Jun 7th - 2:15 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released the final version of the legislative ethics overhaul this afternoon.
Cuomo had announced a framework agreement on the measure late Friday and trumpeted the deal at a news conference on Monday. But no bill at the time had been introduced — Cuomo promised a bill would be available in the near future once it was through bill drafting.
The bill, as expected, is extremely long.
Legislators are likely to take up the measure next week.
Jun 7th - 1:41 pm
Daily Show host Jon Stewart again chimed in on the scandal involving his friend and former roommate, calling the story “officially sad.”
Stewart opened his show to bemoan how the story has overtaken more serious issues in the news, such as unrest in the Middle East.
But Stewart was also shocked by the photos of Weiner posted online, which show the Democratic congressman’s bare chest.
“I can’t believe this guy and I are the same f—- age!”
Then, playing part of Weiner’s tearful news conference, Stewart said, “At 4:25 Eastern Standard Time, this story officially became sad.”
Jun 7th - 1:30 pm
State lawmakers are targeting sexual assaults and harassment in hotels, requiring owners to provide sexual-harassment training to its employees.
The bill comes after former International Monetary Fund cheif Domnique Strauss-Kahn was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a Manhattan hotel.
The measure is sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, and Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, Warren County. Little’s district includes the motel-heavy Lake George region.
“New York’s hospitality industry is a major part of our state’s economy and a very important source of jobs for many,” Little said in a statement. “It’s important that we have sensible policies in place to protect those in the workplace, raising awareness, providing appropriate training and ensuring that if something happens, the right steps are taken.”
Rosenthal said that not all incidents can be stopped, but she alluded to the DSK case as a reason for the legislation’s need.
“The behavior of hotel guests will always be unpredictable, and recent events have demonstrated that there is a clear need for sexual harassment awareness and prevention education and training for hotel employees. The training required by this bill will provide a much-needed layer of protection against aggressive and inappropriate customer behavior,” she said.
According to the lawmakers, the legislation would require hotels to provide a “clear” system to report incidents to hotel staff and external authories and protects employees from owner retaliation.
Jun 7th - 1:09 pm
According to Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, New York City should run a surplus of $3.2 billion for this fiscal year thanks to an improving economy and cost-cutting moves.
DiNapoli just released his review of the city’s financial plan. While it shows a surplus for this year, he projects budget gaps of roughly $5 billion for the next few years because of declining reserve funds.
“There are relatively few immediate risks in the City’s financial plan, but there are issues that require close monitoring,” DiNapoli said. “While the City’s economy is still showing signs of improvement, the national economy has begun to slow and higher energy costs, future hikes in interest rates and a further weakening of the residential real estate market could slow the pace of the City’s recovery.”
DiNapoli also suggested that unresolved collective bargaining agreements and the lack of windfall profits that come from a good economy are likely to make balancing future budgets difficult.
Jun 7th - 12:40 pm
Here’s the live stream of the Senate Democrats latest public hearing. This week they are tackling redistricting – a favorite here on CapTon.
Senate Democrats have been harping on this issue since the session began. They have blasted Senate Republicans for failing to live up their pledge to former New York City Mayor Ed Koch to support independent redistricting, which all 32 members signed.
Jun 7th - 12:29 pm
In a sign that Democrats are losing the messaging war in the wake of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s twitter troubles, the National Republican Congressional Committee is knocking Long Island pol Tim Bishop for the Democratic plan the GOP says would “decimate” Medicare.
The issue was used effectively in the 26th CD when Kathy Hochul upset Republican Jane Corwin, using the same Medicare issue.
“Hello, I’m calling from the National Republican Congressional Committee with an important alert about your Congressman, Tim Bishop. Washington Democrats already cut $500 billion from Medicare with their government takeover of healthcare, and Tim Bishop is making it worse. Bishop backs a partisan plan that the media says would quote “decimate Medicare.” The Bishop-backed plan will cut Medicare benefits by 17% and lead to “political rationing” of health care…taking personal healthcare choices away from seniors. That would “shred the social safety net” and leave seniors vulnerable….exposed….at risk. Call Tim Bishop at 202-225-3826. Tell him to change his mind…and take action to save Medicare.”
H/T to Celeste at Daily Politics on this one.
Jun 7th - 11:55 am
The opposition to a cap on local and school property taxes say they’re the underdogs in the fight.
Witness, says Ron Deutsch of the New Yorkers For Fiscal Fairness, the piles of cash spent by business coalitions like the Committee to Save New York.
“We’re not the forces of darkness that the governor would have you believe,” Deutsch said at news conference outside the state Senate chamber that included advocacy groups and unions rallying against the cap proposal.
“The people that support this tax cap, on the other hand, are the same ones who support tax breaks for millionaires so that should give you some idea where they’re coming from on this issue,” he added. “This is a job-killing tax cap, make no mistake about it.”
The Committee to Save New York has spent about $8 million on lobbying the state, included a concerted campaign to get a limit on property taxes.
The state United Teachers union, meanwhile, is countering with a $1.3 million ad campaign that began last week running ads opposed to the cap with a television commercial.
NYSUT officials say the money their union is spending dwarfs in comparison to CSNY.
“In terms of media buys, it’s a least 3-to-1 advantage from this corporate hedge funds who are backing this astro turf campaign across the state,” said NYSUT’s legislative director Steve Ellinger.
Jun 7th - 11:52 am
The State Democratic party has tapped Andrew Cuomo for a robo-call asking residents to call their lawmakers and urge them to strengthen the state’s rent laws. Current legislation expires a week from tomorrow.
In the call, Cuomo warns that not extending and strengthening the laws would be a crisis for the state.
Here’s the transcript.
Before I was Governor Cuomo, I was Secretary Cuomo.
I worked as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration and was the head of housing for our nation.
There’s no doubt that affordable housing is the foundation of strong communities.
But for too many New Yorkers, affordable housing is just out of reach.
More than 1 million people in our state are protected by New York’s rent regulation program.
However, this program is set to expire next week on June 15th.
That would be a crisis for our state.
But we need to do more than extend our rent laws we need to strengthen them.
Under current standards another 130,000 apartments could be removed from rent regulation in the next few years.
Having affordable housing works for all New Yorkers – a strong middle class is the heart of our state.
As New Yorkers we need to work together to protect the quality of life for all our people.
Please contact your state legislators and urge them to extend and strengthen our state’s rent laws.
Lawmakers are leaving today for a 5 day weekend. When they return, they will only have 3 session days to hammer out a deal on rent regulation. It’s unclear at this time if a property tax cap bill will be tied to any legislation on rent regulation, as was proposed by Speaker Sheldon Silver in late May.
Jun 7th - 11:40 am
As negotiations on a same-sex marriage bill come down to the wire, New Yorkers United For Marriage announced today more business leaders are in favor of the measure.
Back in March, business leaders including Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs signaled their support for same-sex marriage in an open letter.
Now, business leaders like Dick Parsons, Bruce Rattner and Steve Tisch (who, it should be noted, are all deep-pocketed and active political donors) said they were signing on to the effort.
“As a company, Xerox values and benefits from creating a diverse, inclusive workplace that thrives on equal opportunity so our people and our business succeed,” said Dr. Sophie Vandebroek, Chief Technology Officer of Xerox. “We expect and believe our people deserve nothing less from the communities where they work and live. And, that’s why Xerox adds its full support for this bill so that our colleagues in New York State are afforded the equal rights they so rightly deserve.”
Another major player in both business and politics, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has personally lobbied Senate Republicans who may be on the fence. According to our vote tracker, seven GOP senators have not taken a public position on the issue.
Jun 7th - 10:58 am
As the fate of the property-tax cap remains in limbo, the Rochester-based Unshackle Upstate and a host of business organizations are mailing on the issue, urging lawmakers to support of the measure.
All 212 legislators and the governor’s office are due to receive the postcard.
But the passage of the cap is far from certain. Despite last month’s announcement on a three-way agreement on the cap, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, has signaled concerns in recent days about letting the agreement expire alongside rent control for New York City.
The cap has broad support in polls, but some municipalities and education groups say mandate relief is also needed before a cap can take effect.