State Senate

Stewart-Cousins Raises Concerns With Pipeline

ascFrom the Morning Memo:

Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins this week sent a letter to federal regulators urging them to halt the construction of a pipeline being constructed near the Indian Point nuclear plant.

In the letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Norman Bay, Stewart-Cousins asks for work to cease on the project before an independent risk analysis can be performed.

“I believe that the myriad of questions raised with respect to the project’s potential risks to the public health and safety, as well as its proximity to Indian Point, underscore the need for such a study and analysis to be completed,” she wrote in the letter.

Stewart-Cousins’s Yonkers-area district sits down river the plant. More >

REBNY Hedging Its Bets?

flanaganFrom the Morning Memo:

The chief fundraiser for the Senate Democrats recently lunched with the newly installed leader of the Real Estate Board of New York — a meeting that comes a year before the conference tries to take full control of the chamber from the GOP majority.

Sen. Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat, had what Page Six over the weekend described as a “power lunch” with REBNY President John Banks.

The meeting is significant, if only because the consortium of monied real-estate interests has traditionally backed Republicans, who have a razor-thin majority in the chamber.

The organization in 2014 spent millions on Senate GOP efforts to win back full control of the chamber — ahead of what was expected to be a pitched battle over rent control regulations and the extension of the 421a tax abatement. More >

The Facebook Election

fialaFrom the Morning Memo:

If Facebook “likes” could be counted as votes, then Republican Fred Akshar is handily winning the social media election over Democrat Barbara Fiala.

Akshar, a Broome County undersheriff running his first campaign for elected office, has 3,022 “likes” on his campaign’s Facebook page.

Fiala, the former Broome County executive and the Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner during Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s first term, has registered 380 at Barbara Fiala For State Senate on Facebook.

Of course, a dominating social media presence alone doesn’t decide elections, nor does it gauge how well a candidate will do with voters in real life. More >

Miner: No State Senate Run in the Cards

minerFrom the Morning Memo:

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election to her current office, says “it’s flattering” to be mentioned as a potential state Senate contender, but she has no plans to run at the moment.

Miner said her name has been floated by “strangers that I don’t know” who have not spoken with her directly as a potential candidate next year for Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco’s seat.

The mayor also noted that she doesn’t live in the Republican lawmaker’s district, which would make running difficult, and has no desire to move.

“I like my house; I like my neighborhood,” Miner said. “I will continue to be an advocate for the people of the city of Syracuse and continue to try to solve problems. I know that there are a whole host of ways that that can be fulfilled.” More >

The Senate GOP’s Upstate Stake

flanaganFrom the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s claim that he is the key player in helping upstate New York’s economy steps on a key Senate Republican talking point: Who is really providing a balance in Albany to New York City interests.

Cuomo in Utica on Thursday insisted his advocacy for upstate New York has helped provided a counterweight to the interests representing New York City.

Indeed, the leadership of the two houses of the Legislature — Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanangan — are from the downstate region, the Bronx and Long Island respectively.

Both Heastie and Flanagan won their seats after defeating upstate lawmakers who sought the job: Joe Morelle and John DeFrancisco. More >

Hochul, Stewart-Cousins Rally For Planned Parenthood In Yonkers

The ongoing detente between mainline Senate Democrats and the Cuomo administration continued on Tuesday as Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul held a joint rally in support of Planned Parenthood.

The rally comes after Republicans in Washington sought to cut off federal funding for the organization after a video emerged of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the selling of tissue of aborted fetuses.

“Once again, Planned Parenthood and the critical preventative health care services it provides to millions of women are under attack by extremists in Congress,” Hochul said in a statement. “That is why today, we stand together united in support of Planned Parenthood.”

Hochul last year joined the statewide ticket with Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he focused on women’s issues during the campaign, including the passage of a 10-point Women’s Equality Agenda. More >

Long Backs Akshar For SD-52

Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long announced Tuesday he is backing Republican Fred Akshar in the 52nd Senate district special election.

Akshar receiving the line is not actually up to Long: That decision will rest with county leaders.

But the endorsement of the statewide chairman will likely go a long way for the Broome County undersherif, who is running to replace former Sen. Tom Libous in the Southern Tier district.

“Chairman Long noted that Fred Akshar’s 15 years of experience in law enforcement along with his experience in managing the Law Enforcement Division within the Broome County Sheriff’s Office would be an asset when reviewing bills and budgets,” the Conservative Party said in a statement. “His training at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA and his years working undercover should provide a unique and needed approach to restoring trust in our public officials.”

More >

A Summertime Focus On Upstate?

carlheastieAs he’s traveled across upstate New York this summer, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says he’s learned a lot from visiting the urban, suburban and rural corners of the state.

“This has really been a fact finding and a learning and eye-opening experience for me,” Heastie said during a stop in Buffalo.

The newly elected speaker traveled the state this summer to familiarize himself with the regions north of his Bronx Assembly district.

Heastie says the trip could turn into some recommendations to address issues he’s seen in upstate New York. More >

Miner For Senate?

minerFrom the Morning Memo:

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner on Thursday pushed for a series measures designed improve access to voting and make it easier to cast absentee ballots.

The bills Miner is supporting would create a 20-day early voting window, allow voters to cast absentee balloting with “no excuse” and form universal voter registration.

“New York State’s archaic voting rules disproportionally affect the poorest members of our community, individuals of color, and young people—those people who most desperately need the attention of their government,” she said in a statement. “We can no longer exacerbate this problem by perpetuating the status quo. It is time to act and I strongly encourage you to move these proposals forward.”

They also happen to be measures backed by the top Democrats in the state Senate — Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers and Queens lawmaker Mike Gianaris. More >

Non-Profit Head Files For Sampson Seat

sampsonSamuel Pierre, the executive director of a Brooklyn non-profit, has filed with the state Board of Elections to run for ex-Sen. John Sampson’s seat.

The filing for the 19th Senate district to form a campaign committee was made today, Board of Elections records show.

Pierre, the executive director of the Haitian American Caucus and former Bloomberg administration aide, may have some competition for the seat. More >