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Sen. Marchione Won’t Seek Re-election

Giving the Senate Republicans one more thing to worry about this fall, Saratoga County Sen. Kathy Marchione abruptly announced this evening that she will not be seeking re-election to her 43rd state Senate District seat in November, citing personal reasons as the motivation behind her imminent departure.

“While this was a difficult decision, the reality is that year’s end is the right time for me to step away,” the senator said in a statement. “More importantly, it is the right thing to do for my family.”

“I am the primary caregiver for my mother Dorothy and want to enjoy every day with her. I also have four of the world’s most wonderful grandchildren whom I absolutely treasure every moment with and want to continue spoiling. I look forward to finally having more quality time to share and spend with them and the rest of our family.”

Marchione, the former Saratoga County clerk, has only been in the Senate since 2012, when she defeated a more moderate Republican, former Sen. Roy McDonald, in a primary. McDonald was one of four Republicans who crossed party lines to vote “yes” on same-sex marriage at Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s urging in 2011, and he ended up paying a steep political price as a result.

After losing the primary, McDonald had the option of fighting on in the general election on the Independence Party line – and he had the governor’s blessing in doing so, which, when it came to the conservative grassroots, might actually have been more of a curse. McDonald ultimately decided not to continue running, bowing out of the race and ending a more than three-decade career in public office in the process.

The seat has been considered a safe Republican one, and enrollment in the district favors the GOP – 57,955 active Democrats to 63,958 Republicans, but with 57,592 so-called blanks, or small-i independents. The Democrats will no doubt be putting up a fight for this open seat, which isn’t something that comes along every day, and given the tumultuous nature of this election cycle – blue wave etc. and so so – it’s anyone’s guess what will happen.

The Democrats were not aware that Marchione planned to depart so soon, according to a source. And the new Saratoga Springs GOP chairman, Carl Zeilman, issued a statement lamenting the loss of the district’s “beloved” senator, adding:

“Kathy has been a friend, mentor, inspiration, and role model to so many throughout her four decades of dedicated public service. Our entire team in Saratoga County will miss her unrelenting enthusiasm and love for community, as well as her determination to always make it a better place. I wish her the best as she and her family move onto the next chapter in their lives. Thank you, Senator.”

Marchione has been a solid conservative voice since her arrival in the Senate, and her tenure hasn’t entirely been without controversy.

In 2014, the FBI probed a 2007 land purchase by Marchione as part of an ongoing investigation of Halfmoon town government. Marchione wasn’t charged with anything, and she insisted she did nothing wrong. But her largest individual contributor, Saratoga County residential developer Bruce Tanski, was arrested on charges that he used business associates to conceal $6,000 in political donations to a former town supervisor.

This past January, the Times Union reported that the FBI was again probing the business dealings between town of Halfmoon officials and a local developer who was at the center of the prior investigation into illicit campaign donations.

Also, a longtime business partner of Tanski pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud charges in a plea agreement that identified Tanski as an unnamed “co-conspirator” in the alleged fraud.

Marchione in her statement gave no indication of anything amiss, and also said she plans to remain active in civic life, though she didn’t mention any specific plans.

“I will continue being a strong, outspoken, passionate supporter of efforts to make New York State an even better, more affordable place,” the senator said. “My journey in elective office as New York State Senator at year’s end will conclude where it all began, with the guiding grace of scripture: ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith’.”

Marchione’s surprise announcement comes one day after the Senate Democrats won two special elections in the Bronx and Westchester, putting them within spitting distance of re-taking the majority.

The only thing standing between them and full control is Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder, who said yesterday he planned to continue to conference with the GOP through the end of the session, but is being pressured by the governor and other fellow Democrats to reconsider that decision.

Extras

French President Emmanuel Macron predicted that the United States will come back to the Paris climate change agreement.

Rapper Kanye West defended Trump, saying the two share “dragon energy” and telling all his haters that they can’t make him not love the man even if he doesn’t agree with everything Trump does.

Republicans’ single-digit victory in yesterday’s special election in Arizona is raising more red flags for the party’s prospects in the November midterms, as Democrats continue to overperform in solidly GOP seats.

A family spokesman says former president George H.W. Bush, 93, is out of intensive care after being hospitalized a day after his wife’s funeral. He has been moved to a regular patient room and is expected to remain at Houston Methodist Hospital for “several more days.”

Despite being dumped as head of Trump’s transition team, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is still in close touch with the commander-in-chief, and reportedly may yet end up in his administration.

A federal judge in New York has instructed attorneys for Trump, his personal lawyer Michael Cohen and the Trump Organization to appear in court Thursday amid an ongoing dispute about materials seized in an FBI raid earlier this month.

A federal judge extended the term of the prosecutor whose office is investigating Cohen, Geoffrey Berman, though Berman has recused himself from the case, which is being handled by his No. 2.

Popular MSNBC host Joy Reid will remain on the air amid a controversy over what appear to be old posts expressing anti-gay views on her now-defunct personal blog, an NBC spokesperson said.

New York City schools are about to get a $125 million boost, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced, which means that all city schools will soon receive at least 90 percent of the money they are supposed to get under the city’s funding formula.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced a new rule that would limit what kind of science the EPA can consider in writing new environmental rules.

It took more than a month for actress-activist Cynthia Nixon to bring her Democratic primary campaign for governor to New York’s second largest city – Buffalo – but once she got there, she did not waste time in lambasting Cuomo.

The former director of Lake George Watershed Coalition has been charged with three additional felonies for allegedly failing to claim $72,000 in income on his personal income taxes.

Erik Bohen boasted during his successful campaign for the Assembly 142nd District seat in yesterday’s special election that, despite running on the Republican line, he would join the Assembly Democratic conference upon his arrival in Albany. He’s not invited.

Former FBI director James Comey’s book is selling like hotcakes. According to NPD BookScan, which tracks approximately 85 percent of print sales, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership” sold more than 600,000 copies in one week in all formats.

Anna Kaplan, a Democratic North Hempstead councilwoman, will challenge Republican state Sen. Elaine Phillips in a race that could determine control of the state Senate.

The National Conference of State Legislatures launched its StateVote elections page today aimed at bringing together in one place a wide range of state election topics, resources and analysis, as well as interactive maps showing legislative and state partisan control.

Rep. John Katko has been named one of the most bipartisan members of Congress, according to a report released this week by The Lugar Center – the seventh, to be exact, while another New York Republican, Long Island Rep. Pete King, is tenth.

According to Emojipedia, a search engine for emojis, Google is rolling out an update to Android users to replace the handgun emoji with a water gun.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has not yet released his public schedule.

The state Legislature is in session in Albany.

President Donald Trump receives his daily intelligence briefing in the morning, and then meets with Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, Inc. in the afternoon.

At 6:45 a.m., Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, Monroe County Legislator Mike Zale and representatives from the Spencerport Central School District send off Spencerport Team 3015 as they depart for the FIRST Robotics World Championships in Detroit, Michigan, West Cafeteria, 2707 Spencerport Rd., Spencerport.

At 8:30 a.m., the MTA board holds a safety meeting, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., the MTA board holds a board meeting, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez leads a Save Small Business Rally for the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission meets, 33 Beaver St., 19th floor, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul highlights the state’s energy goals at the completion of a solar energy storage project, SUNY New Paltz, Elting Gymnasium, 1 Hawk Dr., New Paltz.

Also at 10:30 a.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza will join Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson at City Hall to make an announcement, Blue Room, Manhattan.

At noon, the state Senate is in session, state Capitol, Senate Chambers, Albany.

Also at noon, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer speak at the Denim Day NYC Rally Against Sexual Violence, Foley Square, Manhattan.

At 1:30 p.m., the NYC Council holds a stated meeting, City Hall, Council Chambers, Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Brewer and Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. attend the Sophie Gerson Youth Champion Awards Gala, Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m. – Assemblyman David Weprin, NYC Councilman I. Daneek Miller and others meet for a pre-Ramadan dialogue and awards presentation, Bosnian Islamic Community Center, 114-07 91st Ave., Queens.

At 6 p.m., Carranza attends a meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy, Murray Bergtraum Campus, 411 Pearl St., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray delivers remarks for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Gracie Mansion, East 88th Street and East End Avenue, Manhattan.

Headlines…

President Trump offered Dr. Ronny Jackson an opportunity to drop out of the running to become the next Veterans Affairs secretary, as embarrassing allegations spilled out about the Navy officer drunkenly harassing women and slipping pills to co-workers while serving as the chief White House physician.

Trump strongly defended Dr. Jackson, the White House physician, as “one of the finest people that I have met,” but he hinted that Jackson might soon withdraw from consideration, blaming Democrats for mounting an unfair attack on his nominee’s record.

A federal judge ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to end a program protecting some young immigrants from deportation, calling the Department of Homeland Security’s rationale against the program “arbitrary and capricious.”

Trump signaled that he was open to a new arrangement with European allies that would preserve the Iran nuclear agreement by expanding and extending its terms to constrain Tehran’s development of missiles and other destabilizing activities in the Middle East.

The former Arizona state senator Debbie Lesko fended off an unusually strong Democratic challenge to win a special congressional election, demonstrating the resilience of the Republican base but also the eagerness of liberals to compete in even the most heavily conservative districts.

Recognizing what it called “the troubling reality” that electronic cigarettes have become “wildly popular with kids,” the FDA announced a major crackdown on the vaping industry, particularly on the trendy Juul devices, aimed at curbing sales to young people.

Facebook is opening up about its decision-making over which posts it decides to take down – and why. Yesterday, the company for the first time published the 27-page guidelines, called Community Standards, that it gives to its workforce of thousands of human censors.

While the president rails against him, Attorney General Jeff Sessions travels the country diligently pushing the conservative Trump agenda.

Vice President Mike Pence will address the National Rifle Association at the group’s annual meeting in early May as the issue of gun control continues to loom over national politics following the Parkland shooting, his office announced.

Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told banking industry executives that they should press lawmakers hard to pursue their agenda, and revealed that, as a congressman, he would meet only with lobbyists if they had contributed to his campaign.

Sen. John Kennedy, a Kentucky Republican, said he thinks Trump should have invited Democrats and the media to the state dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer won a state Senate seat, defeating her Republican opponent, Julie Killian, and giving Democrats a one-person majority in the upper house and setting up a new battle for power in Albany.

Mayer’s win gives Democrats a numerical one-seat majority in the state Legislature’s upper chamber, but Republicans will cling to control after one Democrat – Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder – said he’d continue to caucus with the GOP.

“I believe it is my obligation to prevent an unprecedented and uncertain late-session political battle that will only hurt my constituents and New Yorkers,” Felder said. “Political gamesmanship must not be allowed to jeopardize the leadership, committee structure and staff of the New York State Senate and push this institution into turmoil.”

Needless to say, the Senate Republicans were “thrilled” with Felder’s decision. The governor, not so much.

Both Democrats and Republicans had spent millions of dollars on the Westchester contest, airing hostile television ads, in an effort to win the seat, which was vacated in January by George Latimer, who won his bid for county executive. Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one in the county.

As expected, Democratic Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda handily defeated Republican Patrick Delices and Reform party candidate Pamela Stewart-Martinez in the 32nd District in the Bronx.

More >

Extras

Prince’s heirs have sued Walgreens and the Illinois hospital that treated the music superstar after he suffered from an opioid overdose, alleging that a doctor and various pharmacists failed to provide Prince with reasonable care, contributing to his death.

Trump’s unexpected announcement that he is mulling the pardon of legendary boxer Jack Johnson for violating the Mann Act raises the obvious question: Why didn’t Barack Obama do it first?

Trump offered his pick to run the Department of Veterans Affairs, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, an exit strategy in the wake of allegations of misconduct.

Iran’s foreign minister warned that Tehran is likely to abandon the multination nuclear deal if President Trump withdraws the U.S. from the agreement.

The state Attorney General’s Office dismissed criminal charges against Joseph Nicolla, one of Albany’s most prominent developers, in exchange for Nicolla’s cooperation in the bid-rigging investigation into former SUNY Polytechnic Institute President and CEO Alain Kaloyeros.

The state’s lobbying and ethics watchdog panel passed sweeping new regulations governing New York’s lobbying industry, with the stated objective to address evolution in the field and bring it greater transparency.

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct announced that Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio should be removed from the bench.

New York and Connecticut hospitals rank among the worst in the nation when it comes to safety ratings, while New Jersey fared much better, a new report finds.

Marcial De Leon-Aguilar, the undocumented worker at the center of a disputed immigration raid on a Rome dairy farm last week, will remain in detention, a federal magistrate ruled.

Bloomberg is planning to start charging readers to access stories on Bloomberg.com, potentially starting next month, according to people familiar with the matter.

Rochester native Andrew Hollister was confirmed as the New York Libertarian Party’s candidate for lieutenant governor at the party’s annual convention last weekend.

Supersized, hyper-aggressive rats have been feasting on the all-you-can-eat trash buffet in front of Chipotle in Brooklyn Heights, but locals are the ones who’ve had their fill.

Staten Island Rep. Dan Donovan released the first radio ad of his NY-11 GOP primary battle with former Rep. Michael Grimm entitled “Convict Congressman.”

The DEC is accepting public comments on the first statewide comprehensive plan to battle invasive species, which could cost the Adirondacks an estimated $900 million if allowed to spread.

Dozens of graduate students at Columbia University walked out of classrooms and research labs to press home their right to unionize, as part of a one-week strike timed for high impact with classes wrapping up for the year.

Onondaga County’s decision to spend half a million dollars to avoid a threatened lawsuit could land the county in court anyway.

SD-37: Democrats Confident On Eve Of Senate Special

From the Morning Memo:

Voters in 11 state legislative districts go to the polls today to fill 9 seats in the state Assembly and two in the state Senate.

But the focus for both parties will likely be on the 37th Senate district in Westchester County, where Republican Julie Killian hopes to flip a suburban seat against Democratic Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer.

The stakes are high for Republicans: A Mayer victory would give Democrats a 32nd enrolled member in the chamber and thus a numeric majority. Republicans remain confident Sen. Simcha Felder, a registered Democrat who conferences with them in the Senate, will remain in the GOP fold.

But Democrats, too, are increasingly confident the seat will be held, part of a push to take control this spring in the Senate after the return of the eight-member Independent Democratic Conference.

“There are three big steps to taking a functioning Democratic majority,” said Sen. Mike Gianaris, the head of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. “The IDC coming back to the fold and tomorrow (Tuesday) I think you’ll get a check next to number two. The last piece to the puzzle.”

The campaign arm of the Senate Democrats have spent $1 million to bolster Mayer in the race, mostly on TV and mail efforts, lead by Loren Amor, the DSCC’s political director. The committee has also deployed senior campaign staff, including its field director and communications director, while has been working with its main consultant firm Parkside, which did most of the TV and mail. Red Horse Strategies also did some work on mail and digital efforts.

At the same time, there has been a nationalized push on the race, with Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and Emily’s List becoming involved as well as former Vice President Joe Biden recording a robocall.

Senate Democrats are also touting their volunteer efforts in the race: Some 3,000 volunteers making 115,000 phone calls, knocking on 90,000 doors and contacting 30,000 voters.

Democrats hope the results on Tuesday are a harbinger of a wave year for them on the ballot in the November general election.

“I think we’re going to see a good sign of things to come in November,” Gianaris said.

Here and Now, Special Elections Day Edition

Special elections in select state legislative districts are taking place across New York today, but the most closely watched contest is taking place in the 37th Senate District, where Democratic Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer is facing off against former Republican Rye Councilwoman Julie Killian.

The two women are fighting for the seat left vacant by Democrat George Latimer, who departed at the end of last year to become Westchester County executive after defeating the Republican incumbent (and 2014 gubernatorial candidate) Rob Astorino.

The outcome of this race will – as has been widely and exhaustively reported – potentially impact the balance of power in the state Senate, thanks to the peace deal between the erstwhile warring Democratic factions, which was negotiated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo a few weeks ago.

If Mayer wins, as is widely expected, then all eyes will be on Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder, who will be the only thing standing between the Democrats and the majority – or, if you prefer, the Republicans and the minority.

Felder has been quite coy about his pending position of the man with all the power, saying only – as he always does – that he will go to whoever offers him the deal that best benefits his constituents, and is opening to returning to the Democratic fold.

The Democrats are predicting a big victory, assisted by a significant GOTV effort that, ironically, is being run with the assistance of the Working Families Party, putting it temporarily on the same side as Cuomo, whom it snubbed to endorse his Democratic primary opponent, actress Cynthia Nixon. Cuomo has been putting in more effort than usual on Mayer’s behalf, though he only attended one of two rallies at which he was scheduled to appear to support her.

The Republicans are hoping that low turnout makes this a closer than expected race. It’s possible that things could end up in court, if there’s no clear winner, or if Killian doesn’t immediately concede. Also, the GOP no doubt tried to run a strong absentee ballot operation, and, depending how much paper is out there, that could complicate things.

As for the rest of today’s events…

Cuomo is in New York City with no public events scheduled.

The state Legislature is in session in Albany.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump this morning greet French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, at the White House, after which the two presidents will hold bilateral meetings (restricted and expanded), followed by a joint press availability.

Trump will then lunch with the secretary of defense, and in the evening, he and the First Lady will hold their first state dinner for the president of France and his wife.

At 9:30 a.m., NYC Councilman Mark Treyger holds a press conference to urge the administration to negotiate a paid parental leave program for city workers, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 9:30 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks at a convening by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, entitled “The Role of the Arts in Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness,” Roosevelt House, Hunter College, 47-49 East 65th St., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., the state Senate is in session, state Capitol, Senate Chambers, Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo will be joined by LG Kathy Hochul and local project partners for a ceremonial “beam-raising” to celebrate the start of the latest construction phase of the ongoing ROC Airport Renovation Project, 1200 Brooks Ave., Rochester.

At 10 a.m., the nonprofit human services agency Leake & Watts makes an announcement, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the MTA Board meets, 2 Broadway, MTA Board Room, 20th floor, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., state Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas, NYC Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, NYC Councilman Mathieu Eugene, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams celebrate the opening of CAMBA Gardens Phase II, 560 Winthrop St., Brooklyn.

Also at 11 a.m., state Sen. Martin Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis unveil criminal justice reform legislation intended to address criminals being released back into communities, Room 120, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., Hochul joins Hilda Rosario Escher live on Poder 97.1 FM (WEPL-LP).

At noon, concerned New Yorkers and members of the Clean NYC coalition will protest the Grand Hyatt Hotel for using an unlicensed laundry operator, JVK Operations, to clean and deliver linens and sheets that customers at this hotel use every day, 109 East 42nd St., Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., Assemblywoman Deborah Glick speaks at a rally to demand reinvestment in CUNY, state Capitol, Albany.

At 2 p.m., NYC Council members Laurie Cumbo, Jumaane Williams and Helen Rosenthal hold press conference before introducing legislation to prevent employer discrimination on the basis of an employee’s reproductive health decisions, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 2 p.m., Assemblyman Robert Carroll participates in rally in support of the Young Voter Act, West Capitol Park, Albany.

At 3 p.m., the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Arab American Association of New York host an open-press roundtable on the Trump administration’s travel ban, Beit El-Maqdis Islamic Center, 6206 Sixth Ave., Brooklyn.

At 6 p.m., Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle holds a fundraising event, Fort Orange Club, West Main Lounge, first floor, 110 Washington Ave., Albany.

Also at 6 p.m., the 21st Annual David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum features former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Columbia University, Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 8 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Annual Gala, Weylin, 175 Broadway, Brooklyn.

Headlines…

Former President George H.W. Bush, 93, is in intensive care, a day after a funeral was held for his wife, Barbara Bush. He was admitted to the Houston Methodist Hospital Sunday morning after contracting an infection that spread to his blood, family spokesman Jim McGrath said.

McGrath said Bush was “responding to treatments,” and appears to be recovering.

At least 10 people were dead and 15 others injured when a white rental Ryder van ran over individuals in a busy thoroughfare – apparently intentionally – in Toronto. The driver was n custody after initially refusing to surrender.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a late pivot yesterday evening, approved the confirmation of Mike Pompeo to be the next secretary of state, after Sen. Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, bowed to pressure from President Trump and dropped his opposition.

Trump will come under increasing pressure from visiting French and German leaders this week not to scrap the three-year-old nuclear agreement with Iran next month as American and European negotiators make tentative progress toward a new deal to toughen the limits on Tehran.

Trump has courted coal miners and cast doubt on whether fossil fuels contribute to climate change, but that hasn’t translated into hostility for renewable energy — particularly offshore wind.

Trump’s choice for secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Ronny Jackson, the White House physician and rear admiral, appears to be in a holding pattern as the Senate takes a second look at his qualifications.

Rapper Kanye West this weekend professed his “love” for Trump and complained that he “couldn’t get anything done” with former President Obama, according to a radio host who interviewed West.

The president’s son Eric has vowed to fight “rogue” residents of an Upper West Side condo who want to yank the Trump brand from their building’s facade.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo embraced a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, introducing a bill to outlaw them by next year day after Earth Day and a little more than a year after he blocked a 5-cent surcharge that New York City had sought to place on single-use plastic bags.

According to the governor’s office, the bill would “ban the provision of single-use, plastic carryout bags at any point of sale,” while garment bags, trash bags and any bags used to wrap or contain certain foods would be exempt.

The bill, once approved, would also supersede any local laws governing bags. Currently, 10 municipalities in the state have plastic bag bans while some others, including Long Beach and Suffolk County, have enacted fees.

Cuomo’s announcement came as his Democratic primary opponent, actress and activist Cynthia Nixon, appeared outside the state Capitol at a climate change rally and march.

The sponsor of the NYC bill to add a bag fee, Brooklyn City Councilman Brad Lander, criticized Cuomo’s move, saying it looked like “election-year politics,” adding: “It sounds like good policy because we like to get something for nothing. But we can reduce waste — this is pretty simple. We don’t need disposable throwaway bags, whether they’re paper or plastic, every single time we go to the store.”

More >

Extras

President Trump slammed “obstructionist” members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee amid opposition to his pick of CIA chief Mike Pompeo for secretary of state.

There’s a fundraising battle unfolding between congressional Democrats and Republicans ahead of the 2018 midterm election, and Democratic groups and candidates are starting to get an edge, according to recent FEC filings.

Princess Charlotte, at the grand age of 2, has made history by being the first British royal princess to not lose her place in the line of succession upon the birth of a younger male sibling.

Roger Stone’s attorney is demanding the Democratic National Committee preserve its database servers and electronic equipment, referencing the DNC lawsuit filed last week against the Trump campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks.

Fox News host Sean Hannity says he didn’t have any discussions with the Department for Housing and Urban Development about getting help for his real estate investments.

A U.S. appeals court has ruled in a case over selfies taken by a monkey that lawsuits can’t be filed claiming animals have copyrights to photos.

Hillary Clinton excoriated Trump for his treatment of the media, saying that press rights and free speech are “under open assault” in the current administration, which she compared to an authoritarian regime.

Clinton says her Twitter bio will no longer start with “wife.”

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said today he has reviewed all of the “repulsive” Syracuse University fraternity videos, and none of them contain evidence of a crime

Rudy Giuliani may have gotten all the headlines, but the former New York City mayor and on-again, off-again Greenberg Traurig partner isn’t the only new lawyer to join the president’s legal team.

Smallville actress Allison Mack, facing federal charges for her involvement in an alleged Albany-area sex cult, is negotiating a possible plea deal, according to a court document made public today.

A Port Authority commissioner from New Jersey who chaired the board’s ethics committee has resigned over misconduct that the agency called “profoundly disturbing,” though it did not reveal what Caren Turner is accused of having done.

(…she reportedly showed up and flashed her Port Authority badge at a recent traffic incident involving her daughter).

State regulators aren’t appropriately responding to complaints of excessive overtime from nurses in New York, according to an audit released by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office.

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand should expect to get a federal income tax cut worth thousands of dollars next year under the new Republican tax law, which they both fought and voted against, based on their 2017 tax returns.

Cuomo appears to be in a better place to receive the AFL-CIO’s endorsement this year than he was four years ago, when the union withheld its support.

A close read of Cuomo’s recent controversial executive order shows that it doesn’t actually guarantee people on parole the right to vote – what looked like a sweeping restoration appears to be more of a case-by-case decision.

The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) today announced that President Carol Kellermann will be stepping down from her position around the end of 2018, once a successor has been identified.

Upstate New York’s biggest city is growing at a very slow rate. So slow, in fact, that if it continues at its current rate, Buffalo will drop out of the U.S.’s 50 largest metropolitan areas by the year 2040, according to a new report.

Assemblyman Bill Magee a central New York Democrat who chairs his chamber’s Agriculture Committee, has legislation requiring the state to create a registry of beekeepers in an effort to combat the viruses that are weakening hives.

The ranks of newly-minted, New York-based partners working at the state’s largest law firms grew nearly 30 percent in the last year, continuing a trend of rising partner promotions in recent years.

Tops Markets wants to pay up to $3.6 million in bonuses to its five highest-ranking executives if the supermarket company exceeds its financial targets as it restructures its business in bankruptcy.

Three beers brewed in Upstate New York are among the Top 50 Pale Ales in the United States, according to a digital magazine devoted to entertainment and culture.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public events scheduled.

The Legislature is in session in Albany.

President Donald Trump receives his intelligence briefing this morning, and then has lunch with Vice President Mike Pence.

In the afternoon, the president and First Lady Melania Trump then greet French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, plant a tree with them on the South Lawn, tour the tour the Mount Vernon Mansion in Virginia, have dinner, and then return to D.C. to view Washington’s tomb.

At 7:35 a.m., Dutchess County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro will join with the New York State Federation of Republican Women to discuss his candidacy and the ongoing state Division of Criminal Justice Services sexual harassment scandal, Albany Hilton, Lodge Street, Albany.

At 8:30 a.m., Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams leads Brooklynites on his fourth annual bike to work ride, Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

Also at 8:30 a.m., the MTA Aoard holds committee meetings throughout the day, 2 Broadway, MTA Board Room, 20th floor, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., VOCAL-NY, the Corrections Accountability Project, JustLeadershipUSA and advocates urge lawmakers to end the practice of exploiting people incarcerated in city jails to generate revenue for the city budget, City Hall gates, Broadway side, Manhattan.

Also at around 9:30 a.m., Molinaro will be interviewed by Frank Morano on AM 970 The Answer.

At 10 a.m., “The Brian Lehrer Show” features state Senate candidates Democrat Shelley Mayer and Republican Julie Killian, WNYC.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray makes an announcement regarding the city’s efforts to reduce mental health stigma and improve mental health care delivery in communities of color, City Hall, Blue Room, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Rep. Dan Donovan, the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, will chair a Congressional field hearing at the College of Staten Island titled Securing our Communities: Federal Support to High-Risk Urban Areas, Center for the Arts, 2800 Victory Boulevard, Building 1P.

Also at 10 a.m., Rep. Dan Donovan chairs a congressional field hearing with Rep. Pete King and New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne on federal support to high-risk urban areas, College of Staten Island, Center for the Arts, Building 1P, 2800 Victory Blvd., Staten Island.

Also at 10 a.m., the Assembly holds a public hearing on medical aid in dying, Legislative Office Building, Roosevelt Hearing Room C, second floor, Albany.

At 10:30 a.m., the NYC Coalition for Adult Literacy hosts a press conference with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, council members and 300 students enrolled in adult literacy classes, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

Also at 10:30 a.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza will visit a software engineering class, robotics class, and a social studies lesson on the Bill of Rights at JHS 216 George J Ryan in Queens, 64-20 175th St.

At noon, the state Senate is in session, state Capitol, Senate Chambers, Albany.

Also at noon, Food & Water Watch, New York Renews and the Sane Energy Project hold a rally and march for an end to fossil fuel projects, a transition to 100 percent renewable energy and a plan to make polluters pay for the damage they have caused, 79 Sheridan Ave., Albany.

At 1 p.m., NYC Councilman Andy King and NYC Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi announce submitted legislation to ensure safety for TLC drivers when confronted with an emergency, The Ultimate Grill Restaurant, 1345 E. Gun Hill Road, Bronx.

At 4 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks at Times Square Alliance annual public meeting, Opry City Stage, 1604 Broadway, Manhattan.

Also at 4 p.m., Carranza hosts a student town hall, followed by a parent town hall at 5:30 p.m., Francis Lewis HS, 58-20 Utopia Parkway, Queens.

At 7 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

Headlines…

In her first public appearance since James Comey, the former FBI director, began his book tour, Hillary Clinton made only a glancing reference to him in a speech last night and instead focused most of her attacks on President Trump, once again likening him to authoritarians.

Almost 18 months have passed since Clinton lost the presidency. She holds no position of power in government. And she is not expected to run for office again. Yet Clinton is starring in the Republican Party’s 2018 midterm strategy.

Kensington Palace says Prince William’s wife, the Duchess of Cambridge has entered a London hospital to give birth to the couple’s third child.

The White House says President Donald Trump has no intention of firing special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

A Russian lawyer who discussed sanctions with Donald Trump Jr. in New York during his father’s 2016 campaign for the U.S. presidency said that Mueller has not contacted her, and she thinks he isn’t interested in finding the truth.

French President Emmanuel Macron is Trump’s first state visit guest. The two leaders have dicey issues to discuss, including: the new US trade tariffs on steel and aluminum from which France wants to be exempt; whether Trump will recertify the Iran nuclear deal that France wants to preserve; and forging a path forward in Syria to defeat ISIS and prevent chemical weapons attacks.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider whether Trump can legally restrict entry to the U.S. for travelers from several Muslim-majority countries, tackling a central issue of his presidency.

In recent years, the ranks of state and local employees have languished even as the populations they serve have grown. They now account for the smallest share of the American civilian work force since 1967.

Days after a federal judge forced Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to reveal that Fox News host Sean Hannity is a client, a new report says Hannity employed the attorney to help him build a real estate empire that is rife with conflicts of interest.

Former Massachusetts Governor and one-time GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will face a GOP primary battle after losing the U.S. Senate nomination outright from Republican delegates this weekend in Utah.

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee stood behind the party’s lawsuit against Russia and President Trump’s campaign, calling it a necessary move to deter Russia from meddling in future elections.

The friendship between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his fellow Democrat and erstwhile aide at HUD, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, started as one of political convenience, but has slowly devolved into open warfare, the type of which few in New York have ever seen.

Cuomo announced a series of initiatives aimed at addressing a disturbingly high rate of maternal mortality among black women, who are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women in New York State, including a pilot program that will expand Medicaid coverage for doulas.

The NY Post: “Maybe the Cynthia Nixon challenge has Cuomo off his game. Maybe he’s missing his longtime enforcer, Joe Percoco (recently convicted on corruption charges). Whatever the reason, a leader who has long looked to play larger-than-life is looking petty, mean — and cross-able.”

Actress Cynthia Nixon started the Democratic primary campaign against Cuomo with a huge fund-raising disadvantage, but her ability to use her celebrity to attract free media can help her counteract the powerful benefits of the governor’s incumbency, political experts agree.

Cuomo joined Westchester County Executive George Latimer yesterday to stump for Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer in the final stretch of a key state Senate race that could change the balance of power in the upper house.

The race is one of two special elections for Senate seats taking place tomorrow. Democratic Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda of the Bronx is expected to cruise to victory in a contest to fill the seat left vacant after Ruben Diaz Sr. was elected to the NYC Council.

The seven primary challengers to group of breakaway state Senate Democrats who recently returned to the party fold are releasing a 12-point agenda they want passed should the Dems take control of the chamber after two critical special elections tomorrow.

With tensions flaring between Senate Republicans and Cuomo, the GOP says it won’t be business as usual anymore when it comes to confirming the governor’s appointments.

The state Reform Party executive committee last week failed to reach consensus on who the party should back for governor this year, deadlocking between Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, the GOP nominee frontrunner, and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra.

Nicole Malliotakis, the Staten Island Republican assemblywoman who lost her City Hall bid last November to de Blasio, is endorsing Molinaro for governor over Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco.

A coalition of six states that includes New York will announce today the creation of a regional gun violence research consortium. With the U.S. government in 1996 banning the use of federal funds to study the issue, the six Eastern states, plus Puerto Rico, have struck out on their own to research gun violence, improve and share data collection and undertake analysis.

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The Weekend That Was

President Trump on Twitter wished lawmakers pressing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate James Comey and Hillary Clinton “good luck.”

White House legislative director Marc Short said on “Meet the Press” that Trump has full confidence in embattled Environmental Protection Administrator (EPA) Scott Pruitt.

At the EPA, Pruitt is under investigation for allegations of unchecked spending, ethics lapses and other issues, including his interactions with lobbyists. An examination of his political career in Oklahoma reveals that many of the pitfalls he has encountered in Washington have echoes in his past.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have saved his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, by threatening to quit himself.

In trying to preserve his career, Rosenstein has risked eroding the Justice Department’s historic independence from political meddling. The consequences could persist long after he and the rest of the Trump administration are out of power.

A top Bernie Sanders official is asking Democratic leaders, including Hillary Clinton, to sign a draft letter recommitting to vastly shrinking or effectively eliminating the party’s controversial “superdelegates” system — and ultimately changing the presidential nominating process.

President Emmanuel Macron of France leaves tomorrow for a state visit to Washington, where he will try, once again, to close the gap with Trump on climate change, Iran and trade. So far, he hasn’t had much luck courting the president.

The president’s ex-wife, Ivana, doesn’t think he should run for re-election in 2020. She also feels bad for First Lady Melania Trump due to the public nature of her husband’s cheating scandal.

By hiring Rudy Giuliani, a former prosecutor and New York City mayor, as his lawyer, Trump will presumably be getting what he wants – a trusted friend who can argue his side of the Russia investigation on TV and behind closed doors.

Giuliani believes that with his help, special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation could come to a conclusion within the next two or three weeks.

The federal government isn’t budging on its plans to rejigger the agency that oversees the health treatment and monitoring of first responders with 9/11 illnesses — a move legislators feel will severely compromise both the program and the people who need it to survive.

Family, friends and politicians gathered at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, on Saturday to pay their respects to the late former First Lady Barbara Bush.

The taxpayers of New York have coughed up nearly $5 million to settle sex harassment claims filed by city workers against city employees over the last five years, the de Blasio administration revealed.

Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon appeared Saturday with protesters fighting a newly built power plant in Orange County.

In her first major environmental proposal, Nixon called on New York State to commit to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2050 – a benchmark that has been something of a Holy Grail for activists concerned about the warming of the planet as a result of the burning of fossil fuels.

Though she was initially vague about her stance on Nixon’s candidacy, Sarah Jessica Parker has recently become an ardent supporter her former Sex and the City co-star. She posted about Nixon on Instagram at the end of last month pledging her “love support and vote.”

Casey Seiler: “Now that we’re in what Gov. Andrew Cuomo likes to refer to as the election-year ‘silly season,’ he appears to be suffering from what the Greek thinker (Aristotle) might refer to as ethos elephantiasis, an overweening attempt to self-identify as not merely someone in common cause with a whole host of downtrodden New Yorkers, but a member of those groups as well.”

Nixon’s announcement came just hours after the governor’s office had issued its own call for increased efficiency targets to right “the devastating effects of climate change.” Both moves seemed calculated to coincide with Earth Day today, but also appeared as a means of upstaging the other’s initiatives.

Cuomo today kicked off a Get Out The Vote rally and canvass to flip the state Senate into Democratic hands and elect Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer ahead of the April 24 special election in Westchester.

The Rev. Al Sharpton​ may have very well introduced the next Democratic nominee​ when he welcomed a quintet of potential 2020 primary contenders to chilly New York City ​for a “temperature tour,” as the host put it, ahead of what’s expected to be a hot and crowded nominating contest.

The “Bloomberg for president” speculation will not die.

Bloomberg will kick in $4.5 million this year to cover the United States’ commitment to the Paris climate pact, he said as he ripped Trump’s top environmental official for abandoning his job of protecting the earth.

Two female employees at the state Division of Criminal Justice Services who were punished following their testimony in a sexual harassment investigation have not been contacted by the ethics commission that was asked more than a month ago by Cuomo to conduct an expedited review of the case.

A large number of New Yorkers believe doctors are to blame for the opioid epidemic gripping their communities and nation, according to a new Siena College poll.

Limousine, truck and delivery drivers faced an additional challenge this week when New York City rolled out new regulations to prohibit parking and loading on both sides of several busy midtown Manhattan blocks during rush hour.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill sent a scathing letter to Cuomo about the state’s Parole Board’s decision to free cop-killer Herman Bell, claiming the board “failed grievously” by allowing the 70-year-old to go free.

A New York judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block the parole of Bell, an ex-radical who fatally shot two New York City police officers in 1971.

Seven of the 15 people de Blasio handpicked for his Charter Revision Commission have given him a total of $10,250 since his 2001 run for NYC Council, filings show. De Blasio’s campaigns got another $2,125 in taxpayer-financed matching funds because of the donations.

Former Rep. Michael Grimm leads Rep. Dan Donovan by 10 percentage points in the Republican primary in the House district that covers Staten Island and part of southern Brooklyn, according to a new poll from the DCCC, which is hoping to flip the seat in the general election.

Two weeks after New York Police Department officers fatally shot a mentally disturbed man they thought was armed with a gun, de Blasio launched a task force aimed at improving city responses to emergencies involving the mentally ill.

Allison Mack was gaunt, fragile, sugary sweet — and eager to lure women into the twisted world of the Nxivm sex cult, an actress who was targeted told The NY Post.

The Albany-based sex cult ­Nxivm is in full-out “war” mode — and has moved to Brooklyn, where it’s being run and financed by longtime member Clare Bronfman, the multimillionaire heiress to the Seagram’s liquor fortune, according to a former insider.

State lawmakers in New York are examining a legislative proposal to give terminally ill people the right to seek life-ending medication from their physician, with a hearing scheduled for tomorrow in Albany.

The New York State Vapor Association, which advocates for retailers and consumers of e-cigarettes and vaping devices, is trying to help minimize impact on NYC stores as a new law’s license deadline approaches.

Former TV reporter Rachel Barnhart made it official on Saturday: she’s running for the NY-25 seat left vacant by the death of Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter.

Cuomo is proposing changes to the state’s laws on sex trafficking so child victims won’t be required to testify.

Cuomo marched Sunday in the 2018 Greek Independence Day Parade in New York City.

De Blasio said he’s still not convinced about legalizing marijuana in the city but that he’d make his mind up by year’s end.

A CUNY honcho hired as an integrity expert is collecting both a pension and a taxpayer salary, with his paychecks funneled through a nonprofit foundation in an apparent move to skirt state rules against double dipping.

George Latimer isn’t Rob Astorino. The Democratic Westchester County executive spent more than a few of his first 100 days in office differentiating himself from Astorino, his Republican predecessor.

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, the Democratic candidate in NY-22, has consistently out-fundraised his Republican target, Rep. Claudia Tenney.

In this era of declining school enrollment, increasing costs and tax increases limited by the tax cap imposed by New York State, consolidating school districts seems like a no-brainer. But it also is usually a nonstarter.

More than 10,000 NYC school employees, from custodians to principals, and about half of them teachers, were assaulted or threatened by students last school year.

The NYC Council is asking the de Blasio administration for $100 million to install cameras next year in some of the 500-plus schools that do not have video surveillance.

A former FDNY commissioner’s son who once tweeted “I like Jews about as much as hitler” will join a firehouse in the middle of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn – a move that has infuriated Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

Majority Republicans on the Nassau County Legislature have proposed a bill to raise the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 from 18, a year after blocking an attempt by Democrats to update the local law.

A national cheese manufacturer that already has a facility in Schenectady will build a new $25 million plant at the Glenville Business and Technology Park, Empire State Development officials announced.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who made his name battling the Catholic Church in sex scandal cases, is bringing his high profile to Buffalo in search of sex abuse clients there.

Syracuse University permanently expelled the Theta Tau fraternity over an offensive video that surfaced this past week.

Extras

The Democratic National Committee sued Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks claiming widespread interference in the 2016 election as part of a “brazen attack on American democracy.”

Federal civil rights prosecutors have recommended charges against a NYPD officer in the 2014 death of Eric Garner, three current and former officials said, but top Justice Department officials have expressed strong reservations about whether to move forward with a case they say may not be winnable.

Hillary Clinton knew there were concerns about her “likeability” as a candidate, but as early as July 2016 – just after Trump became the Republican nominee – she apparently decided she would stop caring, according to a new book about her campaign.

Clinton reacted to news of her electoral defeat with a resigned acceptance, claiming she knew victory was out of reach all along, and saying: “I knew it. I knew this would happen to me. They were never going to let me be president.”

Allison Mack, the “Smallville” actress connected to alleged cult leader Keith Raniere, has been arrested and indicted on sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and conspiracy to commit forced labor charges.

A federal appeals court in Texas has ordered NXIVM founder Raniere to pay more than $444,000 in attorneys’ fees to AT&T and Microsoft in a case in which he claimed the companies had marketed teleconferencing services using technology from patents that he owned.

“Fox & Friends” hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy took a shot at Andrew and Chris Cuomo this morning, following up on the governor’s “I’m undocumented” comments.

Pro-Trump vloggers Diamond & Silk, who have become a conservative cause célèbre recently over their disputed claims of Facebook discrimination, said they felt ICE should indeed come and get Cuomo over his claims.

Rep. Chris Collins, reacting to Cuomo calling himself “undocumented,” said the governor has “lost it; he’s facing this primary, and doesn’t know what to do about Cynthia Nixon…he’s just in full-out primary mode.”

Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, who says he’ll fight to the end for the GOP gubernatorial nod, and won’t run again for the state Senate, is beginning to go more negative on his opponent, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.

From the outset, it has been clear that next Tuesday’s special election in New York’s 37th State Senate District is no ordinary contest; the race in Westchester County will help determine the balance of power in Albany.

Democratic NY-19 candidate Gareth Rhodes is taking steps to offset his campaign’s carbon footprint.

In an historic move, Harvard teaching and research assistants have voted to form a union.

When asked about U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announcing support for decriminalizing marijuana on 4/20, a day associated with the drug, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said he remains unconvinced about legalizing marijuana in the city but that he’d make his mind up by year’s end.

The Oneida Indian Nation blasted Rep. Claudia Tenney, saying her recent “erratic outbursts and conspiracy theories” jeopardize jobs and economic growth in Central New York.

New York was one of seven states earlier this week whose student tests were hit by what was reportedly a “deliberate attack” on the computer system operated by Questar, an outside vendor.

An Albany City Court judge ordered former Niagara County Republican Chairman Henry Wojtaszek to pay a $1,000 fine for violating a state campaign finance law in 2012, after he pleaded guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors working on the case against former State Sen. George Maziarz.

The NYC Council plans to consider banning the sale of disposable plastic bottles at city parks, beaches and golf courses.

The widow of a prominent New Jersey architect who leapt to his death from the George Washington Bridge is suing the Port Authority for failing to safeguard the “suicide magnet” span.