Extras + Memorial Day Weekend Details

We’re signing off a bit early today in anticipation of the three-day weekend, though the show will go on tonight at 7 p.m., as usual. There will be no Sunday headline wrap, and no blog posting or show on Monday. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming Tuesday morning. Bright and early. Enjoy.

The U.S. will bolster its military presence in the Middle East with an additional 1,500 troops, President Donald Trump said amid heightened tensions with Iran.

The Trump administration proposed revoking Obama-era discrimination protections for transgender people in health care on Friday, a move LGBT groups fear will result in some Americans being denied needed medical treatment.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s resignation as the Conservative Party leader this morning officially started the high-stakes race to replace her, with multiple candidates expected to launch their bids.

Rudy Giuliani initially refused to apologize for sending an altered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi out to his 317,000 Twitter followers, saying he “didn’t know” it was doctored and had “no reason to believe” it was because it “looked like enough of an extension of the way she communicates anyway.”

Giuliani later sent out what appeared to be an attempted apology on Twitter, but the tweet was garbled to the point of incoherence.

Pelosi’s daughter reacted to the video that made it appear as if her mother was intoxicated by stating that, actually, the House speaker does not drink.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee all but secured a spot on the Democratic presidential debate stage next month, after collecting the 65,000th individual donor of his campaign.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler was taken to a hospital for an evaluation Friday after he appeared to swoon during a news conference in New York City. He later tweeted that he was fine, merely overheated and dehydrated.

Missouri’s Republican Gov. Michael L. Parson signed legislation banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy with an exception for medical emergencies but not for rape or incest.

Corporate America is calling on Congress to pass big climate policy in the most aggressive and united way since 2009.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation barring the construction of new trash incinerators in the Finger Lakes region.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the new speed camera program will go into effect on July 11, with about 40 cameras installed every month through the end of the year.

De Blasio defended the use of taxpayer funds to cover the costs of his NYPD security detail while traveling for his long-shot presidential bid

Kensington Palace said that 4-year-old Princess Charlotte will join her brother Prince George at Thomas’s Battersea School in London in September.

Airbnb turned over partially redacted data of 17,500 listings — as part of a deal in the company’s long-simmering legal battle against NYC, according to court documents.

Legislation is making its way through the Capitol that would empower state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to directly audit private organizations controlled by local government entities.

The state AG’s office is investigating the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by a state trooper on Interstate 84 in the Orange County town of Montgomery.

The alleged serial NYC subway staller possibly responsible for delaying some 750 delays by pulling trains’ emergency brakes told cops he loves to cause chaos and ruin New Yorkers’ commutes, law enforcement sources said.

Cuomo will soon be getting a formal thank-you from St. Lawrence County legislators expressing their appreciation for his decision not to close any of the county’s three state prisons open.

A national report finds that New York state’s ethics panel is among the worst in the nation. Reform groups say that’s not news to them and have called for an overhaul of the commission.

Oprah Winfrey’s longtime partner Stedman Graham explained why she’s not running for president.

Cuomo Blasts Trump Admin’s Rollback Of Transgender Health Care Protections

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a statement on Friday criticized President Donald Trump’s administration for formally proposing a rolling back of health care provisions for transgender individuals.

The move, if approved, would would reverse protections put in place during President Barack Obama’s administration and ending gender identity as a health care factor.

“The Trump administration’s newest efforts to overturn anti-discrimination protections for transgender Americans provided under the Affordable Care Act is a disgraceful endorsement of discrimination and bigotry,” Cuomo said.

“This repugnant proposal is just another example of how this federal administration is spreading the toxic dynamic of hate in this country. Across the nation, we continue to see violence against trans people, particularly trans women of color. We want you to know – New York stands with you.”

The state Legislature approved and Cuomo signed into law the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which provides for protections and civil rights for transgender people in housing, the workplace and other areas of life.

Meanwhile, Cuomo’s office has already moved to prohibit health care providers from blocking care for transgender individuals as well as bolstered and expanded anti-discrimination protections in health insurance.

“The bottom line is this: because of what we have done in New York, transgender and gender-nonconforming New Yorkers will not be impacted by this noxious federal rule,” Cuomo said. “We have their backs.”

Ban On PFAS In Firefighting Foam Advances

A measure that would ban the Department of Defense from using firefighting foam that contains the chemical PFAS has advanced in the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday said.

The amendment, introduced by Gillibrand and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, was attached to the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

“Toxic PFAS exposure is putting the health of New Yorkers and people across the country at risk,” said Gillibrand, who is among the 23 Democrats vying for the party’s presidential nomination.

“Last year I successfully fought to end the federal requirement for commercial airports to use PFAS firefighting foam, and it’s time for the DOD to do the same and end the use of PFAS foam on military airports and bases. In communities in New York and across the country, there is a clear link between the use of PFAS firefighting foam on military bases and dangerous levels of PFAS in the drinking water of surrounding communities.”

Gillibrand called the use of PFAS in the foam by the military “unacceptable.”

The amendment would require the DOD from using firefighting foam with PFAS by October 2022.

James Calls For Student Loan Forgiveness For Disabled Vets

Attorney General Letitia James on Friday backed a nationally effort by attorneys general around the country to urge the student loan forgiveness for veterans who have become permanent disabled due to their military service.

Fifty-one attorneys general backed the proposal, urging the Department of Education in a letter to back the loan forgiveness ahead of Memorial Day.

“Our veterans put their lives on the line to protect our country and we have a duty to protect them in return,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “On Memorial Day, as we honor the lives of all those we lost, we can also honor the service of those still with us by providing them with this financial relief. I strongly urge DOE to discharge these student loans and support the brave men and women who supported us.”

The letter urges the U.S. Department of Education to develop ma process for loan forgiveness, applying to veterans who been determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be eligible. At the same time, AGs urged the DOE to halt debt collection efforts for disabled veterans and clear their credit ratings.

Lawmakers Hold Second Hearing On Sexual Harassment

From the Morning Memo:

In February, state lawmakers took hours of testimony — from labor experts, officials, victims and survivors — that centered around sexual harassment and misconduct in New York’s state government.

Today’s public hearing in New York City on the issue will be taking an even more global approach of tackling the problem and potentially approving new legislation by the end of the session next month.

The hearing starts at 10 a.m.

“It is clear and will be clearer after do our hearing on Friday that there’s a package of legislation that should move through both houses in this building and be signed into law to protect and ensure that everyone man or woman should know they cannot be sexually harassed or discriminated against in the workplace,” said Sen. Liz Krueger at a news conference this week at the Capitol in Albany.

Lawmakers are exploring an end to the “severe or pervasive” standard in sexual harassment cases, which has been criticized by survivors and victims of abuse who testified at the previous hearing, arguing that it fails to cover a range of misconduct.

“The severe or pervasive standard hasn’t been changed since 1986 — the year that I was born,” said Sen. Alessandra Biaggi. “That is outrageous that is the case. It’s essential this is the year that we do this.”

The hearings in large part came about due to an advocacy push from the Sexual Harassment Working Group, composed of former legislative aides and staffers who have faced harassment and abuse in state government.

Even before the societal reckoning of the #MeToo movement, Albany had been a focal point of illegal and inappropriate behavior by elected officials and powerful aides.

“We know we have solutions,” said Krueger, a Democrat from Manhattan. “We have models from other states. We have models from the (New York) City Human Rights Commission that we know can be better.”

Krueger is backing a constitutional amendment that would overhaul how the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, an ethics and lobbying watchdog, is structured. The amendment would be meant to strengthen the agency by changing how its members are appointed to give it more independence and explicitly empower it to tackle sexual misconduct cases.

WNY GOP Legislators Unhappy With Farm Labor Decision

From the Morning Memo:

Republicans representing some of Western New York’s more rural districts are disappointed with a state Appellate Court ruling backing the rights of farmworkers to organize and collectively bargain.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley, a Batavia Republican, said he was “deeply disappointed” with the decision, both in substance and what he calls judicial overreach that is keeping the New York Farm Bureau from litigating the case in trial court.

“Make no mistake, if the Court of Appeals doesn’t overturn this decision, it will mark the end of family farms in New York state, wiping out hundreds of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in economic impact and generations of time-honored tradition older than New York state itself. It’s imperative that the New York Farm Bureau’s appeal is successful,” said Hawley.

The bureau has already signaled it will appeal.

The state Legislature is considering a bill called the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act that codifies labor rights like the ones in the ruling.

Republicans, including state Sen. Rob Ortt, of North Tonawanda, have made it a priority to try to stop the bill from passing in the final weeks of the session, which supporters believe is now more likely as a result of this court decision.

“After (Thursday’s) ruling, the last thing we need to do is pass the Farmworkers Fair Labor Act, which goes far beyond today’s ruling, and adds even more regulations on the backs of those responsible for growing our food,” Ortt said.

The legislation is currently in both the Senate and Assembly Labor committees.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public events or interviews yet scheduled.

The state Legislature is not in session.

At 8 a.m., NYC Councilman Robert Cornegy and his staff will be joined by area service providers to distribute information at local transportation hubs regarding the mental health services available in his Bedford Stuyvesant and Northern Crown Heights district, Brooklyn.

At 9 a.m., the Sexual Harassment Working Group, state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and others hold a press conference ahead of the second legislative hearing on sexual harassment, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., state Sen. Robert Antonacci holds a roundtable forum on health care in New York as he prepares for the Senate Health Committee Hearing on the New York Health Act, One Group Center, 706 N. Clinton St., Syracuse.

At 10 a.m., state Assemblywoman Karines Reyes and New York City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson join over 100 foster youth and advocates from the Fair Futures campaign to demand equal opportunity for young people in foster care, Bronx Borough Hall, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” and take calls from listeners.

Also at 10 a.m., state Sens. James Skoufis, Biaggi and Julia Salazar, alongside Assembly members Michele Titus, Marcos Crespo and Latrice Walker take testimony to examine sexual harassment in the workplace, Assembly Hearing Room, 250 Broadway, Room 1923, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Rep. Nita Lowey, Westchester County Executive George Latimer and others hold a press conference to urge responsible driving this holiday weekend, White Plains Department of Public Safety, 77 S. Lexington Ave., White Plains.

Also at 11 a.m., de Blasio will make an announcement on the NYC plan to rapidly expand the school zone speed camera program, PS 199, 270 West 70th St., Manhattan.

Later, de Blasio will tour the U.S.S. New York and welcome crew members as part of Fleet Week New York 2019 – an event not open to members of the media.

In the evening, the mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray will travel to Nevada, as he continues his 2020 presidential bid.

Headlines…

President Donald Trump last night issued a memo giving U.S. Attorney General William Barr the authority to declassify any documents related to surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016, and also ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Barr.

The order is a change for Trump, who last year dropped a plan to release documents related to the Russia investigation amid concerns from Justice Department officials who said making them public could damage national security.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said that he plans to take the Trump administration to court to enforce a subpoena and a legal request to review the president’s tax returns.

Trump unveiled a $16 billion bailout for farmers hurt by his trade war with Beijing, signaling a protracted fight ahead that is already prompting some American companies to shift business away from China.

The Trump administration is preparing to circumvent Congress to allow the export to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of billions of dollars of munitions that are now on hold.

For reasons both political and personal, Bill and Hillary, the most powerful couple in the modern era of American politics, stand on the sidelines as one of the most important election cycles for Democrats unfolds.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld conceded in an interview this week that Republican voters have little appetite for his insurgent primary bid to block =Trump from renomination in 2020.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, shared a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that had been making the rounds of right-wing media in which she appears to slur her speech.

The country’s social media giants are taking heat for the altered Pelosi videos circulating on their platforms — the latest incident in a roiling debate over what content companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube should allow on their platforms.

Pelosi and Trump traded insults on Twitter after Trump tweeted a video that showed moments when the Democratic congresswoman stammered during a press conference.

The U.S. Senate approved $19.1 billion in aid to help Americans rebound from a string of natural disasters, and Trump supported it even though it did not include the funds he requested to address a migrant surge at the southern U.S. border.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said special counsel Robert Mueller wants to testify privately about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg hammered Trump for in the past saying he had bone spurs to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War, saying he faked the disability.

SpaceX, the private rocket company of high-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, launched the first batch of 60 small satellites into low-Earth orbit for Musk’s new Starlink internet service.

A Chicago bank chairman has been indicted in Manhattan on a charge that he issued millions of dollars in high-risk loans to Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in an effort to obtain a senior position in the administration, federal authorities said.

The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court in Albany ruled that a carve-out in state labor law excluding farmworkers from collective bargaining rights is unconstitutional.

The decision is expected to be appealed to New York’s highest court. But NYCLU, one of several plaintiffs, called the decision a major victory in part because it comes at a time when they and others are lobbying heavily in Albany for approval of a “farmworkers bill of rights.”

State legislators Tom Abinanti and David Carlucci announced their newest fix for cashless tolling. Their new Toll Payer Protection Act reduces penalties, holds the tolling authorities accountable and protects a driver’s data from being sold to third parties.

Reformers called on Cuomo to finally sign a bill to legalize so-called gravity knives, which has landed on his desk for a third time.

New York State released a $585 million plan to contain and treat the Bethpage groundwater pollution plume that has been spreading for decades from former Northrop Grumman and Navy facilities.

More >

State Court Backs Farm Workers’ Labor Organizing

The state Appellate Court on Thursday backed the ability of workers in New York’s agricultural sector to collectively bargaining and join labor unions.

The development was cheered by supporters of a bill meant to expand labor rights and benefits to farm workers, but blasted by the New York Farm Bureau, which promised to appeal.

The ruling comes as Democratic state lawmakers in the coming weeks are pushing for a vote a farm workers labor bill that would provide similar collective bargaining protections and allow workers on farms to be eligible for overtime.

“It is of utmost importance that the New York State Legislature step up and pass the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act to codify the labor rights that farmworkers have been waiting on for decades, including a day of rest, overtime pay, unemployment benefits, and the right to collectively bargain,” said Sen. Jessica Ramos, the Queens Democrat who sponsors the legislation.

“I have been touring New York State, visiting farms and hearing the stories of both farmers and farmworkers, and it is clear that we must pass the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act this session.”

But the New York Farm Bureau blasted the decision. The organization has opposed the legislation, versions of which were first proposed more than a decade ago.

“Our rural economy and local job opportunities will suffer,” said Farm Bureau President David Fisher. “And New Yorkers will find it harder to access New York grown food, instead, relying on food brought in from out of state, or worse yet, out of the country to feed their families. New York Farm Bureau fully intends to appeal the court’s ill-conceived ruling.”

The number of farms in New York has steadily declined amid a difficult dairy market. At the same time, some farms have struggled to find and retain workers as the federal government cracks down on immigration.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has backed the labor bill for farm workers and praised the court decision.

“This is a victory for some of the most vulnerable members of New York’s workforce. From the beginning, we chose not to defend against this lawsuit because farmworkers never should have been denied the same basic rights as other workers and we believed this to not only be morally wrong, but also unconstitutional,” Cuomo said.

“My administration has proudly fought for working men and women across the board, from raising the minimum wage to strengthening worker protections in nail salons and the home health care industry – and we will never tolerate the abuse or exploitation of workers anywhere, period. I commend the court’s decision to correct this undeniable injustice and reaffirm New York’s principles of fairness and equality for all.”

Extras

A banker who prosecutors say tried to buy himself a senior post in President Donald Trump’s administration by making risky loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was arrested on a financial institution bribery charge.

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader, has been indicted on 17 new counts of violating the Espionage Act for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, the Justice Department announced — a novel case that raises profound First Amendment issues.

The FBI has seen a significant rise in the number of white supremacist domestic terrorism cases in recent months, a senior FBI counterterrorism official said.

Heading into the Memorial Day weekend, the USDA has issued a recall of more than 62,000 lbs of raw beef due to E. coli concerns.

Legendary high wire acrobat Nik Wallenda announced on “Good Morning America” that he and his sister will embark on a high wire walk 25 stories above New York City’s Times Square in June.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined forces with Sen. Elizabeth Warren to ​challenge Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin over his role in the bankruptcy of Sears that resulted in thousands of workers being laid off and store closings.

Maine health officials confirmed the first case of measles in the state, bringing the total number of states reporting the highly contagious viral disease to 25.

Judith Nathan is “exploring” a lawsuit against her estranged hubby Rudy Giuliani over his most recent “media attack” on her amid their fractious divorce case, her lawyer said.

A real estate group represented by a lobbying firm started by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former campaign manager, Maggie Moran, is waging a high-stakes battle against tenant advocates and the push for rent reform.

Facebook removed more than 3 billion fake accounts from October to March, twice as many as the previous six months, the company said.

A section of New York state law that prohibits farm workers from organizing and collectively bargaining with their employers violates a section of the state constitution, an appellate court in Albany ruled.

In response to the TU’s article about Cuomo administration bidding at Republic Airport, a process that was eventually won by a major Cuomo campaign donor, state GOP chairman Ed Cox has called for an investigation.

Brooklyn jurors heard from yet another alleged NXIVM sex slave, who said her academic dreams and enrollment into an elite Swiss boarding school were derailed when she joined the group in 2002.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has asked NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to ban advertisements for junk food from city property now that he’s given booze ads the boot.

Ulster County’s two election commissioners have tentatively agreed to eight locations for early voting, ending a stalemate that put in jeopardy more than $100,000 in state funding.

De Blasio signed an executive order directing all NYC agencies to spend at least half of their annual print and online advertising budgets in community and ethnic media outlets, an initiative designed to ensure that vital local news remain solvent and continue to inform their communities.

A motion for a mistrial was denied by a judge who brought accused NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere’s trial to a screeching halt the day before, when he accused a defense attorney of driving a witness toward a nervous breakdown.

The class of cadets preparing to jubilantly toss their caps in the air at the U.S. Military Academy’s graduation ceremony Saturday includes 34 black women, a record number that’s a sign of concerted efforts to diversify West Point’s Long Gray Line.

An unconfirmed report has emerged in the gossip world that Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., hopes to run for mayor of New York City one day in the near or far-away future.

Kennedy: New Limo Safety Bills A ‘Global Focus’

Bills meant to further bolster limousine safety in New York will be taken up by the Senate Transportation Committee next week, Sen. Tim Kennedy said on Thursday in Buffalo.

Kennedy, the committee’s chairman, said the measures are meant to take a “global focus” to the issue after a stretch limousine crash killed 20 people last October in Schoharie.

“The owners of the business broke the law, put that vehicle back on the road and 20 people are dead today because of it,” Kennedy said. “The fact of the matter is that vehicle in the future with the bills we are going to be passing will be immobilized and impounded. Vehicles that fail to comply with the law and simple measures to keep these limousines safe will no longer be on the road.”

The bills, first reported by The Times Union, will include requirements for limousines to have seat belts, escape hatches and roll bars. Drivers would have to carry a commercial driver’s license and undergo criminal background checks as well as drug and alcohol testing. Kennedy also wants a task force for further study of the issue and increased penalties for breaking the laws governing limo safety.

State lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the budget this year agreed to new insurance requirements for stretch limousines as well as increased penalties for using a vehicle that has been deemed unsafe by the state Department of Transportation.

The bills Kennedy is backing, he said, will go further.

“The focus of the legislation is on the safety of the vehicles themselves,” he said.

The legislative session is scheduled to conclude on June 19, leaving relatively little time for the bills to go through the legislative process. There are no similar versions yet in the state Assembly, but Kennedy said Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, the Democratic chairman of the chamber’s Transportation panel, will review the bills.

“We are up against the clock; as far as I’m concerned, the sooner we can get these passed, the better,” Kennedy said.