The state test scores are out, and students are showing some improved marks.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called into to NY1 to weigh in on a number of hot topics including the seized Brooklyn Pizzeria, the firing of NYPD Officer Pantaleo and the “Summer of Andrew.”

On Wednesday morning, Cuomo boarded a train with most of his commissioners and headed out the fairgrounds at Syracuse to open the 172nd state fair.

New York State Fair officials have a reminder about changes they have made to some of the parking lots.

Tenants in Ulster County claim a landlord are holding their cars hostage and using them as collateral, while the family paid off chunks of their bill each week.

After Planned Parenthood announced on Monday they would withdraw from the Title X federal family planning program, local officials are stepping up to provide funding.

The Erie County Democratic Committee delivered an update to county elections commissioners Thursday regarding the actions it’s taken to correct compliance issues with its campaign finance reports dating back to 2012.

New York’s Red Flag Law Goes Into Effect Saturday

New York’s red flag law — meant to take firearms away from those deemed by a court to be a danger to themselves or others — will take effect on Saturday.

The measure, which was approved earlier this year, is taking hold in New York amid a debate over a national version of the legislation, which some Republicans in Congress have expressed a willingness to support following two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio this month less than 24 hours apart.

“Now our success in reducing gun-related deaths and injuries will depend upon our ability to make sure everyone is aware of the new law — not only judges, district attorneys, police officers, and educators, but also the general public who may become aware that someone close to them poses a danger to themselves or others,” said Sen. Brian Kavanagh, a Democrat from Manhattan, one of the sponsors of the bill.

Assemblywoman Joanne Simon, a Democrat from Brooklyn, said people are eager for action on the national stage.

“People are sick of the excuses that have made gun violence par for the course in this country,” she said. “In fact, it is not normal and it is a uniquely American problem. New York is taking action and on August 24th, the Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation goes into effect.”

The law is one of several new gun control measures approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this year. New York’s latest gun control legislation includes measures meant to require locked storage of guns in homes where someone under 17 is present, a ban devices that help guns mimic automatic fire and extending the waiting period for prospective gun buyers who not immediately approved for purchase through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

James Signs On To Brief For Abortion Access

Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief with 15 attorneys general around the country in support of a lawsuit over the effort to open a clinic in Indiana that provides abortion services.

“No person, no business, and absolutely no government entity has the right to deny a woman access to a safe and legal abortion,” James said.

“Access to reproductive health care is a fundamental right, and despite this crusade against women’s reproductive freedoms, we will never stop fighting for reproductive justice. No matter what anyone may say, this is about freedom of one’s body, freedom of one’s beliefs, and freedom of choice.”

The lawsuit was filed by the Whole Woman’s Health Alliance as part of an effort to open the clinic in South Bend, Indiana. The coalition of states in the brief argued they have an interest in protecting health and safety for women.

The lawsuit also comes amid a heightened debate over abortion policy in the country. New York earlier this year approved a measure meant to strengthen abortion rights in the state. Multiple states in turn approved legislation restricting access to abortion services.

Rep. Reed Criticizes Cuomo For Stance On Thruway Repairs, Seneca Nation

Rep. Tom Reed, R-NY-23, expressed “great concern” about comments the governor made earlier this week.

During a trip to Western New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed to acknowledge a connection between a section of the New York State thruway on Seneca Nation that has fallen into disrepair and an ongoing dispute between the state and the Senecas over casino revenue. He says Cuomo essentially acknowledged he is putting the traveling public’s safety at risk because of a separate political dispute.

“When you see a bully like that, you need to stand up to that bully and stand with the people and their safety and so we’re going to stand up to the governor and say, you know, this is wrong,” Reed said.

Cuomo, Tuesday, said the state would fix the couple mile stretch of road but he does not believe the Senecas would allow it. He said the state would not go in without permission, lest it jeopardize its legal standing in the casino dispute.

Reed seemed skeptical the Senecas would have a problem with the state making repairs based on the public statements they have made.

“I believe the nation agrees tremendously with us in regards to making sure that the traveling public’s safety is paramount.”

The congressman said the “strategy” could represent an abuse of the governor’s authority. Earlier this month, he sent letters putting the state on written notice it would be liable should the road cause a significant problem for drivers.

“We have heard from numerous people about accidents they’ve been involved with, damage to their vehicles as a result of going through that stretch of highway,” Reed said.

He said his office is keeping close tabs on the situation and there could be more to come.

“Everyone knows that the congressman is used to being the president’s patsy but he shouldn’t be the Senecas’ patsy as well. He should do his job, stand with the communities he represents and demand that the Senecas make good on the arbitrators’ decision and make their neighbors whole,” Rich Azzopardi, Senior Advisor to the Governor, said.

Comptroller Report: Farms Generate $5.7B For NY

A report released Thursday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office found farms in New York generated $5.7 billion in revenue in New York in 2017.

The report reviewed the economic impact of 33,400 farms in the state, which employed more than 55,000 workers in the studied year.

Farms cover nearly 23 percent of New York’s total land area. Almost all, 96 percent, are family owned.

“Agriculture is an essential part of New York’s economy,” DiNapoli said. “Farms generate billions of dollars in sales, provide jobs and enhance our quality of life. But farmers face challenges including fluctuating milk prices, threats from a changing climate and disrupted trade relations. We need to build on our previous actions to make sure that agriculture can thrive in the Empire State for generations to come.”

Farms have struggled in recent years, showing a decline in both farms and acreage between 2007 and 2017. Farmers are also facing new labor regulations that will require them to pay workers overtime and allow them to collectively bargain.

Still, the number of certified organic farms have grown by 60 percent between 2012 and 2017.

New York remains a top producer in areas like dairy production, ranking third in sales nationwide in 2017. New York is second in the production of apples and maple syrup, and third in grapes and 11th in beer sales.

New Law Strengthens Protections For Minors Against Sex Offenders

Felony sex offenders will be blocked from having a child placed in their custody by courts, based on a law signed Thursday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The law is meant to strengthen protections for minors against contact with sex offenders, and at the same time prevents sex offenders from having unsupervised visits with a person who has been convicted of a felony sex offense.

“No child should have to endure the trauma of sexual abuse and it is critical that children going into the custody of another individual are safe,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This new law is common sense: it mandates that minors not be placed in the custody of or have unsupervised visits with anyone who committed a felony sex offense against them and ensuring the future wellbeing of these vulnerable children.”

The measure was sponsored by Assemblyman Charles Fall and Sen. Diane Savino.

“The effects that abuse can have on a child over their course are wide-ranging, from depression to alcohol and drug abuse to withdrawal and suicide attempts,” Savino said.

“It is our duty to ensure that they are protected when it comes to custody and visitation rulings. Those convicted of sex offenses should have to prove that they are suited to have custody or unsupervised visits, not the other way around. I thank Gov. Cuomo for signing this bill into law and to seeing the improvements it ultimately makes in our family court system.”

As Campaign Commission Meets, Parties Fret Fusion Voting

From the Morning Memo:

New York’s campaign finance laws could soon be overhauled by a commission meeting over the next several weeks, with the headline change being the creation of a system of public financing.

But smaller parties in New York, including the Working Families Party, have increasingly viewed the commission as a vehicle for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to get rid of or alter fusion voting, a mechanism that has allowed entities like the WFP and the Conservative Party to retain influence.

Fusion voting allows candidates run for multiple offices on the same ballot, an arrangement party chairmen have grudgingly lived with over the years, and one that enables parties on the left or right flanks to influence Democratic and Republican platforms.

The WFP, which had initially endorsed Cynthia Nixon’s campaign for governor in 2018 before backing Cuomo’s re-election after he won the September primary, sees the commission’s broad mandate as a threat.

The commission met for the first time on Wednesday and voted to advance any package of changes as a single proposal. This was an “aha!” moment for the WFP.

“Cuomo’s hand-picked state party chair and hand-picked commissioner Jay Jacobs is the state’s most vocal fusion opponent,” WFP Executive Director Bill Lipton.

“At today’s commission meeting, he today pushed through a resolution binding all recommendations together into one vote. It’s a transparent effort to tie public financing and ending fusion voting together. This is Cuomo’s poison pill to eliminate fusion voting.”

Jacobs, the state party chairman, has been critical of fusion voting in the past. He said in an interview last month he would keep an open mind about the issue while serving on the commission.

The governor’s office scoffed at the suggestion, noting Lipton and the WFP are on the same side of this argument with the Conservative Party.

“The mandate of the commission is to create the strongest public financing system possible,” said Rich Azzopardi, a senior advisor to Cuomo. “I have no reaction to the WFP’s latest bout of paranoia or the craven political motivations of Boss Bill and his new best friends, the Trump lovin’ conservatives.”

Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul received 114,478 votes on the Working Families Party ballot line, more than twice the 50,000-vote threshold for the party to retain ballot status in the current election cycle.

Cuomo Says Justice Was Delayed For Garner Family

From the Morning Memo:

The decision to fire New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo this month following the death of Eric Garner five years ago was the right move, but took far too long, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

Pantaleo’s firing came after an NYPD judge determined he had not told the truth about the circumstances of the event leading to Garner’s death after he was held in a chokehold.

Pantaleo’s firing this week was announced by Police Commissioner James O’Neill.

“I have said from day one I think the police officer after the judge’s decision, which was a very clear decision, where basically she said the police officer did not tell the truth, that the police officer should be terminated,” Cuomo told reporters while visiting the state fairgrounds in Syracuse.

“I think the Garner family having to wait five years to close this matter was an unnecessary delay.”

The Department of Justice had previously declined to file charges in the case, and the firing is being appealed amid condemnations by the patrolman’s union.

Garner’s death ignited a national debate over policing and criminal justice law changes amid similar incidents around the country in which unarmed black men died in interactions with the police.

Cuomo on Wednesday kept the focus on Garner’s family, saying the outcome was dragged out.

“The family had no closure and I think that was an unacceptably long period of time,” he said.

Wilson Foundation Donates To WNY State Parks Projects

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation is donating $6.4 million toward improvements to Genesee Valley Grenway State Park and the Niagara Shoreline Trail in Western New York.

The money from the charity created by the estate of the former Buffalo Bills owner is in addition to $4 million the state is already investing in the parks. The state said the projects will make “key connections” to the Empire State Trail, an initiative launched two year ago to create the longest multi-use state trail in the nation by 2020.

“This support from the Wilson Foundation, coupled with new state funding, will help repair, enhance and expand recreational opportunities on these multi-use paths in two beautiful parts of western New York, which Ralph Wilson loved so much,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo,D-NY, said. “His legacy will strengthen tourism, increase safety for bicyclists and hikers, and further revitalize communities that are better connected.”

The improvements include resurfacing, signage and disability access projects in Genesee Valley. The funding  for the Niagara Shoreline will go toward one mile of new trail, a study on how to close gaps in the current trail and a public outreach effort.

“As an avid bicyclist, I know how important this significant funding will be as we continue our efforts to improve connections to the Empire State Trail,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “We are fortunate that Ralph Wilson’s spirit lives on through generous philanthropic efforts. In celebrating his legacy, we are grateful to the Foundation’s commitment towards our regional trail systems. These investments will expand recreational opportunities, and boost the tourism industry and economy of Western New York.”

The Wilson Foundation grants will be made to the National Heritage Trust which is supporting the work being done by the State Office of Parks.


Here And Now

Good morning and happy Thursday!

Happening today:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is heading back to town after being on the campaign trail; he has nothing public planned.

At 10:30 a.m., it’s Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s turn to be at the State Fair. He will be at Gate 2, 581 State Fair Boulevard, Syracuse.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Sen. Jim Tedisco will announce a state grant for the Rexford Fire Department. NY Rt. 146, Clifton Park.

At 11:30 a.m., Heastie will visit the New York State Assembly booth at the fair, Building 6, Syracuse.

At 1 p.m., New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will attend the Police Athletic League luncheon. 320 Park Ave., New York City.

At 4 p.m., criminal justice advocates will hold a news conference to discuss disciplinary actions against NYPD Sgt. Kizzy Adonis. Tompkinsville Park, 40 Victory Blvd, Staten Island.

At 7 p.m., Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will appear on NY1’s Inside City Hall.


New York is suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency after the massive environmental cleanup project on the Hudson River earlier this year was declared finished. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says state reviews of the river say otherwise.

State lawmakers are blasting MTA officials, accusing them of dodging meetings and hiding details of the next $50 billion capital plan.

Former Assemblyman Dov Hikind paid his auto and travel bills with campaign funds.

Gov. Cuomo signed legislation that allows more crime victims to file lawsuits and collect damages.

The sergeant who oversaw the arrest of Eric Garner will not face a departmental trial, but sources told NY1 that she will be docked vacation time.

Garner’s death five summers ago was an inflection point for the New York Police Department. Caught on video, the fatal encounter between Garner, a black man, and Officer Daniel Pantaleo led the nation’s largest police force to train officers to de-escalate confrontations and to reassess how they interact with the public.

The de Blasio administration is easing requirements to enter the city’s lotteries for affordable housing. With the changes, many more undocumented immigrants will be eligible to land one of the hard-to-get apartments, which are subsidized by city taxpayers.

Advocates for criminal justice law changes want reform after the death of the longest serving female inmate.

Police are investigating threats made against Brooklyn Democratic Rep. Nydia Velazquez.

New York City is facing a potential $85 million lawsuit over unrest at Marcy Houses.

Councilman Andy King was accused of retaliation, disorderly conduct, conflict of interest and sexual harassment by the New York City Council’s Ethics Committee.

Gov. Cuomo’s partner Sandra Lee has cut the offering price of the home she shared with him by $300,000.

Quality over quantity is not a choice for the nurses at Vassar Brothers Medical Center, and nurses say they are fighting for both.

A new chapter for the city of Cohoes on Wednesday as any sign of their previous mayor, Shawn Morse, was removed from the mayor’s office in city hall.

Powerful storms have battered the Capital Region in the last few days and thousands are left without power.

One of the biggest announcements made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the state fairgrounds was the GreenFair initiative. The fair plans to become energy self-sufficient by 2023.

Jimmy Vielkind on how the politicos at the state fair make the annual trek to sample the sausage (not doing so is at your own political peril).

An audio problem at an Iowa labor event Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed by video conference had him speaking in a comedically high-pitched voice.

Gov. Cuomo is not on board with Mayor de Blasio’s idea of forgiving a beloved Brooklyn pizzeria’s tax bill after it was shuttered due to its debt.

It’s taking a creative approach to the controversy surrounding I-81. A new art exhibit gives a voice to those most impacted by changes with the viaduct through Syracuse.

Proposed apprenticeship changes from the Department of Labor have workers in the Mohawk Valley and Rep. Anthony Brindisi worried.

Prior to an advisory committee meeting in Buffalo, Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan met with Congressman Brian Higgins.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer from Buffalo is being hailed a hero after saving the life of a child Sunday in Donna, Texas.

Advocates in the Southern Tier joined a nationwide rally this week calling for elected leaders to “people over pharma profits.”

Officials say the Long Island Rail Road’s Elmont Station will be ready by 2022.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle columnist David Andreatta will become the new editor of Rochester City Paper.

Here’s a list of the unhealthiest foods at the State Fair.

In national news:

The nation’s budget deficit will exceed $1 trillion, the Congressional Budget Office warned.

The rising deficit gives policymakers fewer tools to fight a potential recession.

President Trump reversed himself on Tuesday when asked about tax cuts, saying there’s no reason to, arguing the economy is strong.

Employers are slowing down hiring in 2019, posting weaker jobs gains than they did a year ago.

A new rule backed by President Trump’s administration would allow migrant families to face indefinite detention.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who centered his presidential candidacy around climate change, is dropping out of the race.

Republican former Rep. Joe Walsh plans to run a primary campaign against President Trump.

From the editorial pages:

Times Union columnist Chris Churchill writes the new license plate plan is a former of “Thruway robbery” for drivers.

The Times Union’s editorial board also blasted the plan, calling it a surprise $25 car tax.

The New York Post said President Trump would be foolish to not follow through with strengthening background checks.

From the sports pages:

It’s Travers week in Saratoga, and Tax the Horse aims to make his second stakes win on Saturday.

The Buffalo Bills have added a woman to its coaching staff.