Good morning. After a marathon closed-door session of more than five hours, Assembly Democrats have not resolved their leadership crisis, though they do agree on one thing: Sheldon Silver needs to either resign immediately as speaker or step aside with the potential to return if he is acquitted, (though few believe that’s actually possible).

The members didn’t accept Silver’s effort to retain his title by relinquishing power to a five-member – or two-member – leadership team while he fights the federal corruption charges lodged against him last week by US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Silver left the Capitol late last night insisting he’s still speaker, but not ruling out a possible resignation.

“I’m standing, and I’m going to be standing for a long time,” Silver told reporters.

Discussions will continue at noon today, and members have plenty of time on their hands, since today’s session and the first scheduled joint budget hearing were cancelled due to the snow storm, and many roads and public transportation were shut down last night, making return home for downstaters impossible.

Assemblyman Sean Ryan, of Buffalo, said the purpose of the noon meeting is to work on a process to pick a successor to Silver. “No one is trying to force the process or force someone into being the next speaker,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to hold an 8 a.m. press conference with MTA Chairman and CEO Tom Prendergast, PANYNJ Executive Director Pat Foye and other state officials to update New Yorkers on the storm. That will be held at 633 3rd Ave., 38th Floor, Manhattan.

Snor’easter? The snowfall totals for New York City were significantly downgraded, as forecasters changed their predictions to say that New England will likely bear the brunt of this storm. Heavy snow also fell east of the city.

Also at 8 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio appears on CNN’s “New Day,” which just so happens to be hosted by Cuomo’s brother, Chris.

At 10 a.m., the New York Farm Bureau will discuss its 2015 NYS priorities during a conference call with reporters.

At 11 a.m., Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government Dede Scozzafava delivers a regional version of Cuomo’s 2015 Opportunity Agenda address, Dulles State Office Building, First Floor Conference Room, 317 Washington St., Watertown.

At 11:30 a.m., de Blasio holds a storm briefing, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.


Silver has frequently protected his members during his tenure, but Queens Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi said that “this time he has to protect his members by resigning,” adding: “There’s an element of courageousness to it.”

“We think it’s a great difficulty for him to continue to operate,” said Assemblyman Jeff Aubry, also of Queens. I think he recognizes that it’s a great difficulty for him to continue to operate…It’s not a time that anybody is feeling good about.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo panned Silver’s five-member management plan, saying: “Management by committee I’ve never been a fan of, and I’ve never seen it work well.”

The DN argues that Silver really hasn’t been all that good for NYC, noting he agreed in 1999 to do away with the commuter tax, costing the Big Apple $10 billion worth of revenue.

The Syracuse Post-Standard: “The stage is set for Silver to be gone. Once that happens, the Legislature needs to get to work repairing its tattered reputation and enacting ethics reforms that actually will stop unethical conduct.”

The DN says “bravo” to Democrats who finally stood up to Silver.

Writing for the DN, NY1’s Errol Louis takes Silver’s “army of enablers” to task.

Fordham Law Professor and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout weighs in on the Silver scandal: “We should take this moment to pursue fundamental reform.” (Not surprisingly, she’s bullish on public campaign financing and corporate spending limits).

Some Silver staffers have been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an emergency order making it a class B misdemeanor for any non-emergency vehicle to be on the road after 11 p.m. Cuomo declared a similar state of emergency for the downstate area.

Cuomo directed non-essential state employees in the region impacted by the extreme winter storm and under a State of Emergency to stay home from work today.

Despite the move to shut down the NYC subway system due to the weather, the trains ran empty. Transit workers were shocked by the decision, saying the trains need to run so they can clear the tracks.

The State Education Department announced that Regents tests scheduled for today – including algebra and global history – could be rescheduled for later in the week due to storm-related school closures.

NYPD activity appears to be back to normal levels, according to a review of the latest police department CompStat data by Capital.

A man contacted authorities to admit he was responsible for the drone that crashed earlier on the White House grounds, sparking a security scare and temporary lockdown of the building and grounds.

Hillary Clinton is in the final stages of planning a presidential campaign that will most likely be launched in early April and has made decisions on most top posts, according to numerous Democrats in close contact with the Clintons and their aides.

Joan Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, has filed a malpractice suit against the Manhattan clinic where she went for a vocal chord procedure and ended up dying.

IDC Leader Jeff Klein is renewing his push to prohibit violent sex offenders from living in homeless shelters with children after neighbors discovered two registered offenders staying at a site in his east Bronx district.

Disgraced former Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith was so desperate to become New York’s next mayor that he spearheaded a $200,000 bribery scheme with equally crooked Republicans to buy his way onto the 2013 GOP line, a federal prosecutor said in closing statements.

Late Saturday, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown completed a hat trick of nightspot closings within the last seven weeks, reinforcing his claim that the city will crack down on bars and clubs that threaten public safety by attracting gunfire to their immediate neighborhoods.

New York apple growers expect to benefit after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reached agreement with China to allow all U.S. grown apples access to the Chinese market.

Two people who say they were sexually abused as teenagers are asking Pope Francis to investigate the way the Diocese of Buffalo handled their complaints.

As police departments race to get body cameras, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick is raising concerns about the equipment.

Jimmy McMillan, perennial candidate and founder of the Rent is Too Damn High Party, has been slapped with an eviction notice ordering him out of his $872-a-month rent stabilized East Village apartment.

Three charter school proposals related to two failing Buffalo schools left some unanswered questions yesterday.

Facebook said it suffered a self-inflicted outage lasting an hour yesterday that made its site inaccessible to users worldwide.