Extras

The 199th and 200th members of the FDNY have died of September 11th-related illnesses.

Hundreds of jobs at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority could be cut to save money if the agency adopts a major reorganization plan.

A judge denied bail Thursday for jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein on sex trafficking charges after prosecutors argued the jet-setting defendant is a danger to the public and might flee the country.

The New York Racing Association has canceled its Saturday slate of races at Saratoga Race Course due to expected hot weather at the track and in the region.

A representative from the State Board of Elections said questions about whether the Erie County executive’s campaign should pay for the use of a security detail at parades should be decided locally.

People from the Town of Wawayanda are fired up over the pending air permits for the CPV Power plant. The plant is applying for new permits after their previous ones expired.

Writing for The Nation, Alexis Grenell takes a look at whether blocking people on Twitter is good for the well-being of some politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Gannett is in advanced talks for a merger with GateHouse Media.

Schumer Wants FBI To Review FaceApp

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a letter Thursday called for an investigation of FaceApp, which has spawned a viral social media craze of people showing their faces aged 30 years.

While benign sounding, the app is owned by a Russian company and could be harvesting data, as well as faces, from users.

Schumer wants both an investigation by the FBI as well as a review by the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether any Americans’ data was exposed to third parties, including a foreign government.

“In the age of facial recognition technology as both a surveillance and security use, it is essential that users have the information they need to ensure their personal and biometric data remains secure, including from hostile foreign nations,” Schumer wrote in the letter.

Concerns have heightened that Russia may once again attempt to interfere with American elections. A report released this year by Special Counsel Robert Mueller determined Russia sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 election by flooding social media sites with false information.

Cuomo Signs Climate Change Legislation

A sweeping climate change fighting measure was approved today by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who called the legislation one of the most important in the eight years he’s been in office.

Seated next to former Vice President Al Gore, Cuomo approved the bill that codifies goals to reduce carbon emissions by 85 percent in the next 30 years and shifts the state to 70 percent renewable energy by 2030 and a 100 percent carbon neutral system by 2040. The measure also creates a climate action council.

“The environment and the climate change are the most critically important policy priorities we face,” Cuomo said. “They will literally determine the future or the lack thereof.”

At the same time, Cuomo touted the development of off-shore wind projects he says will generate billions of dollars in economic activity and create thousands of union jobs — an essential balance, he said, in environmental protection.

“That is the art form — to develop a sustainable, achievable, environmental agenda that does not disrupt our economy, but rather grows and enhances our economy,” he said.

Cuomo was joined by Gore, the former vice president who out of office has made fighting climate change a signature issue.

“I started to say we’re gaining on the crisis,” Gore said. “But if we keep gaining momentum, we will be gaining on the crisis.”

The legislation’s approval, sought by advocates at the very end of the legislative session last month, was praised by the Environmental Advocates of New York.

“Today, New York begins its official breakup with fossil fuels. Under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York will both slash climate pollution and provide a playbook for the rest of the nation to follow,” said Peter Iwanowicz, the group’s executive director.

“New York’s action is more than ambitious, it is essential, especially if we are going to have a chance to be free from the global climate crisis. And how fitting that the Empire State is once again leading the way.”

But the business community has concerns with the legislation. Darren Suarez of the Business Council says there’s no price tag yet on the off-shore wind projects.

“That comes at a cost to somebody and consumers ultimately will pay it,” he said.

And Suarez says enacting the law will, decades from now, mean major changes for the state’s energy needs.

“At this time there is no technology to get us where we need to be in 2050,” Suarez said. “There will have to be significant investment in R and D, significant investment in infrastructure.”

New York Advocates Cheer House Minimum Wage Vote (Updated)

Advocates and labor unions on Thursday cheered the passage of a bill in the Democratic-led House of Representatives that would increase the federal minimum wage to $15.

The minimum wage in New York City is set to reach $15 by the end of 2019 for all employees and 2021 for workers in Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Future increases in upstate counties will be set by the Department of Labor.

But in New York, much of the focus of late has been on increasing the minimum wage for tipped workers. The bill approved Thursday would increase the wage for tipped workers from $2.13 to $15.

“This is a tremendous achievement for all workers, and a historic victory for the millions of women and men who have earned a subminimum wage and relied on tips for generations since Emancipation of slavery,” said Saru Jayarman, the co-founder and president of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers.

“It shows what we can do when we are united to instill the tenets of equality for every hard-working individual in this great nation. Today, the United States House of Representatives agreed with us, heard our calls for justice, respect and dignity, and fought with us for living wages that workers deserve.”

The vote was also cheered by Kyle Bragg, the president of 32BJ SEIU.

“In honor of our brother Héctor Figueroa, who passed away last week, we commend the House for this landmark achievement in passing the $15 minimum wage,” he said.

“This remarkable victory is the result of years of the hard work and courage from millions of airport workers, fast food workers, cleaners, health care workers and many more, who took action to demand a $15 minimum wage. Héctor Figueroa spent his life fighting so that low-wage workers could be paid a living wage and be able to take care of their families with dignity. There is no more fitting tribute to his legacy than raising the wage to $15 for tens of millions of workers.”

Updated: Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a statement also praised the vote. Cuomo had named the ultimately successful push for the wage hike after his late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

“This fight has always been about stepping up to make a real different in the lives of hardworking families, and I applaud Speaker Pelosi for her leadership and all the members of the New York Congressional delegation who voted for this critically important measure,” he said. “Now it’s time for the Senate to demonstrate they care about the dignity and respect of hardworking people too. Pass the bill now.”

NYSAC Launches Criminal Justice Reform Task Force

The New York State Association of Counties announced Thursday it has formed a task force to assess changes state officials have made to criminal justice laws.

The task force, to be led by Warren County Probation Director Bob Iusi, will examine the changes made that limit cash bail, discovery and speedy trial processes as well as civil asset forfeiture laws.

Many of these changes will be implemented at the county level. Local governments have grappled with similar changes in the past, most recently with the law that raised the age of criminal responsibility in New York, necessitating changes to the courts as well as housing.

“Counties support the important reforms outlined in the 2019-20 NYS Budget,” said Stephen Acquario, the association’s executive director. “There are many questions that have surfaced and will need to be answered before counties can execute the new laws. Having experts who are working in the field recommend policy considerations to the state will help both those in need of services and local taxpayers.”

NY-22’s GOP Primary Could Be A Crowded One

From the Morning Memo:

Republicans look at the 22nd congressional district and practically salivate.

The district is considered ripe for a pickup opportunity next year: Won handily by President Donald Trump in 2016, the district is represented by a freshman Democrat, Rep. Anthony Brindisi, who is widely seen as the most vulnerable New York freshman in 2020.

Trump will be back at the top of the ticket next year. Declared and potential GOP candidates are stepping forward.

Already declared is George Phillips, a former congressional aide who will hold town hall meets on bread-and-butter issues like the economy and immigration, but doesn’t want to discuss the investigations into the Trump administration, the president’s campaign or his personal finances.

Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell this month also announced his candidacy.

Franklin Sager, a math teacher from Broome County, joined the race in May and is running as a supporter of the president.

Meanwhile, Binghamton Mayor Rich David, who met this week with Trump in the Oval Office with other local government officials, is weighing a bid, according to Republican sources.

And former Rep. Claudia Tenney, who Brindisi defeated last year, is also considering whether to win her old seat back.

Trump, though popular in the district, wasn’t enough to help Tenney. The president held a fundraiser in Utica for Teneny and members of his family campaigned with her. She lost anyway in what turned into a Democratic wave year.

Some Republicans, including Cornwell, have little desire to see Tenney jump back into the race.

“We need a strong candidate, with a proven record on the issues that Upstate New York residents care about — fighting crime, ending illegal immigration, fighting the opioid crisis, and helping put people back to work,” he said.

“I am, by far, the strongest candidate to take this seat back and represent the people. I can’t comment on what Ms. Tenney will or won’t do, but I know I’m the best candidate for the job.”

The primary for Republicans is shaping up to be not unlike primary contests for Democrats last year, in which a crowded field competed to win the nomination ahead of an expected good year for the party.

It’s not yet clear what sort of year 2020 will shape up to be for either party, of course, and whether Trump’s coattails will translate to down-ballot victories.

For his part, Brindisi’s campaign said he “is focused on doing the job New Yorkers elected him to do: fighting for veterans, working to bring down health care costs, championing the needs of farmers, and passing legislation to support American workers.”

Carlucci: Don’t Hike Tolls On The Cuomo Bridge

From the Morning Memo:

The gleaming new Mario Cuomo Bridge that connects Westchester and Rockland counties has not seen a toll hike since it opened to commuters.

But that could change, as board is reviewing potential toll increases that would help pay for the bridge, which replaced the Tappan Zee Bridge and opened last year.

Sen. David Carlucci, a Democrat who represents constituents on both sides of the bridge, Wednesday in a statement he wants to avoid a hike in tolls.

“There should be no toll hike over the new bridge. I have submitted official testimony to the Toll Advisory Panel, explaining why any toll hike is not feasible for our residents, as it would pose a significant financial burden,” he said.

At the same time, there’s grumbling the meeting of the advisory panel for tolling only announced last week it would meet and there was no input from the Legislature as to who would sit on it.

“We need transparency throughout this process, starting with more meetings held in Rockland and Westchester Counties,” Carlucci said.

“The Toll Advisory Panel should work to ensure a resident discount and no double-tolling, once congestion pricing takes effect. The panel should also complete a cost analysis and timeline of completion for a new high-speed rail across the new bridge.”

Tolls on the new bridge are currently set at $5 and $4.75 for those with E-Z Pass. The bridge has cashless tolling.

Rochester-area Assembly Members Introduce Grease Trap Safety Bill

From the Morning Memo:

State lawmakers want to enhance safety regulations following the tragic death of a toddler who fell into a grease trap this week at a Rochester Tim Horton’s restaurant.

Democratic Assembly Members Harry Bronson and Jamie Romeo have submitted legislation aimed at ensuring similar incidents don’t happen in the future. The proposal would adopt four key safety provisions.

  • The covers to these traps would no longer be permitted to be plastic and must be made of metal and rated for heavy road traffic.
  • The traps must be secured with a bolt or locking mechanism at all times when they are unattended.
  • There must be signage that is clearly visible at the location of the trap indicating the danger.
  • Annual inspections would be required to ensure compliance with the provisions.

“Every parent’s worst fear is that harm will come to their child,” the legislators said in a joint statement. “Today we continue to mourn the heartbreaking death of a young boy and we grieve with his family. The death of any child is tragic and the fact that similar grease trap incidents occurred in other states is deeply disturbing. That is why we have introduced legislation which would ensure that this type of devastating tragedy never occurs again in New York State.”

They said the bill will be filed this week to be considered during the next legislative session.

State Board of Elections Weighs In On Erie County Executive Campaign Debate

From the Morning Memo:

A representative from the State Board of Elections said questions about whether the Erie County executive’s campaign should pay for the use of a security detail at parades should be decided locally.

Republican-endorsed candidate Lynne Dixon claimed Wednesday, County Executive Mark Poloncarz should reimburse the county for sheriff’s deputies who escorted him during six parades over the Independence Day weekend. She said Poloncarz was campaigning and not working as a county employee at the time.

State BOE Public Information Officer John Conklin said the “threshold question” is whether the detail is a misuse of county resources for a private or non-governmental purpose. He said that is generally not an Election Law question and is usually related to local ethics code or standards of conduct that come from the General Municipal Law.

In Erie County, those violations are determined by a Board of Ethics.

“If the county has decided there is a credible threat against the Chief Executive that may be a reason to assign a security detail at the county’s expense,” Conklin said. “Based on the statement from the Sheriff that may be the case and it would mitigate against the argument that the County Executive has misused county resources for his own private purposes.”

However, how the county arrived to the decision there was a “credible threat,” Conklin said, is a “perfectly legitimate question” for the Dixon campaign to ask. He said details pertaining to whether the process was transparent, who was involved in the decision, if the county attorney weighed in, and what evidence was used to arrive at the decision are all relevant.

“Under state law if a public official uses state resources for a private or non-governmental purpose the official could reimburse the taxpayer, like a governor reimbursing the state for use of the state plane to attend a private fundraising function,” Conklin said. “He has the approval of JCOPE (the Joint Commission on Public Ethics) to do that.”

Conklin said if an ethics board determined reimbursement was necessary, the state Board of Elections would rule on whether the reimbursement was properly disclosed on a campaign finance report.

Here And Now

Good morning! Remember to hydrate as we enter some very hot and muggy days here.

Happening today:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is yet to release a public schedule.

At 9:30 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will represent the state at the annual Lieutenant Governor’s Association Meeting, Hotel DuPont, 42 W 11th St., Wilmington.

At 10:30 a.m., Sen. Jessica Ramos will launch the Community Pulse Check Project, a first-ever project to understand the necessities of neighbors in District 13. Roosevelt Av – Jackson Heights Subway Station. Queens.

At 12:30 p.m., climate change activists will be protesting a reported announcement from Gov. Cuomo about offshore wind projects, pushing against the Williams Pipeline. Fordham School of Law, 140 W 62nd St., New York City.

At 4 p.m., New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will attend a rally outside Gracie Mansion demanding the firing of NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, Gracie Mansion, E 88th and East End Ave., New York City.

At 6:30 p.m., Mayor de Blasio will be delivering remarks at the Harlem Week Reception, Gracie Mansion, E 88th and East End Ave., New York City.

Headlines:

Republican Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday blocked a bipartisan bill that would ensure the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund never runs out of money.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand blasted Paul’s effort to block the bill as he seeks an amendment to define funding sources, calling it “political games.”

Eric Garner’s family says that once President Trump leaves office, he will ask the next administration to re-open the chokehold case.

If he could do it all over again, Mayor de Blasio says he would not have waited for the federal government to take disciplinary action against Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who placed Eric Garner in a fatal choke hold more five years ago.

A bill expanding labor rights for farmworkers was approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday, but the new law is not sitting well with the state’s struggling agriculture industry.

Cuomo at the bill signing made a rare public appearance with his ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy, who has been a prominent advocate for the legislation.

A third of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s presidential campaign donors has come from those with business before the city government, according to a Daily News analysis.

And despite his dismal fundraising performance, de Blasio has made the cut for the second Democratic primary debate.

Opponents of Mayor de Blasio’s high school integration proposal want to spend $1 million to oppose it, Politico writes.

The MTA’s planned overhaul could lead to 2,700 job cuts over the next few years.

Organizers with immigrant advocacy group Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson told Spectrum News they began receiving calls Wednesday morning from their followers, telling them Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents appeared to be conducting raids in Midtown Kingston.

Congress voted largely along party lines Tuesday to condemn President Donald Trump’s inflammatory tweets — and New York lawmakers were no different.

Assemblymembers Harry Bronson and Jamie Romeo introduced legislation Wednesday to amend public health law in relation to securing grease traps.

Democratic Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has had a visible security detail with him at public events since late-March. His Republican-endorsed opponent Lynne Dixon is calling into question the use of that detail over Independence Day weekend.

At just about every corner, the city of Buffalo has turned a corner. Leaders with Invest Buffalo Niagara say it’s their mission to market the community and collaborate with its partners to spark private investment in the region.

A report from the inspector general found a prison investigator mishandled evidence and even took it home with him out convenience.

There’s trouble at New York’s Complete Count Commission, created to oversee the New York impact of the census, as a report was due to be released in the fall and the entity has split into factions.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut sued to block an IRS rule change that disallows the creation of charitable vehicles to work around the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions.

The end to the SALT cap primarily impacted wealthier taxpayers in those states and the IRS has rejected the workaround plan as invalid.

The mess over who, exactly, is mayor of Mount Vernon continues as Richard Thomas seeks a recount and a revote over last month’s primary — a lawsuit the Board of Elections says is moot.

In national news:

A crowd at a rally held by President Trump in North Carolina chanted “send her back” as he criticized Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen.

The president at the rally said his liberal critics are seeking the “destruction” of the country.

A push by some Democrats to approve an impeachment resolution faltered once again in the House of Representatives, but gained more votes as the Democratic leadership seeks to temper the effort.

The House of Representatives — now led by Democrats — voted to repeal a key tax on “Cadillac” health care plans the Obama administration had once argued was essential for the Affordable Care Act.

The Washington Post finds that opioid deaths soared in parts of the country where painkilling pills flowed from drugmakers and pharmacies.

Video unearthed by NBC found President Trump partying with Jeffrey Epstein, a decade before he would face charges that led to him registering as a sex offender.

The viral app that can make peoples’ faces look old is actually owned by a Russian firm, and Democratic Party leaders are warning campaigns not to use it.

From the editorial pages:

Newsday writes the MTA overhaul needs to be “smart” and given the backing of Gov. Cuomo.

The Times Union takes up the cause of veterans who die by suicide, writing they deserve and need mental health services once they return home.

The Daily News knocked Republicans in Washington for paying lip service to oppose deficit spending, but then running up large budget gaps themselves once in power.

The New York Post calls de Blasio’s campaign a victory if he were running for “sleaziest” candidate.

From the sports pages:

The Yanks and Rays were rained out.

The Mets, showing signs of life, beat the Twins 14-4.