Here and Now

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

At 9:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul tours economic development projects in Amsterdam with Rep. Paul Tonko, Amsterdam Riverfront Center, 1000 Riverfront Center, Amsterdam.

At 10 a.m., Tonko, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito, Sen. Neil Breslin, Assembly members John McDonald III and Patricia Fahy and others launch a fundraising effort for the Memorial Monument Project to honor families of those who died during military service, Vietnam Memorial in Lafayette Park, North Hawk and Washington Avenue, Albany.

At 10:45 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will host a press conference to discuss security measures at the J’Ouvert festival, 442 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn.

At 11 a.m., Hochul delivers remarks at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge, intersection of Bridge Street and Gilliland Avenue, Amsterdam.

Also at 11 a.m., Democratic NY-19 candidate Zephyr Teachout and Ulster County Executive Mike Hein hold a press conference about the anchorage plans along the lower Hudson River, Rondout Creek along Maurice Hinchey Promenade across from Ship to Shore, Kingston.

At 11:30 a.m., Assemblyman Ron Castorina Jr. announces plans to introduce legislation to protect seniors through a property tax rate freeze, The Tides at Charleston, 15 Tides Ln., Staten Island.

At noon, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long holds a press conference on the EpiPen cost crisis, Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital, 1184 5th Ave., Manhattan.

Also at noon, Sen. Terrence Murphy will be joined by local advocates and officials to call for immediate passage of his legislation to create child safety zones and victim safety zones, Koegel Park (Town of Somers), 202 Tomahawk St., Yorktown Heights.

At 12:30 p.m., Sen. George Amedore, along with Assemblyman John McDonald, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, and John Coppola, executive director of the New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers, will call on Cuomo to sign legislation to help prevent the abuse of prescription drugs, Hospitality House, 271 Central Ave., Albany.

At 2 p.m., Rep. Louise Slaughter will join Navitar CEO Julian Goldstein to announce a “major victory” over Chinese counterfeiters, Navitar Headquarters, 200 Commerce Dr., Rochester.

At 3 p.m., de Blasio holds public hearings on Intros. 1081-A, 1084-A, 1085-A, 1086-A, 1087-A, 1135-A, 1150-A, 446-A, 507-A, and 1194 and signs them into law, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 3:30 p.m., Slaughter will honor the service of Lt. George O. Bluhm and present his widow, Betsy Bluhm, and daughter, Thelma Joy, with the eight service medals he earned but never received as a WWII bomber pilot, 3120 Federal Bldg. 100 State St., Rochester.

At 6 p.m., Hochul highlights the governor’s efforts to combat substance abuse at the NYS Recovery Conference, Hilton Garden Inn, 235 Hoosick St., Troy.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio hosts a West Indian and Caribbean heritage reception, Gracie mansion, 88th Street and East End Avenue, Manhattan.

Headlines…

Hours before delivering a big speech today on immigration policy in Arizona, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump will fly to Mexico to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto — a trip that will take him to a nation he has repeatedly scorned.

One of President Obama’s top priorities during his last months in office is to help make sure that Hillary Clinton succeeds him. To do so, the president will make at least a dozen campaign appearances in battleground states from now to Election Day on Nov. 8.

At a state Senate hearing on Hoosick Falls’ water crisis, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said the state had followed federal guidelines for navigating the issue, but that the EPA had offered confusing and conflicting directions. EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck called Zucker’s testimony inaccurate.

In a letter sent from the Cuomo administration to the EPA’s top official, Administrator Gina McCarthy, the state accused the federal agency of bungling the response to PFOA, and demanding that it cover at least $75 million in expenses, accrued already and estimated in the future, that cannot be clawed back from polluters.

A federal judge denied Republican state Sen. Jack Martins’s request to delay the general election date for the Long Island congressional seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Steve Israel to December.

Expanding the definition of what it means to be a parent, especially for same-sex couples, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that a caretaker who is not related to, or the adoptive guardian of, a child could still be permitted to ask for custody and visitation rights.

A ferry that was leaving a Manhattan pier collided with a group of kayakers in the Hudson River yesterday evening, injuring five people including a man whose arm was severed, authorities said.

In all, ten kayakers were rescued – nine clients of the Manhattan Kayak Company and one of its employees.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he has sharply curbed his conversations with lobbyists amid investigations into his administration and fundraising – a marked departure from his first two years in office.

A NYC Water Board member who donated the maximum amount to de Blasio’s mayoral campaign and agreed to sponsor a birthday party fundraiser for him was determined to have violated city rules, fined $1,000 and resigned. The mayor called the incident an “honest mistake.”

The House Veterans Affairs Committee is investigating the beleaguered Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center and will hold a field hearing on Long Island next month, a committee staff member said.

City and state teachers unions have been funneling millions of dollars into a grassroots protest group that has been targeting EpiPen manufacturer Mylan — even though their pension funds are heavily invested in the drug maker.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton defended his department’s decision to cut off public access to officers’ personnel data, saying that the decades-old practice of disclosing that information was a “lapse in oversight on our part” and violated state law.

Former state Senate majority leader Pedro Espada Jr. has asked a New York federal judge to vacate or amend his five-year prison sentence for theft of federal funds from Bronx-based nonprofit health care clinics and for lying on his 2005 personal tax return, claiming his lawyer was subpar.

A New York federal judge granted Jay Z $8,000 in attorneys’ fees in a lawsuit filed by an artist who claims to have helped create the logo for Roc-A-Fella Records, after the plaintiff and his attorney were sanctioned in December for failing to produce discoverable evidence.

As expected, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed Assembly Bill No. 15, which would have raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2021.

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NY-3: Judge Rejects December Vote

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a legal push by Republican congressional candidate Jack Martins to move the general election in the third district to December as he faces an unusually late primary in October.

The judge tossed the Martins-backed effort to change the general election, initiated after a court granted Republican Philip Pidot a long-fought-for primary in October following a protracted legal battle.

Martins had argued that if the primary were to take in October, the general election should be pushed back to December in order to satisfy requirements of the MOVE Act, which governs timely access to ballots for military and overseas voters.

“Disenfranchising even one American serviceman or woman, in this general election, is far too many,” Martins said in a statement. “The federal law that apply here ensures the voting rights of our military are protected. The basis for the court setting an unprecedented October primary was to ensure that the date complies with the federal MOVE Act, which requires that military ballots be mailed at least 45 days prior to an election. That the court took steps to protect the military’s right to vote in a primary election but not in the general election, where far more people will be affected, is equally unprecedented and, frankly, unfathomable.”

But the Department of Defense in a memorandum issued on Monday to the state Board of Elections granted a waiver to hold the general election a month after the October primary. The DoD determined state elections had taken the necessary steps to provide ballots to overseas voters who are eligible.

“Jack Martins has finally run out of lawsuits in his attempt to subvert democracy on Long Island and in Queens,” Pidot said in a statement. “His actions over the these past four months have been nothing less than disgraceful.”

Moving the general election to December would have uncoupled the race from the presidential election, in which more Democratic voters are likely to cast ballots.

The winner of the October primary faces Democratic former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi in the general election. Incumbent Democrat Steve Israel is retiring at the end of the year.

Extras

Hillary Clinton’s campaign targeted Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” baseball hat in a new TV ad.

The FBI is reportedly working to release to the public several documents at the heart of its decision not to recommend charges against Clinton for her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state and the Justice Department’s ultimate decision to follow the FBI’s recommendation.

Donald Trump reportedly still speaks to his fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski regularly – almost every day.

Nine-term Republican state Sen. John Bonacic has the GOP, Conservative, Independence and Reform party lines locked up for the November election, but he’s also hoping to win the Democratic line through a write-in campaign in next month’s primary.

Embattled Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte will appear on the next season of “Dancing With the Stars,” as will former Texas Gov. Rick Perry; Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez; model Amber Rose; and Maureen McCormick, who may be better known as Marcia Brady.

Lochte says he hopes his appearance on the show will help changes people’s minds about him after the Rio incident.

Professors at Hofstra, which is the site of the first debate between Clinton and Trump on Sept. 26, are mulling a walkout due to a contract dispute with their employer.

It turns out that Jeffrey Sachs, an influential health care lobbyist with ties to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, (he was an usher at Cuomo’s wedding), played a key role in obtaining state approvals that paved the way for the controversial sale of the Lower East Side nursing home knwon as Rivington House.

In advance of today’s Senate hearing on water quality in Hoosick Falls, GOP Sen. Kathy Marchione’s Democratic opponent, Shaun Francis, unveiled a billboard criticizing her response to the PFOA crisis.

EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck said the federal agency had a health advisory in place since 2009 recommending that PFOA in water supplies not exceed 400 parts per trillion for short-term exposure, which would be weeks or months. The initial tests in Hoosick Falls showed five of the village’s six wells exceeded that limit, and many were above 600 ppt.

A member of the New York City Water Board resigned his position and was fined $1,000 for violating conflicts-of-interest rules by hosting a fundraiser for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election bid, records released today show.

Is former Rep. Anthony Weiner a sex addict? Some experts say no.

The cartoonist who drew an image of Clinton in blackface, which was tweeted – and then deleted – by a pastor who is a Trump supporter, is standing by his caricature.

The NYT editorial page: “Mayor Bill de Blasio is racing to save New York as a reasonably affordable city to live in. It’s a hard enough job as it is, made harder by two significant obstacles — two unpredictable, hard-to-manage phenomena. Call one of them anxiety, and the other Andrew.”

New York’s highest court effectively expanded the legal definition of parenthood by ruling today that gay parents can seek custody and visitation rights for their non-biological children.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will provide relief for farmers and ranchers in 28 New York and Pennsylvania counties stricken by this summer’s drought.

“The thing about the conflict between the mayor and the governor is it’s like water polo,” said a representative for a major Manhattan-based developer. “You see them thrashing around at each other on the surface, but below the surface is where the real kicks are happening.”

The City University of New York is investigating whether a recent $500,000 donation intended to bolster the humanities and arts at its flagship school may have been improperly diverted

A recent national study that reported Syracuse has the nation’s highest lead poisoning rate is flawed and makes the lead problem here appear far worse than it is, according to Onondaga County Health Department officials.

The state and Livingston County have finalized a Memorandum of Understanding to determine how $20 million obtained from a previous legal settlement with the former owner of a huge, collapsed salt mine in Livingston County will be used.

Gaming Commission Approves Casino For Tioga Downs

As expected, state gaming regulators on Tuesday approved a casino license for the Tioga Downs Casino in the town of Nichols — adding a fourth casino to upstate New York.

The vote at the state Gaming Commission in Saratoga Springs was unanimous.

Initially, state officials in late 2014 would only issue three casino licenses for regions north of New York City in Schenectady, the Finger Lakes town of Tyre and in Kiamesha Lake in the Catskills. At the time, the state’s casino siting board questioned the financial viability in a fourth region that would have qualified for a casino: the economically troubled Southern Tier.

But the Southern Tier region the same day of the casino announcement was also shut out from another revenue source, high-volume hydrofracking, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration moved to ban.

At the urging of state lawmakers and from Tioga Downs itself, Cuomo called for a new casino siting and licensing process for the Southern Tier. The sole applicant was Tioga Downs.

The Gaming Commission touted the economic benefits of bringing table-top gaming to the Southern Tier, including $25.6 million in statewide school aid as well as $3.2 million for Tioga County and the Nichols town government.

“Tioga Downs’ expansion will foster hundreds of new jobs and spur much-needed economic development in the Southern Tier, plus generate millions of dollars for public schools and local governments – with all private money and zero taxpayer dollars,” Commission Executive Director Robert Williams said in a statement.

Court Of Appeals Ruling Expands Parenthood To Non-Biological, Non-Adoptive Parents

The state’s highest court on Tuesday expanded the definition of parenthood on Tuesday that essentially found a non-adoptive, non-biological parent has the right to custody or visitation.

The ruling in a consolidation of custody cases had considered the question of the legal definition of a parent, reversing a 25-year-old ruling that blocked non-adoptive, non-biological parents from claiming rights of custody or visitation.

The ruling itself cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges that granted marriage rights to same-sex couples, as well as years of case law on the issue of child custody.

The lawsuits considered by the court were filed by women whose former parents had conceived a child through artificial insemination, their parents carried the child and was raised by the couple. Each couple would ultimately end their relationships, leading to the dispute over custody and visitation.

While seeking to be as narrow as possible, the court’s ruling found the existing legal definition of parent was “unworkable.”

“Under the current legal framework, which emphasizes biology, it is impossible — without marriage or adoption — for both former partners of a same-sex couple to have standing, as only one can be biologically related to the child… By contrast, where both partners in a heterosexual couple are biologically related to the child, both former partners will have standing regardless of marriage or adoption,” Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam wrote in the majority opinion. “It is this context that informs the Court’s determination of a proper test for standing that ensures equality for same-sex parents and provides the opportunity for their children to have the love and support of two committed parents.”

Still, the court’s ruling was not too far afield, declining to consider situations in which non-adoptive and non-biological parents didn’t decide to conceive a child.

91 92opn16 Decision by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Long Knocks Schumer’s Donors From EpiPen Makers

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Republican opponent is taking him to task for the contributions he’s received from the chief executive officer of the company that boosted the price of the EpiPen.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Wendy Long pushed Schumer to return the donations from Mylan CEO Heather Bresch and the company’s political action committee.

Over the years, Schumer has received $10,000 in donations from the PAC and Bresch.

Mylan stoked controversy this month after hiking the price of the EpiPen, commonly used to inject anti-allergens.

“I am calling upon him to take those donations out of his $27 million campaign coffer and donate them to a worthy institution that treats children with life-threatening allergies who can’t afford EpiPens or with pediatric cancers like leukemia and Hodgkin’s who are suffering because of generic drug shortages that he causes,” Long said in a statement.

She suggested Schumer forward the money to either St. Jude’s Hospital or to Kravis Children’s Hospital at the Mount Sinai Medical Center.

“And I’m not sure if there are enough zeros on the online button to do it, but why not give sick children the whole $27 million sitting in your campaign warchest? Renounce your sorry past as the King of Pay for Play in Washington,” Long said.

The increased price for the EpiPen — hike by some 400 percent — has led to bipartisan outrage toward Mylan as a generic version may soon be offered and calls for federal and state investigations grow.

NY-19: Teachout Touts Faso’s Poll

Democratic congressional hopeful Zephyr Teachout on Tuesday took the unusual step of touting her Republican opponent John Faso’s own poll.

In a fundraising email, Teachout’s campaign pointed to the poll conducted by the McLaughlin Group for Faso’s campaign that found the former Assembly minority leader ahead 46 percent to Teachout’s 41 percent.

“That’s pretty incredible,” wrote campaign manager Kim Maier. “Our opponent — backed by big corporations, special interests and Super PACs — is ahead only within the margin of error in his own poll that he’s showing to press.”

In the email, Teachout’s campaign urges $3 contributions ahead of Wednesday’s reporting deadline.

“Now it’s up to our grassroots movement to close the gap,” she wrote. “We’re making great progress towards our goal of raising $100,000 by our deadline of Wednesday at midnight, but we’re still short.”

The 19th congressional district is a Republican-leaning House seat, though has been a battleground district in recent election cycles. Teachout’s campaign could benefit from an increase in Democratic voters heading to the polls this year.

Republican Rep. Chris Gibson is retiring after three terms this year.

DOH Announces Expansion Of Med Mar Program

The state’s medical marijuana program will be expanded to include the testing of new products, allowing home delivery service, the authorization of nurse practitioners to certify patients and make it easier for patients to afford prescriptions.

In all, the changes appear aimed at making it easier for those who qualify for the program to certify as patients and even expand the patient pool through regulatory changes.

The expansion of the program announced on Tuesday by the Department of Health are marked change from 2014, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law what was at the time promoted as a strictly monitored and tightly regulated system of providing medically based cannabis to severely ill patients.

Cuomo at the time insisted the program could be folded if law enforcement officials determine it is being abused — a component that was key to him agreeing to backing the bill that had been pushed for the last several years by state lawmakers.

Supporters of the measure that was ultimately approved after negotiations with the Legislature complained it was too restrictive and could hinder access to patients.

But advocates for medical marijuana have pushed state policymakers to expand the program that so far has certified more than 7,000 patients and registered nearly 700 doctors.

At the same time, the acceptance of marijuana as a drug for terminally ill patients has grown among voters, much less other states introducing similar programs.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker indicated the changes were based in part from feedback state officials have received since the program went online.

“Since launching the program, the Department has worked closely with doctors, patients and registered organizations to gather information relevant to strengthening the program in anticipation of the required two-year report,” Zcuker said. We are constantly evaluating the program to make it more effective for patients and practitioners, and we believe that the implementation of these recommendations will do just that.”

Perhaps the biggest change will be to allow nurse practitioners to certify patients for the program. Initially the purview of only doctors, the move is aimed at expanding the number of patients certified in the program, especially those who live in rural areas where there are fewer physicians.

Meanwhile, the state DOH will propose additional regulatory changes that will be aimed at streamlining requirements for drug manufacturers. Additional efforts include reviewing evidence for the use of medical marijuana for those who are suffering from chronic and intractable pain.

The Department Health also wants to encourage independent laboratories to apply for certification of medical marijuana testing, while they also pledged to continue to reach out to federal officials to ease restrictions on research.

SD-37: Killian Releases First TV Ad

Republican Senate hopeful Julie Killian on Tuesday released her first TV ad that calsl for term limits and other reforms in Albany.

The ad is airing in the Westchester County cable TV market.

“When people want change, they’re not shy about saying it,” the ad’s narrator says. “Julie’s a leader in the fight against drug abuse, an advocate for our kids and a mom who knows how to get things done.”

Killian is a Rye City councilwoman who is challenging Democratic incumbent George Latimer for the suburban Westchester Senate seat. Republicans have long had their eye on flipping this district for the last several election cycles, making the race for it often one more the expensive campaigns each year.

Cuomo Administration: EPA Should Reimburse NY For Hoosick Falls Response

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration on Tuesday sought to recoup costs incurred by the response to the Hoosick Falls water contamination, arguing in a letter the Environmental Protection Agency should ultimately pay for what polluters do not.

The letter from Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and Health Commissioner Howard Zucker was released just as a Senate hearing in the rural village on water contamination was being held.

The demand that the federal government cover costs associated with the state government’s response is the latest development in an increasingly truculent relationship between the Cuomo administration and the EPA over the issue.

The EPA had initially declared the drinking water in the village unsafe before the state moved to declare the area a Superfund site.

But Cuomo has said the EPA holds responsibility for shifting safety levels for PFOA, which was found to be at unsafe levels in the village’s municipal drinking water.

“In a span of a few months, the EPA shifted their position repeatedly – changing the level from 400 parts per trillion to 100 parts per trillion in a single town, and then changing the national advisory level from 400 parts per trillion to 70 parts per trillion. In addition, the EPA has had different guidance for what to do when any of those levels are actually exceeded,” the New York officials wrote in the letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

“This generated undue public anxiety and different strategies and deployments for our agencies, resulting in the state marshaling unprecedented resources in order to adapt to the constantly shifting guidance and recommendations from the EPA. As a result, the EPA should reimburse the State for any costs not ultimately borne by the responsible parties.”

New York officials say the state so far has spent at least $25 million on the Hoosick Falls response. An additional $50 million is expected in additional costs in the coming years, which includes biomonitoring in the area and the installation and maintenance of water treatment systems in homes.

The state also says the federal government should pay for the identification and connection to a permanent alternative water supply for the village.

State lawmakers in September will hold a joint Assembly and Senate hearing on statewide water quality issues, while the Republican-led House Oversight Committee has opened a review of the state’s response to the Hoosick Falls water contamination.

Officials at the EPA are not testifying at the hearing in Hoosick Falls today, but are instead submitting written testimony.

2016-08-30_letter_to_epa by Nick Reisman on Scribd