Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo Blasts Latest GOP Advance On Health Care

The U.S. Senate achieved approval of a key procedural vote to move forward with an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the health care law also known as Obamacare.

The move was blasted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has railed against the Republican effort in Congress to overhaul the health care measure.

“Republicans in Congress are shamefully putting politics before the health of millions of Americans,” Cuomo said.

“The proposals that Congressional Republicans have put forward will devastate our health care system and have a disastrous impact on New York. They will cut billions in funding for Medicaid, cripple our health care providers, and roll back the progress we have made to expand access to quality and affordable health care for millions of New Yorkers. I call on our Congressional delegation to continue to stand up for the people they represent and protect our health care. Lives may very well depend on it.”

For now, a provision that has drawn much of Cuomo’s ire, an amendment that would shift Medicaid spending from county governments to the state, has fallen out of the bill.

Cuomo Signs Bill Banning E-Cigs At School

The use of electronic cigarettes in schools has been banned in New York with the approval a bill on Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The measure applies to the use of e-cigarettes, vaping pens and other electronic smoking devices at both public and private school grounds.

“Nicotine use in any form has shown to be damaging to teens and this measure will close a dangerous loophole that allows e-cigarettes to be used in New York schools,” Cuomo said. “This measure will further this administration’s efforts to combat teen smoking in all its forms and help create a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

The measure’s approval comes as vaping and other e-cigarette devices are becoming increasingly popular. In the last two years, the number of high schools students using the devices has nearly doubled.

“Keeping our youth safe is a top priority, and by banning e-cigarettes on all school grounds, the Governor is helping in our efforts to establish healthier, stronger communities for our children to learn, grow and excel in,” said Sen. Patty Ritchie. “I am proud to support this new legislation to ban these toxic habits, as we protect the well-being of the next generation of leaders for the Empire State.”

Cuomo Signs Anti-Animal Fighting Bill

A bill that expands animal fighting to the list of designated offenses for an electronic or video surveillance warrant was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The measure was one of 11 bills Cuomo approved today.

“This is a particularly cruel and heinous crime, and we must use every tool at our disposal to stamp out these despicable acts once and for all,” Cuomo said. “This legislation will give law enforcement new powers to crack down on these rings, protect animals from harm and bring these criminals to justice.”

The bill allows for warrants for eavesdropping and video surveillance for the investigation of animal fighting crimes, and was backed by Sen. Phil Boyle and Assemblyman Chuck Lavine.

“Animal fighting fuels some of the most violent enterprises that corrupt our neighborhoods, and many people did not know that animal fighting was not eligible for a warrant to conduct electronic surveillance,” Boyle said in a statement.

“Apart from the well-established social science link between violence against animals and violence against people, law enforcement throughout the state has seen first-hand that vigorous investigations and prosecutions of animal fighting exposes gang networks, narcotics rings, weapons trafficking activity, and other sophisticated and violent criminal enterprises. I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this measure into law.”

Cuomo also signed legislation naming a bridge after the late State Trooper Timothy Pratt and dealing with the jurisdiction of St. Regis Mohawk tribal police officers.

League Of Women Voters Wants Cuomo’s Voter Drive To Go Further

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push to register more people to vote needs to go further, the League of Women Voters said in a statement on Monday.

The Daily News reported this morning Cuomo will sign an executive order that would require state agencies to make voter registration forms available to the New Yorkers they deal with and help them fill the form out if needed.

But the group notes Cuomo’s order comes after the Legislature failed to take up measures that would make it easier to register and to vote in New York, including early voting and electronic poll books.

“While we appreciate Governor Cuomo’s intentions, his proposed executive order will do little to address the issues New York State voters face on Election Day. Voter purges, strict registration and party change deadlines, and long lines at the polls cannot be fixed with enhanced voter registration,” said Jennifer Wilson of the League of Women Voters.

“Studies show that voter registration is not a major issue in New York State. In 2016, voter registration in New York State reached a record high. Unfortunately, many of these newly enrolled voters faced barriers at the voting booths that deterred them from casting their ballot. While we agree that state agencies should take a more active role in voter registration, we would prefer to see an executive order that enacts early voting, alters registration deadlines, or allows for electronic poll books. The only way to truly empower voters and ensure ballot integrity is to make voting easier and more accessible.”

Cuomo had proposed those changes during the legislative session, but the measures face opposition in the Republican-controlled state Senate.

Cuomo, however, indicated in a statement he does indeed want the reforms to go further than the executive order he’s signing today.

“It is our responsibility to make it as easy as possible for people to vote because that’s what democracy looks like,” Cuomo said. “As the federal government and foreign powers threaten the sanctity of America’s democracy, I am exercising my executive power to expand the availability and opportunity for every New Yorker to register to vote. I am also continuing the fight for legislative reforms, including early voting and same-day registration, that increase access to vote for people throughout this state. Whether you are a student in college or a grandparent living on social security, there should be no artificial barriers to register and take part in the electoral process.”

Judge Lifts Restraining Order That Would Stop WNYCPC Veto

An appellate judge in Western New York will consider reversing a temporary restraining order which among other things, prohibits the governor from vetoing a bill that stops the collocation of the region’s children and adult psychiatric centers. A state Supreme Court justice signed the injunction last week.

Attorneys will have to show cause why the TRO should or should not be vacated on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the restraining order will NOT be in effect until the hearing.

A hearing in regards to the actual lawsuit, which calls to stop the state from moving the children’s center from West Seneca to Buffalo, is scheduled for the next day. The attorney for the coalition suing the state said because the two hearings are so closed together, they’re not sure it’s worth fighting the appeal.

“The judge did not do anything substantively with the underlying relief we are seeking from the court, which pleases us,” Steve Cohen, of the HoganWillig Law Firm, said. “With signatures supporting the children psychiatric center rolling in every day to Assemblyman (Mickey) Kearns and Senator (Pat) Gallivan, we are more confident than ever that we will ultimately prevail.

The latest ruling also means work to merge the campuses can resume.



Paid Family Leave Regulations Adopted

New York’s regulations for its paid family leave program were adopted on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

The program, approved last year, provides coverage starting in January 2017 and will be phased in over four years.

Starting in 2018, employees will be eligible for up to eight weeks of paid leave at half of their weekly wage. By 2021, the average weekly wage will be up to 67 percent of the state average weekly wage.

The coverage will be provided for the first 12 months of a birth, adoption or fostering of a child or for those caring for a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild with a serious health condition.

At the same time, provisions are made for those who are providing family assistance when a loved one is deployed on active military duty.

“There is a time in everyone’s lives where being there for a loved one in need is more important than anything and – finally – New Yorkers will no longer have to choose between losing their job and being a decent human being,” Cuomo said. “By enacting and implementing the strongest paid family leave program in the nation, this administration is taking yet another step forward to providing economic justice to all New Yorkers.”

Coverage will be provided as a rider to an employer’s existing disability insurance policy and will be funded though a payroll deduction.

Starting next year, the maximum employee contribution will be 0.126 percent of an employees weekly wage. While mandatory for private employers, public employees are allowed to opt out.

State Dems Housekeeping Account Rakes In Labor Money

The “housekeeping” or soft money campaign account for the state Democratic Committee in the last six months has raised heavily from a variety of labor unions as Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks to topple Republican House members who have backed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Filings made public Tuesday show the committee has received donations from unions with political ties to the governor, including two, $250,000 contributions from the Hotel Trades Council and 1199 SEIU.

The American Federation of Teachers donated $100,000 as did the New York State Nurses Association.

Cuomo has pledged to unseat Republican members of the Congress from New York who backed the measure to repeal much of the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Cuomo has plans to target Reps. Lee Zeldin, John Faso, Elise Stefanik, Claudia Tenney, Tom Reed and Chris Collins.

The effort included a rally on Monday in which the governor made a rare joint appearance with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The committee also reported spending $500,000 in “media services” as Cuomo dipped into the committee coffers to fund TV ads promoting his budget proposal.

Big Donors Continue To Flock To Cuomo

Donations from prominent and wealthy donors continued to flock to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign, records made public on Tuesday show.

Cuomo’s re-election campaign on Monday reported he raised more than $5 million over the last six month reporting period, ending it with more than $25 million in cash on hand as he gears up for a third term campaign next year.

And the large-dollar fundraising has not slowed down.

Cuomo received a $25,000 donation from Jim Walton, a member of the family that controls retail giant Walmart. He also received a $25,000 donation from movie studio mogul Harvey Weinstein. Ken Langone, the founder of Home Depot and a prominent backer of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, also gave Cuomo $25,000.

Businessman George McDonald, a longtime Cuomo supporter, contributed $20,000 weeks before he was appointed to the MTA’s board by the governor.

The Great Public Schools PAC, a political action committee led by Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz, gave contributions to Cuomo totaling $50,000.

The law firm that includes prominent attorney David Boies gave Cuomo $25,000 as well.

Cuomo also reported an in-kind travel contribution worth $17,588 from Michael Falcone, the CEO of Pioneer Companies, based in Syracuse.

The governor’s fundraiser with Billy Joel at the Nassau Events Center cost his campaign $40,000.

Cuomo’s campaign also spent $23,962 listed as fundraisers with the New York Yankees.

State Dems Report Raising $1.5M

From the Morning Memo:

The state Democratic Committee on Monday reported top line fundraising numbers showing the party had raised more than $1.5 million over the last six months.

But the committee, under the control of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also spent heavily during that time as well, showing $969,129 in expenses.

The committee ended the six month reporting period with $927,202 in cash on hand, according to Executive Director Basil Smikle.

A full itemized report of how the committee spent its money, and where it was raised from, is yet to be posted on the Board of Elections website.

But during the budget talks in March, Cuomo used funds from the state committee to promote his spending plan in TV ads, as well as ads celebrating the state’s diversity and efforts to oppose the federal health care bill to replace Obamacare.

Cuomo’s campaign on Monday reported more than $25 million in cash on hand for his re-election bid.

Siena Poll: Cuomo Numbers Fall

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s favorability and job approval ratings over the last two months have fallen as voters give him low marks for handling New York City’s transit problems, a Siena College poll released on Tuesday found.

At the same time, voters are split at 46 percent evenly on whether they would re-elect him next year to a third term.

The tumbling poll numbers in the Siena survey come days after a Quinnipiac poll showed Cuomo with similarly worsening job approval numbers in addition to his fellow statewide elected officials.

The poll shows Cuomo’s favorability rating since May has fallen 19 percentage points, from 61 percent to 31 percent to 52 percent to 41 percent — his lowest level in the poll since February 2016.

His job performance rating stands at a negative 43 percent to 55 percent, a decline from a positive 51 percent to 46 percent rating only two months ago.

Regionally, Cuomo is underwater among upstate voters, with 44 percent holding a favorable opinion of him, while in the suburbs — a key base of support for him — half of voters hold a favorable view. Cuomo draws a 58 percent favorable rating from New York City voters.

Politically, Cuomo retains support from 68 percent of self-identified liberals.

The results suggest the toll the ongoing transit problems have taken on the governor, as commuters on the subway in New York City contend with delayed trains and aging infrastructure.

Cuomo has called for increased control over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and is pushing local governments within the MTA’s service area to spend more on transit in the area, including New York City.

But Cuomo, who in effect controls the MTA board, has a negative 26 percent to 59 percent job performance rating when it comes to his handling of mass transit issues. That is better than the negative 20 percent rating given to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

But voters, by margin of 52 percent to 33 percent believe Cuomo, not the mayor, is responsible for overseeing the MTA.

“It appears likely that a major reason for Cuomo’s lower poll numbers relate to issues surrounding the MTA, for which only about one-quarter of voters – downstate and upstate – rate Cuomo positively,” Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said. “While Cuomo’s re-elect and job performance ratings fell by 23 and 27 points, respectively, among voters in the MTA region, they both ticked down only a single point among voters not in the MTA region.”

Meanwhile, a plurality of voters — 47 percent to 37 percent — oppose naming the Tappan Zee Bridge after former Gov. Mario Cuomo. A plurality of independents oppose the name change as does a majority of Republican voters. Cuomo had sought the name change in the final day of the legislative session and it was later approved in an omnibus bill in an extraordinary session.

Voters are split on whether to legalize marijuana use: 49 percent back it, while 47 percent oppose it. Most Democrats, 58 percent, support the move, while 60 percent of Republicans oppose it.

Two-thirds of voters say they haven’t heard anything about the upcoming referendum on whether to hold a constitutional convention. A plurality of voters, 47 percent, support holding one, the poll found.

The poll of 793 registered voters was conducted from July 9 to July 13. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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