. And it would also raise fines for scofflaw buildings.

The state Assembly has introduced a bill designed to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek legal recourse, though it does not go nearly as far as some survivors want.

A federal magistrate has referred the civil lawsuit of COR Development against lobbyist Todd Howe for possible resolution by a mediator, according to court papers.

Construction of an 11-acre retail and entertainment complex next to the Nassau Coliseum is on hold as Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and arena developers consider a new plan for the site that could include housing.

At the end of his 11th State of the City address, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown offered a bit of a tease that deviated from past addresses. It’s been an honor, he said, to serve Buffalo and its residents “for three terms and counting,” which some took as an indication he’ll seek a fourth term.

In a tongue-in-cheek editorial, the Democrat & Chronicle pans Sen. Jim Seward’s proposal to make baseball the official sport of New York, saying: “New York’s official state game is called “avoiding real ethics reform.”

In answer to mounting outcry, Mayor Paul Dyster issued a statement stating he remains “confident” that discussions between the city and state officials will find a different, more “suitable” location for Cuomo’s proposed Niagara Falls State Park lodge.

A federal civil rights investigation into the police chokehold death of Eric Garner has been moving forward in New York, but its future is uncertain as a U.S. attorney general with a law-and-order bent takes over the Justice Department.

Cuomo proposed a new plan for New York’s Finger Lakes Racetrack designed to compensate for the gambling dollars moving away from that track’s racino to the nearby, newly-opened del Lago casino.

The pastors of two Buffalo churches said their congregations will offer “sanctuary” for immigrants they say are victims of a new persecution by the federal government. But they acknowledge that what level of protection they can offer and how federal authorities will react remain unanswered questions.

New York now has 14 different minimum wages for various sectors and regions – including a statewide wage and different ones for fast-food workers and tipped employees.

Five months after state Assemblyman Bill Nojay shot himself to death in a city cemetery, the accusations against him of fraud and thievery continue to echo through Western New York and beyond.

Rivers Casino & Resort brought in $3 million in gaming revenue in its first week of business, according to data released by the New York State Gaming Commission.

Albany-based Nine Pin hosted 15 other cider producers and roughly 800 fans of the beverage at Gathering of New York Farm Cideries, a sort of birthday party for the state’s cider sector.

An Upstate New York woman has been arrested after she was accused of abandoning her two ferrets named Malice and Mayhem at an apartment complex.

Jimmer Fredette went off, pouring in 73 points in a Chinese Basketball Association game Sunday, falling in double-overtime but capturing the world’s notice yet again.

Extras

The Trump administration considered a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by the AP.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer called the AP report “100% not true,” adding: “It is false. It is irresponsible to be saying this.”

The U.S. Senate this afternoon confirmed Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, even as he faces a new court order.

Barely a month into the Trump presidency, the unusually elaborate lifestyle of America’s new first family is straining the Secret Service and security officials, stirring financial and logistical concerns in several local communities, and costing far beyond what has been typical for past presidents.

Trump reportedly let a rival chief executive listen in on a call about lowering the cost of Lockheed Martin’s F-35, a move that has been described as “unorthodox” and “unusual.”

The Army has formally ended further environmental study of the Dakota Access oil pipeline’s disputed crossing beneath a Missouri River reservoir in southern North Dakota, and its Corps of Engineers branch is continuing efforts to accelerate cleanup at a protest camp near the drilling site that’s threatened by spring flooding.

Cities across the nation and New York signed on to support a federal lawsuit in Brooklyn that seeks to continue blocking President Trump’s immigration order issued last month.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee, is pushing the Department of Justice to slap criminal charges on Bryan Pagliano – an aide who helped maintain Hillary Clinton’s private email system.

An e-mail blast sent from the Trump-Pence campaign asked supporters to take a survey “to do your part to fight back against the media’s attacks and deceptions.”

Cuomo’s 30-day budget amendments did not include $12.5 million worth of funding for the city of Albany, without which Mayor Kathy Sheehan cannot balance her budget.

While she awaits word on whether the state will come through with the cash, Sheehan has put a halt on hiring.

Northern District U.S. Magistrate Therese Wiley Dancks has referred the civil lawsuit of COR Development against lobbyist Todd Howe for possible resolution by a mediator, according to court papers.

Despite a tweet that seemed to hint otherwise, Cuomo and his long-time girlfriend, Sandra Lee, are not getting married.

De Blasio today appointed former Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez (under ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer) as a senior advisor.

The Senate IDC has made raising the age of criminal responsibility a priority for this session, but some Democrats of color in the state Assembly are wary that the breakaway group will “water down” the issue and question its motives for pushing the measure.

Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, a potential 2018 gubernatorial candidate, presented his 2017 State of the County address this week in a 38-minute speech that included more than a few jabs at state government and Cuomo.

A threat to boycott Wegmans due its stocking of Trump wines appears to have backfired, triggering a sellout in some stores.

Ex-NIFA member George Marlin called endorsing Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano “the worst decision in my 45 years as a Conservative activist.”

A new Pew Research Center poll shows that Trump’s rating – 56 percent of Americans disapprove of his job performance to date – is historically low when compared with other presidents during their respective first weeks in office.

A report released by Long Island civic leaders and civil rights activists argues that housing segregation in Nassau County has reached a “crisis” point that is forcing people of color to relocate from the suburbs.

Uber, Lyft Sharpen Ride Hailing Arguments

The companies making a push for expanding ride hailing services outside of New York City as the budget negotiations are expected to enter a new phase once lawmakers return Feb. 28.

Uber on Friday released an ad to air on broadcast and cable TV touting the effort and its potential impact on the economy.

“Ridesharing apps like Uber would help boost the Upstate economy, attract startups, reduce drunk driving and just make it easier for all of us to get from here to there,” the ad’s narrator says.

Meanwhile, Lyft released an economic impact study of their service’s potential for upstate New York cities.

Consulting firm Land Econ Group reviewed the economic benefit for Rochester and Buffalo, presenting a sunny outlook. In Buffalo alone, the ride hailing expansion would generate $20.1 million, the report found.

In Rochester, $19.3 million would be generated.

“The findings are substantial and demonstrate a missed opportunity for cities to earn more, waste less, and increase efficiency,” the study fonud. “We can’t wait to bring Lyft — and these benefits — to all cities in the near future.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, meanwhile, expects his chamber will take up its one-house version of ride hailing once lawmakers return from the mid-winter break.

NY Lawmakers Tout Pre-Existing Conditions Bill

At least two New York Republican House members on Friday announced they had signed onto a law that would preserve insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

The measure — backed by Reps. Dan Donovan of Staten Island and Elise Stefanik of the North Country — would keep in place a core, and popular, tenant of the Affordable Care Act.

“I have said all along that we must keep the parts of the Affordable Care Act that are working as we fix our broken healthcare system, and this legislation to protect those with pre-existing conditions is a critical component of our health reform package,” Stefanik said. “A 21st century healthcare system protects those who need care, and I am pleased to support this commonsense legislation as we work to build a healthcare system that increases access and lowers costs for families and businesses across our district.”

Backing for the bill also comes as House Republicans are moving forward with a repeal of the ACA, with a gradual reduction in Medicaid funding to states that participated in the program’s expansion.

Conservative members of the House GOP caucus want to move forward with a full repeal of the law, but members from moderate and contested seats may likely feel pressure to keep aspects of the measure in place.

“Patients suffering from serious conditions shouldn’t be forced to choose between receiving medical care or going bankrupt,” Donovan said. “This legislation will ensure that every American has access to the health coverage they need, regardless of their health status. I look forward to helping pass this bill and will continue working to support real solutions that provide quality and affordable healthcare.”