Jun 14th - 5:57 pm
Dan Collins asks: “Is Andrew Cuomo currently the most successful governor in America?”
Senate Minority Leader John Sampson led chants of “an extension is not enough” at a rent laws press conference.
Sen. Roy McDonald on his gay-marriage vote decision: “I think I’m doing the right thing, it’s the appropriate thing, and if the public respects that, I’m grateful. If they don’t, then I move on.”
More McDonald (as per NYT Albany Bureau Chief Danny Hakim, via Twitter): “I’m tired of blowhard radio people, blowhard television people, blowhard newspapers. They can take the job & shove it.”
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy on Weiner: “We’re hearing he might resign in a couple of days…It’s going to be up to him: we can’t do anything about it to be very honest with you.”
Still avoiding on the resignation question: Sen. Chuck Schumer.
The House Democrats discussed Weinergate, but took no action to punish the scandal-scarred congressman.
Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, is due back from a State Department trip late tonight or early tomorrow. Democrats are hoping she’ll persuade him to quit.
Clyde Haberman compares Weiner to Narcissus – we all know what happened to him. (You know? Well, read the column then).
Chris Matthews suggests Weiner resign and then run for his seat in a special election.
NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio slammed the Post for coming out against same-sex marriage, noting: “This same claim was used in service of anti-interracial marriage laws.” (Added wrinkle: His wife is black).
The Department of Interior, after being repeatedly urged to do so by Schumer, reversed itself and re-opened the door to a Catskill casino.
The charges of menacing and stalking a former girlfriend that caused ex-Nassau County Legisaltor David Mejias to end his 2010 state Senate bid have been dropped.
Will Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver let the National Popular Vote bill come to the floor for a vote? He supports the “idea” of the legislation, according to a spokesman.
Cuomo supports a law that would allow law enforcement authorities to take DNA samples from anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.
NYC Councilman Charles Barron opposes hydrofracking.
No words for this. None.
Jun 14th - 5:02 pm
New Yorkers United For Marriage, the coalition backing same-sex marriage in New York, released a statement only moments after Sen. Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, announced he would back the measure.
McDonald, who had been on the fence for months on the issue, said today he would vote yes.
The Senate is now one vote away from approving the measure, but it’s likely two more Republicans would be needed in order to provide padding for vulnerable Republicans.
“We commend Senator McDonald for joining Governor Cuomo and the record majority of New Yorkers who believe that now is time for all New Yorkers to have the freedom to marry the person they love. Today, loving, committed same-sex couples — and their families and friends – from across this great State have moved one step closer to realizing their dreams. We remain hopeful and confident that this momentum continues to build so that marriage equality becomes a reality before the end of this Legislative session.”
Jun 14th - 4:51 pm
Sen. Greg Ball said this afternoon that he would have preferred to see “stronger, more thorough” protections for individuals and businesses with religious objections in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s same-sex marriage bill, but he also refused to say one way or another how he’ll vote when and if the measure comes to the floor.
“I’m going to go back to those communities that I’ve been working with and see how comfortable they are with the current language,” the senator said.
“…They keep bringing up the Human Rights Law. But at the end of the day, it’s the Human Rights Law that’s going to be used against religious organizations and individuals with religious objections should they not want to either lease out facilities or engage in the same-sex ceremonies. So, that’s a fundamental problem.”
Ball appears to remain undecided, telling reporters only: “We’re going to conference this tomorrow.” Last I checked, conference was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and last at least through noon.
Jun 14th - 4:39 pm
A second Republican senator has moved from the “undecided” column to the “yes” column on same-sex marriage: Sen. Roy McDonald, who occupies former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s seat.
H/T to CapCon’s Jimmy Vielkind, who reports the Rensselaer County lawmaker said he’s “trying to do the right thing.” This has also been independently confirmed by CapTon’s Nick Reisman.
This doesn’t come as a huge surprise. McDonald has been on the fence for some time now, and his spokesman said he had made a decision, but wasn’t quite prepared to make that public yet.
Also, Bruno, who once called homosexuality an “abnormal lifestyle,” but had a change of heart back in June 2009, has been working behind the scenes and continues to wield some influence in the district.
So, the tally now stands at 31 “yes” votes – 29 Democrats and two Republicans, McDonald and Rochester Sen. Jim Alesi.
Technically speaking, the governor and advocates only need one more vote to pass the bill that was introduced today (and won’t be “aged” sufficiently until Friday, unless there’s a message of necessity). But Republicans are nervous about being the 32nd vote that tips this bill over the edge – that person would certainly be the top target of the opposition in 2012.
So, the advocates are hoping to get at least two more Republicans to vote “yes” – preferably more, though – to provide a safety cushion, if you will. The names I’m hearing most today: Sens. Steve Saland, of the Hudson Valley; and John Flanagan of Long Island.
Jun 14th - 4:20 pm
A reader forwarded a memo sent yesterday to legislators by the state Conservative Party to remind them of its opposition to same-sex marriage and warn of dire reprecussions should the bill (introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo today) pass.
The consequences the Conservatives are suggesting are not limited to the political, either. Consider the memo’s final passage:
“This bill is a Pandora’s Box, once opened, marriage will decline as it has in European Countries that have adopted laws to redefine marriage. If same-sex marriage is adopted, government will have no authority to limit the number of partners or whom the partners will be.”
So, basically: Today, gay marriage. Tomorrow, polygamy.
Jun 14th - 3:58 pm
The Senate this afternoon passed four bills that would increase restrictions and penalties for sex offenders.
One of the bills, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos would make it a felony for level three sex offenders who fail to register or report a change of address. Currently a first offense is only a misdemeanor.
“The safety and well-being of our children and families are at risk each time a dangerous sex offender flouts the law and fails to register or follow release conditions,” Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said in a statement.
“There is too much at stake, which is why this bill is critical to increasing the penalties for violations and ensuring communities receive the appropriate notification about offenders’ residences.”
The other bills would expand the reach of registry requirements to include those offenders who are deemed “not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect” and lastly would restrict certain sex offenders who are released on parole from entering public buildings such as libraries.
Jun 14th - 3:18 pm
As expected, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has sent the Legislature a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, starting the aging clock ticking. The measure will be live and ready to be voted on three days from now.
A key passage, which could be known as the Ball exclusion, in honor of the Hudson Valley Republican senator who has been pushing for exemptions for religious institutions, is:
“The bill also guarantees that religious institutions and benevolent organizations such as the Knights of Columbus remain free to choose who may use their facilities for marriage ceremonies and celebrations or to whom they provide religious services, consistent with their religious principles.”
In addition, the bill grants equal access to the government-created legal institution of civil marriage while leaving the religious institution of marriage to its own separate and fully autonomous sphere.
Remember that Cuomo said he would only put out a bill if he believed there were sufficient votes in the Senate to pass it. So he must know something we don’t at this point.
Jun 14th - 2:48 pm
Here’s Sen. Ruben Diaz, giving his reaction to the news that four lawmakers, including one Republican and his former amigo Sen. Carl Kruger, announcing they support same-sex marriage.
Diaz, D-Bronx, a Penetecostal minister who is one of the most vocal opponents of gay marriage in the Senate, said he was surprised by the irony of the state being poised to have same-sex marriage legalize when the GOP is in control of the chamber.
“That’s bigger and that’s more disappointing,” Diaz said.
The measure still needs at least two more votes in order for it to pass.
Jun 14th - 2:00 pm
As the Capitol remains a hub of nearly endless activity this week, the major unresolved issues — a tax cap, same-sex marriage among them — appear backed up by disagreement over rent control laws being extended for New York City.
At least three Democratic lawmakers met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo this afternoon to discuss rent control, with the lawmakers telling the governor they are hesitant to vote on a same-sex marriage measure until the rent laws are extended for the long-term.
Senate Republicans do not want a broad expansion of rent control as Democrats in the Assembly and Sentate are seeking. Meanwhile, Senate GOP lawmakers say they’re hesitant to support a sunset for a tax cap coinciding with rent.
As Ken Lovett wrote in today’s Daily News, Senate Republicans can claim victory either way in not delivering a cap, either because of the poision pill sunset or if the measure actually goes through.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said today more progress needs to be made on rent control, but he’s not supporting a temporary extension as introduced in the Republican-led Senate.
“I don’t want to deal with the issue of extension,” he said. “The governor should send an emergency bill if there’s an agreement.”
Jun 14th - 1:46 pm
A reader forwarded an email invite from NYC Councilman Lew Fidler to an all-day open house fundraiser on June 26 for an “unspecified” state office, telling supporters that it is “imperative” for him to raise more campaign cash than ever before (presumably) to demonstrate political strength.
“As my time in the City Council must necessarily come to an end, it is my fervent hope that I will be able to continue my public service,” Fidler wrote.
“While I cannot control the events that are in the hands of others, it is critical that I be prepared for things that might come my way. Like a good Boy Scout, I have to ‘be prepared.’”
“…While I have always found political fund raising to be one of the most distasteful aspects of elected service, it is unfortunately a necessary one. Without matching funds, and with this urgent need, I am asking you to help…and in as big a way as you possibly can.
Fidler, who will be term-limited out of office in 2013, has been mentioned as a potential candidate for Sen. Carl Kruger’s seat, assuming the scandal-scarred pol doesn’t make it to 2012. If there’s something else he might be mulling, please let me know.