Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich dismissed BuzzFeed’s bombshell report that said federal investigators have evidence Trump ordered his former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump property in Moscow.

“BuzzFeed is the equivalent of those tabloids you buy at the grocery store on the way out that introduce you to Martians and tell you the story of three stars who had anguished lives that you never knew about,” Gingrich said before later adding, “To take BuzzFeed seriously is a sign of how desperate we are for news.”

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani officially denied the Cohen-Trump bombshell report and attacked the credibility of thepPresident’s former lawyer, despite the fact that the BuzzFeed News report cites two federal investigators – not Cohen – as the sources.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump revealed that she and other lawmakers would be making a trip to Afghanistan on a commercial flight, a revelation that made it too dangerous to go forward with the trip.

Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez applauded Cardi B for her expletive-filled rant against the partial government shutdown, joking that “Bronx girls are gonna reopen the government.”

Academy Award-winning actor James Woods is warning fellow conservatives to ignore Ocasio-Cortez “at your peril,” calling her “the most dangerous person in America right now.”

Ocasio-Cortez has been a member of Congress for only 15 days, but she already has some of the most veteran House Democrats chasing her heels and taking notes.

Union membership has fallen to a record low, according to numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Three of the Americans who lost their lives in a blast set off by a suicide bomber in Northern Syria have been identified, including Shannon M. Kent, a Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician from Pine Plains, Dutchess County.

Six weeks after Bustle Digital Group bought the digital website Mic and fired all of its staff, many of the former employees are seething and ready to wage a publicity battle on the site’s new ownership.

Days after U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand declared her intention to run for president, a Siena poll shows she is just the third most popular Democratic official in her home state of New York.

The state Education Building on Washington Avenue was evacuated this morning after a fire alarm malfunctioned.

Under fire for skirting government bidding requirements, the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority is going to begin using Erie County’s purchasing office to save money and avoid trouble.

Gearing up to seek a third term as Erie County executive, Democrat Mark Poloncarz has no idea who will run against him in November. But it’s a sure bet his eventual opponent will launch an all-out assault on his self-acknowledged liberal politics, according to early hints dropped by leaders of the Republican and Conservative opposition.

State officials are alerting backcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders and others who venture into northern New York’s mountainous areas to be aware of the risk of avalanches.

The coming winter storm expected to blanket parts of New York with up to two feet of snow will be problematic to deal with because of its sheer size, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Disgraced former state Sen. Carl Kruger, 69, is rumored to be eyeing a NYC Council seat. According to political sources, the convicted felon Kruger is looking to make a comeback in local politics.

Here and Now

It’s comingprepare yourself.

The federal government is still shut down.

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

Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, fresh off announcing her 2020 presidential run, is in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa. She’ll take a walking tour of businesses in Sioux City, and then attend a Truman Club house party.

Vice President Mike Pence this evening delivers remarks at the 37th Annual March for Life Rose Dinner, Renaissance Hotel, Washington, D.C.

At 7:45 a.m., former NYC Council President Melissa Mark-Viverito, now a candidate for public advocate, greets commuters at the Junction Boulevard 7 train, Jackson Heights, Queens.

At 8:15 a.m., former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman speaks on “the closing of Rikers Island as a catalyst for criminal justice reform,” New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez, commissioner of the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, delivers a presentation on the governor’s State of the State and budget address, Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 South Ave., Staten Island.

At 10 a.m., Rep. Anthony Brindisi announces his committee assignments and legislative priorities, Henry P. Smith Post 24, American Legion, 325 Erie Boulevard West, Rome.

Also at 10 a.m., OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito will deliver a presentation on the governor’s State of the State and budget address, Herkimer College Amphitheater, 100 Reservoir Rd., Herkimer.

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., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is a panelist at the New York State Bar Association’s environmental justice event, New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 Sixth Ave., Grand Ballroom West, third floor, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., former Rep. Mike McNulty, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy and other regional economic development leaders attend a press event to celebrate the grand opening of the Bull Moose Club, 150 State St., fourth floor, Albany.

At 11 a.m., NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer holds a press conference on transportation in eastern Queens, 93-02 Sutphin Blvd., Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks on the NYC Ferry expansion, Staten Island Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island.

At 11:15 a.m., state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, state Sen. John Liu, Assemblyman David Weprin, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein and New York City Councilman Barry Grodenchik attend the ribbon-cutting for a new technology center at Cardozo High School, 57-00 223rd St., Queens.

At 11:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul sends off students as part of SUNY’s Puerto Rico recovery assistance legal clinic, University at Buffalo, O’Brian Hall, 211 Putnam Way, Buffalo.

Also at 11:30 a.m., Guillermo Linares, acting president of HESC, delivers a presentation on the governor’s State of the State and budget address, RAIN Eastchester Neighborhood Senior Center, 1246 Burke Ave., the Bronx.

At noon, Rep. Carolyn Maloney joins with elected officials and advocates to call on the Trump administration to follow a court ruling and remove the citizenship question from the 2020 census, 32BJ SEIU headquarters, 25 W. 18th St., Manhattan.

At 1:30 p.m., former US Attorney Preet Bharara discusses pressing legal topics of the day and current events with Fordham University School of Law Dean Matthew Diller, NYSBA Annual Meeting, New York Hilton Midtown, Manhattan.

At 2:30 p.m., Hochul delivers a presentation on Cuomo’s 2019 State of the State and budget address, Rochester City Hall, Atrium, 30 Church St., Rochester.

At 3 p.m., Rep. Adriano Espaillat hosts his annual open house event, honoring the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Harlem district office, 163 W. 125th St., Manhattan. (Mark-Viverito will attend).

Also at 3 p.m., Cuomo’s chief diversity officer Lourdes Zapata delivers a presentation on his State of the State and budget address, The Paramount Theater, 17 South St., Middletown.

At 5:30 p.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Assemblyman Charles Lavine attend a Martin Luther King Jr. service, Temple Beth-El, 5 Old Mill Road, Great Neck.

De Blasio travels this evening to Bangor, Maine, to visit his aged aunt.


An end to the government shutdown looked more distant than ever after President Donald Trump abruptly canceled Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned visit to Afghanistan.

“The purpose of the trip was to express appreciation & thanks to our men & women in uniform for their service & dedication, & to obtain critical national security & intelligence briefings from those on the front lines,” Pelosi’s chief of staff explained on Twitter.

Hours after Trump grounded Pelosi’s planned trip to visit the troops, first lady Melania Trump was winging her way to Mar-a-Lago — on a government jet.

Trump also has canceled his administration’s trip to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum next week.

Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.

Cohen acknowledged that he had paid the owner of a technology services company to help doctor results of an online poll to help Trump as he considered a run for president.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that if the government shutdown continues, it could cost New Yorkers — especially the most vulnerable — hundreds of millions of dollars in needed benefits.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed state agencies to provide support for federal workers affected by the federal government shutdown.

Electric and gas utilities in New York announced that customers affected by the partial federal government shutdown can take part in special collection practices.

Fresh off her 2020 announcement, U.S. Kirsten Gillibrand said she plans to attend a Women’s March in Iowa this weekend — even though the event has been shrouded in controversy since one of its organizers refused to condemn anti-Semitic religious leader Louis Farrakhan.

A global New York-based law firm has agreed to pay $4.6 million to settle a Justice Department investigation into whether its work for a Russia-aligned Ukrainian government violated lobbying laws.

A series of depositions that a federal judge authorized this week to explore Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account as secretary of State have been put on ice due to the partial government shutdown.

De Blasio defended his administration’s decision to allow a senior aide to resign after he was accused of sexually harassing two women, saying firing him would have exposed the identity of his alleged victims.

After winning a commanding re-election in 2017, de Blasio was effusive in praising a key member of his core City Hall team: Kevin O’Brien, his acting chief of staff. Three months later, O’Brien was gone, quietly forced to resign after complaints of sexual harassment filed by two female city employees were substantiated.

A hearing on sexual harassment will take place in Albany next month, giving survivors and advocates a long-sought platform to weigh in on the issue as lawmakers seek to bolster the state’s sexual harassment laws.

The annual two-and-a-half-month do-si-do over how much money the governor and State Legislature should put toward public education has begun. Not only are school districts disappointed by the funding levels proposed by Cuomo, but they’re wary about his proposal to force districts to shift more money to their poorest schools.

Contrary to Cuomo’s recent assertions, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority he effectively controls does not expect to seek the approval of its board to proceed with the governor’s L-train plan.

This occurred just two days after the agency’s board bashed the plan during a heated “emergency” meeting Tuesday.

The NYPD gained information from undercover sources embedded in the Black Lives Matter protests that swept through the city in 2015, according to hundreds department emails made public yesterday.

While NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill defended the practice laid bare in a series of department emails, de Blasio said he found it concerning because the activists “are not a security risk in any way shape or form.”

The Legal Aid Society is filing a federal class-action lawsuit accusing de Blasio’s housing agency of maintaining an “unlawful and devastating policy” that imperils domestic violence survivors.

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After she told him to delay his State of the Union address in her chamber, the president announced that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s scheduled trip to Egypt, Brussels and Afghanistan “has been postponed” due to the shutdown, telling her: “If you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.”

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani now says he “never said there was no collusion” between Russia and members of Trump’s 2016 White House campaign, contradicting public positions that he and his client have taken.

Amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, Trump’s job approval rating has declined since last month, and cracks in the president’s base are part of the reason, according to a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Trump slammed “radical Democrats” in Congress for not agreeing to his demand that lawmakers cough up $5.7 million for his long-promised wall on the Mexican border.

All State Department employees furloughed because of the ongoing government shutdown are being ordered to report back to work next week — but they won’t see a paycheck until mid-February at the earliest.

The NYPD infiltrated the Black Lives Matter movement by using undercover agents and other “sources” to track the activists’ movements while calling them “idiots,” according to the department emails newly released following a Freedom of Information Law request.

Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s first speech on the House floor quickly made C-SPAN history, becoming its most viewed twitter video of any remarks by a House member of either party, seen 1.16 million times.

Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, a junior New York U.S. senator and newly minted 2020 presidential contender, apologized for holding “callous” views on immigration amidst a broader mea culpa over her formerly conservative views on “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

New health care regulations outlined by Cuomo would give New Yorkers more options when it comes to having children — and could require insurers to cover the cost of condoms.

The LIRR hired an outside agency to help with the homeless problem in and around railroad stations. Eleven months into its five-year, $860,000 contract, an audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found Services for the Underserved is not doing its job – even lying about its outreach.

A group of state lawmakers plans to hold hearings regarding the LIRR’s recent performance, which they described as “subpar and in desperate need of thorough review.”

The de Blasio administration says it’s opposing a controversial NYC Council bill that would allow employees to blow off their bosses’ after-hour emails and texts without penalty, saying it’s just too tough to monitor.

Advocates say the governor’s promise to invest $200 million in fighting the opioid epidemic is specious, advocates say, if not outright misleading.

One hundred and ninety one pages of the governor’s budget bill are devoted to the topic of legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use.

Kevin O’Brien, who had served as NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s acting chief of staff in 2017 and was then a senior adviser, departed City Hall last year because of a substantiated allegation of sexual harassment from two people, according to city documents.

The number of Buffalo Public Schools in academic good standing with New York State has more than doubled in the past three years, while at the same time the number under threat of an outside takeover has gone from 25 down to just three – two that were on that original list and one new one.

Days after former “Today” host Megyn Kelly’s exit deal was finalized with NBC, she was summoned for jury duty.

New York public university faculty members and graduate assistants are choosing not to pay union dues at a higher rate than any other major group of state government employees since getting the right to choose in last year’s landmark ruling in Janus v. AFSCME.

A Good Samaritan found $8,000 on the side of the road and delivered it to a woman whose husband died in the Schoharie limousine crash – getting her the money just before a cruise they’d planned as a honeymoon.

Here and Now

Day 27 of the partial federal government shutdown.

Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump make a Missile Defense Review announcement in Arlington, VA at 11 a.m.

Pence in the afternoon – 4 p.m. – participates in a pro-life advocates roundtable in his ceremonial office at the White House.

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

At 7:45 a.m., former NYC Council Speaker and public advocate candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito greets commuters at the Brook Avenue 6 train station, the Bronx.

At 9 a.m., NYC Councilman Robert E. Cornegy Jr., fellow elected officials and community members unveil a scale model of a statue of Shirley Chisholm in honor of the 50th Anniversary of her election to U.S. Congress in 1968, becoming the first black woman to hold that post, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave., Brooklyn.

At 9:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray host an Interfaith Breakfast, The New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Celeste Bartos Forum, 476 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Campaign Finance Board meets, Joseph A. O’Hare S.J. boardroom, 100 Church St., 12th floor, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Higher Education meets, 250 Broadway, 14th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing meets, 250 Broadway, 16th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. holds a press conference against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement about the Reproductive Health Act, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, and Albany area survivors of child sexual abuse, will join together to explain why the Child Victims Act is essential for local law enforcement, outside state Senate chambers, 3rd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features state Sen. Brad Hoylman and others, WCNY.

At 11:30 a.m., de Blasio holds a media availability to provide an update on the federal government shutdown, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 11:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul outlines the governor’s 2019 “Justice Agenda” laid out in his budget proposal, Onondaga Community College, Coulter Hall Community Room (Library), 4585 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse.

At noon, leading women’s and immigrants’ rights advocates hold a Pre-Women’s Unity Rally press conference with advocates telling their stories, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:15 p.m., Mark-Viverito visits the ARC Central Harlem Senior Center, 120 W. 140th St., Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., Guillermo Linares, acting president, NYS Higher Education Services Corp, delivers a State of the State address/budget presentation, Alpha Phi Alpha Senior Center, 220-01 Linden Blvd., Cambria Heights.

At 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Governmental Operations meets jointly with the Committee on Technology, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh presents the 2019 State of the City address, Redhouse at City Center, 400 S. Salina St., Syracuse.

Also at 2 p.m., Hochul announces the completion of upgrades at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source, 161 Wilson Laboratory, Synchrotron Drive, Ithaca.

At 3 p.m., McCray will meet with women at the Queens Family Justice Center to commemorate the anniversary of its mental health program, 126-02 82nd Ave., Queens.

At 3:15 p.m., Hochul gives another overview of the governor’s executive budget, Cornell University, Stocking Hall, PepsiCo Auditorium, 411 Tower Rd., Ithaca.

At 7 p.m., Karim Camara, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services, gives a State of the State/budget presentation, Red Oak Apartments, Community Room, 135 W. 106th St., Manhattan.

At 8 p.m., state Sen. Julia Salazar, Assembly members Maritza Davila and Joseph Lentol, New York City Council members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso rally for a Better Loft Law, San Damiano Mission, 85 N. 15th St., Brooklyn.


After launching her presidential campaign, the first question U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand fielded was one about likability.

Gillibrand was described by one writer as a “younger, more relatable” version of another onetime Democratic presidential candidate from New York: Hillary Clinton.

She’s now headed to Iowa – the first-in-the-nation caucus state – for a three-day tour.

Gillibrand’s response to the fact that during her re-election campaign last year, she pledged to serve out an entire six-year term in the Senate: “I believe the urgency of this moment now is we have to take on President Trump and what he is doing.”

Reporters asked Gillibrand again and again about her shifting stances – which, Republicans said, could be her undoing. Once a relatively conservative House member from the Hudson Valley, she’s now among the Senate’s leading liberals.

After once opposing it, for example, Gillibrand said she now supports granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

“Look at my heart,” Gillibrand said when asked about her evolving stances on issues like immigration and gun control. “I think it’s important to know when you’re wrong, and to do what’s right.”

Gillibrand also said for the first time that she was uninterested in having a political action committee devoted to her bid. “I don’t think we should have individual super PACs, and I don’t want one,” she said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Trump to scrap or delay his Jan. 29 State of the Union address amid the partial government shutdown, an extraordinary request that escalated the partisan battle over his border wall even as bipartisan groups of lawmakers pressed him to reopen the government and make room for compromise.

In a letter, Pelosi noted that both the Secret Service and the Homeland Security Department are stretched thin thanks to the shutdown and requested the commander-in-chief consider postponing the event — or just deliver it in writing. He did not immediately respond.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg backed out of a scheduled appearance next month at the 92nd Street Y while she continues to recover from a recent early-stage lung cancer surgery, the organization said.

Doctors say they expect the justice to be back on the bench in February, and until then she will review transcripts from her home and participate in the court’s decision-making remotely. Critics say the 85-year-old Ginsburg should retire.

A federal judge has breathed new life into questions surrounding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and the 2012 attack that killed U.S. officials in Benghazi, Libya.

U.S. Attorney General nominee William Barr’s claim that more should be done to investigate the Clinton Foundation, and his related correspondence with a reporter on that issue, has caught the attention of his critics and raises fresh questions on how he’d handle the issue if confirmed.

Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired a warning shot at the big banks after securing a seat on the House Financial Services Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had four freshman congresswomen chasing him all around the Capitol yesterday – including Ocasio-Cortez – seeking action on the government shutdown.

Trump signed a law that will guarantee that government workers who aren’t getting paid during the partial shutdown will get back pay when it’s over.

The White House joined the growing chorus of Republicans in condemning recent comments by Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King about white supremacy, labeling his language “abhorrent.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to hold up to $7.3 billion earmarked for the MTA in order to press lawmakers into passing congestion pricing and other policy in his executive budget.

New York’s sky-high campaign contribution limits would be dramatically lowered under a plan put forward this week by Cuomo.

More >


Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Trump to reschedule his State of the Union address — or deliver it in writing — as long as the government remains shut down.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, later confirmed that the 2019 State of the Union will not proceed as planned. “The State of the Union is off,” he said.

The record-setting partial government shutdown, which began Dec. 22, continues to drag on, meaning hundreds of thousands of federal employees are being asked to work without pay or to stay home. But members of Congress are still collecting paychecks.

Pelosi got the last laugh on Long Island Rep. Kathleen Rice, who opposed the California Democrat for speaker, denying the former Nassau prosecutor a coveted seat on the lower chamber’s high-profile Judiciary Committee.

The school where Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen Pence, has accepted a part-time job teaching art requires potential employees to affirm certain religious beliefs that seek to exclude homosexual and transgender applicants, including that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

A group of women, led by former Long Island Democratic House candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley, are launching “Vote Mama” this week, with the aim of recruiting, funding and training mothers with young kids to run for political office.

State-owned Olympic winter sports venues and ski resorts could see major investments for the third year in a row if the state Legislature approves the governor’s $82.5 million proposal.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is putting her presidential campaign HQ in Troy because, in her words, the Collar City is “awesome,” adding: “Troy’s a lot like the rest of America.”

“Kirsten Gillibrand’s brand relies on morphing her views to fit the job,” said Samantha Cotten, spokesperson for America Rising, a leading Republican super PAC. “However, with dozens of presidential hopefuls competing for the title of ‘most progressive candidate,’ her incessant flip-flopping will not go unrecognized by voters.”

After once opposing it when she was a congresswoman, Gillibrand, on her first day as a Democratic presidential candidate, said she now supports granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

The House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee is hosting a session tomorrow morning with Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC – 2.42 million followers) and Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut (@jahimes – 76,500 followers) “on the most effective ways to engage constituents on Twitter and the importance of digital storytelling.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio went on “The View” to tout his healthcare policy plans for a national audience, and wound up getting shouted at by Whoopi Goldberg over bike lanes.

Hours after Cuomo announced that he would double New York City’s speed camera system, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson said, um, is that all?

Cuomo is so serious about wanting to “blow up” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that he plans to hold $7.3 billion in already-promised MTA funding hostage until the state Legislature helps him achieve vague reforms.

A month before announcing he’ll run again, embattled Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse — facing allegations of physical abuse and under FBI investigation — paid $10,000 to a firm that says it specializes in repairing reputations. Today, perhaps on the firm’s advice, he apologized, vaguely.

EJ McMahon: “Disentangled from the politically turbocharged, high-volume rhetoric of his State of the State message, the first Executive Budget of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s third term is largely a stay-the-course affair – for better and worse.”

Homeowners earning between $250,000 to $500,000 a year would get a check back for their STAR rebates to help pay for school taxes rather than receiving the savings directly in their tax bill, Cuomo proposed in his budget.

NYC has added the drug store chains CVS, Walmart, Walgreens and Rite Aid as defendants in the lawsuit it had previously filed against opioid manufacturers and distributors, alleging fraudulent business practices.

Legislation making its way through the Capitol could potentially give federal workers affected by the partial federal government shutdown extra time to pay their local property taxes.

Suffolk’s Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone has more than $2 million in his coffers entering the race for a third term, 20 times more than his closest potential rival, according to new campaign filings.

Sterling Jewelers Inc, whose brands include Kay Jewelers and Jared, agreed to pay $11 million in fines to settle charges by U.S. and New York regulators that it signed up consumers for store credit cards and credit insurance without permission.

The Niagara Falls Water Board has decided to conduct a nationwide search for a new executive director for the city’s water and sewer operations. Rolfe Porter informed the board Friday that he doesn’t want to stick around after his contract expires March 31.

North Hempstead has banned the sale of recreational marijuana within its boundaries, becoming the first Nassau County town to do so.

RIP Joseph Sullivan, an Albany neighborhood activist and frequent candidate for elected office, who died after a battle with cancer.


Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, urged Congress to include border security funds in a bill to reopen the government, but stopped short of fully endorsing the president’s proposed border wall.

A federal judge in New York blocked the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a win for critics who say the question is unnecessary and would cause fewer immigrants and minorities to respond to the decennial survey.

No Democrats attended a lunch with Trump designed to reach an agreement to end the government shutdown and fund a border wall, the White House said.

The U.S. economy is taking a larger-than-expected hit from the partial government shutdown, White House estimates showed.

Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is taking Washington by storm, but some Senate Democrats see her exploding appeal as more of a sideshow than meaningful statement about the future of their party.

Ocasio-Cortez and her Republican critics have both called her proposal to dramatically increase America’s highest tax rate “radical” but a new poll indicates that a majority of Americans agrees with the idea.

Assaulting on-the-job journalists would become a felony in New York state under a proposal put forth by Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his State of the State/budget address.

Sports gambling should be permitted at four upstate casinos, Cuomo said, though the Gaming Commission has yet to issue regulations as to how that would work.

Funding to the state’s public schools would go up nearly $1 billion under Cuomo’s proposed budget, but education advocates were hoping for about twice as much.

Also in Cuomo’s budget: An investment of $150 billion in critical infrastructure improvements, most of it on transportation and environmental projects.

Cuomo proposed extending mayoral control of New York City schools for an additional three years, which would be the longest extension for Mayor Bill de Blasio and could signal some newfound comity between the governor and mayor.

Former NJ Gov. Chris Christie, in his new tell-all about working on Trump’s campaign, paints a scathing portrait of first son-in-law Jared Kushner — depicting him as a vengeful, underhanded dullard ill equipped to work in the White House.

The Federal Aviation Administration is bringing thousands of furloughed inspectors and engineers back to work as the partial government shutdown drags on, the agency said.

The MTA considered an idea similar to the L train tunnel fix Cuomo has decided on five years ago, and dismissed it due to serious safety concerns – including the potential for the spread of cancer-causing dust that could harm commuters and workers.

De Blasio is going to Eastport, Maine to visit his 92-year-old aunt, and while there, will help raise money for the Eastport Arts Center, which provides year-round programming in a former Baptist church that was built soon after Maine became a state.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is going to Canada for outpatient surgery for treatment of a hernia related to an attack by a neighbor outside his home in 2017 — but don’t accuse the staunch opponent of all things socialist of seeking public health care. He’ll be paying for his care in full.

After spanning the Hudson River for more than six decades, a big chunk of the old Tappan Zee Bridge was toppled in a controlled blast today to the delight of hundreds of onlookers.

The field of candidates running for New York City public advocate in the Feb. 26 special election remains massive after 23 candidates submitted ballot petition signatures to the city Board of Elections to get on the ballot,

Queens state Sen. Jose Peralta, who was rushed to a hospital and died unexpectedly at the age of 47 the day before Thanksgiving, was killed by complications of leukemia, the city medical examiner revealed. He was the first Dominican American elected to the chamber, and the governor has proposed naming the DREAM Act in his memory.

Here and Now

The partial federal government shutdown continues, heading toward the one-month mark with no end in sight.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be delivering his combined State of the State/2019-20 budget address this afternoon in Albany.

The Senate and Assembly are continuing to steam through long-stalled legislation now that the Legislature is under complete Democrat control, planning to pass GENDA and a ban on gay conversion therapy.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence join members of Congress for lunch at the White House.

At 9:30 a.m., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz hears a presentation from the New York City Department of Transportation about its ongoing sidewalk pedestrian ramp upgrade program, Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Queens.

At 10:15 a.m., the state Board of Regents meets, 89 Washington Ave, Albany.

At 10:30 a.m., the NYC Council members Jumaane Williams, Vanessa Gibson, I. Daneek Miller and several other officials honor Martin Luther King Jr. and decry senseless gun violence, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the Senate Republican Conference will be unveiling its “Real Solutions” budget plan, Room 315, state Capitol, Albany.

At 11 a.m., the state Senate is in session, Senate chamber, state Capitol, Albany. LG Kathy Hochul will be presiding.

Also at 11 a.m., SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson delivers her State of the University System address, Albany Capital Center, 55 Eagle St., Albany. UPDATE: Johnson will deliver her address on Thursday, Jan. 31. This event has been changed to accommodate the governor’s budget.

At noon, the MTA holds a special board meeting, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., climate activists host a press conference in support of a real “Green New Deal,” Empire State Plaza, Concourse, Albany.

At 1 p.m., Sen. Brad Hoylman, Assembly members Richard Gottfried and Deborah Glick, legislative colleagues and advocates will host a press conference following the Legislature’s historic vote on the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and legislation to ban conversion therapy, outside the Senate chambers, 3rd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Youth Services meets, 250 Broadway, 14th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., the True Blue NY grassroots coalition hosts a press conference announcing the People’s First 100 Days Agenda, Million Dollar Staircase, state Capitol, Albany.

At 2 p.m., Cuomo delivers the State of the State Address, Kitty Carlisle Hart Theatre, The Egg, Center for Performing Arts, Empire State Plaza, Albany. Hochul will also attend, as will NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials from around the state.

At 4 p.m., the SUNY board of trustees and its committees meet, State University Plaza, 353 Broadway, Albany.

5:30 p.m., the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and other partners host a candidates forum for New York City’s public advocate special election, Brooklyn Law School, 250 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

Also at 5:30 p.m., Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar, joined by local elected officials from around Albany County, will make a major announcement, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, 375 Ontario St., Albany.

At 6:30 p.m., City & State hosts the Health Power 50 networking reception, which celebrates the 50 most influential people in New York’s health care sector, The Mezzanine, 55 Broadway, Manhattan.


Hillary Clinton reminded her Twitter followers that she predicted President Donald Trump would be a “puppet” to Russian President Vladimir Putin if elected following the president’s denial of a New York Times report that Trump’s deferential treatment toward Putin caused the FBI to consider he might have been working for Russia.

While polls show that a majority of Americans blame Trump and Republicans and do not support a border wall, Republicans are reading a different line in the polling: Support for the wall is growing and hardening among Republican voters.

Trump bought piles of burgers – 1,000 he said – and slices of pizza from fast food joints to feed the Clemson University football team, as members of the White House staff are furloughed and couldn’t make a meal for the event last night.

Piles of burgers and fish sandwiches from McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King, still in their boxes and wrappers, were served on trays in the candlelit dining room. Tubs of dipping sauces were stacked in silver gravy boats. On another table, heat lamps kept French fries and Domino’s pizzas warm. Salads were available, too.

Trump’s inaugural committee spent millions of dollars on lavish payments to friends and political allies, including $1.5 million to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.

Embattled Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King was stripped of all his committee assignments in a stunning intra-party retaliatory move — and the full House is separately expected to reprimand him – after his questioning why phrases such as “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” are considered “offensive.”

Trump’s attorney general nominee, William Barr, will tell senators at his confirmation hearing that “it is vitally important” for special counsel Robert Mueller to be allowed to conclude the investigation into Russian tampering during the 2016 election.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will appear on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” tonight, where she is expected to reveal a major move toward running for the 2020 presidential nomination.

If she announces her exploratory committee, as expected, the New York Democrat would become the second U.S. senator — and second female senator — to announce plans to begin the legal process of running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

A new Siena College poll showed overwhelming support among New York voters on issues like legalizing pot, enacting congestion pricing to raise money for the cash-strapped MTA, strengthening the state’s abortion laws, and passing the Child Victims Act to make it easier for child sex abuse survivors to seek justice as adults.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio rejected the idea floated by Cuomo and others in Albany that the city needs to cough up more taxpayer green to fix the subways, saying: “If anyone thinks that money can be found in the city budget, they may be smoking marijuana. The fact is, it just isn’t there.”

In a nod to de Blasio, New York City’s speed camera program would be extended and expanded under a proposal Cuomo is set to unveil as part of his 2019-20 state budget plan.

Here’s more on the plastic bag ban the governor says he’ll be including in his budget, though he hasn’t yet revealed many details.

Cuomo’s demand to reorganize the MTA to give him a clear majority of appointees was first broached more than 35 years ago by his father, Mario. It went nowhere, in part because Ed Koch, then mayor of New York City, didn’t like it.

The new Democrat-controlled state Legislature took its first actions, passing a package of legislation they say will make voting easier and close a major loophole that has allowed corporations to skirt campaign finance limits.

Making it far easier to register and vote has been hailed by some government watchdogs as a key way to improve New York’s longtime reputation as among the nation’s worst when it comes to voter turnout. But some critics have said the measures will make it too easy to both register and vote – situations that could make voter fraud also simpler.

“We should not fear making it easier for those who are eligible to vote, to vote,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “We should not fear restricting the flow of money into our electoral system.”

The Legislature did not act on two voting-related proposals floated by the governor: Making Election Day a holiday, and opening polling places upstate before noon for primaries.

A measure approved to consolidate New York’s state and federal primaries could affect next year’s legislative calendar.

Cities and towns in New York would still be able to ban marijuana sales under Cuomo’s plan to legalize the drug statewide, and people under the age of 21 would be prohibited from buying it.

Regardless of changes to state law, college students 21 or older may need to consult a different set of guidelines regarding pot, as institutions of higher education in New York may continue to ban marijuana use on campus and punish students who smoke on school grounds.

Advocates seeking passage of the Child Victims Act are calling on state legislators and the governor to swiftly pass the legislation, which for years was blocked by Senate Republicans who lost control of the chamber in November’s elections. Cuomo says he’ll put it in the budget; they want it quicker than that.

Cuomo’s executive budget will include a ban on “stretched” or remanufactured limousines in New York, as well as sweeping measures to expand regulation of the limousine industry in response to October’s fatal crash in Schoharie County that killed 20 people.

Here’s some more things to watch for as Cuomo takes the wraps off his budget proposal today.

More >


President Trump said that he has rejected a proposal by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to temporarily reopen the government in an effort to jump-start talks with Democratic lawmakers on funding a border wall.

Nearly 70 percent of those polled in a new survey say they would oppose President Trump declaring an emergency to build a wall on the Mexican border.

Airports across the country were starting to buckle under the strain of the partial government shutdown as a rising absentee rate among federal transportation security officers, who are not being paid, led to the closing of checkpoints and increased wait times for travelers.

William Barr, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, promised that he would allow the special counsel to continue his investigation, seeking to allay Democrats’ fears that he might shut down the inquiry.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that he will force a vote on a resolution to disapprove of the Trump administration’s decision to relax sanctions on companies connected to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, calling the move “wrongheaded.”

Schumer today announced that an industrial hemp facility in the Binghamton area will create hundreds of jobs and put the Southern Tier at the forefront of a “newly-unleashed and growing industry.”

In advance of likely 2020 presidential runs, U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand are focused on getting in shape, (he’s the first self-proclaimed vegan in the chamber’s, she’s lifting weights) and losing weight.

Gillibrand is expected to announce this week that she is forming an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid, according to a source familiar with the plans.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will meet tomorrow with women who have said they experienced sexual harassment and gender discrimination while working on his 2016 presidential campaign.

Sanders is adding firepower to his political team ahead of a potential 2020 campaign, locking down digital alumni who were key to his surprise performance in 2016 and recruiting the media production company that helped launch Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to prominence.

A senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus said that he will be introducing a resolution to censure Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican, over a string of comments considered racist.

The number of speed cameras around New York City schools will more than double under a plan Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to announce in his State of the State/budget speech.

Cuomo compared the MTA to the discarded and dysfunctional NYC Board of Education, saying “someone needs to be in charge. “Someone needs to be in charge,” he said. “When everybody is in charge, no one is in charge.”

Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James today announced that New York has initiated a lawsuit against the federal government challenging the unfair quota allocated to New York’s commercial fluke (summer flounder) fishery.

NYC filed a $21 million lawsuit against a group of real estate brokers, accusing them of using Airbnb to illegally rent out apartments in the Kips Bay building and at 34 other buildings in Manhattan, including an entire building in East Harlem.

High-powered lawyer Benjamin Brafman could be leaving disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s defense team ahead of his sexual assault trial.

This Martin Luther King Day will see a milestone for racial equality in New York government — as both chambers of the state Legislature will for the first time be led by African-Americans.

The Buffalo Philharmonic is giving away tickets to its first concert of 2019 to furloughed federal employees, veterans and military families.

Jelani Cobb, Columbia professor and New Yorker staff writer, will teach at SUNY New Paltz as 2019 Ottaway Visiting Professor.

Here and Now

It’s the 24th day of the federal government shutdown, which is now the longest in history.

State lawmakers are back in Albany, and are scheduled to vote on bills to overhaul New York’s voting system.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will likely continue to strategically leak out key proposals he plans to include in his executive budget proposal tomorrow. Officially speaking, he’s in Albany with no public events scheduled as of yet.

At 9 a.m., the Board of Regents kicks off two days worth of meetings, State Education Department, 89 Washington Ave., Albany.

At 11 a.m., the Let NY Vote coalition and grassroots activists rally at the Million Dollar Staircase to celebrate their victory on voting reforms and make sure lawmakers pass the most comprehensive, efficient and accessible election day package, state Capitol, Albany.

At 11:06 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul is a guest on “The Capitol Pressroom” with Susan Arbetter.

At noon, the Riders Alliance announces a study showing 92 percent of morning rush hours scrambled by subway signal problems during 2018 and call on the governor and legislature to fully fund the modernization of the transit system beginning with congestion pricing, Canal Street A/C/E Subway Station, Manhattan.

Also at noon, the public affairs firm Gramercy will welcome former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato as its guest for the inaugural installment of its Capitol View event series, (Capital Tonight’s Liz Benjamin will be interviewing the former Long Island Republican), Bull Moose Club, 150 State St., 4th Fl., Albany.

Also at noon, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and her Democratic conference members join advocates to discuss plans to pass historic voting reforms today, Rm. 124, 3rd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

At 1 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will make an announcement about the NYC Ferry expansion, P.S. 188, 3314 Neptune Ave., Brooklyn.

At 3 p.m., Hochul presides over the state Senate, Senate chambers, 3rd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

At 5:30 p.m., Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan presents the 2019 State of the City address to Common Council members, Albany Common Council Chamber, 24 Eagle St., Albany.

At 7 p.m., Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy delivers his 2019 State of the City address, Schenectady City Hall, Room 209, 105 Jay St., Schenectady.

Also at 7 p.m., the Long Island Association is having its annual pre-State of the State reception, Jack’s Oyster House, 38-44 State St., Albany.


President Trump’s efforts to hide his conversations with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and new details about the FBI inquiry into his ties to Moscow have intensified debate over his relationship with Russia, adding fuel to Democrats’ budding investigations of his presidency and potentially setting up a clash between the White House and Congress.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed as “silly” the news report that the FBI investigated Trump to determine if he was a national security threat because of his relationship with Putin.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is close to Trump, said a limited re-opening of a few weeks would allow talks to resume between Republicans and Democrats.

Graham says Trump still wants to reach a deal for the wall before agreeing to reopen shuttered government departments. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a leading Democratic negotiator, insists that Trump reopen the government first.

Doctors seeking to prescribe Buprenorphine, a drug to manage opioid addiction, are being blocked by the ongoing partial federal government shutdown, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. Physicians must get approval from the Drug Enforcement Agency but staff there are locked out.

Hillary Clinton weighed in on the partial government shutdown, telling supporters that “Americans can’t afford another day,” as the Washington stalemate became the longest in history over the weekend, eclipsing the record set in 1996 under President Bill Clinton.

A U.S. judge in California blocked Trump administration rules, which would allow more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control, from taking effect in 13 states and Washington, D.C.

The regulations, which the Trump administration announced in October 2017, widened the pool of employers that are allowed to claim exemption from providing contraceptive coverage to include nonprofit groups, for-profit companies, other nongovernmental employers, and schools and universities.

Senior Pentagon officials are voicing deepening fears that Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, could precipitate a conflict with Iran at a time when Mr. Trump is losing leverage in the Middle East by pulling out American troops.

Three newly empowered Democratic House committee chairmen, alarmed by statements over the weekend by Trump about planned testimony before Congress by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, cautioned that any effort to discourage or influence a witness’s testimony could be construed as a crime.

Trump mocked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos over his recently-revealed affair while praising the National Enquirer and slamming the newspaper owned by Bezos’ company.

The president used Native American stereotypes to mock Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s weeks-old announcement that she will run for president in 2020.

The federal government should do more to reduce the high number of women who die during childbirth, according to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is moving toward a 2020 presidential run.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will announce today that Nassau County Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs will replace Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown as head of the state Democratic Party – a post Jacobs held previously when David Paterson was governor.

The New York Immigration Coalition is set to launch a million-dollar campaign pushing the state to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

Democratic leaders of the state Assembly and Senate are set to approve a passel of bills to increase voter participation and tighten campaign-finance laws. But there’s still a push to go further on some issues, including the creation of a public-matching system to finance campaigns.

Legislation amending the state’s sexual assault statutes and creating a window for victims to seek justice through civil litigation will be “easy” to pass this legislative session, according to Cuomo, who intends to include the measure in his executive budget.

Cuomo also said that his 2019 executive budget will include a ban on single-use plastic bags and expansion of the 5-cent redemption on most non-alcoholic drink containers.

Cuomo did not provide a copy of the bill he plans to introduce, but it is likely to follow similar language to the one he proposed last year, which banned the use of plastic bags at grocery stores with certain exceptions, such as bags used for produce or ones for home-delivered newspapers.

The Bottle Bill expansion will include some exceptions for bottles containing dairy milk, milk substitutes, infant formula, syrups and flavorings, medical prescriptions and dietary supplements. The governor will direct the DEC to conduct a study on how the law might include wine and liquor bottles.

The Cuomo administration declined to say when either the plastic bag ban or the new bottle bill expansion would take effect, and also declined to say if the bottle bill expansion would be a revenue-raiser for the state via money from the containers that consumers won’t bother to return to get back their nickels.

Cuomo has upped the ante on fixing the city’s dysfunctional mass transit system, saying through a lengthy statement from his budget director, Robert Mujica, that it must be reorganized and that he should have total control.

More >

The Weekend That Was

Law enforcement officials became so concerned by President Donald Trump’s behavior in the days after he fired FBI Director James Comey that they began investigating whether he had been working for Russia against U.S. interests.

The investigation the FBI opened into Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Comey constituted obstruction of justice. No evidence has emerged publicly that he was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials.

“Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!” Trump tweeted.

“So it has come to this: The president of the United States was asked over the weekend whether he is a Russian agent. And he refused to directly answer.”

The partial federal government shutdown, which entered its 22nd day Saturday, is now the longest closure in U.S. history.

Trump and congressional Republicans deserve most of the blame for the government shutdown, now in its record 23rd day, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Trump, in a rambling series of Saturday tweets, promised to resolve a 22-day government shutdown that’s now the longest in U.S. history — without offering a single detail.

The previous record dates back to the Clinton administration when a 21-day shutdown resulted from a clash between President Bill Clinton and the GOP Congress that lasted from December 1995 to January 1996.

Trump has stepped back from declaring a national emergency to pay for a border wall, under pressure from congressional Republicans, his own lawyers and advisers, who say using it as a way out of the government shutdown does not justify the precedent it would set and the legal questions it could raise.

As the federal shutdown continues, the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society is offering low-cost pet care and a pet food pantry to federal employees who have been furloughed or are working without pay.

For the first time in modern history, New York will have five House members in charge of committees.

…that includes Rep. Nita Lowey, chairwoman of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, an 81-year-old grandmother who got her start in public life as the head of the PTA at Public School 178 in Queens, a short walk from the boyhood home of America’s most famous tweeter, Trump.

In the two months since her election, Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has had the uncanny ability for a first-term member of Congress to push the debate inside the Democratic Party sharply to the left, forcing party leaders and 2020 presidential candidates to grapple with issues that some might otherwise prefer to avoid.

Hawaiian Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraqi vet who became the first Hindu member of Congress, has decided that she will seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, and will make a formal announcement in the next week.

Former Obama administration official Julián Castro launched his bid for the White House on Saturday, becoming the first Latino candidate in an increasingly crowded field.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren floated her likely presidential bid in New Hampshire, visiting the early primary state Saturday to deliver a message of economic populism and clean government.

NYC Mayor de Blasio refused to rule out running for president in 2020, saying: “You never know what life brings.”

Chris Churchill: “Left and right, progressive and conservative, we all agree that (U.S. Sen. Kirsten) Gillibrand’s decision to locate her presidential campaign headquarters in Troy is great for the city and its ever-evolving downtown. It’s good for the region.”

New Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel on Friday over his handling of February’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, saying he “repeatedly failed and has demonstrated a pattern of poor leadership.”

A trial in New York over the Trump administration’s move to cut off permission for thousands of Haitians to live in the U.S. is spotlighting emails between officials downplaying health and safety crises in the Caribbean nation as they tried to justify the change.

As New York’s leaders push to legalize marijuana in the state, Westchester will no longer prosecute some marijuana offenses and will reduce charges for some others in a bid to lessen the legal blow for many people.

While there’s broad agreement on the idea of legalization, there’s no consensus on a long list of details that must be figured out first.

Cuomo is expected to lay out his plan to legalize recreational marijuana in New York on Tuesday, the latest major step in the state’s move toward allowing the drug for adult use.

Teens in New York might soon be banned from buying all tobacco products after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a proposal to raise tobacco and e-cigarette sales age from 18 to 21.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s top official, acting chair Fernando Ferrer, will hire an independent consultant to review plans to avoid the full shutdown of the L train subway tunnel connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan.

New York City’s subway chief Andy Byford has improved subway service and drawn praise for a customer-focused approach since taking the job a year ago. He says the past year has been the busiest of his life.

The NY Daily News: “Since the MTA is a state entity and the current governor is already in the hot seat, make it official and grant the governor a few more board members to make a majority.”

There will be not one, but two women’s march events in Manhattan next week – a product of an ugly feud over what and who should be represented.

The new date of the controlled demolition of the eastern portion of the old Tappan Zee Bridge — scrubbed for Saturday due to high winds that hampered preparations — is now roughtly set for 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, according to the Tappan Zee Constructors.

Also to be included in the executive budget: the Child Victims Act, which would ensure anyone who abuses children will be held accountable criminally and civilly and that survivors of childhood sexual abuse have a path to justice.

The governor is renewing his push to pass tougher gun laws – a proposal that would be the first of its kind in U.S. would make gun laws even stronger throughout the state.

Former state Sen. Dave Valesky, who lost his seat in a Democratic primary to Sen. Rachel May last fall, has been appointed to a post in the Cuomo administration: Deputy commissioner of Ag and Markets.

The “Long Island Nine” is gone, and all the state Senate seniority that went with it. But Democrats vow Long Island’s clout won’t be diminished.

Even though the L train shutdown is off, political leaders in Manhattan and Brooklyn want to keep some of the contingency plans that came with it.

State investigators are digging into union-busting claims leveled last month against NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, one of the world’s leading research institutions, announced on Friday that it would bar its top executives from serving on corporate boards of drug and health care companies that, in some cases, had paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

State Sen. James Skoufis plans to make prescription drug costs an opening topic for the Senate investigations committee he now leads, examining the role of industry middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers to determine if any impropriety is taking place.

Legislators are taking a hard look at changing how much control the mayor has over the Department of Education, said state Sen. John Liu, the chairman of the Senate’s New York City Education Subcommittee.

The seventeen new state senators who are getting ready to wield power in Albany are also learning to navigate its many corridors of power – both figuratively, and literally.

The fate of a 64 percent raise for state lawmakers may depend on an inside peek into Albany’s opaque “three-men-in-a-room” negotiations.

As a battle over the issue brews in Albany, a group of landlords that manages and owns more than a third of New York City’s rent-regulated apartments plans a new self-policing plan to fine and boot members who harass and discriminate against tenants. Critics are skeptical.

A new plan for putting banking smart chips in New York City IDs has advocates terrified that City Hall is inadvertently creating a backdoor for the feds to go after undocumented immigrants. The initiative is also being overseen by a deputy mayor with ties to financial services giant MasterCard.

About 200 people — including at least one superhero — gathered Saturday to protest the city’s plan to put a six-lane temporary roadway on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade for six years while repairing a ­ ­1 1/2-mile stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza’s shakeup of services for more than 150,000 kids who are learning English in the public schools is running into trouble, concerned staffers charge.

The casino industry in and around the Capital Region saw an improved financial performance in 2018 and is preparing new promotions to keep the momentum going in 2019. The least-certain but most-desired item on their lists appears to be sports betting.

An Federal Communications Commission report released last month claims that the state has been shortchanging communities in the state for years, essentially double billing taxpayers for public safety.

St. John Fisher College has indefinitely suspended cheerleading activities after it says a video surfaced purportedly showed members of the team using discriminatory language.

A Brooklyn sex toy company says the MTA is sexist because it banned vibrator ads while allowing ones for erectile dysfunction.

The Watertown Daily-Times: “We appreciate Mr. Cuomo’s desire to protect due process for New York residents who own firearms. But we seriously doubt that a state Legislature now completely controlled by Democrats will create a bill that accomplishes this goal.”

A highly unusual public feud broke out between prosecutors and top police officials on Friday after the Manhattan district attorney’s decision to drop charges against one of the men pummeled by the police with batons during a chaotic arrest in Washington Heights.

Steven H. Pollard, an FDNY firefighter who died at age 30 after falling 50 feet from a Brooklyn overpass in the line of duty, was mourned at his funeral as a brave hero who was able to meet a childhood goal.

Most­ New York state LGBTQ students suffer discrimination at school — but only half report it to administrators, according to a new report.

Five new elected state Supreme Court judgeships were added this month in Suffolk County, in the Hudson Valley and New York City after questions were raised over the long-standing practice in which governors appointed many of these criminal and civil judges even though the state constitution says voters must choose them.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran is making key staffing changes in the new year.

The Chrysler Building, currently owned by an Abu Dhabi wealth fund and the Tishman Speyer real estate empire, is now going up for sale. There is not an obvious buyer.

Megyn Kelly has finalized her exit deal with NBC, nearly three months after she wondered aloud on-air why it was inappropriate for white people to dress up in blackface for Halloween.

According to two people familiar with the negotiations, Kelly was paid the outstanding balance on her contract, a figure that amounts to roughly $30 million.

“Saturday Night Live” comedian Michael Che’s stand-up special to benefit public housing featured a star-studded line-up and raised nearly $110,000 before the doors to the event even opened.