Jun 24th - 3:14 pm
A bill that would allow for the over-the-counter sale of naloxone — a drug used to counter the effects of an opioid overdose — was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. David Carlucci announced on Friday.
The measure would drug more readily available amid heightened concerns over the impact of the heroin and opioid addiction in New York.
Lawmakers approved a package of bills at the end of the legislative session this month aimed at countering the addiction crisis, including measures aimed at making it easier to gain access to treatment and new prevention programs.
“Having Naloxone readily available is a great first step in our battle against overdose deaths from opioids and heroin,” said Carlucci, who sponsored the naloxone bill. “New York State has set an example for all other states in the nation to follow by making Naloxone over-the-counter for our residents.”
The new law requires pharmacies with 20 or more locations in the state to register with the Department of Health’s overdose prevention program — allowing pharmacies to dispense naloxone for those who request it.
A report released earlier this year by the Senate found 28,647 deaths nationally occurred from opioid overdoses. Eight percent of those deaths occurred in New York.
“The bottom line is that Naloxone will save lives,” Carlucci said.
Jun 24th - 12:33 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday praised the announcement from President Obama that the iconic Stonewall Inn in New York City would be designated a national monument.
The monument for Stonewall. the site of a 1969 riot following a police raid, is the first designation to commemorate LGBT rights and history.
“There is no more fitting location for the first monument to LGBT history than Christopher Park across from the Stonewall Inn,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“Since 1969, New York has led the nation in the fight for LGBT rights. The Stonewall Uprising sparked a movement that we still feel to this day, and I am proud that we uphold that legacy by continuing to push for equal rights for all New Yorkers.”
The designation comes five years to do the day New York’s state Senate adopted a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, a move that was followed up by the U.S. Supreme Court recognizing gay marriages in all 50 states four years later.
The monument will preserve Christopher Park across from Stonewall Inn, as a national monument to LGBT history in the U.S. The designation came after Cuomo in April approved a bill that allowed the city of New York to transfer Christopher Park to the U.S. government in order to create a park, or monument for historic purpose.
Jun 23rd - 1:50 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Thursday designed to tackle so-called “zombie” houses — blighted properties that have fallen into foreclosure and disrepair.
The bill, signed by Cuomo in Onondaga County, has two components: Making it easier for homeowners to fight foreclosure and combat the blight created by foreclosed properties.
“For many New Yorkers, homes are our single most important investment, but that investment can be undermined by the blight of neglected and abandoned properties,” Cuomo said. “For each zombie home that we cure and for each that we prevent with this legislation, we are saving entire neighborhoods from the corrosive effect of blight and neglect.”
The new law builds on efforts to slow the foreclosure process for homeowners by strengthening the effectiveness of Mandatory Settlement Conferences. A consumer bill of rights is established with added protections for homeowners who are contesting foreclosures. And a community restoration fund is being created, which will buy defaulted mortgaged notes from lenders and offer favorable modifications to keep homeowners from losing their property.
At the same time, the law imposes new pre-foreclosure requirements on banks and lending services to maintain vacant and abandon properties.
The law also expedites the foreclosure of vacant and abandoned properties that homeowners no longer want, requiring a foreclosing party to move to auction within 90 days of obtaining judgment.
An electronic registering of vacant properties is also being established.
The package of provisions was sought by the five-member Independent Democratic Conference in the state Senate, who had proposed the measures in recent months to combat zombie property vacancies.
“Today is a victory for every community in New York State,” said IDC Leader Jeff Klein. “From The Bronx to Buffalo, zombie properties impact every corner of our state resulting in blight and diminished property values for surrounding homeowners.”
Jun 23rd - 12:38 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo predicted on Thursday the debate over a bill that would make it easier for victims of sexual abuse to sue will return next year, even as nuances remain to the measure’s passage.
The bill, known as the Child Victims Act, would expand the statute of limitations for victims of abuse, had opposed by the Catholic Church, but pushed for by victim advocates and The Daily News in a series of pointed front-page headlines.
“It is a controversial act by and large,” Cuomo said during a visit to Solvay in central New York. “I understand and support the extension of the statute of limitations, but it has to be done carefully.”
Cuomo acknowledged that by expanding the statute of limitations, the accused would have a difficult time mounting a defense in court
“It’s going to be hard to reconstruct a defense, where you were 10 years ago,” Cuomo said. “The statute of limitations has a bona fide rationale in the law. On the other hand, it can be prevent victims from getting the redress they deserve. That’s the balance.”
The measure ultimately did not pass the Legislature this year.
Businessman Gary Greenberg, himself a victim of abuse, has pledged to spend up to $200,000 to oppose lawmakers re-elections who did not back the measure. Greenberg and victim advocates earlier on Thursday delivered petition signatures to Cuomo’s office at the Capitol urging him to support the bill.
“It was debated in the Assembly and Senate,” Cuomo said. “We didn’t come to a resolution, my guess is it will come to a debate again next year.”
Jun 23rd - 7:07 am
From the Morning Memo:
As he signed a package of bills into law aimed at stemming the tide of heroin and opioid addiction in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo singled out Senate Republicans on Wednesday for praise.
Speaking on Long Island as part of a series of signing ceremonies around the state on Wednesday, Cuomo specifically credited the GOP-led chamber’s anti-heroin task force, which launched in 2014, calling the measures a “major turning point” in the heroin crisis that has gripped parts of the state.
“In truth, kudos to the Senate,” Cuomo said. “The Senate raised this issue very early on, Sen. Flanagan raised this issue very early on. Being from Long Island he knew it first hand.”
The measures come amid a record-high number of deaths from heroin or opioid-related abuse in 2014, according to a report released earlier this month by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office.
Ultimately the task force would recommend 11 bills aimed at prevention and treatment as well as law enforcement provisions.
“They came up with a really intelligent plan and that’s the plan we’re enacting with the appropriate funding,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo would launch his own task force in May to hold listening sessions around the state to discuss the issue, with lawmakers and the administration eventually settling on a package of bills designed to make it easier to obtain treatment under insurance policies as well as limit the prescription of painkillers that lead to addiction.
In April, the 2016-17 state budget included $189 million in funding for anti-heroin measures, $20 million than the Senate Republicans had initially proposed spending.
Jun 22nd - 5:00 pm
Mayor Bill de Blasio was “lucky” to get an extension of mayoral control even for one year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Staten Island on Wednesday, pointing to opposition from Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats.
“Both houses the Senate and Assembly were decidedly mixed whether to extend mayoral control or not,” Cuomo said. “The Senate didn’t favor extending mayoral control and had many reservations about how it was working under the mayor. The Assembly was also decidedly mixed. Anyone who says the Assembly had full-throated support for mayoral control wasn’t there.”
The Democratic-led Assembly backed Cuomo’s proposal earlier this year for an extension of mayoral control of three years, without any changes to the program.
Senate Republicans, however, remain locked in a deep feud with mayor, as does Cuomo.
Ultimately, de Blasio will have to return to Albany next year as he runs for re-election to seek yet another extension.
Cuomo pointed to the previous discomfort Assembly Democrats had expressed for mayoral control under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent.
Bloomberg was the first mayor to receive direct control of the city’s education system, a power that had been sought by Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“Many of the Democrats in the Assembly voted against it then,” Cuomo said. “Many of the Democrats in the Assembly are against it again.”
De Blasio pointedly praised Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s backing of a three-year extension as well as his efforts at the negotiating table in a statement issued earlier this week that excluded any mention of Cuomo.
“I think the mayor frankly is lucky he got it extended at all because there was very strong sentiment just not to extend it,” Cuomo said. “Again, that was in both houses.”
At the same time, Cuomo insisted mayoral control remains not only controversial, but suggested it wasn’t fully tested.
“This was not the Old Testament,” he said. “It’s a relatively new experiment.”
Jun 22nd - 3:45 pm
After lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on expanding ride-hailing apps to upstate New York and passed limitations on Airbnb advertising rentals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged on Wednesday the need to make room for emerging technologies, but also protect legacy businesses.
“It is an adjustment and it is a transition,” Cuomo said in Buffalo during a question-and-answer session with reporters. “You want to protect the traditional industry, but you also want to welcome the tech community.”
An effort to allow apps like Lyft and Uber to operate outside of New York City fell apart in the Legislature in the final weeks of the session as lawmakers could not come to an agreement on the specifics of insurance needs for the companies.
Meanwhile, a bill that limits multi-family dwellings from being rented online was approved, a move that was opposed by Airbnb, an online apartment and housing rental company.
Cuomo did not give an indication as to whether he would sign the Airbnb legislation, but added there should be a balance for emerging technologies and traditional industry they threaten to displace.
“We are in a transition where traditional industries are meeting the tech industries,” Cuomo said. “You want to make sure the consumer is protected in all of it, but it is a transition that we have to work through.”
The ride-sharing issue in particular could return in the next legislative session in January. Cuomo called ride-hailing apps a “great service” that saves fuel and vosts.
“I have no doubt we will figure it out, the Legislature just ran out of time to deal with it,” he said.
Jun 22nd - 3:02 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to have “some role” at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next month, but would not say if that includes a speaking slot.
“I’m sure I’ll have some role,” Cuomo said, “but I also sure it’s not about me.”
Cuomo was appointed the New York delegation leader by state Democrats on Tuesday, a move that came to the chagrin of supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
In 2012, Cuomo kept a low profile at the convention in Charlotte, traveling there and back to New York in the space of a single day. His only public speaking event was to New York Democrats and he attended President Obama’s remarks to close out the convention.
Cuomo this year has been a vocal supporter for Hillary Clinton, knocking Sanders’s record on gun control into the lead up of the state’s presidential primary in April.
Jun 22nd - 12:27 pm
Lawmakers won’t be called back for a special session to pass more ethics and campaign-finance reform measures, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he would like to see broader changes included in a constitutional convention.
Cuomo in Buffalo on Wednesday reiterated the legislative session — including the passage of the 2016-17 state budget that included a tax cut, a minimum wage increase and a 12-week paid family leave program — as “remarkably productive.”
“We have groundbreaking campaign finance rules in what they call the Citizens United area,” Cuomo said.
But he also acknowledged more could have and should have been done amid criticism the final weeks of the session that produced limits to super PAC coordination, first passage of a constitutional amendment for stripping corrupt officials of their pensions and new disclosure requirements for political consultants was not enough.
“We got a lot done; we didn’t get everything done,” Cuomo said. “That’s normally the way.”
Amid calls from some for Cuomo to exercise his power to call lawmakers back to Albany to take measures such as limiting outside income the Legislature can earn or closing the LLC loophole in campaign finance law, the governor said he’s focused on getting those changes into a rewriting of the state constitution.
“There’s no point to calling them back because the measures they didn’t do they don’t want to do,” Cuomo said. “I don’t believe they’re going to get done without what’s called a constitutional convention, without the people coming to the table and actually rewriting those changes.”
A constitutional convention is up for a vote in a referendum scheduled for 2017. Cuomo this year proposed reforms to how constitutional conventions in order to limit the impact of special interests. That proposal was not taken up by lawmakers.
Calls for ethics legislation — varying measures have been approved virtually every year Cuomo has been governor — come as still more investigations are underway into the state’s economic development programs in upstate New York and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s political activities in New York City.
Cuomo reiterated on Wednesday he wanted to get to the bottom of potential wrongdoing in the Buffalo Billion project, but he had not been contacted by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office.
“I have not,” Cuomo said, “but I have said if there’s anyway I can be helpful, I will be.”
Jun 22nd - 11:49 am
Speaking with reporters in Buffalo on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave a rosy outlook for the potential takeover of SolarCity by Tesla.
The proposed acquisition of the company comes after a significant state investment in the RiverBend site, where a factory for SolarCity is being built, a key project in the Buffalo Billion economic development program.
Both companies are affiliated with billionaire businessman Elon Musk.
“If it actually went through, I can’t say anything but good,” Cuomo said. “Tesla is a $20 billion company. SolarCity is a $2 billion company. If Tesla takes over SolarCity, that makes the company that much stronger. If it happens, I think it’s very positive news. But let’s see if it happens.”
SolarCity has faced financial challenges in recent weeks, while payments to the Buffalo Billion in some instances have been delayed, causing concerns layoffs would be needed before the next cash infusion.
More questions have been raised about the Buffalo Billion, too, as the project falls under the scrutiny of the U.S. attorney’s office amid a sprawling investigation.
Cuomo repeatedly with reporters talked about the strength of SolarCity, calling it a “significant, powerful company.”
“SolarCity is a very strong company — $2 billion — that’s great. If Telsa takes over, that can only be great,” Cuomo said. “I think the leadership of SolarCity is great. Tesla would be even better. We had no reason it would happen, but it would be great if it did.”