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

At 2:30 p.m., the bishops of New York, who are in Albany in advance of tomorrow’s annual Catholics at the Capitol advocacy, are scheduled to meet with Cuomo. They’ll speak to the media directly after that get-together and meet with legislative leaders in the afternoon.

Pro-choice advocates will be deploying clergy who support the Reproductive Health Act to counter the Catholic Conference’s lobbying against the RHA.

At 9:30 a.m., Assemblymen Andrew Raia and Joe Lentol hold a press conference to announce their sponsorship of new legislation to increase the penalty for killing a police animal. LCA Press Room (130), LOB, Albany.

On a 12:30 p.m. conference call, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand jumps on the minimum wage hike bandwagon, announcing a new effort to increase the federal hourly rate from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 over the next three years, with future increases indexed to the rate of inflation.

Also at 12:30 p.m., the SUNY Board of Trustees holds its open formal meeting, SUNY College at Purchase, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase. (A public hearing will be held at 3 p.m.)

Sens. Tom Libous and Kathy Marchione and Assembly members join evangelical Christians to celebrate New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms’ annual lobby day, (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.), Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Albany.

Headlines…

This morning’s Q poll finds Republican voters disapprove of Cuomo for the first time since he took office two years ago, leaving him with an overall 55-27 percent job approval rating.

New York’s annual minimum wage would rise to $9 an hour over three years under a tentative deal struck by the governor and legislative leaders.

The minimum wage hike – New York’s first since 2009 – will not include indexing or a so-called “training” wage and will be part of the budget, although there’s no full deal yet.

A deal is expected today, which needs to occur if bills are going to be printed and aged in time for passage by the end of the week.

That deal may also include a compromise on Cuomo’s desire to decriminalize public possession of small amounts of marijuana, allowing just NYC to pass its own law on the matter. This is a sticking point with Senate Republicans.

Senate Republicans appear to have won $700 million in tax cuts and credits for businesses and middle income families. Included in that deal is an alteration of an assessment on utilities that Senate GOP lawmakers have pushed for.

Also expected in the final budget deal: An early extension of the 2011 tax reform deal (AKA the millionaire’s tax) and additional school aid.

Writes the DN’s Bill Hammond: “After two years of mostly sober money management, Gov. Cuomo shows worrying signs of falling off the wagon. The symptoms first appeared in his budget proposal from January, which included gimmicks of the sort that Cuomo rightly used to ridicule.”

Bodega owners insist Mayor Bloomberg’s latest anti-smoking push would snuff out up to 90 percent of their tobacco sales, costing them thousands of dollars a week in revenue while creating yet another black market for scofflaws.

The Campaign for Primary Accountability PAC has Rep. Charlie Rangel in its sights again for 2014 (assuming he indeed seeks re-election).

EMILY’s List is focusing its political muscle this year on mayoral races, giving early endorsements to female candidates across the country – including NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

As expected, Hillary Clinton’s video in support of same-sex marriage has re-ignited speculation that she’ll run for president in 2016.

At the very least, Clinton is signaling an intent to stay engaged in politics, even though she has departed Washington – for now.

Cuomo has quietly tapped Jeffrey Wise, a longtime advocate for the disabled, to head the new Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.

GOP NYC mayoral hopeful John Catsimatidis and his Gristedes supermarket chain are finalizing a $1.45 million settlement with female workers who claim they were discriminated against due to their gender.

All four Republican members of the NYC. Council are going to back Joe Lhota in the GOP primary for mayor.

Tom Allon dropped out of the mayor’s race and immediately went to lunch with Lhota, though he said he won’t likely endorse any of his former opponents.

Real estate mogul Stephen Green is hedging his bets in the NYC mayor’s race, giving campaign cash to both Quinn and her Democratic rival Bill Thompson. And he’s not alone in splitting the proverbial baby.

Assembly Republicans aren’t planning any disciplinary action against Assemblyman Steve Katz following his marijuana possession arrest.

Assemblyman William Boyland Jr., who is already facing bribery charges, was slapped with additional charges of falsely securing tens of thousands of dollars in travel reimbursements from the Assembly by submitting travel vouchers when he was not working on legislative business.

GOP Rep. Tom Reed is the latest member of New York’s congressional delegation to join the bipartisan No Labels movement. Tea Partiers aren’t thrilled.

Members of the NYC Council lambasted Bloomberg’s administration for failing to address the rise in city homelessness, demanding the mayor develop new strategies to do so before he leaves office at year’s end.

New Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz gets high marks for his work ethic, but a Buffalo New survey of WNY leaders found some don’t like his politics and find him “bland.”

Poloncarz runs his own Twitter feed, and it shows – for better or worse.

The number of people killed on New York City streets last year in accidents that involved a speeding motorist increased by 65 percent over the prior year.

North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, who briefly explored running for Nassau County executive this fall, has decided not to enter the race.

Dentists overcharged the state Medicaid program $3.2 million for dental services between 2006 and 2009, including bills for fillings and root canals to 465 patients who have no teeth, according to the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.

Principals at more than one in 10 New York City public schools didn’t flunk a single teacher for at least eight years, according to an analysis of city data by The Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer stood in front of the shuttered Hotel Syracuse and urged the Treasury Department to allocate $75 million in federal tax credits for central Upstate development projects, including a reopening of the historic hotel.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors is expected to pass a resolution opposing New York state’s new gun law at a special meeting tonight.

A dozen protesters were arrested outside the Inergy property on Seneca Lake, and a rally and march were held in downtown Watkins Glen as activists stepped up their efforts to halt the company’s proposed LPG storage facility.

The shamed son of FDNY Commisioner Sal Cassano quit his city EMT job and was publicly rebuked by his father for posting racist, anti-Semitic rants on Twitter.

The Thruway Authority has proposed tweaking the design of the new Tappan Zee Bridge. (Subscription).

New Court of Appeals Judge Jenny Rivera was sworn in yesterday.

In most of the 25 or so categories, New York ranks at or near the top in how much it levies in taxes, according to the D.C.-based Tax Foundation.

Lincoln Restler will not challenge NYC Councilman Steve Levin this year, freeing the Brooklyn Democrat of his most high-profile potential opponent.