Jun 23rd - 5:32 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized today’s U.S. Supreme Court deadlock on President Obama’s immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the country illegally from deportation, effectively killing it for the rest of his presidency.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called the deadlock “heartbreaking,” while Obama expressed his disappointment and said that “leaving the broken system the way it is…that’s not a solution.”
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted that the ruling “kept us safe from exec amnesty — for now,” but he also faulted Clinton for pledging “to expand it, taking jobs from Hispanic & African-American workers.”
The ruling also will have a profound local health impact, blocking hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from a chance at health insurance.
The Supreme Court also rejected a challenge to a race-conscious admissions program at the University of Texas at Austin, handing supporters of affirmative action a major victory.
Days after he was fired as Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski was hired by CNN.
Nearly a year after he held an extraordinary press conference in City Hall to denounce his one-time boss Cuomo as “vindictive,” de Blasio said he had no regrets about his public criticisms of the state’s top Democrat.
De Blasio railed against the high-ranking NYPD officers busted for being “cops on call” for two deep-pocketed mayoral donors, but also made it clear that none of their shenanigans started under his watch, or under Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
Bratton vowed to keep a this weekend’s Pride celebrations safe, but said the NYPD didn’t owe the LGBT community an apology for the 1969 raid of the Stonewall Inn that spurred the modern gay rights movement.
After more than 24 hours of sitting on the House floor, Democratic lawmakers ended their sit-in without managing to force a vote on gun control measures.
Eighteen of the 20 uniformed and civilian employees whose laziness, incompetence and dereliction who were cited in the state IG’s report for enabling two convicted killers to escape from Clinton Correctional Facility last summer are still on the job and won’t be criminally prosecuted.
Just days before three Republicans face off in a primary for his seat, retiring Rep. Richard Hanna said that Cazenovia businessman Steve Wells is the best chance Republicans have to hold onto his seat in Congress when he departs.
Wegmans has reversed a decision by a store in Virginia to refuse service to a group of former Muslims.
Jun 23rd - 3:53 pm
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli in a radio interview on Thursday said he was yet to see a contract for the independent investigator hired by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to review contracting and payments in the Buffalo Billion economic development program.
“As of yesterday, we have not,” DiNapoli said on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom. “Whether something is happening today, I don’t know.”
Cuomo in May announced he had hired Bart Schwartz, a former federal prosecutor, to review contracts in the economic development program, which has come under scrutiny by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office.
Schwartz’s role has not been fully defined, nor has it been disclosed how much he is being paid for his services. The Times Union reported this week Scwhartz would have subpoena power granted by Cuomo under the Moreland Act powers.
In the interview, DiNapoli pushed back against initial assertions his office was to blame this month for a delayed payment to contractors under the Buffalo Billion program which nearly once again led to a round of layoffs.
DiNapoli insisted his office was asking “basic questions” to determine where the money was going and whether proper safeguards were in place.
“When some of these payments come through, the other work we do which is payment approval or making sure the minimum requirements are in order, that’s part of our due diligence we’re going to continue to provide,” he said. “To a certain extent, I think our office was unfairly beat up last week that we were withholding the payments. Well, we have some basic questions we have to ask.”
Among those questions is whether Schwartz reviewed and approved the payment.
“Did he look at this before the payment came to us? The PACB has some as part of the approval has some added disclosure and oversight,” he said. “Is that being followed? Those are the kinds of basic questions we should be asking. And if it takes an extra day or two to do that, that’s our job.”
At the same time, DiNapoli indicated his office would continue to exercise what power it has to review the program as well as additional economic development spending. An audit on the Excelsior Jobs program is due out soon, DiNapoli said.
“No one is trying to hold up a payment or have workers laid off,” DiNapoli said. “To send something over and you have to approve it yesterday and not respond to basic questions quickly, that’s a problem for us.”
Jun 23rd - 2:26 pm
The National Republican Congressional Committee on Thursday criticized an answer given by Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout in a TWC News debate last week in which she sidestepped a question related to the effort to curtail the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo — who Teachout challenged in a Democratic primary in 2014 — earlier this month announced the state would no longer do business with entities that are involved in the campaign, known as the BDS movement.
During the lightning round portion of the debate between Teachout and her Democratic challenger Will Yandik, she demurred when asked about Cuomo’s executive action.
“I’m running for Congress,” she said in response.
The BDS movement does have sympathies on the political left, and Cuomo’s office was protested over the move during the end of the legislative session.
In a statement, NRCC spokesman Chris Pack blasted Teachout for not taking a position.
“It is shameful that Zephyr Teachout refuses to say whether she supports an effort to destroy the Israeli economy in the name of Palestine,” he said. “Zephyr Teachout lacking the courage to take positions on issues important to Hudson Valley voters is proof she is nothing more than a calculating, self-serving politician.”
Teachout and Yandik are competing next week for the Democratic nomination in the Hudson Valley district, which is being vacated by Republican Rep. Chris Gibson.
The full debate with TWC News can be seen here.
Jun 23rd - 1:50 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Thursday designed to tackle so-called “zombie” houses — blighted properties that have fallen into foreclosure and disrepair.
The bill, signed by Cuomo in Onondaga County, has two components: Making it easier for homeowners to fight foreclosure and combat the blight created by foreclosed properties.
“For many New Yorkers, homes are our single most important investment, but that investment can be undermined by the blight of neglected and abandoned properties,” Cuomo said. “For each zombie home that we cure and for each that we prevent with this legislation, we are saving entire neighborhoods from the corrosive effect of blight and neglect.”
The new law builds on efforts to slow the foreclosure process for homeowners by strengthening the effectiveness of Mandatory Settlement Conferences. A consumer bill of rights is established with added protections for homeowners who are contesting foreclosures. And a community restoration fund is being created, which will buy defaulted mortgaged notes from lenders and offer favorable modifications to keep homeowners from losing their property.
At the same time, the law imposes new pre-foreclosure requirements on banks and lending services to maintain vacant and abandon properties.
The law also expedites the foreclosure of vacant and abandoned properties that homeowners no longer want, requiring a foreclosing party to move to auction within 90 days of obtaining judgment.
An electronic registering of vacant properties is also being established.
The package of provisions was sought by the five-member Independent Democratic Conference in the state Senate, who had proposed the measures in recent months to combat zombie property vacancies.
“Today is a victory for every community in New York State,” said IDC Leader Jeff Klein. “From The Bronx to Buffalo, zombie properties impact every corner of our state resulting in blight and diminished property values for surrounding homeowners.”
Jun 23rd - 12:38 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo predicted on Thursday the debate over a bill that would make it easier for victims of sexual abuse to sue will return next year, even as nuances remain to the measure’s passage.
The bill, known as the Child Victims Act, would expand the statute of limitations for victims of abuse, had opposed by the Catholic Church, but pushed for by victim advocates and The Daily News in a series of pointed front-page headlines.
“It is a controversial act by and large,” Cuomo said during a visit to Solvay in central New York. “I understand and support the extension of the statute of limitations, but it has to be done carefully.”
Cuomo acknowledged that by expanding the statute of limitations, the accused would have a difficult time mounting a defense in court
“It’s going to be hard to reconstruct a defense, where you were 10 years ago,” Cuomo said. “The statute of limitations has a bona fide rationale in the law. On the other hand, it can be prevent victims from getting the redress they deserve. That’s the balance.”
The measure ultimately did not pass the Legislature this year.
Businessman Gary Greenberg, himself a victim of abuse, has pledged to spend up to $200,000 to oppose lawmakers re-elections who did not back the measure. Greenberg and victim advocates earlier on Thursday delivered petition signatures to Cuomo’s office at the Capitol urging him to support the bill.
“It was debated in the Assembly and Senate,” Cuomo said. “We didn’t come to a resolution, my guess is it will come to a debate again next year.”
Jun 23rd - 11:48 am
An audit of homeless shelters outside of New York City found many are in poor condition, facing health and safety issues, according to a report released Thursday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
The audit, conducted in conjunction with county comptrollers from Albany, Dutchess, Nassau, Onondaga, Suffolk and Ulster counties reviewed conditions at 200 emergency shelters as well as 187 hotels and motels.
Overall, auditors found 320 facilities to be in “generally adequate” condition.
However, 67 facilities that provide shelter services to the homeless were found to poor or very condition, ranging from issues such as mold, dirty restrooms and vermin. More than 60 faciltiies were found to have fire safety issues such as lacking a fire escape, inadequate fire extinguishers or missing smoke detectors.
At 37 facilities, there were personal safety issues such as restroom doors that do not lock, unsafe playgrounds and staris, while 20 locations had poor bedding and not enough toilets.
“Homelessness is a problem affecting communities in virtually every corner of the state,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Despite our best efforts, there continue to be run-down – and sometimes even squalid – shelters that pose a real danger to the health and safety of families and individuals that have nowhere else to go. It is clear that greater action is needed to ensure that all homeless shelter facilities provide safe accommodations for some of New York’s most vulnerable residents.”
Even among the facilities deemed to be in overall good condition, there are still persistent issues that should be corrected.
The report was conducted after Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his January State of the State address called for a new homeless housing push that gave the state never oversight of the shelter system.
The Office of Temporary and Disability Services, the agency responsible for administration of the housing and service programs for the homeless, is also in charge of monitoring local oversight and inspection of shelters, but has delegated authority for smaller facilities to county social services departments.
Jun 23rd - 10:55 am
Public Advocate Tish James endorsed on Thursday Democrat Jamaal Bailey for the state Senate district being vacated by Ruth Hassell-Thompson.
“Jamaal Bailey has been working hard on behalf of his community, both as the Community Relations Director for Speaker Carl Heastie and as a District Leader of the 83rd Assembly District,” James said. “I am confident he will bring the same vigor and dedication to the people of the 36th Senatorial District.”
The district, which includes parts of the Bronx and Mount Vernon, is considered a safe Democratic seat, but has a competitive primary with several candidates vying to replace Hassell-Thompson.
Bailey is a district leader in the Bronx with ties to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
He has previously picked up a series of labor endorsements, but James is the first citywide official to back his candidacy.
“I’m grateful for the support of Public Advocate James,” Bailey said in a statement. “She has been a staunch activist for the people of New York City and I hope to do the same for the constituents of Mount Vernon and the Bronx when elected to the State Senate.”
Hassell-Thompson is departing the Senate for a job in the Cuomo adminstration.
Jun 23rd - 7:07 am
From the Morning Memo:
As he signed a package of bills into law aimed at stemming the tide of heroin and opioid addiction in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo singled out Senate Republicans on Wednesday for praise.
Speaking on Long Island as part of a series of signing ceremonies around the state on Wednesday, Cuomo specifically credited the GOP-led chamber’s anti-heroin task force, which launched in 2014, calling the measures a “major turning point” in the heroin crisis that has gripped parts of the state.
“In truth, kudos to the Senate,” Cuomo said. “The Senate raised this issue very early on, Sen. Flanagan raised this issue very early on. Being from Long Island he knew it first hand.”
The measures come amid a record-high number of deaths from heroin or opioid-related abuse in 2014, according to a report released earlier this month by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office.
Ultimately the task force would recommend 11 bills aimed at prevention and treatment as well as law enforcement provisions.
“They came up with a really intelligent plan and that’s the plan we’re enacting with the appropriate funding,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo would launch his own task force in May to hold listening sessions around the state to discuss the issue, with lawmakers and the administration eventually settling on a package of bills designed to make it easier to obtain treatment under insurance policies as well as limit the prescription of painkillers that lead to addiction.
In April, the 2016-17 state budget included $189 million in funding for anti-heroin measures, $20 million than the Senate Republicans had initially proposed spending.
Jun 23rd - 5:32 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Onondaga and Suffolk Counties and New York City.
Voters in Britain today decide whether the country should exit the EU, (AKA “Brexit”).
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders delivers a “where do we go from here” speech in NYC today. He’ll be in New York tomorrow, too, headlining a rally for NY-24 candidate Eric Kingson.
At 8:30 a.m., the board of the New York City Office of School Support Services holds a public meeting, 255 Greenwich St., 8th Floor, Room 8-S1S2, Manhattan.
At 10 a.m., Cuomo signs legislation to combat so-called “zombie properties” in New York, 208 Hazard St., Solvay.
Also at 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WNYC’s the Brian Lehrer Show, and will take calls from listeners.
At 11 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul convenes a meeting of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, Monroe Community College, Flynn Campus Center, 1000 East Henrietta Rd., Rochester.
Also at 11 a.m., World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein joins over 500 union construction workers and ublic officials, business leaders and representatives from the local community at a topping out ceremony for the 1,079-foot tall 3 World Trade Center tower, Manhattan.
Also at 11 a.m., Sen. James Sanders Jr., Cuomo, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Assemblywoman Vivian Cook sponsor an “Are You Ready for the Next Hurricane Sandy?” Citizen Preparedness Corps Training Program, Brooks Senior Center, 143-22 109th Ave., Queens.
At 11:15 a.m., de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will host a press conference to discuss the upcoming NYC Pride March and public safety, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, Room 101, 208 West 13th St., Manhattan.
At 12:30 p.m., Hochul highlights Cuomo’s economic development progress during an address to the Rochester Rotary, Rochester Convention Center, Highland Ballroom, 123 East Main St., Rochester.
At 1:15 p.m., Cuomo holds another ceremonial bill signing for the zombie property legislation, Educational Alliance’s Manny Cantor Center, 197 East Broadway, Manhattan.
At 2 p.m., Hochul makes an announcement with SiGNa Chemistry, Eastman Business Park, Building 218, Entrance Gate 206, near 933 West Ridge Rd., Rochester.
At 3 p.m., Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky hosts a press legislative roundtable discussion at her district office, 142-29 37th Ave., Flushing., Queens.
At 3:50 p.m., Cuomo holds a third bill signing ceremony for the zombie property legislation, IBEW Local 25,370 Motor Pkwy., Hauppauge, Long Island.
At 6 p.m., Sen. Michael Gianaris joins members of the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement to call for passage of the HALT Solitary Act and urge Cuomo to end the torture of solitary confinement, 30th Avenue and 30th Street, Queens.
Also at 6 p.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish James hosts the first of two New York screenings of “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and NRA,” as part of a series of hundreds of screenings taking place across the United States, Old First Reformed Church, 729 Carroll St., Brooklyn.
At 6:45 p.m., Hochul delivers the JFK Senior High School commencement address, 305 Cayuga Creek Rd., Cheektowaga.
At 7 p.m., Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders delivers a speech, The Town Hall, 123 W 43rd St., Manhattan.
Also at 7 p.m., NYC Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer attends de Blaso and First Lady Chirlane McCray’s LGBT Pride Month celebration, Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, New York City Building, Meridian Road, Queens.
House Democrats demanded but didn’t get a vote on gun control legislation despite an hours-long sit-in on the House floor.
Republicans adjourned the House at 3:15 a.m. until after July 4th after Speaker Paul Ryan took the remarkable step of calling a vote on a major appropriations bill in the wee hours and without any debate., but Democrats were still at it well after 4 a.m.
With the cameras it uses to cover Congress shut off by the Republicans, C-SPAN turned to social media feeds to beam live coverage of the House Democrats’ protest to the public.
The DCCC employed the sit-in as a fundraising tool.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump unleashed a series of blistering attacks on Democrat Hillary Clinton on as he sought to regain his footing in the race, calling her “the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.” She returned fire, saying his personal attacks demonstrate he has no real policy proposals.
Trump’s New York co-chair, Carl Paladino, slammed Ryan, calling him a “screwball” for criticizing some of the presumptive GOP presidential nominee’s controversial statements.
Senate Republicans not only stuck it to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on mayoral control of the public schools, but also handed a victory to his nemesis, Success Academy charter school network founder Eva Moskowitz by allowing charters to hire more uncertified teachers.
The de Blasio administration, eager to learn how other global cities are confronting the regulatory challenges posed by so-called “sharing economy” stalwarts like Uber and Airbnb, is planning to host a global gathering on the topic next May.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t believe that holding a special legislative session later this year to close a notorious campaign finance loophole or restrict lawmakers’ outside income would be productive.
Cuomo appears to have given up on the state Legislature taking action to close the notorious LLC loophole, which allows wealthy donors to subvert campaign finance laws by creating multiple limited liability corporations that can each give more than $60,000 to a candidate’s campaign.
Even as it sets ambitious goals for renewable energy, Cuomo’s administration still views natural gas as an essential part of the state’s energy mix, according to recent filings with the Public Service Commission.
The governor said he “can’t see anything but good” in Tesla purchasing SolarCity, which officials say won’t impact the Riverbend project in Buffalo.
In the final hours of their annual session, the Assembly and Senate last week quietly passed a handful of spending measures that steered $56 million to 1,675 pet projects across the state, according to the Empire Center for Public Policy.
Jun 22nd - 5:05 pm
Led by Georgia Rep. John Lewis, veteran civikl rights advocate, Dozens of House Democrats staged a “sit-in” on the House floor today in protest of GOP leadership’s refusal to allow a vote on a gun control measure following the Orlando massacre. When the Republicans killed the cameras in the chamber, Democrats responded by streaming their effort live on their own cell phones.
Donald Trump moderated his tone even as he doubled down on the substance of his attacks on Hillary Clinton, accusing the former Secretary of State of outright corruption, suggesting she could be blackmailed as president and quoting a supporter who said she should go to prison.
As both parties head into their conventions with an eye towards the general election, it appears that unless the presumptive Republican nominee is willing to sell his most valuable holdings, he has nowhere near enough cash to fully self fund his campaign.
LG Kathy Hochul, who has criss-crossed the state since joining with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, has added another level to her portfolio: pitching New York to foreign companies.
In what is believed to be a first for the Buffalo Common Council, lawmakers are preparing to subpoena a New York City investor they say ignored their past invitations to discuss the run-down church building he owns.
State lawmakers passed a bill last week allowing funeral homes to serve non-alcoholic beverages and small food items like sandwiches, baked goods and platters. If signed by Cuomo, the measure would put an end to a decades-long ban, which has long been part of state Department of Health regulations.
Taxi medallion owners, who in 2013 were part of an industry that gave NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations, say he is betraying them by capitulating to Uber on wheelchair accessibility.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement with the sandwich chain Jimmy John’s in which the company will stop including non-compete agreements in hiring packets it sends to franchisees.
The MTA has backed away from its plan to deploy eight of its own officers in the subway system to combat a spike in sex crimes – one day after Cuomo released a stern letter directing the agency to beef up patrol on subways.
U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey (of Pennsylvania) plan to introduce legislation requiring the federal government to notify Americans before their 65th birthday of their need to enroll in Medicare or face fines that last their lifetimes.
Ticketmaster is giving away free concert tickets to music fans after settling a $400 million class action lawsuit for ripping off users – but not to any shows in Syracuse.
Union officials and county lawmakers called on Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to get personally involved in negotiations with deputy sheriffs and probation officers, who have been without contracts for six years.