Uber Sets Sights On Westchester County

From the Morning Memo:

With the legislative session over in Albany, the debate over expanding ride hailing services is now in the state’s suburban counties.

Uber is pushing to preserve its chances to enter what would be two lucrative markets outside of New York City: Long Island and Westchester County.

The company already has started an advertising campaign to bolster its chances of operating in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Now the ride hailing firm is pushing for Westchester.

Uber late last week began airing two radio spots promoting ride hailing expansion as well as an email to those who have downloaded the firm’s app.

“Banning Uber would make Westchester one of the only counties in the country without ridesharing,” said Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang. “We will do whatever it takes to ensure that residents understand the consequence of the County’s actions and have the opportunity to make their voices are heard.”

Meanwhile, a company official on Monday published an op/ed in The Journal News arguing that disallowing ride hailing would give the county an anti-business image.

State lawmakers in the budget agreement for ride hailing expansion allowed county governments to opt out of ride hailing. A vote is planned on Wednesday in the Westchester County Legislature.

The vote comes as ride hailing is set to expand outside of New York City on Thursday.

Uber, by far the largest company that provides for ride services through an app, has faced a series of high-profile setbacks at its corporate level that culminated this month with the resignation of its founder and CEO.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. The Legislature is out of session with no plans – yet – to return to Albany this summer.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio today will visit a facility on Rikers Island and meet with correction officers and staff – an event that is closed to members of the press.

In D.C. today, Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump will lunch with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

In the afternoon, the president and First Lady Melania Trump will welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.

Pence will then join Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma for a listening session with victims of Obamacare, and later will attend an expanded bilateral meeting, joint statements, and dinner with Trump and Modi.

At 8 a.m., NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill will address the NYC Affairs Committee of the NYC Bar Association, 42 West 44th St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., Rep. Adriano Espaillat will hold a press conference in opposition to recent efforts to rename Harlem, next door to the Apollo Theater located at 253 W. 125th St., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Cardinal Dolan holds a “White Mass” to honor and bless NYC healthcare workers during “these uncertain times” for care providers and people who need care, St Patrick’s Cathedral, 5th Avenue and 50th Street, Manhattan.

At 10:45 p.m., GOP NYC mayoral candidate Paul Massey launches a Green Growth greenways/infrastructure proposal, Crotona Park, Fulton Avenue and Crotona Park North, the Bronx.

At 11 a.m., three days ahead of the June 29th start date for statewide ridesharing, Sen. David Carlucci will come together with local officials and anti-drunk driving activists to encourage the use of ridesharing over the July 4th weekend, Veterans Plaza, Corner of Main and Cedar streets, Nyack.

At 11:30 a.m., a funeral will be held for the late veteran journalist Gabe Pressman, Riverside Memorial Chapel, 180 W 76th St., Manhattan.

At 12:15 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul visits Harlem businesses with Sen. Brian Benjamin, starting at Melba’s, 300 West 114th St., Manhattan; and ending at the Harlem Business Alliance, 252 Malcolm X Blvd.

At 12:45 p.m., the hearing in the case of Buffalo City School District Board of Education v. Carl Paladino, state Department of Education continues, Regents Room, 89 Washington Ave., Albany.

At 1:15 p.m., Hochul tours Hot Bread Kitchen in La Marqueta, 1590 Park Ave., Manhattan.

At 2:30 p.m., Hochul delivers opening remarks at a NYC pay equity hearing, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Building, 163 West 125th St., Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., Massey meets and greets voters at a “Meet Paul Massey” event hosted by Bronx GOP, American Legion, 3035 Corlear Ave., the Bronx.

At 6 p.m., Sens. Andrea Stewart-Cousins and George Latimer and Assembly members Gary Pretlow and Shelley Mayer host a forum set to answer questions about the new Excelsior Scholarship, PC4 Yonkers, 16 Warburton Ave., Yonkers.

At 6:30 p.m., Queens Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal hosts a clean energy forum to provide constituents with information on what they can do to help reduce New York City’s carbon footprint, Rutgers Presbyterian Church, 236 W. 73rd St., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., Boyd Melson launches his campaign to challenge Staten Island GOP Rep. Dan Donovan, 445 Lafayette St., Apt. 16B, Manhattan.

Also at 7 p.m., de Blasio appears on NY1’s “Road to City Hall.”

Also at 7 p.m., the Ernest Skinner Political Association and Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams host a forum with several NYC mayoral candidates, Clarendon Road Church, 3304 Clarendon Rd., Brooklyn.

Also at 7 p.m., ctizens and community activists in District 13 host a town hall for state Sen. Jose Peralta, Jewish Center of Jackson Heights, 37-06 77th St. Queens.


Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara tweeted vaguely about a potential return to the public sector some day.

Bharara will announce today that he’s becoming an executive vice president at his younger brother’s media firm, Some Spider Studios.

He will write articles and also host a podcast called “Stay Tuned With Preet,” which will debut in a few months.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has embarked on an unprecedented campaign to put the stamp of the State Police on New York City, rerouting troopers to city airports and toll plazas from upstate areas that rely on them and bewildering some of the officials charged with carrying out his orders.

Cuomo is set to propose a tax on counties that would take effect if Congress enacts a health care provision to shift the $2.3 billion local share of Medicaid outside New York City on to the state.

Cuomo’s pledge to make government work and his knack for easing partisan gridlock are facing new headwinds ahead of his re-election campaign next year. The governor ended his seventh legislative session last week with important matters unresolved and lawmakers pointing fingers.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg will announce today that he’s throwing his financial might into helping beleaguered American mayors, creating a $200 million philanthropic program aimed at backing inventive policies at the city level and giving mayors a stronger hand in national politics.

U.S. Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill as opposition continued to build inside and outside Congress, and as several Republican senators questioned whether it would be approved this week.

President Trump’s son Eric took a jab at Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez by calling him a “nut job.”

Trump confirmed reports he called the House health care bill “mean,” and said former President Barack Obama used the word “meanness” in describing the measure because he did it first.

Trump said he doesn’t think congressional Republicans are “that far off” on a health overhaul to replace “the dead carcass of Obamacare.” He also he complained about “the level of hostility” in government and wondered why both parties can’t work together on the Senate bill as GOP critics expressed doubt over a successful vote this week.

Trump broke with 20 years of White House tradition by opting not to host a dinner to mark the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and reflection.

Russia is reportedly recalling Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the man who has emerged as a focal point in the FBI probe into Russia’s election meddling.

Websites belonging to ​the Long Island town of Brookhaven and the Ohio state government were hacked ​Sunday to broadcast ISIS propaganda.

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The Weekend That Was

Just as NYC Pride festivities got underway today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had some timely news to announce: The artist Anthony Goicolea had been chosen to design the first official monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people commissioned by the state.

Speaking alongside New York’s newest and first openly gay judge on the state’s highest court, Cuomo praised Paul Feinman’s legal experience and also marked the occasion of his appointment to New York Court of Appeals on the same day as New York City’s annual Pride March.

Politicians, celebrities and local organizations were some of the record-breaking 40,000 marchers in the celebration to conclude June’s plethora of Pride Month events.

President Trump today accused former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of colluding with her party to defeat her primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Trump appeared to confirm Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election while suggesting the Obama administration knew of Russian interference long before voters took to the polls.

Russia “meddled” in last year’s presidential election as part of a decades-long effort to “undermine American democracy,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo said.

Deep cuts to Medicaid, on which the Senate and House seem to agree, could force some seniors out of nursing homes.

While the House bill includes Medicaid changes that are expected to eventually cost the state $7 billion annually, most experts said it’s too soon to predict exactly how much more the Senate bill would cost, though it’s no doubt the Senate bill would be worse for New York.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Scottish actress Louise Linton exchanged vows Saturday night in a Washington wedding officiated by Vice President Pence. The president and first lady were among the guests.

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee leaders on Friday said they are seeking information about former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s alleged interference in Clinton’s private email investigation.

In a tweet, Clinton said the GOP would be “the death party” if the health care bill passes the Senate.

An adviser to Trump’s campaign who called for Clinton to be shot visited the White House just hours before the White House press secretary Sean Spicer denounced a play for seemingly urging violence against the president.

As the end of the U.S. Supreme Court term approaches, rumors of retirement have ramped up around Justice Anthony Kennedy, a pivotal judge who often bridges a gap on the bench between conservatives and liberals.

CNN has retracted a bombshell story that linked a high-profile Trump ally, Anthony Scaramucci, to a Kremlin-connected bank.

A secretive Washington firm that commissioned a dubious intelligence dossier on Trump is stonewalling congressional investigators trying to learn more about its connections to the Democratic Party.

Sanders and his wife Jane have lawyered up in the midst of a federal investigation involving a loan that led to the bankruptcy of the college where she was president.

Military chiefs will seek a six-month delay before letting transgender people enlist in their services, officials said Friday.

Ivanka Trump must testify in a dispute with an Italian shoemaker over one of her company’s shoe designs, a judge said.

Cuomo and the state Democratic Party kicked off a summer-long statewide voter registration drive Sunday at the Pride March in NYC as part of the governor’s “New York Fights Back” campaign targeting six House Republicans.

Bo Dietl, a retired NYPD detective and former Fox News contributor is now immersed in a sideshow-like bid for mayor of New York City, has had some high-profile private investigator clients.

Charter schools could seek to grab a bigger hold on the New York City education system if a law giving the mayor control over the schools is allowed to expire.

As NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio warns of “chaos and corruption” that could return if control of city schools reverts to the Board of Education, experts explain the differences and why they believe mayoral control is better in the city.

State lawmakers doled out $52 million in pork-barrel grants before leaving Albany, including $500,000 for a solar-powered carousel in Buffalo and more than $29 million to local schools and libraries, according to the Empire Center for Public Policy.

This year’s legislative session ended on a distinctly sour note, with Cuomo accusing lawmakers of “dereliction of duty.” But the session didn’t begin that well, either.

Many opponents of the Child Victims Act – a measure to make it easier for child sex abuse survivors to bring cases as adults – preferred operating in the shadows at the state Capitol, leaving the heavy lifting of fighting the bill publicly to the Catholic Church.

Grand Island supervisor Nate McMurray is standing with many other elected officials from Western New York, calling on Cuomo to either remove the tolls or make them cashless, to ease traffic congestion.

Carl Paladino is using his foes’ attempts to have him removed from office as a platform to air his grievances about the Buffalo schools, essentially shifting the spotlight off of himself and onto the many problems he’s criticized since he was first elected.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia is no stranger to the antics of the Buffalo School Board, and in her brief time as New York State’s top educator has already conveyed she does not intend to tolerate any of its nonsense.

De Blasio has sought to position New York City as a leader in the fight against climate change, but even as he has committed to quickly come up with an aggressive plan to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, the agency that is supposed to lead that effort is in flux.

Backed by $750 million in taxpayer money, the nearly $1 billion Solar City factory is the centerpiece Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative and meant to be a beacon of hope for an economically depressed city. But when will it open – if at all?

The state Department of Health is boosting New York’s medical marijuana program to meet growing demand. Effective immediately, nurse practitioners can register online and certify patients the same day.

Cuomo’s pardon of a World Trade Center disaster worker fighting deportation to Colombia after a drug conviction is the latest example of politicians trying to rescue individuals from their immigration problems, but the mixed and unpredictable results make it unlikely to become a common occurrence.

The State Police quietly probed mistreatment of female recruits and found evidence of inappropriate conduct, but never made that public and closed the inquiry, raising questions about whether the allegations were fully investigated or covered up.

The Long Island Rail Road’s anti-fraud custom of listing “M” and “F” genders on fare cards discriminates against transgender people and should be stopped, according to New York City Public Advocate Letitia James.

A teenager fell from a stopped gondola ride at Six Flags Amusement Park Saturday night, tumbling into a crowd of park guests and employees gathered below in an effort to catch the victim before she hit the ground. She’s in stable condition with no serious injuries.

The NYT approves of Cuomo’s decision to bring back Joe Lhota to run the MTA, but says his effort to take more control of the authority’s board is “not needed” and ” distraction.”

Also from the NYT: “For shooting themselves in the collective foot, Albany’s leaders could not have chosen a more effective method than their failure Wednesday night to extend Mayor Bill de Blasio’s control over New York City schools for at least another year.”

While Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority fees charged to ride-hailing companies’ customers at Buffalo’s airport are new, taxis have been paying for access to the Buffalo airport for years. So have parking lot shuttles, limousines and other ground transportation companies.

The Staten Island Advance and former Rep. Michael Grimm air their differences over the paper’s coverage of his trials an tribulations.

The design team building the 630-foot-high ferris wheel on Staten Island’s north shore got into a bitter pay dispute with the developer — and walked off the job in late May. The project has since ground to a halt.

A fourth Democrat is seeking the party’s nomination to vie for the 23rd House seat occupied by incumbent Republican Tom Reed of Corning: Eddie Sundquist, a native of Jamestown, Chautauqua County.


Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, perhaps the most vulnerable Republican facing re-election in 2018, said today he would not support the newly-released Senate health care overhaul as written, dealing a blow to his party’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton urged supporters to “speak out” against Senate Republicans’ healthcare overhaul bill, casting the matter as a choice of “people over politics.”

The Senate’s version of the American Health Care Act would cost New York’s Medicaid program billions of dollars over the next decade, putting Albany in the position of having to choose between raising taxes or cutting services and programs for hundreds of thousands.

Bill Hammond: “The U.S. Senate GOP’s health bill, though pitched as more moderate than the House plan, would be harder on New York in at least one respect. The Senate’s discussion draft…would impose a tighter Medicaid funding limit on the highest-spending states – New York among them – while being relatively generous to the lowest-spending states.”

President Trump thinks special counselor Robert Mueller’s friendship with fired FBI Director James Comey “is very bothersome.”

Trump’s warning last month that his conversations with Comey might have been taped was an attempt to affect Comey’s public statements and his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the president admitted.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is no longer in the intensive care unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, officials said.

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee leaders said they are seeking information about former attorney general Loretta Lynch’s alleged efforts to stifle the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State.

The White House has been prohibiting cameras at some press briefings, so CNN got creative today and sent a sketch artist.

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was a guest on the Daily Show.

Cuomo is poised to veto a $90 million relief package for Lake Ontario flood victims and municipalities unless lawmakers agree to make changes to the program.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he plans to put serious heat on state legislators beginning Monday to renew his control over city schools, saying the ramifications of not doing so would be catastrophic.

Syracuse University today became the fifth school in Central New York to confirm it’s opting out of a new state program that provides tuition aid to students at private colleges and university.

Three cities will host hearings beginning next week to discuss the economic impact of the gender wage gap in New York.

Food & Wine, the glossy, chef-focused food magazine, is moving from New York to Birmingham, Ala., joining a stable of other publications owned by Time Inc. that includes Cooking Light and Southern Living.

RIP Gabe Pressman, the senior correspondent for WNBC-TV and the indefatigable dean of New York City’s TV reporters, who chased breaking news and covered politics, protests and parades for more than six decades. He has died at the age of 93.

Shaking the (Political) Money Tree

In case you needed more proof of the nexus between political cash and legislative action, the folks over at NYPIRG have put together a handy – and lengthy – list of fundraisers held during the just-ended 2017 session.

The list includes events held by rank-and-file members in the shadow of the state Capitol, and also a handful of fundraisers hosted elsewhere (outside the City of Albany, that is) by legislative leaders, which tend to be a higher priority for the sort of people (lobbyists, etc.) who attend these sorts of shindigs in hopes of influencing policy.

In other words, this isn’t a complete tally of every single fundraiser held by state lawmakers over he past six months, but it’s enough to provide a good idea of how the public’s business and politics mix between January and April.

There have been a number of proposals over the years as part of various different campaign finance reform packages that would prevent lawmakers from holding fundraisers on session days in the immediate vicinity of the Capitol. But, as you know, there hasn’t been any significant movement 5o speak of on the campaign finance reform front for years.

Albany Money Machine June 2017 by liz_benjamin6490 on Scribd

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

In D.C. this morning, President Donald Trump will meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, and then later again with Tillerson and also Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Later, the president will sign the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is in Miami Beach, Florida to participate in the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 85th annual meeting.

At 8:30 a.m., NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams delivers remarks at P.S. 119’s graduation, 3829 Avenue K, Brooklyn.

At 10 a.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina speaks at the George Washington Educational Campus graduation, Campus Auditorium
549 Audubon Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Williams delivers remarks at the Midwood High School Graduation, Kings Theatre, 1027 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn.

Also at 10 a.m., the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, with support from the New York City Council, Assembly and state Senate, presents Brooklyn Eats, the borough’s largest food and beverage trade show, New York Marriott, 333 Adams St., Brooklyn.

At 10:30 a.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Politico “What Works Miami” breakfast, Pompeii Room, Eden Roc Miami Beach Hotel, 4525 Collins Ave.

At 11 a.m., de Blasio delivers remarks Ocean Promenade West (Upper Lobby Level), Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 4441 Collins Ave., Florida.

Also at 11 a.m., more than 100 striking beer delivery Teamsters from Long Island will rally and hold a press conference outside Anheuser-Busch’s Newark brewery, 200 U.S. Highway 1, Newark, NJ.

At 11:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul visits volunteers at the 5th Annual CUNY Citizenship NOW! Immigration Hotline, John Jay College, 524 West 59th St., 3rd Floor, Manhattan.

At 1:25 p.m., U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, will tour Capital Roots Urban Grow Center and hold a press conference urging the Senate to reject the Trump administration’s budget proposal to cut SNAP benefits for low-income families, 594 River St., Troy.

At 2 p.m., NYC Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, elected officials and community rally to reopen FDNY Engine Company 261, Former Engine Company 261 Firehouse, 37-20 29th St., Queens.

At 2:45 p.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Metro Economies standing committee meeting, Lucali, 1930 Bay Rd., Miami Beach, Florida.

At 5 p.m., de Blasio will speak at the SEIU Investing in Airport Workers Event with SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, Room Splash 11/12 (Upper Lobby Level), Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 4441 Collins Ave., Florida.

At 6 p.m., Williams attends Brooklyn Community Board 17 Park Committee’s Annual Summer Variety Concert, Paerdegat Park, Brooklyn.


U.S. Senate Republicans finally released their secretive bill to repeal Obamacare after weeks of backroom negotiations — and it was immediately slammed as “heartless” by Democrats and too soft by hardline conservatives.

The measure encountered immediate trouble as four GOP senators said they opposed it but were open to negotiations.

The Faso-Collins amendment, a provision that would require New York state to pick up the counties’ share of Medicaid costs, has been included in the Senate bill.

Former president Barack Obama posted a nearly 1,000-word critique of the Senate health-care bill on Facebook, warning, “This bill will do you harm.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo trashed the U.S. Senate health care bill as an “ultra-conservative assault on New Yorkers and our values” that could hit the state hard, financially speaking.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand delivered a blistering critique of the latest health-care proposal that Senate Republicans, calling its Medicaid funding cuts “galling” and “a cruel joke” and vowing to do “everything in my power to prevent this bill from becoming law.”

The House intelligence committee next week plans to interview John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman whose hacked email account became central to Russian meddling in the US election last year, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Last night, Trump, First Lady Melanie Trump and members of Congress piled onto the South Lawn of the White House for POTUS’ first congressional picnic, which featured charcoal made in Mexico.

Trump has nominated New York Jets owner Woody Johnson to become the U.S. ambassador to Britain, with his brother Christopher Johnson set take over day-to-day operations of the team in his absence.

Though top issues remain undone, Cuomo insisted the session had been “tremendously productive,” adding: “It would be silly to say we’re going to be able to work out every issue…We did the budget on time. We had a tremendous amount of successes.”

Cuomo said he’s disappointed lawmakers have ended their session without loosening the statute of limitations for molestation to give victims more time to report abuse.

Cuomo blamed the failure to get a mayoral control deal on the Assembly Democrats, and said the fact that lawmakers left Albany without an agreement was a “dereliction of duty.”

“If they go home and they’re not assaulted by the residents of their district and chased back to Albany, then, yes, I would call a special session,” the governor told reporters at a press conference in the state Capitol’s Red Room.

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The U.S. Senate unveiled its plan to repeal and replace Obamacare – a bill that would cut Medicaid, eliminate penalties for people who don’t buy insurance and cut tax hikes enacted to pay for the Affordable Healthcare Act’s expanded care.

The so-called Faso-Collins amendment, a provision that would require New York state to pick up the county share of Medicaid costs, has been included in the Senate Republican bill.

Four Republican senators – Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, and Mike Lee – say they won’t support their party’s bill as currently written, putting the legislation at risk of failing and jeopardizing the GOP’s longtime promise to get rid of Obamacare. (The bill needs 50 of 52 GOP votes to pass, with a tie breaker available from VP Mike Pence).

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Republicans’ latest healthcare measure is “even meaner than the House bill” that narrowly passed in May.

President Donald Trump says he “did not make” and doesn’t have any recordings of his private conversations with James Comey, his fired FBI director.

Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney fired earlier this year by Trump, has a book deal. Alfred A. Knopf announced that Bharara was working on a book about the “search for justice” that would come out early in 2019.

During the first day of a marathon SED hearing on Carl Paladino’s future on the Buffalo School Board, Paladino’s attorney accused Buffalo school officials of being out to “get” the former Republican gubernatorial candidate.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio pointed the finger squarely at Albany for the many problems plaguing the city subway system, saying the buck stops with Cuomo.

Joe Lhota’s second go-round as MTA CEO will be much different, because he’s not taking it on as a full-time job. He’s going to keep working as a VP at NYU Langone while drawing a $1 salary at the authority.

After the governor proposed giving himself further control over the MTA board, board members who don’t owe their appointments to him expressed their distaste for the state of affairs under his regime.

Rep. Kathleen Rice on House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: “There comes a time when every leader has to say, ‘For the good of the order and for the betterment of the party, it’s time for me to step aside.’ And I wish that that would happen right now. This is not a personal thing. I want to get back in the majority.”

New York City’s charter school sector appears to have secured a significant victory in the 11th hour of the Legislative session last night, with a set of regulations that will make it much easier for large charter networks to hire more uncertified teachers.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said America should “get behind” President Trump because “the public has spoken, whether you like the results or not,” during an appearance on ABC’s “The View.”

Samantha Bee took on the issue of the Child Victims Act, lambasting the Legislature for failing to get a deal. She specifically named checked Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and the governor.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner continues to fuel speculation she will challenge Rep. John Katko for a seat in Congress next year by calling on him to participate in a public forum on the GOP’s push for halth care reform.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn announced a program that will seek to compensate hundreds of victims who were abused as children by its priests and deacons.

After a pair of would-be burglars tried to steal more than 50 crowing pieces of his office’s evidence, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman tweeted puns about it.

Compared to national and statewide averages, rural counties in upstate New York have a much larger share of residents aged 65 and older, the latest Census Bureau estimates show.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has not yet released his plans for the day. He has not made any public appearances in Albany as lawmakers struggled to land deals before the session’s scheduled end, though he did participate in closed door negotiations with legislative leaders.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan decided last last night to call an audible and declare the 2017 legislative session over, without a deal in place to extend mayoral control of the NYC school system.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he has no plans to bring his members back to the state Capitol, so the fate of mayoral control, which sunsets at the end of the month, remains unclear.

Heastie said the takeaway from this end of session is that “sometimes in politics you don’t get what you want.” But he touted achievements made in the budget deal earlier this year, like Raise the Age.

Before packing it in, the Senate approved a measure to rename the new Tappan Zee Bridge in honor of the governor’s late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo. The Assembly did not follow suit.

The Senate also approved the governor’s last minute surprise appointment of Joe Lhota to head the MTA in the face of a mounting downstate transit crisis.

Lhota, who ran unsuccessfully against NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2013, will be leading the nation’s largest public transportation agency for a second time. During his last stint as chairman, he led the MTA through recovering from the devastation of superstorm Sandy.

De Blasio, meanwhile, stormed out of a town hall meeting in Lower Manhattan last night, just as the state legislature was about to adjourn for the summer without renewing mayoral control. He left to take a call, and did not return.

The Senate also confirmed Justice Paul Feinman, of the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, to take the seat of the late Court of Appeals Justice Shelia Abdus-Salaam. Feinman is the top court’s first openly gay judge.

Lawmakers’ departure does not mean the action is over in Albany. Far from it.

A hearing on whether to remove Carl Paladino from the Buffalo School Board starts today. The decision will ultimately be made by state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, and will be precedecent setting.

In D.C. this morning, President Donald Trump will participate in the American Leadership in Emerging Technology event.

In the afternoon, the president will meet with the International Olympic Committee. In the evening, the president and First Lady Melania Trump will host the Congressional Picnic.

Vice President Mike Pence will deliver the keynote address this morning at the Associated Builders and Contractors Legislative Day.

Later in the day, Pence will deliver remarks at the Wilson Center. In the evening, the vice president and Second Lady Karen Pence will join the Trumps to participate in the Congressional Picnic.

A fuller calendar of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.


While other measures lacked the same urgency or drama as mayoral control, which did not get done this session, lawmakers did approve scores of bills in recent days, like a provision that would make it easier for cancer patients to sue for malpractice, and a ban on e-cigarettes in bars and restaurants.

The Legislature passed a scaled-back version of Lavern’s Law that would start the window to bring medical malpractice cases involving cancer when an error is discovered by the patient, not when the mistake occurred, as under current law.

Lawmakers also voted to nearly double the city’s speed camera program from 140 to 290 — most in the vicinity of about a third of New York City schools.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo waded into the debate on immigration policy when he pardoned a Colombian undocumented immigrant facing deportation for a crime that was decades old. The act may have effectively erased the rationale for the man’s removal by eliminating his criminal conviction.

Closing New York City’s troubled jail complex on Rikers Island will take at least a decade and will require a big decline in the inmate population, a continued drop in the city’s already low crime rates, a wellspring of funding and political capital, according to a strikingly blunt proposal that Mayor Bill de Blasio intends to unveil today.

Now that First Lady Melania Trump and her son, Barron, have joined their husband/father, President Donald Trump, at the White House, vacating Trump Tower, midtown Manhattan is trying to get back to some semblance of normal.

A civil case pending in a state appeals court is testing the limits of the Shield Law, signed in 1970 by then-Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, by posing the question of whether small, subscriber-based news organizations can avail themselves of its protections.

Top U.S. Senate Republicans prepared to release their plan for dismantling President Barack Obama’s health care law, a proposal that would cut and revamp Medicaid, end penalties on people not buying coverage and eliminate tax increases that financed the statute’s expansion of coverage, lobbyists and congressional aides said.

More >

Legislative Session Closes Out, But Will Lawmakers Return?

Just before 11 p.m. on Wednesday evening, Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan called the question.

In a statement, Flanagan announced his chamber would adjourn the 2017 legislative session.

“Since we convened in January, our Senate Majority has always endeavored to do the people’s business,” he said. “I know we have succeeded.”

The 2017 legislative session saw the first budget to be approved after the start of the state’s fiscal year since 2010 and ended without an agreement on re-authorizing mayoral control of New York City schools.

Also left up in the air is the extension of sales tax provisions for county governments, which the Assembly had packaged with extending mayoral control in May.

The Senate had sought to extend mayoral control with an expansion of charter schools — a provision viewed as untenable for Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Lawmakers did not rule out returning later this year — possibly in the summer — to take up both issues.

“I will continue to work to extend mayoral control because I believe very strongly in the accountability it provides, but I also believe that the 50,000 boys and girls in Harlem, Brooklyn and the Bronx who are now on waiting lists for a seat inside a charter school deserve the best possible education we can provide,” Flanagan said in the statement. “I will never stop fighting for those kids, and will not leave them without a voice.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had indicated support for the Senate’s effort to expand charter schools, has not made a public appearance in Albany this week, remaining behind closed doors negotiating with lawmakers.

Cuomo, who had said in April he would let lawmakers guide the process of the post-budget legislative session, largely got what he wanted in a $163 billion budget agreement.

The budget also included a plan that would provide free tuition to students at state and city colleges and universities for families that earn less than $125,000 a year as well as billions of dollars for water infrastructure projects.

The budget also increased the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 in New York — one of the last states to do so — after lawmakers settled differences over post-release supervision.

And the budget allowed for ride hailing apps like Uber and Lyft to operate outside of New York City, a provision that is due take effect on June 29.

In the post-budget session, lawmakers struck deals with Cuomo for a provision to expand the purchase of American-made steel and iron by New York state agencies. Lawmakers also agreed to a bill raising the age of marriage to 17.

On Wednesday, the state Senate confirmed Paul Feinman to the Court of Appeals, the first openly gay judge to serve on the state’s highest court.

But there was a lot that did not get done, fizzling out in the final days.

A bill that would make it easier for the survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits through an extension of the statute of limitations fell out of the negotiations.

Efforts to add more transparency and oversight to procurement and economic development spending fell flat, marking no legislative response to the arrests of prominent upstate developers, the former president of SUNY Polytechnic and a former close aide to the governor.

Procurement reform in particular would have re-authorized Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to oversee spending for major economic development projects that use non-profit entities affiliated with SUNY as a pass through.

The session also saw an increase in the breakdown of the relationship between Cuomo and the Legislature. Feelings remain sore after a special session in December failed to coalesce, denying lawmakers their first pay raise since 1999.

Even if lawmakers wanted to return, a deal would still have to be reached on finalizing mayoral control, which expires June 30.

“I think one of the lessons of this session is you don’t always get what you want,” Heastie said in his closing remarks, “but we made some important victories.”


Things aren’t going terribly well down at the state Capitol on this final scheduled day of the 2017 legislative session. While we await word on what happens next – a last minute deal, or a stalemate and departure with plans to return at some later date? – here are some headlines to peruse…

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the DNC “did not feel it needed” the assistance of the Department of Homeland Security following last year’s election hack, which U.S. officials have since attributed to Russia.

U.S. Senators and their top aides on Capitol Hill have made it clear to the White House as health care legislation makes its way through their chamber that the less involved Trump is, the better for the bill’s prospects.

Trump met today with energy sector leaders and cybersecurity experts – including former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani – to focus on combating threats to the U.S. power grid.

Adrift and nearly out of money after three months of living out of his van in the Washington area, the gunman who shot a top House Republican and four other people on a Virginia baseball field didn’t have any concrete plans to inflict violence on the Republicans he loathed, FBI officials said.

A former Ground Zero recovery worker could escape deportation after Gov. Andrew Cuomo granted him clemency.

The de Blasio administration fanned out across Queens to inform residents of their rights after a landlord threatened to evict tenants based on their citizenship status.

Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages has been arrested and faces an assault charge after a dispute at his girlfriend’s apartment in Valley Stream, local police said.

The Empire Center’s EJ McMahon breaks down what we know and what we don’t – which is quite a bit – about the new CSEA contract announced by the governor yesterday.

New York lawmakers voted this week to block low-level sex offenders from driving for companies like Uber and Lyft, closing a loophole in the state’s soon-to-take-effect law regulating ride-hailing.

White powder spilled out of an envelope as it was being opened by an employee on the state office campus this morning, State Police and city fire officials said.

Catherine Webb, a former financial auditor at New York’s lobbying and ethics watchdog agency – JCOPE – alleges that she was fired after reporting sexual discrimination by one of her supervisors to the agency’s leadership.

Utica city police department officials are asking motorists to stop giving money to panhandlers due to a rising number of complaints.

State troopers on Long Island wrote 535 speeding tickets during a recent crackdown on speeding motorists, Cuomo announced.

Bill Hammond notes that the makers of the anti-addiction drug Vivitrol – whose controversial nationwide lobbying campaign was spotlighted by the New York Times last week – appear to be getting results in Albany.

New York is home to the seventh-best state fair in America, according to a new study from financial technology company SmartAsset.

State hearings on LIPA’s plan for future energy sources begin in Smithtown today, giving Long Islanders a chance to be heard on a plan that seeks to vastly increase green-energy resources while shelving plans to overhaul old power plants.

Former MTA board member Allen Cappelli ended his nearly eight-year tenure on the board last week, replaced by Cuomo nominee and HTC President Peter Ward, and on Tuesday was named to the city’s Civil Service Commission.

Samantha Watts, an Ithaca College student, received a $100,000 scholarship on yesterday’s broadcast of the “Today” show, and was presented with the check by funny man and “The House” actor Will Ferrell.