Extras

Happy Passover/Easter weekend, friends.

President Trump lashed out at certain associates who spoke to Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his Russia investigation, calling some of the claims made about him in the report “total bull—t.”

The president spent the day playing golf at his West Palm Beach, FL resort with conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and several other friends.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler issued a subpoena demanding the Justice Department give Congress an unredacted version of the special counsel report, including summaries of witness interviews and classified intelligence.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said the president’s legal team’s counter-report to Mueller’s report will detail Attorney General William Barr’s conclusion on obstruction of justice.

A group of five former ambassadors who served under former President Obama are lining up behind Pete Buttigieg, giving the South Bend, Ind., mayor a jolt of institutional fundraising support amid his meteoric rise in the Democratic presidential primary.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has begun accepting financial donations for a 2020 presidential campaign, an unambiguous sign that he intends to begin his challenge to Trump within days.

Two Yonkers families were nearly wiped out this morning when they were poisoned by a carbon monoxide leak, authorities said.

Mohawk Networks has brought Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Broadband for All program in Lewis County to a halt, citing the “financial burden” of constructing the 36 fixed-wireless projects involved.

Former Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio will officially be appearing on the ballot in an upcoming City Council race after surviving a challenge to her petition signatures.

All three hosts of the Triple Crown – including Saratoga – were among several major tracks that agreed to phase out the use of a common anti-bleeding medication starting next year, sparked by the deaths of 23 horses in three months at Santa Anita.

Notre Dame’s rector said that a “computer glitch” was one of the possible causes of the devastating fire that severely damaged the cathedral this week.

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency gave $350,000 in termination payments to its staff of five people in January 2018 while all were still working for the agency, and two remain on the payroll to this day, officials said.

Rapper Cardi B, in courtroom couture, rejected a plea deal over her alleged involvement in a Queens gentlemen’s club melee last fall.

NYC Transit President Andy Byford has had growing tensions with Cuomo over management of the foundering subway system – including disagreeing over the plan to fix the L train – and several of Byford’s colleagues fear he might quit.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day’s fight against the measles took another hit in court today, as a state appellate panel refused to reinstate his order barring unvaccinated children from schools and other public places.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s defunct nonprofit fundraising group, The Campaign for One New York, which raised millions from individuals doing business with de Blasio’s administration, is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the state’s ethics watchdog, JCOPE.

A U.S. appeals court is forcing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make a final decision on whether it will ban the use of a common pesticide linked to developmental disorders in children.

Amazon and Walmart this week kicked off a two-year government pilot program allowing low-income shoppers on government food assistance in New York to shop and pay for their groceries online for the first time.

The MTA’s board, frustrated with the installation of federally mandated crash prevention technology for its railroads, threatened to fire its contractor if its CEO doesn’t show up at its next board meeting.

A Pennsylvania lawmaker plans to introduce legislation or a resolution that would prevent the sale of Pennsylvania-produced gas in New York, New Jersey and Maryland.

Saratoga County supervisors this week approved a resolution opposing state legislation that could allow undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses.

Charter Communications and the state Public Service Commission may be on the verge of coming to a deal that would keep the company from having to sell off its Spectrum cable TV network.

Cuomo Urges Congress To Reauthorize Sept. 11 Victims Fund

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a statement on Friday urged Congress to take up an extension of funding for Victim Compensation Fund, which provides health and medical benefits to first responders.

“It is our responsibility as a nation to support those who are still suffering from the 9/11 attacks, and I call on the federal government to join the New York Congressional delegation’s efforts to take immediate action to fully fund the Victim Compensation Fund and honor the sacrifice these brave New Yorkers have made for their country,” Cuomo said.

The fund has about $2 billion left, but action is yet to be taken on extending it. The Democratic governor said any lapse in funding to support Sept. 11 victims would be “disgraceful.”

“We should not be diminishing payments to these heroes, we should be increasing funding for all who need it and making this fund permanent once and for all,” he said.

Child Victims Advocate Opposes Mugshot Ban

Gary Greenberg, one of the advocates behind the successful push for the Child Victims Act in New York, was able to identify the man who abused him off a mugshot he saw on TV.

Now Greenberg, a businessman from Greene County, is blasting the state budget for including a provision that restricted the distribution of booking photos by law enforcement.

“New York state must not sacrifice the safety of the greater public in order to reduce the misuse of released mugshots,” he said. “The benefit is simply not worth the risk to our children and our society.”

A Siena College poll released this week found most voters — 58 percent to 31 percent — believe limiting the release of booking photos is bad for the state.

The State Police will no longer release mugshots except in cases in which there is a law enforcement purpose, such as finding a missing person or a fugitive. Some local police departments will continue to release booking photos, however.

Supporters of limiting mugshots point to the stigma attached to booking photos that cannot be taken off Google searches or, in some cases, websites that can charge people to remove them from the web.

Greenberg successfully pushed this year for the passage of a bill that would make it easier for the survivors and victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits.

Contractors Make New Push For Scaffold Law Changes

A coalition of contractors this week in a letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie urged him to take up a bill meant to change the state’s Scaffold Law.

The measure, sponsored by Assemblyman John McDonald, would change liability regulations for workers who fall on the job when the injured person’s own negligence contributed to the accident.

“Contractors across New York State overwhelmingly support reforming the outdated Scaffold Law because they feel it’s job-killing impacts daily. The law drives construction insurance costs through the roof, making it virtually impossible for small construction firms to find and afford coverage for both public and private projects. This is especially damaging for MWBEs struggling to grow their businesses in New York.” said Tom Stebbins, the executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance.

“New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson recently endorsed Scaffold Law reform as part of his MTA reform plan. Progressive lawmakers at the State level should follow his lead; support small businesses and MWBEs and change this outrageous law.”

The bill has been opposed by both labor organizations as well as by trial lawyers groups.

Here’s the letter:

NYS Contractors LOS by Nick Reisman on Scribd

DiNapoli: Tax Receipts Decline $3.7B

The state’s tax receipts in the most recently ended fiscal year declined $3.7 billion, a 4.7 percent reduction to $75.6 billion, according to an end-of-year cash report released Friday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

It’s another example of the state’s slackening tax revenue amid concerns the broader economy is softening.

“After months of concern over lower-than-expected tax collections, the state ended the fiscal year on a positive note,” DiNapoli said. “The sharp revenue declines in December and January, however, remind us to take nothing for granted. With expectations of a slowing economy and ongoing concerns regarding federal fiscal policies, a strong commitment to building robust reserves in preparation for the next economic slump is essential.”

Revenue in December and January were $3.2 billion lower than initial estimates due to a reduction in personal income taxes. Still, tax collections reocvered somewhat in March, posting $601.4 million higher than February estimates.

And the $7.2 billion general fund balance at end of the 2017-18 fiscal year was $1.7 billion more than originally anticipated.

The state deposited $250 million into its rainy day reserves, bringing its combined total to $2 billion.

Rivera Endorses Cabán For Queens DA

Sen. Gustavo Rivera on Friday endorsed Queens Democratic district attorney candidate Tiffany Cabán in her bid for the party’s nomination.

Rivera, a Bronx Democrat who is the chairman of the Senate Health Committee, praised her support for health access policies and criminal justice law changes.

“At a time where our State is working to reform our criminal justice system, we need district attorneys who are focused on more than their office’s conviction rates,” River said.

“Tiffany’s experience as a public defender and her deep roots in Queens give her a unique perspective on the practices currently in place that we need to change to put an end to the senseless criminalization of vulnerable communities. I am proud to support Tiffany Cabán as she runs to become the next Queens District Attorney and look forward to working with her as she enacts true change in our criminal justice system from the ground up.”

Cabán faces Queens Borough President Melina Katz, Councilman Rory Lancman and Judge Greg Lasak for the nomination. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced his retirement earlier this year.

“I am honored to receive an endorsement from State Senator Gustavo Rivera,” Cabán said. “As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Rivera understands the ways in which health and criminal justice are so deeply intertwined. He knows that unnecessary incarceration destabilizes communities and creates and reproduces unhealthy outcomes. I look forward to working with the Senator to find creative ways to offer support and stability to all Queens residents.”

NY-24: Conole Reports $100K Raised

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic congressional candidate Francis Conole on Thursday reported raising more than $100,000 in the days following his entrance into the race.

Conole’s campaign said the majority of the contributions came from small-dollar donors.

“I’m deeply humbled by the outpouring of grassroots support in these first few days of our campaign, and I’m dedicated to using my experience, growing up in our community and serving our country, to find real solutions that support the people of Central New York,” Conole said.

Conole, a member of a prominent political family in central New York, is running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Rep. John Katko in the Syracuse-area district. Dana Balter, the Democratic nominee in 2018, is also running again.

“Fundraising numbers like these in just four days is a clear indication that people believe it is time for new leaders in Washington and are ready to join Francis Conole’s mission to rebuild Central New York’s middle class,” said Will Van Nuys, Conole’s campaign manager.

Simotas Wants MTA Announcements In Multiple Languages

From the Morning Memo:

Time to translate “stand clear of the closing door” for polyglot New York.

Announcements on mass transit systems in New York City should be made in multiple languages in order to reach the more than 4 million residents who speak a language other than English, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas on Thursday told the MTA in a letter.

Simotas pointed to other cities like Paris, Belgium and Luxembourg with transit systems that have announcements in multiple languages.

“Currently, the MTA only provides automated voice announcements in English even though it is home to 1.9 million Spanish speakers, 419,000 Cantonese and Mandarin speakers, 186,000 Russian speakers, 106,000 French Creole speakers, 81,000 French speakers, and 200,000 New Yorkers who converse in an Indic language, like Hindi, Urdu or Gujarati,” Simotas wrote in the letter to MTA President Andy Byford.

“Providing announcements in multiple languages would eliminate confusion amongst the many riders who benefit from our transit system and would allow our system to run more effectively.”

In the letter, Simotas called on the MTA to devise and implement a plan for integrating more languages into the announcements.

“New York City is a melting pot oozing with culture and spirit and it is time that our transit system reflects that,” she said. “Now with new sources of revenue for the MTA capital plan lockbox and billions in additional financing support for MTA projects, it is the perfect time to finally create a multi-lingual transit system that better serves the riders.”

An economic report released this week by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found 42 percent of the workforce in New York City is composed of immigrants, who tend to have a lower overall unemployment rate than the rest of the city.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events or interviews yet announced.

At 8 a.m., the Regional Plan Association brings together more than 1,200 civic and business leaders from around the New York metro area to discuss major issues affecting the region, Grand Hyatt New York, 109 E. 42nd St., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin unveils a donation closet at the Rensselaer County Department of Social Services Administration Building, 127 Bloomingrove Dr., Troy.

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

11:30 a.m., Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and state Sens. John Brooks and Monica Martinez join with multiple veterans organizations to announce funding has been restored for the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Project, VFW Post 2912, 19 Colonial Springs Rd., Wyandanch.

At 1 p.m., NYC Councilman Peter Koo joins U.S. Small Business Administration leaders for an Asian American Pacific Islander Queens town hall meeting, Flushing Library, Ground Level, Room C/D, 41-17 Main St., Queens.

Headlines…

After two years, a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released, showing investigators did not find proof of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

But the report did reveal an array of controversial actions by the president that were examined as part of the investigation’s obstruction probe, and did not fully exonerate him of wrongdoing.

The special counsel’s office made no conclusion on the matter of possible obstruction of justice by Trump, U.S. Attorney William Barr noted, but the attorney general himself determined that the evidence against Trump did not amount to a crime.

The report did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump or any of his associates and the Russian government, but it firmly underlined alleged Russian efforts to meddle in US politics.

The report is some 400 pages long, you can reach and search it yourself here.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, says the report “outlines disturbing evidence” that Trump engaged in misconduct, and he’ll be issuing a subpoena for the full document and the underlying materials.

House Democrats, facing some of the most striking evidence yet from Mueller that Trump attempted to thwart his investigation, edged closer to confronting a question they have long tried to avoid: whether the president’s behavior warrants impeachment.

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vowed to sign onto an impeachment resolution after the Mueller report’s release.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said the report “displays the fact that this is over,” but the Democrats “don’t know it yet.”

Trump trolled his critics following the release of the Mueller report, joking that he was going to be in office for the next 10 to 14 years. (He’s limited by the U.S. Constitution to two four-year terms).

East Aurora’s Michael Caputo emerged as a bit player in the Mueller report, which retells a previously reported story about the local Republican consultant’s encounter with a Russian who claimed to have dirt on the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.

A new lawsuit accuses Caputo of serving as a public mouthpiece for indicted Republican politico Roger Stone, who is under a federal gag order barring him from discussing the criminal case against him.

Michael Goodwin: “Trump is now free to be president without the cloud that hovered over him since his election. No president ever faced, let alone survived, a probe as fierce and determined as this one.”

Authorities are investigating after a suspect was killed and an NYPD officer was shot in the arm in Washington Heights yesterday afternoon.

The money-losing National Enquirer, Trump’s favorite supermarket tabloid, is about to have a new owner: James Cohen, a son of the founder of the Hudson News franchise. American Media Inc., The Enquirer’s publisher, announced the deal yesterday.

An Albany Supreme Court judge has struck down — at least temporarily — an attempt by the state Education Department to strengthen its authority over private and religious schools.

New York City’s health department said it has issued three civil summonses to parents who failed to comply with a vaccine mandate and that the number of confirmed measles cases has jumped from 329 to 359.

There’s an “attitude against charter schools” in the Democratic-controlled state Assembly despite a waiting list of more than 52,000 students, according to a top legislator who’s a member of the party – Education Committee Chair Michel Benedetto.

The fate of legislative pork in Albany is unclear.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio promised a faster commute for 600,000 New Yorkers who ride buses by adding new dedicated lanes that will increase average travel speeds from 7.5 to 9 mph.

Shoppers switching to paper bags after a statewide plastic bag ban takes effect next year will have to shell out 5 cents for each one under legislation approved by the NYC Council.

A Brooklyn judge shot down a lawsuit by a group of parents who were protesting the city Health Department’s emergency order requiring people who live in certain parts of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to get vaccinated amid a measles.

A landmark bill passed by the NYC Council sets emission caps for many different types of buildings, with the goal of achieving a 40 percent overall reduction of emissions by 2030. Buildings that do not meet the caps could face steep fines.

All told, the NYC Council passed nine bills and two non-binding resolutions intended to combat climate change, with the most far-reaching aimed at cutting emissions from buildings 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

A video of Alexander McNab, a black Columbia University student, being pinned down by security officers is adding to a broader conversation about how students of color are treated at one of the nation’s most prominent universities.

NYC officials disputed the Census Bureau’s findings that the five boroughs lost population, calling them “tenuous” at best and suggetsing the numbers may be skewed, in part, because of a change in the survey’s methodology.

Netflix, the video-streaming company, said that it would spend up to $100 million to expand its presence in New York City by creating a production hub in Brooklyn that would include six soundstages.

Mighty St. Patrick’s Cathedral is built to withstand a massive inferno like the one that ravaged Notre Dame in Paris, because fire-proofing was “one of the prime objectives” of the $177 million restoration of the iconic building, completed in 2015.

Legislation needed to construct a new rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River stumbled in Albany and Trenton this month as lawmakers push for more public oversight of the entity that will build it.

The state’s plan to toll drivers entering a busy commercial district in Manhattan will likely impact upstate New York farmers and businesses that deliver products to that area of the city. They are seeking an exemption.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, asked during a radio interview about a shouting match between two lawmakers during a closed-door meeting of state Senate Democrats, indicated one of the electeds may still face an inquiry over his past behavior.

The Fair Elections for New York campaign is focused on the composition and procedures of the commission lawmakers and Cuomo authorized to set up a matching system for the 2022 elections, saying it should be filled with reform-minded experts, not political loyalists, and operate openly with input from the public.

While state officials and environmentalists were disappointed at last week’s federal decision not to require General Electric Co. to resume PCB dredging of the Hudson River, there is another shoe to drop that could lead to court.

Stamford, Conn.-based Centerplate, which has provided food, beverage and merchandising services for NYRA for a quarter century, will continue that relationship through the summer at Saratoga Race Course, and at least through autumn, during the Belmont Fall Championship Meet.

Legislation moving through the Capitol would make state prison inmates, regardless of their crimes, eligible for parole on their 55th birthday if they’ve served 15 consecutive years in prison – an issue highlighted by the case of Brinks getaway driver Judith Clark, who was granted parole at the age of 69.

The former finance director for the Olympic Regional Development Authority recently pleaded guilty to a violation and agreed to pay $8,026 in restitution to settle allegations by the state inspector general’s office that he stole money from the public authority.

While the state’s workforce has steadily declined over the past decade, the level of overtime pay has surged during that period, increasing to nearly $787 million last year and marking the highest level in a decade, according to a state comptroller’s report.

New York is second only to California in the number of international students attending its colleges and universities. While that is unlikely to change in the near term, Capital Region college presidents are casting a wary eye on Washington and the Trump administration, which has proposed tightening student visas.

State officials are preparing to mount their first comprehensive review in more than a decade of the prevalence of problem gambling in New York.

The University at Buffalo freshman who died following a suspected hazing incident was remembered by his roommates as a dedicated student who was passionate about soccer, according to the UB Spectrum, the student-run newspaper at the university.

Police are investigating rapper Remy Ma for an alleged assault after a “Love & Hip Hop” star claimed hip hop star slugged her during an event at Irving Plaza, police sources told The NY Post.

Kodak Black was arrested on drug and weapons charges as the rapper tried to cross from Canada into the United States near Niagara Falls, law enforcement officials said.

3 New York Takeaways From The Mueller Report

The release of Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has ties to New York and ramifications for the state’s politics.

Here are three key takeaways about how the report effects the Empire State’s political scene:

1. New Yorkers with bit roles.

The president, of course, is the first New Yorker to win the White House since Franklin Roosevelt. And that’s led to some ancillary characters from New York politics to play a role in the saga surrounding the 2016 election. Many of the redactions in the report are due to the upcoming perjury trial of Roger Stone, the colorful New York political operative who has an on-again, off-again relationship and advisory role with Trump.

Western New York political operative Michael Caputo, who had at one point sought a Trump gubernatorial campaign in 2014, is also briefly mentioned in the report. Caputo is said to have learned of a Russian business partner based in Florida named Henry Oknyansky that he had information on Hillary Clinton, and Caputo introduced him to Stone.

Another bit player is Randy Credico, a leftist comedian and activist who is a Bernie Sanders supporter, but also has ties to Stone. Credico, who has interviewed the now-jailed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on his radio show, had much of his role redacted in the report.

2. The Republican response.

At start of Trump’s campaign,. New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox didn’t embrace the populist candidate’s plan to upend the political system. That’s since changed. Cox in a statement on Thursday cheered the report for finding no evidence the Trump campaign sought to collude with Russian intelligence to sway the election’s outcome and claimed the report exonerated the president of obstruction of justice, though the report itself is rather murky on that point, choosing to ultimately not make a conclusion. Cox went as far as to echo the president’s own call for an investigation of intelligence officials who had raised alarms over Russia’s involvement in the election.

“Meanwhile, the investigation must now turn to the conduct of intelligence and other officials who abused their positions and the truth about the phony Steele dossier must be revealed to the public,” Cox said in a statement. “As President Trump said, this should never happen again.”

3. What will swing district Democrats do?

Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi last year won a seat in the House of Representatives the president won by 15 percentage points. He defeated Republican incumbent Claudia Tenney, a prominent supporter of the president who had Trump come to the district and raise money for her campaign. Tenney may not be as popular as Trump in that district, but the president in 2020 will again be at the top of the ticket and the central New York seat will be see as an opportunity for Republicans to pick up.

Brindisi on Thursday gave a careful answer when asked about the Mueller report.

“I want to read the report and see what’s in there,” he told Spectrum News. “But my concern is I don’t want to spend the next year and a half getting bogged down on the Mueller investigation and Russia. We’ve got to focus on the issues I’m hearing out of town hall meetings — lowering drug costs, infrastructure spending, doing something about this opioid epidemic. Those are the things we need to focus on in Congress and not get bogged down in endless investigations.”