Flanagan Rips ‘Ridiculous Public Policy’ Of Parolees Voting

Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan ripped Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order that would grant parolees the right to vote in New York, charging that the governor is “exchanging votes at the expense of public safety.”

Cuomo on Wednesday announced the executive order, which would apply to the more than 35,000 people on parole in New York.

“It’s ridiculous public policy,” Flanagan told reporters at the Capitol in Albany. “He said, I’m tired of waiting. I’m going to do something like this on my own and the taxpayers should be absolutely outraged.”

Flanagan also insisted Cuomo did not raise the topic in the budget negotiations, though the governor’s office insists the issue was raised at a lower level of negotiations. Similar orders have been placed in 14 other states, including Indiana, Montana, North Dakota and Utah as well as Washington, D.C.

“The way this should be done is we have hearings, we have committees, and a legitimate public policy discussion that the governor doesn’t want to engage in,” Flanagan said. “I think he’s trying to expand the universe of people who are eligible to vote and I don’t agree.”

Flanagan did not rule out a legal challenge to the executive order, which rests in large part on the governor’s ability to issue pardons contained in the state constitution.

Asked if he thought Cuomo was issuing the order because of the primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon the Democratic primary for governor, Flanagan said, “Yes, and I still think it’s bad public policy regardless. He’s saying we don’t need a Legislature.”

SD-37: Business Council PAC Endorses Killian For Senate

The Business Council’s political action committee on Wednesday endorsed Republican state Senate hopeful Julie Killian’s bid for a pivotal seat in the chamber.

“The Business Council of New York State Political Action Committee is pleased to endorse Julie Killian for election to the New York State Senate,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

“Julie has the type of pro-growth, pro-taxpayer platform badly needed in New York State. Her commitment to lowering the cost of doing business, keeping property taxes in check, and growing the economy is exactly what the hardworking taxpayers of the 37th Senate District are looking for in their representative. Her background in business, along with her past public service, makes her an attractive candidate for our members who remain focused on economic growth and job creation.”

Killian, a former Rye councilwoman, is running for the seat vacated earlier this year by Westchester County Executive George Latimer. She faces Democratic Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer.

The seat is seen as key for Democrats to potentially take control of the Senate ahead of next Tuesday’s special election. The push for a Democratic takeover has led the Independent Democratic Conference to dissolve and return to the mainline conference fold.

Democrats would still have to convince Sen. Simcha Felder, a registered Democrat, to switch from the Republican conference and give them a working 32-member majority.

A Killian victory would dash that plan for the time being, allowing Republicans to maintain their last lever of power in state government.

Where Cuomo’s Opponents Stand On Releasing Taxes

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign on Tuesday challenged his rivals to release their tax returns as he has done over the last decade.

The statement prompted his Democratic primary opponent Cynthia Nixon to announce she would release her taxes in the coming weeks (Nixon and her wife filed for an extension, her campaign said).

Republicans, meanwhile, suggested they would be doing the same.

“We will make Marc’s taxes for inspection in the coming days and they will demonstrate his family is decidedly more in touch with the middle class than Governor Cuomo,” said Katherine Delgado, a spokeswoman for Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.

Molinaro’s family income is estimated to be at around $170,000 in 2017.

Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Republican from Syracuse, would release his tax return if he is the party’s nominee, spokesman Bill O’Reilly said in an email.

As a lawmaker, DeFrancisco is required to file financial disclosure statements annually with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

Cuomo’s federal adjusted gross income last year was $212,776, but is no longer receiving income from his book, “All Things Possible.”

It’s customary the state’s top elected officials make their annual tax returns public.

NY-2: Democrat Shirley Raises $200K

From the Morning Memo:

One of the Democrats running in the state’s 2nd congressional district has raised more than $200,000 in the first quarter of 2018, doubling her primary opponent.

The campaign of Liuba Grechen Shirley announced on Tuesday it had raised $200,430 in the first three months of the year, easily besting the $91,869 raised by DuWayne Gregory, her primary opponent in the upcoming primary in June.

“Long Islanders know Liuba Grechen Shirley is the strongest candidate to unseat Peter King—and that’s why she raised more than double what her primary challenger brought in,” said campaign manager Anna Brichacek.

“The grassroots momentum behind our campaign makes it clear voters want a real change in Congress—and they know Grechen Shirley is the candidate who will fight to pass Medicare for All and make sure every family on Long Island can afford quality healthcare.”

Shirley has received 3,308 individual contributions in the election cycle overall.

The winner of the primary will take on Republican Rep. Peter King for the Long Island district this fall.

Molinaro Receives Conservative Party Nod

The top officials at the state Conservative Party announced Monday it will back Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro for governor.

The move makes Molinaro the increasingly likely candidate to secure the Republican endorsement next month when state GOP committee meets in New York City.

“Marc Molinaro will make New York more affordable and end Andrew Cuomo’s culture of corruption – he has the record, the message and the integrity to get our state back on track,” said Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long.

Molinaro is competing for the Republican nod against state Sen. John DeFrancisco and Joe Holland, a former official in Gov. George Pataki’s administration.

Molinaro since February has racked up a majority of the weighted vote of Republican county chairs ahead of the May state convention.

“Thank you Mike Long and the executive committee of the State Conservative Party for your support,” Molinaro said. “I’m running to unite New York in a common purpose to make this state affordable, hold this government accountable and break down barriers for all New Yorkers.”

Faso Compliments DiNapoli

Republican Rep. John Faso in a radio interview on Friday spoke highly of Democratic state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, calling him “an able public servant.”

Faso ran for comptroller in 2002, but served with DiNapoli in the state Assembly.

“The fact is that Tom DiNapoli is an able public servant and I think it’s a difficult task to take on that campaign,” Faso said on Fred Dicker’s “Focus On The State Capitol” on Talk-1300. “I’ve known Tom DiNapoli since I came into the Assembly and I have personal regard for him and I think he’s a man of integrity. He and I differ politically, but personally I have a very high regard for him.”

Faso and DiNapoli may differ politically, but they have both been at odds, in different ways, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the years.

Faso was not totally enthused with Jonathan Trichter, the Democratic consultant who is running for the Republican line for state comptroller. Trichter worked for Harry Wilson, a Republican businessman who ran for comptroller in 2010 against DiNapoli and bowed out of the race for governor this year.

“I would prefer a Republican, but at the same time Mr. Trichter is a smart young man,” he said.

Asked why a Democrat was seeking the GOP’s line for a statewide office, Faso said: “Maybe because there isn’t anybody else who wants to run.”

Republicans Want Opioid Tax Revenue In A ‘Lock Box’

From the Morning Memo:

Republicans are pushing to have the revenue from a tax on pharmaceutical companies be put into a dedicated fund to combat opioid and heroin addiction.

The tax was approved as part of the state budget agreement and is expected to generate $100 million. The provision was proposed as a way to raise revenue to fight addiction.

But Republicans, including Sen. Terrence Murphy and 37th Senate district candidate Julie Killian, believe the money needs to be transferred to a so-called “lock box” to ensure the funding will go to fight addiction and pay for treatment.

“Albany cannot be allowed to play games with funding meant to help fight the opioid epidemic,” said Murphy, a lawmaker who represents the northern New York City suburbs. “People are dying every single day and families are being torn apart by this epidemic.  We’re finally making the pharmaceutical companies pay the damage they have caused but we can’t let Albany’s sleight of hand tricks keep that money from helping the people it is intended to.”

Killian, who is running in a pivotal special election on April 24 to fill the district vacated by Westchester County Executive George Latimer, said the tax amounted to a “bait and switch” if the revenue isn’t sent to a dedicated and protected fund.

“To fix this problem, once elected, I will propose creating a lock box for the money that is raised by this surcharge to ensure that it goes directly to effective programs that help people and families who are suffering from addiction in addition to programs that are focused on addressing the root causes of addiction,” she said.

AFL-CIO Endorses Donovan’s Re-Election

The New York State AFL-CIO on Thursday endorsed Republican Rep. Dan Donovan’s bid for re-election as he faces a challenge from his predecessor, former Rep. Mike Grimm, in a heated primary.

“It means so much to me to once again have the support of the hardworking men and women of the NYS AFL-CIO in my campaign,” Donovan said in a statement.

“As the son of a longshoreman and factory worker, I understand the struggles New York families face and I fight for them everyday in Congress. Working with President Trump, we are undoing the damage of the unfair trade deals my opponent voted for that have hurt our economy. I will always put American jobs and American workers first.”

The labor endorsement comes as Donovan has faced questions in his campaign over his handling of his domestic partner’s son’s arrest on heroin charges. Donovan has insisted he did not intervene in the man’s arrest and has blamed Grimm for the story.

Grimm is running a comeback race after he pleaded guilty to felony tax evasion charges.

“Throughout his time in Congress, Dan Donovan has demonstrated his commitment to his constituents, not Washington insiders, even if it wasn’t the politically easy thing to do,” AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said.

“From fighting for 9/11 responders and survivors, to voting with working people against job killing trade deals, and fighting against a tax bill that hurts working families, he has proven he understands the values and priorities of the hardworking men and women of the 11th Congressional District. We look forward to a grassroots campaign to get our members to the polls to re-elect Daniel Donovan to Congress.”

SD-37: In Ad, Killian Says She Backs Gun Control

Republican state Senate candidate Julie Killian in a TV ad released Tuesday endorsed “gun safety” measures, saying she would push for them if elected to serve in Albany.

Killian is running in the 37th Senate district in Westchester County in an April 24 special election against Democratic Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer. The race is a key contest with control of the state Senate potentially up for grabs as Democrats seek a working majority with 32 enrolled members.

In the ad, Killian adds she would fight corruption and seek to make the high-tax suburban county more affordable.

“These aren’t Republican or Democrat issues,” she said. “It’s just a matter of doing what’s right. Because we all know. It’s time for change.”

Republicans in the Senate last month agreed to a standalone bill that tightens laws against those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence of owning a firearm.

Senate GOP lawmakers since the passage of the SAFE Act have largely resisted efforts to pass new gun control measures, though pushes to repeal the law have faltered.

Trichter Launches Bid For Comptroller

From the Morning Memo:

Campaign operative Jonathan Trichter in an email and video released Monday night formally unveiled his bid for state comptroller, with plans to run on the Republican and Conservative Party lines.

Trichter is a Democrat who has largely worked for Democratic candidates, including Mark Green, Carolyn McCarthy, Eliot Spitzer and Fernando Ferrer. But he also most recently worked with Harry Wilson, a Republican businessman who unsuccessfully ran for comptroller in 2010 against incumbent Democrat Tom DiNapoli.

Wilson bowed out of running for governor at the start of the year.

He’s received public encouragement to run by state GOP Chairman Ed Cox as well as Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long.

“I had a front-row seat in the private sector to what happens when a government office meant to provide grownup supervision to Albany politicians was itself run by Albany politicians,” Trichter said. “The prior Comptroller was hauled off to prison. The current Comptroller was handpicked to fill the vacancy by disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver over the objections of every editorial board in the state.”

Trichter would be taking on DiNapoli again, who was first appointed to the post in 2007, replacing the scandal-scarred Alan Hevesi. He was elected to a full term outright in 2010. He defeated Republican Onondaga County Executive Bob Antonacci in 2014.

In his campaign announcement, Trichter indicated he would take a different track than DiNapoli.

“The Comptroller came to office not because he was qualified but because he was everybody’s best friend in Albany,” Trichter said. “It’s no surprise, then, that he has brought to bear the powers of that office to protect the Albany status quo. I don’t have any friends in Albany. I will use the powers of the Comptroller to protect ordinary New Yorkers.”