Nick Reisman

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AG Releases Report On Police-Involved Shootings

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office on Thursday released its first report on his office’s role in reviewing, investigating and prosecuting cases in which police kill unarmed civilians.

The report summarizes the 11 incidents the attorney general’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit have investigated.

So far, one police officer has been charged by state prosecutors while the unit is investigate five separate matters. Five additional cases have been closed by the investigations unit.

“As the state’s Special Prosecutor in these difficult cases, it is my role to make sure each case is investigated thoroughly and fairly,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

“Over the past two years, our Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit has worked day and night to build a highly responsive, durable, and respected team that is always prepared to follow the facts wherever they lead. By working alongside community stakeholders and local law enforcement agencies, we’ve built the trust and network we need to get the facts and evidence required to act judiciously and effectively.”

The unit was formed through an executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2015, spurred in part by incidents such as the choke-hold death of Eric Garner in New York City.

Sip Biennial Report 2017 0 by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Cuomo Signs Bill Naming Highway Section After Late NYPD Detective

As expected, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Thursday that re-names a portion of the Southern State Parkway after the late NYPD Det. Steven McDonald.

“As both a member of New York City Police and an advocate for the disabled, Detective Steven McDonald demonstrated the bravery and compassion that exemplified the very best of New York,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This honor will help ensure that his sacrifice, service and advocacy will never be forgotten.”

McDonald joined the New York City Police Department in 1984 and was gravely wounded in the line of duty on July 12, 1986, leaving him paralyzed.

He would later forgive the shooter and devote his life to teamwork and peace. He died in January at 59.

“Detective Steven McDonald embodied strength, resiliency, and forgiveness in the face of adversity, and he led an extraordinary life serving others,” said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. “Today we once again thank this community hero and his family, and we celebrate the inspiration he will continue to provide to current and future Long Islanders now that this tribute will be put into place.”

Amid Rate Increases, NY Points To DC Uncertainty

The uncertainty over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, now giving way to the future of subsidies under the law, has played a factor in growing rates in the individual and small group health insurance markets.

Insurance rates for those in New York’s health care exchange will rise, with individual plans rising more than 14 percent on average, and small group plans increasing by more than 9 percent on average. State officials say the increases are driven in part by the higher cost of care and prescription drugs.

But there’s another factor as well.

“We believe also it is driven by the uncertainty that has come out of Washington,” said Donna Frescatore, the executive director of New York’s health exchange, known as NY State of Health.

That uncertainty has come from President Donald Trump, who has threatened to end subsidies under the Affordable Care Act that keep plans affordable. Ending those subsidies, which include tax credits for those with qualifying incomes, could lead to lower quality care and fewer people being insured.

“Should those cost sharing reductions be eliminated, the price of insurance will go up,” Frescatore said. “That is something we hear from consumers as well as organizations throughout the state.”

Members of Congress say they want to find ways of stabilizing the marketplace after broader efforts to repeal the law have failed. In the meantime, New York’s health care exchange officials say they’re working to reassure policyholders their insurance will remain in place.

“We want people to be certainly aware of what could happen in Washington, but we also want to encourage people to continue shopping for coverage,” Frescatore said.

Since 2011 when the exchange was established, health officials say there’s been a 55 percent reduction in rates for individuals.

NY Unemployment Rate Increased In July

New York’s unemployment rate jumped to 4.7 percent in July after its private-sector job count grew by 0.2 percent.

The Labor Department announced on Thursday New York’s overall job count grew by 18,800, or 8.1 million.

But July was the third straight month in a row the state’s unemployment rate has increased. In April, unemployment stood at 4.4 percent.

“The State’s private sector job count increased by 18,800 in July 2017, reaching a new record high. New York State’s economy has also now added more than one million private sector jobs since the beginning of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration,” said Bohdan Wynnyk, the director of the New York State Department of Labor’s Division of Research and Statistics.

Nationally, the unemployment rate in July stood at 4.3 percent.

Paladino Removed From Buffalo School Board

Carl Paladino has been removed from his post on the Buffalo Board of Education, an attorney hired by the board confirmed this morning.

The 33-page decision determine Paladino had wrongly released information that was discussion in a closed-door executive session with board members.

Paladino had vigorously denied any wrongdoing during a hearing earlier this summer in Albany.

“It confirms that no one is above the law regardless of their station in life,” said the school board’s attorney, Frank Miller. “Mr. Paladino indicated he was going to continue to do whatever he wanted to do. Everyone is subject to the law, regardless of their station in life.”

School board members and others who had sought Paladino’s removal from the board initially sought his removal after Paladino made a series of racially charged and racist comments in a local newsweekly and in blast emails.

Paladino has already filed a lawsuit challenging the board’s actions against him.

The 2010 Republican nominee for governor, Paladino has not ruled out running again in 2018. Paladino served as the co-chairman to President Trump’s campaign in New York.

Updated: Here’s the full decision from the state Education Department.

Tenney, In Statement, Urges Trump To Continue To Condemn Bigotry

From the Morning Memo:

Rep. Claudia Tenney in a statement on Wednesday urged President Donald Trump to continue to condemn racial hatred and bigotry in the wake of the Charlottesville clashes on Saturday.

The statement was released after Democrats criticized her initial reaction backing the president for suggesting “both sides” were to blame for the violent unrest in the city.

“On Saturday, I immediately condemned in the strongest terms possible this tragic display of white supremacy and called on Americans to join together to condemn these acts of intolerance and bigotry, which have no place in our society or our political discourse,” Tenney said. “I urge the President to continue to denounce white supremacy, racism and intolerance and work to promote an atmosphere of unity in our nation during this troubling time.”

Tenney added the episode was an especially personal one to her.

“As someone who worked closely alongside the Jewish Community Center in Utica to resettle Bosnian refugees who were victims of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, it is unconscionable to me that anyone in modern day America could display such hatred, violence and racism toward their fellowman,” she said.

The statement comes after Tenney on Wednesday with reporters said she backed Trump’s reaction to the violence on Saturday — that “both sides” were responsible for violence, including white supremacy groups that gathered to oppose the removal of a Confederate statue and counter protesters.

Trump in a fiery news conference on Tuesday at Trump Tower blasted the alleged driver of the vehicle that killed one woman and injured 19 other counter demonstrators and once again condemned bigotry. At the same time, Trump knocked the “alt left” who he said held some responsibility for the violence and said some of the protesters at a torch-light rally opposing the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue were not bad people.

To reporters, Tenney said she had not watched Trump’s latest press conference.

“I didn’t see the president’s press conference yesterday,” Tenney said. “I think what the president did in condemning racism, condemning this white supremacy, condemning any kind of identity politics that are going on and this violence that is occurring on both sides, I think it’s the right thing to do.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was quick to criticize Tenney’s remarks as the party seeks to gain the swing district seat in next year’s midterm elections.

“Representative Tenney is helping President Trump defend Nazis, the KKK and white supremacists,” said DCCC spokesman Evan Lukaske.

“Her disgusting comments are an embarrassment to the people she represents, who likely didn’t think they elected a Nazi apologist last fall. Her defense of racism shows exactly why she needs to be replaced.”

Tenney was elected to the 22nd congressional district last year, replacing moderate Republican Rep. Richard Hanna. Democrats are hopeful this will be among a handful of battleground districts next year that the party can flip.

Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi has declared he’s running for the seat.

Cuomo Urges Army To Rename Confederate Streets

Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged in a letter to the acting secretary of the Army to renamed two streets in Brooklyn that bare the names of Confederate-era generals.

The streets — named for Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee — are located on Fort Hamilton Army Base.

Requests earlier this month from lawmakers and community leaders to change the names of the streets was denied.

“Given the events of this week, including the violence and terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists in Charlottesville and the resulting emboldening of the voices of Nazis and white supremacists, I now strongly urge the U.S. Army to reconsider its decision and I call on them to rename these streets,” Cuomo wrote to Acting Secretary Ryan McCarthy.

“The events of Charlottesville and the tactics of white supremacists are a poison in our national discourse, and every effort must be made to combat them.”

McCarthy by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Rozic Touts ‘Rising Stars’ Designation From NYLCV

Queens Democratic Assemblywoman Nily Rozic on Wednesday touted her designation as a rising star from the New York League of Conservation Voters.

The environmental group this week released its first environmental scorecard, giving Rozic a perfect score.

“I am proud of my perfect score with the New York League of Conservation Voters, and applaud their work in transforming New York to a cleaner, greener, and environmentally-friendly state. From our health to our mass transit and economy, we are all impacted by the quality of our environment.” Rozic said in a statement. “I remain committed to introducing and supporting environmentally conscious legislation.”

Rozic pointed to her bill that would require the state Department of Transportation to release data on taxpayer-financed capital projects.

“The New York League of Conservation Voters congratulates Assemblywoman Rozic on her 100% rating on the 2017 environmental scorecard. We look forward to continuing our relationship and work with Ms. Rozic to tackle environmental issues both in his district and statewide,” said Marcia Bystryn, the executive director of the New York League of Conservation Voters.

Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou and Sen. Jamaal Bailey also received rising star designation by the group.

Tenney: Trump Right To Condemn ‘Both Sides’

Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney on Wednesday told reporters she backed President Trump’s comments condemning racism and violence on “both sides” of violent clashes in Virginia.

Tenney, elected last year to the 22nd congressional district, said she did not see Trump’s press conference on Tuesday in which he criticized counter demonstrators as the “alt left” and suggested some of the protesters who opposed the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee were peaceful and quiet.

“I didn’t see the president’s press conference yesterday,” Tenney said. “I think what the president did in condemning racism, condemning this white supremacy, condemning any kind of identity politics that are going on and this violence that is occurring on both sides, I think it’s the right thing to do.”

Tenney pointed to her trip to Israel and her meeting a Holocaust survivor, which she said reinforced the notion of pushing for peace.

“We need to continue to be advocates,” she said. “We can’t be bystanders. We have to stand up against this type of unfortunate situation that’s happening with humanity.”

Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, a candidate to challenge Tenney next year, blasted Trump’s Tuesday news conference, citing the action of white supremacist leaders.

“He was giving them cover for their despicable behavior that was displayed this weekend in Virginia,” he said. “There’s no place for it in this country in 2017. There’s no place for this and we certainly can’t turn a blind eye to the hatred that we’re seeing in Charlottesville.”

Cox Says The IDC Is Focused On Policy

State Republican Chairman Ed Cox on Wednesday said the Independent Democratic Conference in the state Senate is focused on policy, saying that makes it easier for them to work on legislation with Republicans in the chamber.

“The IDC knows the Senate Democrats themselves are so really committed to policies that are economically bad for New York state,” Cox said in an interview with WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom. “They would rather work with Republicans in the Senate than the Democrats.”

Cox also praised IDC Leader Jeff Klein, who has come under pressure from liberals and mainline Democrats to rejoin the mainline conference or form a new alliance with his party.

“The leader of the independent Democrats, Jeff Klein, is really policy oriented,” Cox said.

IDC lawmakers are actually closer to mainline Democrats on policy issues, especially when it comes to immigration, abortion, the minimum wage and paid family leave.

Allies of the mainline Democrats have accused the IDC of working as a key bloc with Senate Republicans in order to benefit from the trappings of power, such as leadership posts.