Mar 5th - 6:38 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.
At 9 a.m., attorney and broadcaster Rikki Klieman, the wife of NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, discusses her career during an event organized by New York Law School’s recently established NYLS Women’s Network; Events Center, second floor, 185 W. Broadway, Manhattan.
At 9:30 a.m., Assemblyman David Buchwald hosts a press conference on a bill that would revoke pension benefits from public employees convicted of felonies, LCA Room (130), Legislative Office Building, Albany.
Also at 9:30 a.m., Sen. Tom O’Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and a coalition of state lawmakers call on Cuomo and legislative leaders to increase state funding for local roads, bridges and culverts through the CHIPS program and a new, multi-year dedicated fund, Senate Gallery, 4th Floor Lobby, state Capitol, Albany.
Also at 9:30 a.m., AARP members from Long Island advocate for an independent utility consumer advocate in the state budget outside Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos’ District Office, 55 Front St., Rockville Centre.
At 10 a.m., NY Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and members of the Finance Committee participate in the committee’s preliminary hearing on city budget proposals for the next fiscal year; Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan. (Other committee hearings will take place throughout the afternoon).
Also at 10 a.m., the Coalition for an Empire State Live Production Tax Credit holds a “Keep Broadway in New York” press conference, LCA Room (130), LOB, Albany.
At 10:30 a.m., Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver holds a press conference to announce intended passage of Child Care Workgroup recommendations including paid family leave and increased access to child care, Speaker’s Conference Room, (342), Third Floor, state Capitol.
Also at 10:30 a.m., Sen. Liz Krueger and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee outline new legislation banning discrimination against women in the workplace on the basis of their reproductive healthcare decisions, state Capitol, Room 315, Albany.
At 11 a.m., Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will announce his decision on whether he’ll be challenging Cuomo in the fall election. (The announcement is coming via a web video to be released at www.RobAstorino.com).
Also at 11 a.m., the New York State Coalition for More Family Court Judges holds a press conference, outside LCA Room (130), Legislative Office Building, Albany.
At noon, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James and Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins hold a press conference on public campaign financing at the Million Dollar Staircase at the state Capitol, Albany.
Also noon, advocates rally for NYC zoning regulations to include requirements to construct housing for low-income residents, City Hall steps, Manhattan.
At 1 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio accepts the invitation to appear in his first Inner Circle Show, Mayor’s Office, City Hall, Manhattan.
Also at 1 p.m., Assembly members Felix Ortiz, Brian Kavanagh and Michele Schimel hold a press conference to urge the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to reject “fast track” legislation for the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership, LCA Press Room (130), LOB, Albany.
At 2 p.m., Deacon Gerald Ladouceur of Albany’s Mater Christi Parish distributes ashes (for Ash Wednesday) to lawmakers and staff, hallway outside Room 346, Capitol, Albany.
At 3 p.m., NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer testifies at the City Council’s budget hearing, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.
At 5:30 p.m., Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle hosts a fundraiser at the Fort Orange Club, 110 Washington Ave., Albany.
At 6 p.m., Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino hosts a fundraiser, also at the Fort Orange Club.
At 6 p.m., Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer hosts a fundraiser at the Hilton, 40 Lodge St., Albany.
At 7 p.m., Sen. Malcolm Smith’s monthly “Operation Safe Southeast Queens” meeting takes place; 205-20 Jamaica Ave., Queens.
New York City’s charter school advocates, and their highest-profile champion Eva Moskowitz, had a good day in Albany, capped with a last-minute visit – and full-throated declaration of support – from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Moskowitz’s history of aggressive tactics has led several other charter operators to give her a wide berth. More than 30 charter school leaders, still hoping for better relations with the new mayor, boycotted the rally (at which she did not speak).
De Blasio and Cuomo met behind closed doors at the Capitol for about 90 minutes and had what the mayor characterized as a “productive” discussion.
The charter school issue has opened up a third policy rift (No. 1 being pre-K funding, and No. 2 local minimum wage) between the mayor and the governor.
After the meeting Cuomo said: “I’ve supported charter schools for many, many years. I believe in the movement, I believe it’s a good thing, and I supported charter schools before Mayor de Blasio was Mayor de Blasio, and it had absolutely nothing to do (with him).”
When it comes to charters, de Blasio also is getting pressure from the left. Upset he didn’t go far enough with co-location rejections, Public Advocate Letitia James and Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito are moving ahead with a lawsuit to overturn those he approved.
Giving further proof that the worst-kept secret in state politics is that Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will run for governor, the Republican is due to be in Buffalo tomorrow as part of a swing through the state, according to sources close to the campaign.
Astorino plans to deploy his regular guy, suburban “magic” against Cuomo.
Mar 5th - 1:34 am
Besides a possible challenge from Donald Trump, Westerchester County Executive Rob Astorino could still be facing a challenge from former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, but not on the conservative line. While reacting to the likelihood Astorino will indeed announce he’s running for governor, Paladino acknowledged he may need a new line on the ballot if he decides to challenge Astorino.
“Mike Long appears to be supporting Astorino right now so it would have to be a new party line that I would form. I don’t know why Mike Long took the position he did I can’t answer that. But I certainly respect him,” Paladino said.
Paladino is not backing off of his promise to challenge Astorino if he doesn’t call for the removal of Republican State Senator Dean Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.
“If he (Astorino) comes out and denounces these people and purges them from the party I will campaign for him. How can you run for governor of the state of New York if your supposed supporters are in bed with your opponent? It doesn’t make any sense. Donald Trump would bury them,” said Paladino.
The Buffalo Businessman continues to believe Trump is the man for the job. While many continue to believe “Trump for Governor” is a pipe dream Paladino isn’t wavering.
“I respect Rob Astroino and expect him to do the right thing if he gets the opportunity. I don’t think the opportunity is going to be there because I think Donald Trump is going to announce that he is going to run for that office,” Paladino added.
Mar 4th - 6:30 pm
The state Senate on Tuesday confirmed the nomination of Mark Gearan to be the new chairman of the state Gaming Commission — a regulatory body that will consider the licenses of casino developers in parts of the upstate region this year.
“I am pleased to welcome Mark Gearan, a proven leader with years of management experience in the public and private sectors, to serve as Chair of the Gaming Commission,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Casino gaming holds the potential to create thousands of new jobs in Upstate New York, while providing millions of dollars to schools and local governments statewide. Mark’s decades of public service and great work leading Hobart and William Smith Colleges will be of tremendous value in this new role , and I thank him for taking the time to serve on the Gaming Commission.”
Cuomo last month named former state operations director Paul Francis, Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz and former city comptroller Bill Thompson to a panel that will consider casino placement.
Due to agreement with the state’s Indian nations, and enabling language approved by the Assembly and Senate last year, the casinos in the first phase of construction will be limited to areas north of the New York City area: The Capital Region, the Southern Tier and the Catskills.
Four casinos will be built in the first phase of construction.
The governor in January announced that request for proposals for casino construction will begin this month and the final approval is expected by the fall.
Mar 4th - 4:58 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s rescheduled Adirondack Winter Challenge will take place this weekend at Lake Placid. Sen. Betty Little will be participating in the curling competition.
Quick-footed IDC Leader Jeff Klein managed to attend and speak at both the pre-K AND charter school rallies today. Ditto Assemblyman Karim Camara.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will be riding the subway with a criminologist in the coming weeks to check on crime and quality-of-life issues.
The federal budget that Obama unveiled today would impose a number of tax hikes on wealthy New Yorkers.
Citing two derailments of trains carrying crude oil over the past week, the governor has called on the feds to step up rail safety reforms.
Cuomo declined Zack Fink’s offer of a shot of Jameson, opting to stick with vodka at the City Beer Hall in Albany last night.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s big announcement will come on Ash Wednesday.
More would-be challengers are lining up to take on embattled Sen. John Sampson.
Well-connected Long Island businessman Gary Melius has been released from a hospital eight days after being shot in the head.
The major land claim and casino exclusivity deal Cuomo made with the Oneida Indian Nation has received court clearance from a federal judge.
Assemblyman Jose Rivera and his ubiquitious video camera got into a little trouble in the DR.
Cuomo’s energy plan drew fire during a public hearing on Long Island.
Sen. Tom O’Mara, a conservative Republican from Western New York, is the fourth member of his GOP conference to come out publicly in support of a plan to legalize medical marijuana.
Three other GOP senators – Cathy Young, Patrick Gallivan and Mike Ranzenhofer – are open to a high CBD oil type of medical marijuana known in Colorado as “Charlotte’s Web.”
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and City Auditor Marty Masterpole are at odds over documentation of the mayor’s travels at city expense.
More than three dozen affordable housing providers and advocates met privately with de Blasio’s housing team to strategize on the administration’s forthcoming housing policy.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s love of labor unions is still going strong.
Mar 4th - 4:51 pm
Sen. Tom O’Mara became the latest Republican lawmaker to back a measure that would provide for the legalization of medical marijuana.
His support for the measure was first revealed on a Facebook post by advocates who had lobbied the Chemung County legislator on the issue.
“This legislation allows for safe, limited access to medical marijuana, for people who suffer from serious, debilitating diseases. I will continue to work to improve the bill to make sure we maintain a balance between access and compassion for patients, and maintaining control to eliminate the potential black market,” O’Mara said in a statement. “Comprehensive medical research and the ever-growing testimony from medical professionals, health care experts, patients and families show that the use of medical marijuana can help ease the pain and suffering of the seriously ill. I have carefully considered the facts, and after meeting with patients and their families I have come to the conclusion it’s time for New York to offer a highly restrictive, tightly regulated network to provide patients access to treatment that will improve their quality of life.”
That his support for the bill is a surprise would be a bit of an understatement.
O’Mara is consistently one of the more conservative members of the Senate, but the pro-medical marijuana lobby this session has waged an effective campaign to convert Republican lawmakers to their side.
GOP Sens. Mark Grisanti, George Maziarz and Joe Robach have all indicated their support for the med-mar bill.
The push for the med-mar bill comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he would allow a limited version of medical marijuana through an existing law. Advocates have said the Cuomo proposal is too limited in scope; an executive order outlining the proposal is yet to be unveiled.
Mar 4th - 3:52 pm
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is once again teaming up with President Obama.
The two met for lunch at the White House Tuesday, on the same day the President unveiled his budget, which includes policies aimed at targeting income inequality. Just last week, Bloomberg was at the White House to help the President unveil a new initiative aimed at helping black and Latino boys.
During the lunch, the Mayor expressed his support for Obama’s budget proposal to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps decrease the tax burden on low-income Americans.
Here’s Bloomberg’s statement on his meeting with the President:
“Today, I joined President Obama at the White House for lunch where we discussed his budget proposal, the state of our economy, and his initiative to help young black and Latino men realize their potential, among other critical issues. It was a thoughtful, honest dialogue – the kind we need more of in Washington.
“In his budget submission, the President has smartly included an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless adults – a program that both the right and the left acknowledge as one of the most effective anti-poverty programs ever created, and one we launched on the local level in New York City.
“Last year, in New York City, we created a pilot program to increase the value of the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit for individuals without children, a first by an American city. Constantly pursuing new and innovative antipoverty initiatives like an expanded EITC is an important reason why New York was the only major American city not to experience an increase in its poverty rate compared to the 2000 Census, and the President is right to see an expanded EITC as a critical element in the fight against poverty, particularly for young men.
“Members of both parties should support expanding the EITC, a program that rewards work, lifts people out of poverty, and reduces dependence on government services. Leadership in both houses of Congress should seize the opportunity for bipartisanship, and pass the President’s EITC proposal this year.”
Mar 4th - 3:18 pm
Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein on Tuesday left the door open to adding more money to the Senate’s one-house budget bill when it comes to universal pre-Kindergarten spending.
At the same time, Klein indicated that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statewide proposal doesn’t fully fund the plan.
“Right now what the governor proposed is $100 million for pre-K,” Klein, the Senate co-president, told reporters after addressing labor members in Albany. “Mayor de Blasio wants $300 million. It’s not enough even for the first year.”
Cuomo’s proposal would fund universal pre-Kindergarten at $1.5 billion over five years. In the coming 2014-15 budget year, $100 million would spent, with $100 million added each year.
The governor’s budget would direct the money to the neediest districts first.
But lawmakers, as well as advocates for the pre-K plan, the spending proposal won’t cover the full state even when it is implemented in the fifth year.
State Education Commissioner John King has said spending for pre-K statewide would cost $1.6 billion annually.
Supporters of the de Blasio approach want a “dedicated funding stream” — which for now includes a tax on the wealthy in New York City.
As for adding more money to the proposal, Klein didn’t rule that out.
“That’s something we have to look at,” he said. “I’m still looking at making sure we have a dedicated funding stream, that the money is there. That’s why I support de Blasio’s tax.”
Mar 4th - 2:33 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will attend Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s State of the County address due to be given this evening in Syracuse.
She’ll be giving her address at Carnegie Library, a site in which could soon be home to Mahoney’s office and other county offices in the near future.
Mahoney, a Republican, has long been a political ally for Cuomo.
She attended a fundraiser with Cuomo last year and serves on his Moreland Commission on Public Corruption.
Mahoney, who crossed party lines in 2010 to endorse Cuomo over Republican nominee Carl Paladino, has even been rumored to replace Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy on the ticket later this year.
Mar 4th - 2:20 pm
In lobbying individual members of the state Legislature, the coalition supporting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push for universal pre-Kindergarten is coming prepared with district-by-district statistics breaking down who benefits.
The stat-fact sheet, like this one below for Assemblyman David Weprin’s district, provide data on the number of children in the district, their racial identity as well as income levels.
All of this comes on a mega lobbying day at the Capitol for both UPKNYC as well as charter schools.
De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who are meeting this afternoon, differ on how to fund universal pre-K.
Cuomo wants to fund a statewide version out of existing budget dollars, while de Blasio is pushing for a tax hike in the city, but that must be approved by Albany.
Mar 4th - 1:37 pm
After Democratic lawmakers in the Assembly huddled privately to discuss a bill that would delay Common Core implementation until 2016, Speaker Sheldon Silver on Tuesday suggested changes to the measure may come.
No vote on the bill is expected today.
The proposal would delay Common Core implementation for teacher evaluations and student assessment by two years, and the roll out of a student data sharing program through July 2015.
Senate lawmakers, meanwhile, have been non-committal on the moratorium bill, but have not ruled out a delay in Common Core implementation for at least two years.
While lawmakers have been pushing for Common Core changes, Assembly Democrats on Monday in conference had a mixed reaction to the bill, which was introduced over the weekend. Several lawmakers who don’t usually speak at the closed-door meeting did register issues with the legislation.
While changes may come, Silver said the broad parameters of the bill are what parents want.
“We’re not going to vote on it today,” Silver told reporters on Tuesday. “We’re going to move it along, see if there are any changes that are necessary. I think it covers what parents in this state are talking about — that this is something that may be good in the long run, however the implementation of it was flawed.”
Silver also shrugged off the dueling rallies between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Cuomo appeared at a rally for charter schools as de Blasio seeks to scale back the available space in New York City.
De Blasio, meanwhile, was up the street from Cuomo in Albany to attend a rally backing his proposal for universal pre-K.
“That’s Albany,” Silver said. “Everyone has a right to say what they want to say. We have brochures, you can lobby Albany. That’s it, at its finest.”