Liz Benjamin

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Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

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Sen. Bernie Sanders took a swipe at Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Hillary Clinton surrogate, on Twitter, writing: “It wasn’t Governor Cuomo who had the idea to raise the minimum wage. It was the people telling him what to do. That’s how change happens.”

Due to obscure party rules, the votes of some Democrats participating in New York’s April 19 presidential primary may count more than others when it comes to the selection of delegates.

“For New York’s local press gang, the days leading up to the primary are shaping up like the Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Sanders reversed his criticism that Clinton is not qualified to be president, saying: “(O)n her worst day, she would be an infinitely better president than either of the Republican candidates.”

Former President Bill Clinton issued a near-apology for his role in a lengthy and heated exchange with Black Lives Matters protesters a day earlier in Philadelphia.

Recent development outside the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus got a highlight today as Clinton kicked off her campaign stop in Buffalo at the Gates Vascular Institute. (Much, much more about Clinton’s Buffalo trip can be found here).

Clinton will take a break from stumping in New York to campaign in Maryland on Sunday. (The state’s primary is April 26).

When Clinton told me during a CapTon interview that Sanders opposed the Paris climate change agreement, she was being disingenuous. He called it a “step forward,” but did say it didn’t go far enough.

A conservative activist best known as a crusader against violent video games is lobbying the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) prosecutor’s office to consider a criminal menacing charge against Trump surrogate Roger Stone.

This was fun to put together.

In a broad proclamation on family life, Pope Francis called for the Roman Catholic Church to be more welcoming and less judgmental, and he seemingly signaled a pastoral path for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive holy communion.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner released her 2016-17 budget, along with a video explaining the details of the spending plan and discussing the city’s spending priorities.

At the anti-Trump protest Wednesday night in Bethpage, congressional candidate Steve Stern, a county legislator, called on his Democratic opponent, former Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, to return contributions he has received from the presidential frontrunner.

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is another step closer to creating his Upper East Side megamansion.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on the lack of ethics legislation passed in Albany of late: “I think it’s bad.”

A Cheektowaga man has been arrested and charged with threatening President Obama, former President Bill Clinton and presidential candidates Clinton, Trump and Cruz.

The number of texting tickets in New York continued to increase last year as police crack down on abusers and recent laws increased the penalties for getting caught.

A Hofstra adjunct history professor and political reform and civic education non-profit founder is suing a state commission considering whether lawmakers and top executive chamber staff should receive raises, calling the panel’s powers unconstitutional.

Former Rep. Michele Bachman posted an instructional video informing Clinton how to use her MetroCard on the subway.

Happy 100th anniversary Albany Student Press!

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule, while members of his cabinet continue to deliver regional budget briefings across the state.

The Legislature is not in session.

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton campaigns in Rochester and Buffalo today, while her primary rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, holds two campaign rallies in neighborhoods – Flatbush and Greenpoint – of his native Brooklyn.

Actor and environmental activist Mark Ruffalo will attend the first Sanders event, and actress Susan Sarandon will attend the second.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, is in Syracuse.

A fuller calendar of today’s events appears at the end of this post.

Headlines…

A Democratic primary campaign in which both candidates prided themselves on civility and debating the issues, rather than stooping to personal attacks, took a fractious turn yesterday, as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called Hillary Clinton unqualified to be president.

Sanders’ rationale for attacking Clinton: She attacked me first.

The five swipes it took Clinton to get her MetroCard to work on the NYC subway was not an unusual occurrence, but it opened her up for ridicule.

Former President Bill Clinton engaged in a heated exchange during a Pennsylvania campaign rally with Black Lives Matter protesters upset about welfare reform and gun violence laws passed when he was in office 20 years ago.

Across Western New York, Sanders’ improbable campaign for president has been fueled by men and women who come from 135 different kinds of jobs, from accountant and chef to massage therapist and state trooper, according to a Buffalo News analysis of FEC data since January.

Ithaca is home to one of the zip codes in the country giving the most money to Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Next week’s CNN debate between Sanders and Clinton in Brooklyn is not open to members of the general public. Instead, each candidate will receive an allocation of tickets of their own.

Brooklyn, where Sanders grew up and where Clinton established her campaign headquarters a year ago, is the epicenter of the Democratic battle in advance of New York’s primary.

Organizers of Donald Trump’s April 17 rally at First Niagara Center expect it to rank as the biggest event of his New York campaign and possibly the largest indoor gathering of his presidential effort so far. That would mean that more than 19,000 supporters of the front-running Republican candidate will jam the downtown Buffalo hockey arena.

The day before Trump’s Buffalo event, the candidate will hold a rally in Syracuse, though the time and place have not yet been determined.

Though Trump has made a lot of inflammatory and anti-immigrant comments, he does have immigrant supporters, who favor the candidate for reasons that are intensely personal and, not surprisingly, are often aligned with their politics back home.

Trump has delayed trips to Colorado and California to campaign in his home state, where, under the GOP primary rules, only 14 of New York’s 95 delegates go to the overall winner. The rest are awarded by congressional district, three for each district.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is informally advising Trump, will vote for the billionaire candidate, but won’t endorse him.

Ohio Gov. Joh Kasich’s campaign relocated its rally tonight in Syracuse to a larger venue on the LeMoyne College campus due to higher-than-anticipated RSVPs. The original site – Grewen Hall – seats about 280 people, while the Campus Center has a capacity for about 600 people.

Mired in third place in the GOP primary, Kasich unveiled a new ad that slams the No. 2 candidate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, for his comments denigrating “New York values.”

In a wide-ranging and frank 73-minute interview with the Daily News Editorial Board, Kasich rejected calls to quit the race — despite having no mathematical shot to win the nomination — excitedly exclaiming that he was “the only adult” running.

Cruz told supporters Trump is not “unstoppable” in New York and that the chase for the nomination is turning his way — if Republicans unite. Meanwhile, Long Island Rep. Pete King, the dean of the state’s GOP delegation, said any New Yorker “who even thinks of voting for Ted Cruz should have their head examined.”

After his appearance at a Christian school in Scotia outside Albany, Cruz went to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, to make some matzo — the unleavened bread central to the Passover holiday later this month.

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Despite reports that he would be meeting with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani says he plans to vote for Donald Trump in the April 19 primary, but did not endorse him outright.

Hillary Clinton was caught struggling to use her subway card to enter a New York City train during a visit to NYC today. It took her five swipes to get through the turnstile.

Clinton said she last took the subway a year and a half or two years ago.

“I will take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz any time,” Clinton said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Clinton surrogate, blasted Sanders after the Vermont senator said the families of victims in the Sandy Hook massacre shouldn’t be allowed to sue gun manufacturers.

Rep. Paul Tonko sent an email to supporters asking them to “join me in standing against Trump’s outrageous campaign!”

Trump will headline a fundraiser for the Suffolk County Republicans next Thursday in Patchogue. The event, scheduled from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., will be held in the Emporium, a rock music venue.

Bill Mahoney tries to game out, using recent polls and past election results as a guide, how the state’s various regions will vote in the upcoming Democratic presidential primary.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich took a bite out of the Bronx – literally. And for good measure, he washed it all down with a glass of wine.

“He had a good appetite,” said deli owner David Greco. “I’m very impressed with how much he ate.”

Kasich will move his Syracuse town hall event tomorrow to a larger space at Le Moyne College after receiving more RSVPs than anticipated.

The New York City Council voted to allow the Transportation Department to create new rules for pedestrian plazas that could restrict the costumed characters and painted topless women to designated zones in Times Square.

Cuomo responded to an investigation by ProPublica of the state’s oversight of the nursing profession — including a disciplinary process that lags behind reforms in other states and creates a ragged safety net for New York’s patients.

Cuomo attended a private team ceremony where the Mets handed out their own pieces of jewelry to commemorate their 2015 National League Championship at Citi Field.

Four senior NYPD officials were removed from their commands and placed on desk duty — with two of the officials stripped of their guns and badges — as part of a two-year joint investigation with police and federal officials.

Citing a desire to avoid a “one-party monopoly” in Albany, The Jewish Press has endorsed Republican Chris McGrath in the Long Island race for former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ seat.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano is making moves to run for re-election next year despite federal corruption investigations that have plagued his Republican administration.

A new agreement with Syracuse University will earn the City of Syracuse $7 million over the next five years.

A high school student with labor support is challenging former Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino for his seat on the fractious Buffalo school board, saying it desperately needs “some adult behavior.”

$1M For Con-Con Commission Not in Budget

From the Morning Memo:

Now that everyone has had a chance to actually read the fine print of the budget that was rushed into law last week, some details are emerging of what made the cut and what did not.

It turns out that somewhere along the line, the $1 million the governor included in his executive spending proposal to establish a commission to consider the possibility of, and plan for, a state constitutional convention fell off the negotiating table.

That’s not terribly surprising. Even though the governor, like his father before him, professes to be a big con-con backer, there weren’t many majority conference members in either the Senate or the Assembly who expressed much interest in the issue.

Nevertheless, convention advocates like my father, Prof. Jerry Benjamin, a state government expert and head of The Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz, were pretty upset about the Legislature’s decision to axe the $1 million.

“It’s really classic,” my dad fumed to me during a brief telephone interview yesterday. “They’ll block preparation and then say we’re not prepared.”

“(Legislators) know they’re at risk because the Trump-Sanders phenomenon is a protest movement, and if New Yorkers catch on to the fact that there’s a vehicle for protest that could effect real change, they’re in trouble,” Dad continued. “I intend to make sure people know about this.”

A number of good government advocates endorsed the commission, saying its work would be crucial to making sure a convention – should one be held – would be as independent as possible. The absence of any independent planning would draw out the process and increase the chances of it being influenced by special interests.

But the Legislature was unmoved by that argument.

Mike Whyland, a spokesman for the Assembly Democrats, said there was “really no structure” around the governor’s commission proposal, adding: “So, as defined in our one-house budget we thought a better use of the funding would be for the Women’s Suffrage Commemoration Commission.”

Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif concurred that the executive failed to provide “enough details” about how the $1 million would be spent for the majority to go along with Cuomo’s plan, and he didn’t sound terribly enthusiastic about the idea of a convention, generally speaking.

“I would note that even in the absence of a commission and/or a convention the state has been able to amend the constitution a number of times in recent years, and we will continue to do so as necessary,” Reif said.

So, now it’s up to the governor to decide whether he’s interested in coming up with the cash on his own to prep for a convention to be ready in case the voters decide in the November 2017 elections that they do indeed want to see one held.

Technically speaking, the Legislature could call a convention any time it wanted. But the question about whether to hold one is constitutionally mandated to go before the voters every 20 years.

Since the first constitution was inked 1777, New York has significantly rewritten it on only eight occasions. Voters turned down a convention in 1957, 1977, and again in 1997.

Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said the governor continues to support a constitutional convention and is ” examining all options and resources available to form and fund a commission.”

He noted that former Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1993 used an executive order to form a similar commission, referred to as the Goldmark Commission, which was funded through a partnership with Rockefeller College.

Clinton Hits NY Airwaves

From the Morning Memo:

As she doubles down on her effort to win big in her adopted home state’s presidential primary, Hillary Clinton is prepared to hit the airwaves today with her first New York TV ad.

Clinton’s campaign confirmed it has plunked down an undisclosed amount of cash for a statewide buy that will start today.

One ad, which will run in New York City, has already been leaked. It features a voiceover by the candidate, talking about the strength the state generates from its diversity – a not-so-subtle dig at GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and his controversial stance on immigration.

“When some say we can solve America’s problems by building walls, banning people based on their religion, and turning against each other, well, this is New York and we know better,” Clinton says in the 30-second spot.

This is a clear attempt by Clinton to rally her base of African American and Latino voters, on which she has been relying heavily throughout the presidential contest to date.

It was not immediately clear if this ad or another version will be running in upstate markets. Clinton has focused a lot of attention on the upstate region lately, making multiple in-person visits – with more planned before primary day – and also dispatching her husband to campaign on her behalf.

The New York Times notes that upstate figured heavily in Clinton’s first U.S. Senate win in 2000 – particularly white, working-class voters who had previously voted Republican – and that she feels personally connected to the region. Carrying upstate would provide Clinton with a psychological boost, and it’s necessary if she wants to win big in the state.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. Members of his cabinet are delivering regional versions of his budget address in various locations across the state.

The Legislature is not in session. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is in Rochester.

Two Republican candidates – Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich – are campaigning here ahead of the April 19th primary.

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

Headlines…

Upstate figures prominently in Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clintons’s New York primary strategy. She relied heavily on the region to win her 2000 U.S. Senate bid, and doing well here is psychologically important to her in this race.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fence-sitting before finally endorsing Clinton, rather than her primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, in the Democratic presidential race has stranded him on the fringe of the action as attention focuses on New York’s primary.

At a rally in Pennsylvania, Sanders said Clinton isn’t qualified to be president – a claim she has made about him, too.

Donald Trump met yesterday with GOP strategist Paul Manafort, a huddle that suggests campaign changes could be in the works after the billionaire lost the Wisconsin primary and is facing an uphill climb to clinch the Republican presidential nomination before the convention.

Trump is turning to the establishment to guide his anti-establishment presidential campaign in the Empire State. More than 30 county chairmen, a host of elected officials and even a former gubernatorial candidate were introduced as the Republican presidential front-runner’s New York leaders last night during a massive rally in Bethpage, Nassau County.

In a show of force intended to reassert himself as a catalyst of voter passion and populist fury, Trump drew thousands of supporters to his Long Island rally, filling a cavernous film studio with many of the blue-collar white voters who have powered his bid and are crucial to his winning statewide.

Hundreds of Long Islanders protested outside Trump’s rally, calling his candidacy and rhetoric a danger to the country.

Trump is now slated to bring his campaign to Buffalo in its final days with a major rally April 17 in First Niagara Center. Now, the job of filling seats in an arena with a capacity of more than 18,000 will fall on WNY party leaders such as Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy.

Trump has tentatively committed to hold a rally Monday at Albany’s Times Union Center pending completion of the paperwork.

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick and Assemblyman Ray Walter are leading the charge for the “adult in the room” – Ohio Gov. John Kasich – in Western New York, where support for Trump is strong.

If Tex Sen. Ted Cruz has a chance to make any serious inroads against New York resident and delegate frontrunner Trump, it is with a group he has relied on in other states: evangelical Christians. These are people who know and appreciate what Cruz meant when he lashed out at liberal “New York values” earlier this year.

“It’s the values of the liberal Democratic politicians that have been hammering the people of New York for a long time,” Cruz said during a Bronx campaign stop yesterday. “They have been suffering.”

Cruz was scheduled to speak at Bronx Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy until students wrote a letter to the principal asking her not to let the Texas senator come, prompting staffers to cancel the appearance.

Despite speculation that the idea had been scuttled, the state Canal Corporation will become a subsidiary of the New York Power Authority at the beginning of next year as part of the just-enacted 2016-17 state budget.

De Blasio said he was going to add $305 million to New York City’s capital budget to speed up work on Water Tunnel No. 3 so that it would be able to serve Brooklyn and Queens.

The mayor signed legislation prohibiting the use of the tobacco at New York City sports and recreational facilities that issue tickets.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi heaped praise on de Blasio’s Pre-K for All program at a visit to a Brooklyn prekindergarten class with the mayor and other officials yesterday morning.

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While campaigning in the Bronx, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz doubled down on his New York values insult, attacking GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump and a string of “liberal Democrats” – from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Rep. Charlie Rangel and ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer – for policies and positions that have been “hammering” the state.

Cruz also said he “cheered” when police officers turned their backs on de Blasio on several occasions in 2014 and 2015.

After a potentially damaging loss to Cruz in Wisconsin, Trump will speak tonight at a rally on Long Island expected to draw some 12,000 people.

Trump just blew off pro-life leaders exactly one week after he angered the movement by calling for “punishment” for abortion. He was reportedly expected to address Priests for Life and the 115 Forum conference during a conference call, but did not dial in.

Everlast is demanding Trump stop using his House of Pain anthem “Jump Around” at rallies, threatening a cease-and-desist order and angrily distancing himself from the billionaire businessman, whom he calls the “race baiting, ignorant, divisive and potentially dangerous sociopath.”

Responding to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ difficulty explaining how he would carry out his Wall Street reform plans, Hillary Clinton said her rival has been “talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn’t really studied or understood.”

Sanders has a slight lead – 49 to 47 – over Clinton nationally, according to a McClatchy-Marist poll released today.

Director Spike Lee likened Donald Trump to so-called Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz, who “had the whole city in terror.”

Syracuse native and Syracuse University alumna Megyn Kelly says she may leave Fox News after the 2016 election, explaining: “(T)here’s a lot of brain damage that comes from the job.”

New Yorkers Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Steve Israel are on opposite sides in a tight Democratic primary battle engulfed in issues of race and gender and located 200 miles away in Maryland.

Despite missing pages and mislabeling on some English language arts tests taken yesterday by students across the state, SED will not throw out the results.

Independence Party candidate Martin Babinec has put up $1 million of his own money to launch his bid for the NY-22 seat Republican Rep. Richard Hanna is vacating.

Following Cuomo’s lead, AG Eric Schneiderman has banned non-essential state-funded travel for his office to Mississippi and North Carolina after those states passed legislation derided by critics as discriminatory against the LGBT community.

De Blasio insisted his administration is not looking at possible sites across the city as part of an effort to close Rikers Island.

More than 70 airports in upstate New York are eligible to compete for a share of $200 million in state funds up for grabs in a new state competition from Cuomo.

At least one thing is clear in the case of Bruce Conner, a Democratic Party operative who is being prosecuted for allegedly sending a bogus letter to the editor: Conner knows a lot of judges. All nine Syracuse City Court judges disqualified themselves from overseeing his arraignment.

Cuomo traveled to Binghamton University’s Huron campus in Endicott to announce a $20 million award to the university’s research into flexible technology.

…the governor also spread some cash love around the city of Buffalo and the WNY region.

The state has lost another round in its legal fight against the Indian Point nuclear facility, with a federal regulator rejecting its effort to force the plant to undergo leak rate tests more often.

Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack will get a lower tax rate to compete with the $425 million Del Lago casino being built a half hour away in Seneca County.

Krueger: No Senate Dem Min Wage Hesitation

From the Morning Memo:

During the final flurry of negotiations on the 2016-17 state budget, a lot of semi-substantiated talk was going around the Capitol hallways about potential roadblocks to a final deal.

For a while there, a fight over Medicaid funding for New York City gummed up the works. And then there were eleventh hour skirmishes over charter school funding and schools in receivership.

But it’s no secret that the biggest sticking point of all was the minimum wage increase, which the governor made clear for weeks leading up to the April 1 deadline was his top policy priority.

It was well known that the Senate Republicans were divided over the issue, though they did all vote in favor of the compromise deal in the end.

Heading into that vote, however, there was some talk that the Senate Democrats were also balking – perhaps because they weren’t thrilled with the concessions the governor had to make in order to get the GOP on board, and wanted to retain the issue, which polls very high across the state, to use during the re-match for the majority this fall.

But during a CapTon interview last night, Sen. Liz Krueger, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, insisted her conference’s support for a minimum wage increase never faltered.

The only thing Democrats were upset over, she said, was their inability to actually read the bill language that set up what turned out to be a very complex system of regional wage differentials, phase-ins and carve-outs.

“I don’t think my conference ever didn’t support the minimum wage,” the Manhattan Democrat said. “We wanted to see the language, because continually being told…maybe this, maybe that, maybe a training wage, maybe some cutouts for farmers, for youth.”

“We just continued to say, with a straight face: We’re legislators, we vote on legislators, we would like to see the language please. It became almost absurd.”

“…what we kept struggling with was the really very simplistic fact that you’re being asked to vote on something that will impact 19.5 million people, you think you ought to be able to take a look at it.”

Krueger expressed some surprise that the entire GOP conference managed to stick together and overcome internal upheaval and vote “yes” in a bloc on minimum wage.

“It was a politically smart decision, in my opinion, for them to vote yes,” she said. “Again, for my conference, I don’t believe there was any question ever about our supporting the minimum wage package. We just wanted to make sure that was really supposed to be there in the package was.”

Krueger noted that things had been so rushed that the minimum wage deal wasn’t correctly included in the ELFA bill, and the Legislature was required to do a chapter amendment to address that – an unusual move. (Chapter amendments usually come AFTER the budget is passed). Had lawmakers been given more time to review the language, she stressed, that probably would not have happened.

Krueger said she’s satisfied with the final agreement on the minimum wage, but she feels “very bad” for upstaters who were hoping they would get to $15 an hour like their NYC counterparts, but are now uncertain when – and if – they will get past $12.50.

“I think if I lived in upstate New York and I was trying to feed my family and clothe my children, I’d be going: Really? What happened here,” Krueger said.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Broome, Erie counties and New York City. Cuomo cabinet members continue to deliver regional budget presentations across the state. The Senate is in session, the Assembly is not.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of the three remaining GOP presidential hopefuls, is campaigning in New York City. GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is delivering a speech on Long Island.

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

Headlines…

Republican Ted Cruz stormed to a commanding victory in Wisconsin’s primary, denting front-runner Donald Trump’s chances of capturing the GOP nomination before the party’s convention.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders carried the Democratic race over Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin – a win that still leaves him with a mathematically difficult path to the White House.

“With our victory tonight in Wisconsin we have now won seven out of eight of the last caucuses and primaries,” said Sanders, arguing that he, not Clinton, has momentum on his side heading into the next primary contests.

After Wisconsin’s contests clouded an already murky picture in both parties, New York’s April 19 contest will matter for the first time in many people’s memory, especially on the Republican side. Over the next two weeks, the state’s trove of votes and convention delegates will transform the state from afterthought to political mecca.

The number of New Yorkers registered to vote over the last five months has barely budged despite the state’s hotly contested April 19 presidential primaries, new figures show.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has said some disparaging things about New York and has almost zero campaign presence here, will rally with supporters in Scotia tomorrow.

With his wife locked in a heated battle for the Democratic presidential nomination against Sanders, former President Bill Clinton delivered a characteristically long speech in Buffalo on her behalf that seemed aimed both at rallying her loyal supporters and wooing new ones.

President Clinton also campaigned on Long Island and in Rochester yesterday.

Hillary Clinton is expected to be in Rochester Friday – three days after he husband rallied supporters on her behalf there.

The former president was greeted in Buffalo by a small group of anti-Hillary protestors, as well as some Sanders supporters.

As many as 12,000 people are expected in Bethpage on Long Island tonight for a campaign rally organized by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, police said.

President Obama called Trump’s plan to force Mexico to build a border wall by cutting off billions of dollars in money transfers from Mexican immigrants “half-baked,” adding: “Good luck with that.”

Michael Goodwin: “From the color of lights on an iconic building to a $15 minimum wage to a family-leave policy he signed into law without public debate, Cuomo’s control of New York is unlike anything seen in recent times. From the petty to the profound, he is the would-be Colossus of the Empire State.”

It appears the opt-out movement continues to be strong in the Western New York region, after students finished the first day of the state assessments in English language arts.

Long Island appeared on the threshold of cementing its place as the epicenter of the opt-out movement statewide, with tens of thousands of students refusing to take the state’s English language arts exam on the first day of Common Core testing, a Newsday survey showed.

State lawmakers should stop wasting time and pass legislation to make it easier for people sexually abused as children to seek justice as adults, AG Eric Schneiderman said.

New details emerged in the FBI’s corruption investigation into the NYPD, including how deep-pocketed businessmen who were the original targets of the probe sought out high-ranking members they knew could “get things done for them.”

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Extras

Former President Bill Clinton told a crowd gathered at a Depew restaurant this afternoon: “I love this place!” as he began an appearance that is part of a day-long swing through New York to campaign for his wife.

The endorsement battle in the Long Island state Senate race heated up as Clinton backed Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky and 14 police unions announced for Republican Christopher McGrath.

Both the Hillary Clinton and Sanders campaigns are said to have studied the progressive Democratic primary challenge to Cuomo two years ago by Zephyr Teachout. In that race – and this one – fracking is an issue.

Sanders met with the NY Daily News editorial board.

FBI Director James Comey said he feels no urgency to wrap up the investigation into Clinton’s email server before the political conventions this summer.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has postponed work to finish New York’s third water tunnel, a project that for more than half a century has been regarded as essential to the survival of the city if either of the two existing, and now aged, tunnels should fail.

AG Eric Schneiderman’s office has opened an investigation into the circumstances behind the lifting of deed restrictions on a Manhattan health-care facility.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said his department will “cooperate fully” with the FBI in its corruption probe into the NYPD.

The Cuomo administration is “hopeful” that the state can implement a successor program to the 421-a tax break during this year’s legislative session, according to the governor’s top aide, Bill Mulrow.

The administration will also be focusing on Cuomo’s affordable housing plan, which was allocated $2 billion in the new state budget, but wasn’t laid out in any detail. (And that wasn’t the only MOU in the spending plan).

New York’s highest court says parents can legally eavesdrop on young children, establishing an exception to state law against wiretaps without the consent of at least one person on a call.

Roger Stone: “I have urged Trump supporters: come to Cleveland. March on Cleveland. Join us in the Forest City. We’re going to have protests, demonstrations. We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal.”

The sentencing for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been postponed again. According to court documents, it’s now scheduled to take place on May 12th, moved from April 13.

Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius and the board of the Cold Spring Country Club are in talks to turn over the castle and golf course to golfer Jack Nicklaus and developer Stanley Gale in a 99-year lease.

Former Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi said he has raised $450,000 so far in his bid to run for retiring Rep. Steve Israel NY-3 seat on Long Island.

Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell is petitioning Cuomo to ban non-emergency travel to Mississippi in the wake of the state’s passage of one of the worst anti-gay laws on the record books.

New York native and former soccer star Abby Wambach admitted to using cocaine and marijuana at least 10 years ago while being questioned by police after she was charged with drunk driving on Sunday in Portland, Oregon.

Cuomo announced that the lights on One World Trade Center’s 408-foot spire in New York City will light up in blue and orange this evening to support the Orange Women as they try to win the NCAA championship.

Despite months of fierce lobbying in Albany, advocates did not convince lawmakers to earmark a package of funds for the Catskill Park in the new state budget.

Demi Lovato, an ardent Clinton support, posted a letter she received from the Democratic candidate after the GLAAD Media Awards.

Clinton told the ladies of NBC’s “The View” that she is confident she will get past the private server scandal because “there’s nothing to it.”