Liz Benjamin

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Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

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The House Oversight and Reform Committee is moving to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for defying the panel’s subpoena for information about efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Queen Elizabeth II welcomed President Trump to Buckingham Palace with an honor guard and royal artillery salute, while Trump carried on an ugly dispute with the mayor of London, whom he called a “stone cold loser” and said was doing a terrible job of running Britain’s capital city.

​Mayor Bill de Blasio and the mayor of London slapped back at Trump after the commander-in-chief compared the two, saying Sadiq Khan reminds him of our “dum​b​ and very incompetent​”​ mayor of New York.

Prince Harry kept his distance from Trump, who called Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, “nasty” in a taped newspaper interview, and then claimed he never said that.

Trump tweeted his praise for the queen and the British royal family as he said his trip to London was going “really well” before venturing to a state dinner at Buckingham Palace.

In response to her harsh criticism during a Fox News town hall, the NRA released a letter that then-Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote to the group in 2008 offering praise, where she stated that she looked “forward to working with you for many years in Congress.”

When Fox News host Chris Wallace interrupted Gillibrand during the town hall, the presidential hopeful kept her cool with a sharp retort about women needing to get a seat at the proverbial power table.

Quest Diagnostics, the world’s largest blood testing provider, said today that the personal information of about 11.9 million patients may have been exposed in a recent data breach.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide if a group of IBM retirees can sue the company’s retirement fund over IBM’s 2015 sale of its computer chip business to GlobalFoundries.

Organizers of the weekend’s disastrous Governors Ball offered refunds for its canceled final day of performances as furious fans fumed about getting “Frye Fest’d,” and vowed to never again attend the chaotic event.

De Blasio was in Albany today to push for several of his legislative priorities, including reforming rent regulations, legalizing marijuana and eliminating the Specialized High School Admissions Test.

…but before he addressed local issues, de Blasio made sure to touch on national politics.

The governor of Illinois is poised to sign a bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana there, making it the first state to do so through its legislature and the 11th overall to legalize pot.

The University at Buffalo Council this morning voted to remove the name of billionaire pharmaceutical company founder John N. Kapoor from the building that houses the university’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences after he was convicted last month in a racketeering conspiracy to bribe doctors to overprescribe a highly addictive opioid medication.

A group opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana in New York has paid for a new billboard in Syracuse with a giant gummy bear to rally public opposition to the proposal.

Two of the three men involved in a violent confrontation with Albany Police have filed federal lawsuits against the department alleging excessive force and unlawful arrest.

Kathryn Garcia, the acting director of NYCHA, fired back at a federal monitor over his harsh criticism of her handling of the lead paint crisis in New York City’s public housing, accusing him of exaggerating backlogs in apartment inspections for lead paint.

Erica Vladimer, a former state Senate staffer who recently helped to organize the first hearings on sexual harassment in Albany in 27 years, announced she will seek to unseat a longtime House member in next year’s Democratic primary: Manhattan Rep. Carolyn Maloney.

A Syracuse city councilor drew a chorus of boos when he nixed a vote to support laws that would expand New York City rent control policies statewide and ban no-cause evictions.

National Grid has installed its first-ever battery storage system on its electrical grid in New York state.

The Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office isn’t expected to rule for several months on the cause of death for Timothy Budek, the Buffalo man who died Sunday in police department custody.

Here and Now

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

The state Legislature is in session. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is headed to the state Capitol today to meet with legislative leaders on end-of-session priorities. He’ll hold a media availability at the LOB (Room 130) at around 2 p.m.

At 9 a.m., the state Education Department Board of Regents meets, NYSED, 89 Washington Ave., Albany.

At 9:30 a.m., Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie delivers the keynote address at Baruch College’s 2019 Commencement ceremony, Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn.

At 10 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will address students at the K-8 school about his experiences growing up and struggling in school with Tourette’s Syndrome and ADHD, as well as give advice for achieving success, 211 W. 61st St., Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul honors the legacy of the women’s rights movement in New York and calls for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment at the P.S. 9 School renaming for Suffragist Sarah Smith Garnet, 80 Underhill Ave., Brooklyn.

At noon, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli attends the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators Festa Italiana event, Legislative Office Building, The Well, Empire State Plaza, 198 State St., Albany.

Also at noon, national and state environmental, health, and consumer organizations join state Sen. Brian Kavanagh and Assemblywoman Jamie Romeo to urge action against the immediate and growing threat to the public’s health posed by antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” 3rd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

Also at noon, Williams will join a coalition of elected officials, gun control advocates, and violence interrupters for the annual event to kick off Gun Violence Awareness Month, 1 Centre Street Pl., Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks at the Mayor’s Fund Board of Directors meeting, Governor’s Room, City Hall, Manhattan. (This event is not open to the public).

At 3 p.m., the state Senate is in session, Senate Chambers, state Capitol, Albany.

At 4 p.m., Hochul highlights state support for minority and women owned businesses and investment in the South Bronx, 2825 3rd Ave., 3rd Fl., Suite 301, the Bronx.

At 5 p.m., Hochul, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and members of the City’s LGBTQ community gather to raise the rainbow flag at The Bronx County Building to celebrate Pride Month, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx.

At 6 p.m., state Bar Association President Henry M. Greenberg will speak at The Braschi Breakthrough: 30 Years Later, Looking Back on the Relationship Recognition Landmark event, New York County Supreme Court, Manhattan.

At 6:15 p.m., Diaz Jr. attends the DREAM Gala, Cipriani 42 Street, 110 E. 42nd St., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer attends the Power of Influence Awards gala, Zavo Restaurant, 1011 Third Ave., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio will appear live on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

Also at 7 p.m., Williams will receive the Human Rights Award at the event, which features a group of honorees including actor Tom Arnold, activist Jessica Raven, and Matt McMorrow, senior advisor in the Office of the Mayor, 453 W. 17th St., Manhattan.

At 8 p.m., McCray will attend the Public Theater’s annual gala, The Delacorte Theater, 81 Central Park West, Manhattan.

Headlines…

President Donald Trump was in Virginia yesterday for a special church service praying for victims of the Virginia Beach mass shooting.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney called the controversy over the White House requesting that the USS John McCain be moved “out of sight” during Trump’s recent trip to Japan “much ado about nothing.”

Trump is “deadly serious” about imposing tariffs on Mexican goods starting next week in a bid to force Mexico to step-up its immigration enforcement efforts, Mulvaney said.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said that if he had been the nominee in 2016 instead of Hillary Clinton, he would have won the election and been president today.

Trump lashed out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan by comparing him to a “shorter” version of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Trump’s company had high hopes for a Uruguayan condominium development. But the long-delayed project has become a microcosm of the Trump Organization’s deep problems.

The US Federal Aviation Administration said some Boeing Co 737 MAX and NG planes may have parts that were improperly manufactured and that it will require their replacement, the latest issue to hit the world’s largest plane maker.

Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has boosted the profile of her family’s shipping company, which benefits from industrial policies in China that are roiling the Trump administration.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ​hopped over the counter to get to the Queens Pride Parade​ yesterday, turning to cold medicines to get her out of bed after initially calling in sick.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on​ the Federal Communications Commission to ​review ​whether internet providers are providing the broadband speed they’re advertising and not ripping off their customers.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sought to revive her struggling presidential candidacy at a fiery Fox News town hall in Dubuque, Iowa by unapologetically embracing late-term abortion, and lighting into the National Rifle Association as “the worst organization in this country.”

Gillibrand was the fourth Democratic 2020 contender to participate in a Fox News town hall, solidifying the centrality of the Rupert Murdoch-controlled network to the party’s presidential contest.

For years, California has been an afterthought in presidential primaries, because it usually votes long after candidates have sewn up their parties’ nominations with wins in other states. But it has moved up its primary, causing problems for the current 2020 Democratic field.

The chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin Hassett, will depart “shortly,” Trump said on Twitter, winnowing another advocate of traditional conservative positions on trade from the ranks of the president’s advisers.

Google and Amazon have thrived as American regulators largely kept their distance. That may be changing, as the companies are now at the center of a storm brewing over big tech.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he plans to make a “solidarity trip” to Israel following the end of the legislative session, which sunsets June 19.

De Blasio’s latest choice to head the New York City Housing Authority “omitted material details” while testifying about its lead-paint scandal, including how officials failed to adequately investigate whether kids are being exposed, according to documents obtained by The NY Post.

New York City will descend into lawless free-for-all for criminals — similar to the movie “The Purge” — when the new bail reform goes into effect, a police union official said.

A former sex-trade survivor who says she was victimized everywhere from New York City strip clubs to Nevada’s legal brothels is now at the forefront of the national battle against legalization, saying that it only encourages “horrific” trafficking.

As New York considers legalizing recreational marijuana, some law enforcement officials say they are scaling back enforcement efforts. But recent data indicates there continues to be a high number of arrests for marijuana offenses in the Capital Region.

Cuomo has been lobbing verbal bombs at state legislators as they enter a final crunch of negotiations before summer adjournment.

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The Weekend That Was

President Donald Trump prides himself on being the great disrupter, but when he arrives in London tomorrow for a state visit, it’s not clear how much more he can shake up a country that is already convulsed, divided and utterly exhausted by the long debate over its departure from the European Union.

Asked if he was disappointed that while in the UK next week he won’t be able to see Meghan Markle, who did not say nice things about him during the 2016 election, Trump replied: “I didn’t know that she was nasty.” And the Internet promptly exploded.

Trump has denied calling Markle, “nasty” despite the comments being recorded.

The Sun: “She said she’d move to Canada if you got elected. It turned out she moved to Britain.” Trump: “Well, that’ll be good. There are a lot of people moving here. So, what can I say? No, I didn’t know that she was nasty.”

The US-born former actress had accused Trump of being “divisive” and “misogynistic” during his campaign. He said he hadn’t been aware of her comments until asked about them by The Sun newspaper.

The president is set to arrive in the UK tomorrow morning after an overnight flight from Washington, DC, with an entourage that is expected to include First Lady Melania Trump and all four of his adult children, along with their spouses.

Trump’s upcoming state visit to the United Kingdom could not come at a worse time in British politics.

Trump subverted diplomatic norms by rattling an already precarious political situation in the UK prior to his arrival: He suggested that the next prime minister of Britain “walk away” from trying to reach a deal to withdraw from the EU and that the far-right populist Nigel Farage be sent in to negotiate.

The Virginia Beach city employee who killed 12 people Friday afternoon at a municipal office building had submitted his resignation hours earlier, the local authorities said.

A move by House Democratic leaders to thwart party members from mounting primary challenges to incumbents, even in safe Democratic districts, could have the unintended consequence of arresting the party’s shift toward a more female and racially diverse caucus, one of its most striking achievements of the last election.

Mexico’s president suggested he was open to tightening immigration controls following a threat from Trump to impose tariffs if the US’s southern neighbor doesn’t put an end to illegal immigration to the States.

Trump reportedly pushed ahead with plans to impose tariffs on Mexico over the objections of several top advisers, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, opting to side with hard-line officials who were advocating the move.

The State Department is now requiring nearly all applicants for U.S. visas to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers. It’s a vast expansion of the Trump administration’s enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors.

Trump says that Jerry West, the pro basketball great, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Nervous NYC restaurant and bar owners fear the latest high-profile push by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to raise the minimum wage for tipped employees will, if enacted, trigger more industry layoffs even as businesses introduce labor-saving technology and streamline their services.

Ocasio-Cortez’s brief return to bartending drew crowds and considerable media attention, demonstrating both the perks and challenges of her overnight success and popularity.

Ocasio-Cortez bashed US foreign policy during a private meeting with Bronx community leaders, prompting two military veterans to storm out.

Since 2017, when Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, moved to Kalorama, a luxe neighborhood for D.C. elites, paparazzi hired by The Daily Mail have staked out their teal-blue front door.

Two rainbow flags were deliberately set on fire outside an LGBT+ bar in Manhattan on Friday evening, in what police are investigating as a possible hate crime.

“I am disgusted by the burning of a Pride flag outside an LGBTQ bar in Harlem early yesterday morning,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Rather than divide New Yorkers, this despicable act will only strengthen our commitment to tolerance, equality and justice for every individual.”

Earlier today at the Celebrate Israel Parade, Cuomo announced he will take a trip to Israel in solidarity with the Jewish community following the end of the legislative session.

Amid a record-setting nationwide measles outbreak driven largely by New York cases, the state ordered a Long Island school to accept unvaccinated kids into its classes and after-school activities.

NYC lawmakers are gearing up to fight the Health Department’s ban on the cannabis oil CBD, saying the compound should be treated the same as pot in the debate over legalization.

Lawmakers at the state Capitol are having intensive, ongoing negotiations over a sweeping bill to legalize the cultivation, distribution, taxation, sales and consumption of marijuana in New York. But with questions about whether that will lead to the full-scale legalization, another option is possible: baby steps.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio got his very first endorsement for president of the United States from the mayor of Orangeburg, SC, pop. 13,000.

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Extras

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said that there “certainly is” justification for launching impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, but cautioned that the public first must agree that it’s warranted.

“The American people right now do not support it because they do not know the story,” Nadler said. “They don’t know the facts. We have to get the facts out. We have to hold a series of hearings, we have to hold the investigations.”

US Attorney General William Barr disagreed with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s lack of a definitive conclusion on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice regarding matters related to the Russia probe.

Nadler said that he will call Mueller to testify before Congress, explaining that television viewers needed to see it, as most Americans didn’t read the full Mueller report on his Russia probe.

Two of America’s largest dollar store chains warned that rising tariffs due to escalating trade tensions between Washington and Beijing would hit U.S. shoppers, after reporting strong quarterly sales that sent their shares up about 6 percent.

The state Democratic Party’s effort to make pre-primary enrollment easier might have hit a snag with the state Board of Elections, which thinks legislation is required to make this change.

The F.D.A. has been skeptical of the rapidly growing cannabis industry, but it is under increasing pressure from Congress to ease the path to market for cannabis-derived products.

At this point, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand isn’t focused on winning the 2020 Democratic primary. She’s worried about surviving the next few months. Her biggest problem: fundraising.

New York City Transit head Andy Byford ripped the delinquents who caused pandemonium during today’s morning-rush when they set off a firecracker on a Manhattan train, calling them “mindless idiots.”

The CDC: “If these outbreaks continue through summer and fall, the United States may lose its measles elimination status. That loss would be a huge blow for the nation and erase the hard work done by all levels of public health.”

The New Jersey house that Tony Soprano called home is listing for sale 20 years after its television debut, with a “starting price” of $3.4 million.

Rochester Democratic Assemblyman David F. Gantt is recovering at home after being involved in a car crash last night on Central Park that injured several people. Police did not specify which vehicle Gantt was in, or if he was driving.

Presidential candidates and state lawmakers are all debating whether to remove penalties for prostitution, a proposal that used to be taboo in most political circles.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, ahead of a presidential campaign trip to South Carolina this weekend, named just one issue when asked by WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer what his “top priorities” are for the end of the legislative session in Albany: The rent laws.

Heineken International is the latest company to pull its sponsorship from the Fresno Grizzlies after the California minor-league baseball team showed an inflammatory video likening Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and other “enemies of freedom” during a Memorial Day game.

Lake Ontario has reached the record-high level set just two years ago, and was likely to exceed that today.

The Niagara Wheatfield Senior High School student who attended school throughout this entire academic year with the girl he raped was removed from school today, according to a statement on the district website.

But the number of hunters in WNY – the majority of whom are white men in their late 40s and early 50s – is shrinking at a rapid rate, according to data provided by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The Museum of Broadway, presented by Untitled Theatricals and Rubik Marketing, is expected to open in Times Square in 2020.

The sale of the “cool Colonial crib” shared by the governor and Sandra Lee was picked up by….TMZ.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has not yet released his public schedule for the day.

The state Legislature is not in session.

At 5:30 p.m., President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence attend a reception in honor of Gold Star Families.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray bring his 2020 presidential campaign to South Carolina (very briefly) this weekend. They’re due back in NYC Saturday night.

At 9 a.m., NYC Councilwoman Margaret Chin joins NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell Silver for a groundbreaking, Seward Park, East Broadway and Essex Street, Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., state Sen. Rachel May will host the first annual State of the Youth rally with Community Partnership V.O.I.C.E. (Violence Overcome by Involving Community Effort), Great Room, Gordon Student Center, Onondaga Community College 4585 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse.

Also at 9 a.m., state Assemblyman David Weprin delivers remarks at Queensborough Community College’s commencement ceremony, 222-05 56th Ave., Queens.

At 9:30 a.m., Girls for Gender Equity gathers to issue an urgent call to New York City and the Department of Education regarding the issue of sexual violence and harassment in public schools, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., “The Brian Lehrer Show” features NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, WNYC.

Also at 10 a.m., the state Assembly Health Committee holds a public hearing on rural health care services, Hearing Room C, Legislative Office Building, second floor, Albany.

At 11 a.m., a rally is held to call on de Blasio to increase funding for the Source of Income Unit at CCHR to help homeless New Yorkers find housing, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli attends the LGBT Network ground opening and ribbon cutting ceremony, LGBT Network Next Generation Community Center, 125 Kennedy Dr., Hauppauge, Long Island.

At noon, Rep. Carolyn Maloney joins census experts and community advocates in response to the revelation of documents showing that a Republican gerrymandering expert was the driving force behind the Trump Administration’s push for a citizenship question, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will interview Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood NYC, live on Instagram to discuss the abortion bans becoming law in a number of states around the country.

At 1:45 p.m., state Sen. John Liu, Assembly members Nily Rozic and Edward Braunstein and others announce a new early voting site in northeastern Queens, Korean Community Services, 203-05 32nd Ave., Queens.

At 6 p.m., state Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon hosts a housing workshop to discuss rent stabilization and legislation to strengthen tenants’ rights, Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.

Headlines…

President Donald Trump vowed to impose a 5 percent tariff on Mexican goods until that country stops immigrants from entering the U.S. illegally, brandishing a weapon used against a widening group of countries and jeopardizing a new North American trade agreement.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani straight-up accused former Vice President Joe Biden of bribing the Ukrainian president to make an investigation into his son go away.

Giuliani also dared Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress.

Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea are reportedly forming a production company to pursue film and television projects, making a foray into Hollywood after decades in the public eye.

The former secretary of state, who had that high-profile problem with an email server in her basement, will serve as a keynote speaker at the Cyber Defense Summit 2019, the cybersecurity company FireEye announced.

With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to rule on whether the citizenship question added to the U.S. Census is legal, explicit information has emerged that demonstrates the Trump administration added the question specifically to advance Republican Party interests.

Republicans have been successfully leveraging the Supreme Court balance of power as a major campaign issue to ignite their base since the 1980s. For Democrats, the 2020 election may mark the first in modern times that they unite around the high court as a driving force in a presidential election.

The White House’s directive to hide a Navy destroyer named after Senator John McCain during Trump’s recent visit to a naval base in Japan was driven, administration officials said, by a fear of bad visuals — the name of the president’s nemesis clearly visible in photographs of him.

A number of prominent African-American lawmakers, including Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the powerful chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, are leading the charge to impeach the president, as they hear from constituents back home.

Among those still holding out on impeachment: Upstate Rep. Anthony Brindisi.

The U.S. government now owns a Trump Tower condo compliments of Paul Manafort. A federal judge granted the Justice Department’s request to seize the choice piece of New York City real estate that was formerly owned by Manafort, Trump’s ex-campaign manager.

According to federal data, nearly half of all voters who voted in person in 2016 signed in at their polling place using an electronic poll book. That’s up from 27 percent just one presidential election prior. Experts warn the systems have security and reliability issues.

After seven years and two previous vetoes, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill decriminalizing so-called “gravity knives” in New York.

Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio blew off a solemn dedication ceremony for a memorial to those who died from toxic exposure to Ground Zero — and got blasted by first responders and their families.

Advocates of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in New York are preparing a final push on state lawmakers, though the chances of enacting such a measure this year remain uncertain.

With both houses of the state Legislature firmly in Democratic control, tenants are rallying for reversal of provisions in state rent laws that let landlords increase rents above the hikes on renewed leases permitted by the city Rent Guidelines Board.

Amid the worst measles outbreak in more than two decades, New York City health officials have issued 123 civil summonses to people found to be noncompliant with an April emergency order requiring unvaccinated people in parts of Brooklyn to get the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.

There have been more measles cases in the United States the first five months of 2019 than there were in all of 1992, when the last large outbreak occurred, federal health officials said, in part because of the spread of misinformation about vaccines.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has certified as complete the Title V air permit application filed by Competitive Power Ventures for the company’s Valley Energy Center in Wawayanda.

An anti-Semitic message was found on a banner in front of the Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights. Cuomo directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist the NYPD in the investigation.

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Extras

Attorney General William Barr says he believes special counsel Robert Mueller could have reached a decision on whether President Trump obstructed justice during the course of his 22-month long investigation.

Despite preliminary discussions to the contrary, U.S. Navy leaders decided not to cover up the name of the USS John S. McCain, as requested by the White House, prior to Trump’s visit to Japan, U.S. officials said.

The president seemed to openly acknowledge on Twitter that the Kremlin had given him a leg-up against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and then quickly walked that back.

Bill O’Reilly said Trump called him the night of Mueller’s statement on his report to complain that Mueller doesn’t like him because Trump once refused to refund a country club membership deposit.

New Hampshire repealed the death penalty after the state legislature voted to override a veto from GOP Gov. Chris Sununu, making it the 21st state to abolish the punishment in the US.

Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone attended a 2 1/2-hour hearing in a D.C. courthouse, during which a federal judge repeatedly pressed his attorneys over their legal arguments, saying previous court rulings prevent her from ruling in their favor.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand held a fundraiser targeting women in the entertainment community last night amid a growing uproar over the spread of abortion bans across the South.

With nothing left to lose, perhaps the incoming chair Nick Langworthy can, as he promises, revive the near-dead state GOP.

A man who set himself on fire near the White House has died of his injuries, authorities confirmed.

New legislation making its way through the Capitol would require pets be brought inside when the state issues warnings of extremely hot or cold conditions. An owner would face at least a $500 fine for a first offense, and pets could be seized for non-compliance.

Long Island Rep. Kathleen Rice is introducing a package of bills to combat impaired or distracted driving, including a requirement that within 10 years all new cars be equipped with advanced technology that uses infrared light to detect if a driver is under the influence.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren amplified her call for a state takeover of the city school district, releasing a video urging support of the plan that Regents Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown described in an internal email exchange last week.

An Illinois Republican lawmaker’s claim that New York’s graduated tax rate, which charges wealthier residents more, caused the rich to flee the state is rated untrue by PolitifactIL.

Lily Pond, the Westchester County home the governor shares with Sandra Lee, is officially on the market: Asking price: $2 million.

Speaking of houses, Hillary Clinton offered a rare glimpse into the pair’s urban retreat, after she opened the doors of the neo-Georgian residence to Architectural Digest.

Attorneys for SUNY Polytechnic Institute founder Alain Kaloyeros and Joe Percoco, a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, separately filed appeals seeking to overturn their convictions last year on federal corruption charges.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared war on whiskey sour mix — and somehow turned it into a political point about the struggles of being a smart and attractive woman in politics.

The Erie County Board of Elections has proposed 37 sites for early voting before the Nov. 5 general election. The sites would open Saturday, Oct. 26.

A poster signed by Bruce Springsteen helped the “Healing Schoharie” effort clear its goal of raising $50,000 to aid the families who lost loved ones in the October 2018 limousine crash in Schoharie County and the first responders on the scene.

Sesame Street is turning 50.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public appearances or interviews yet announced.

The state Legislature is in session.

Today’s calendar is quite lengthy, and appears at the end of this post.

Headlines…

Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said beginning impeachment hearings against President Trump is among the “options on the table” after special counsel Robert Mueller announced the end of his Russia probe.

Mueller chose in the end to speak out, just this once if he has his way, to plead for a deliberate assessment of the facts from a deeply divided political system that shows no willingness to look at his findings through his dispassionate eyes.

Hours after Mueller broke his silence and said that Russia had sought to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Clinton said that the “systemic efforts to interfere” in the 2016 election “deserves the attention of every American.”

Clinton made the remarks as part of a commencement address yesterday afternoon to more than 2,400 Hunter College students inside New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand joined the chorus of Democratic presidential candidates calling for the House to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, saying that Mueller made it clear that Congress should move forward with hearings on the president’s conduct.

Also on the impeachment train: Long Island Rep. Kathleen Rice.

Trump’s re-election camp launched a fundraising blitz just minutes after Mueller issued a statement saying he’s done with the Russia probe.

The White House asked the Navy to hide a destroyer named after the late Arizona Sen. John McCain in order to avoid having the ship appear in photographs taken while President Trump was visiting Japan this week, White House and military officials said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi strongly rebuked Facebook, saying the company’s refusal to take down altered videos of her demonstrated how the social network contributed to misinformation and enabled Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will discuss their countries’ joint dispute with China over Huawei during a meeting in Ottawa today, a senior US administration official said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will return to her restaurant roots Friday, tending bar in the 14th Congressional District (location TBA) to raise support for a campaign to change how tipped employees are paid. But the approach she’ll champion helped to close at least one establishment where she used to work.

On the heels of a spate of anti-abortion legislation passed in recent months across the South, Louisiana lawmakers voted to ban the procedure after the pulsing of what becomes the fetus’s heart can be detected. The restriction is backed by the state’s Democratic governor.

A government watchdog group requested an investigation into the head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s air office, arguing the Trump appointee violated an ethics pledge by meeting with former clients.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo rapped lawmakers for dragging their heels in passing a new law that would lift the ban on surrogacy contracts — which would enable New Yorkers for the first time to pay a woman in the state to carry their baby to term through in-vitro fertilization.

The leader of the state Senate, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, says the pressures of forging agreements on major pieces of legislation might be getting to Cuomo. She was asked about disparaging comments that Cuomo made about the Senate in recent days.

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams wants the city to require a “racial impact study” for all proposed rezoning plans to stem gentrification, while also saying an income report would accomplish the same goal.

The state Business Council of New York backed legislation giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, claiming it will be a boon to the economy.

The safeguards put in place by New York City to protect its water supply should be used as a model for the state, according to the NY Public Interest Research Group report released this week.

Facing the prospect of state legislation that could dramatically alter the landscape of rent regulation, a trio of prominent and deep-pocketed New York City real estate companies met privately with a group representing the interests of the affordable housing industry to explore a potential compromise.

Lawrence Porcari, the corporation counsel for Mount Vernon, was indicted on charges of engaging in a scheme to divert public funds to pay for the criminal legal defense of the city’s mayor, Richard Thomas.

The resurgence of a once-eradicated disease – measles – has made its way to Staten Island, according to city officials.

Cuomo announced the state is launching a Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Commission.

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller told the country in a dramatic statement that it was “not an option” for his office to have charged President Trump with an obstruction crime, adding it would be ‘inappropriate’ for him to speak further about his probe of Russian election interference.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said, reading from prepared notes behind a lectern at the Justice Department. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

Mueller emphasized that he were to testify in front of Congress as requested, no new information would be provided. “The report is my testimony,” he said.

Mueller also publicly announced he is resigning as special counsel because the investigation he was appointed in 2017 to conduct is complete.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker called for Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump, becoming the latest 2020 White House contender to endorse the president’s removal from office.

An unidentified man set himself on fire early this afternoon in front of sightseers on the Ellipse park in downtown Washington, D.C., not far from the White House, authorities said.

New York Times White House reporter Maggie Haberman, who came under fire over the weekend for her article about Hope Hicks’ apparent dilemma about complying with a congressional subpoena, acknowledged the criticism and said it’s “unfortunate” that “the tenor” of critiques against her have “gotten extremely personal.”

Lawyers for a Navy SEAL accused of killing an Islamic State prisoner in Iraq in 2017 want the case thrown out because of alleged prosecutorial misconduct that includes withholding evidence and conducting surveillance on the defense.

The state’s largest business lobbying group – the Business Council of New York State – came out in support of New York granting driver’s licenses to immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

A leadership change in the New York Republican Party has left the state organization looking even more like the national GOP, with pro-Trump populists ascendant and wealthier social moderates on the wane.

New York’s mayors are throwing their support behind an end of session push to legalize the use of electric bicycles and scooters.

New York State Electric & Gas Corp. is seeking a rate increase that would raise the average monthly bill for its electric customers by more than $10 a month.

Approximately 500 Remington Arms employees will be furloughed for the months of June and July while much of the plant is shut down.

Clinton County Treasurer Kimberly Davis, a Democrat, will challenge Republican state Sen. Betty Little in 2020.

Retired Orchard Park Police Chief Mark F. Pacholec faced two votes of no confidence by his police officers and command staff in the months before he retired, according to a joint statement released by the unions representing those town employees.

Rod Watson: “Add one more crime to the list (WNY Republican Rep.) Chris Collins is accused of committing. Except when it comes to this one, the verdict already is in: He’s guilty of rampant hypocrisy.”

Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas is proposing a trio of bills inspired by a woman whose story shed light on a Columbia University doctor accused of sexually assaulting dozens of pregnant women in his care.

Tiffany Cabán’s grassroots campaign for Queens district attorney is drawing contributions from across the nation. But her two most frequent donors are local: two campaign staffers who together have made dozens of donations as small as $5.

If you are not yet registered and are hoping to vote on June 25, the deadline to sign up is this Friday, May 31. You can register in person at your county Board of Elections office or postmark a completed downloaded form by Friday so it’s received no later than Wednesday, June 5.

Here and Now

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

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is off the 2020 campaign trail and in the city, but has no public schedule.

The state Legislature is in session, and the countdown to the Big Ugly is on.

At 7:30 a.m., “Good Day New York” features Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Fox 5.

At 9 a.m., the state Senate Standing Committee on Judiciary holds a public hearing on legislation authorizing and regulating compensated gestational surrogacy agreements, Van Buren Hearing Room A, Legislative Office Building, 2nd Fl., Albany.

At 9:15 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul highlights state efforts to increase access to childcare services, Business Council of Westchester Foundation’s Child Care Forum, 800 Westchester Ave., 5th Fl., Board Room, Rye Brook.

At 9:30 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Cities meets, Room 123, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 9:30 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Social Services meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 409, Albany.

At 10 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications meets, Room 124, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Elections meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 904, Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Banks meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 710, Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., the Senate Standing Committees on Education and Budget and Revenues holds a public hearing, Legislative Office Building, Hearing Room B, 198 State St., Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Finance meets, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Rep. Nydia Velázquez attends NYCHA Veterans and Military Families recognition and resource fair, Raices Community Center, 272 Wyckoff St., Brooklyn.

At 10:30 a.m., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilman Francisco Moya, HPD, Enterprise, and HANAC host a ribbon cutting for the HANAC Corona Senior Residence, a newly constructed 88-unit affordable housing community for low-income seniors, HANAC Corona Senior Residence, 54-17 101st Street, Queens.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Agriculture meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 816, Albany.

Also at 10:30 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams holds a media availability with Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr. and Churches United For Fair Housing on a bill to require a racial impact study to be conducted for all proposed land use actions, 1 Centre St., 15th Fl., conference room, Manhattan.

At 10:45 a.m., US AG Secretary Sonny Perdue and Rep. Tom Reed will visit Ravines Wine Cellars to participate in a roundtable discussion with local agriculture leaders and stakeholders, 400 Barracks Rd., Geneva.

At 11 a.m., national experts and immigrants from New York and New Jersey to release Safe Roads report on expanding access to driver’s licenses to nearly 1.2 million people, 520 8th Ave., Suite 1800, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 810, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 412, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Civil Service and Pensions meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 901, Albany.

At 11:15 a.m., Hochul delivers remarks at a Celebrating Women in Government and Leadership event, Concordia College, Scheele Memorial Library, OSilas Gallery, 171 White Plains Rd., Bronxville.

At 11:30 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Local Government meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 801, Albany.

Also at 11:30 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Children and Families meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 915, Albany.

Also at 11:30 a.m., the state Senate Committee on Codes meets, Room 124, state Capitol, Albany.

At 11:45 a.m., Speaker Carl Heastie and Minority Leader Brian Kolb will address the luncheon of the Assembly’s 39th Annual Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day to highlight the accomplishments of individuals with disabilities and advocates, The Well, LOB, 198 State St., Albany.

At noon, NYC Councilman Antonio Reynoso, environmental justice and labor advocates and sanitation workers gather to announce the introduction of a bill to create a citywide commercial waste zoning system, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at noon, the state Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 816, Albany.

Also at noon, NYC Council members I. Daneek Miller and Margaret Chin host a rally in support of the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, Greenwich Street between Fulton and Dey Street, across from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., the state Senate Committee on Insurance meets, Room 124, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 12:30 p.m., state Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business meets, Legislative Office Building, Room 804, Albany.

At 1 p.m., Rep. Grace Meng, joined by officials from the U.S. Postal Service and the Museum of Chinese in America, hold an unveiling ceremony for new stamps commemorating the 150th anniversary of America’s Transcontinental Railroad and the contributions that Chinese immigrant laborers made in building it, Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., NYC Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson joins the Alternatives to Incarceration/Reentry Coalition to call for increased support for prisoner reentry services in the City, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 1, Hochul announces the opening of the affordable hosing rehabilitation of Michelangelo Apartments, 225 E. 149th St., the Bronx.

At 1:30 p.m., the NYC Council holds a stated meeting, Council chamber, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 1:40 p.m., Hochul is a guest on WSHU’s “The Full Story” with Ron Ropiak.

At 1:45 p.m., a coalition of nearly 15 business leaders and community stakeholders will come together to launch the New York Smart Growth Coalition in support of the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, Million Dollar Staircase, 2nd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

At 2 p.m., patient and disability rights advocates will hold a news conference to warn of the dangers of legalized assisted suicide, LOB, Room 130, 198 State St., Albany.

At 3 p.m., the state Senate is in session, Senate chambers, 3rd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

At 3:45 p.m., Perdue and Rep. Anthony Brindisi will visit Chobani Yogurt Facility and participate in a stakeholder roundtable, 669 County Road 25, New Berlin.

At 5 p.m., NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson and City Council members hold a fundraiser for Farah Louis, who has been elected as the Council Member for the 45th District, The Beekman Pub, 15 Beekman St., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Hochul addresses the Consul General of Canada’s New York partnership reception, Renaissance Hotel, DeWitt Ballroom, 144 State St., Albany.

At 6:30 p.m., City & State hosts the 2019 Long Island Power 100, bringing together some of the most influential people in Long Island, The Mansion at Oyster Bay, 1 S. Woods Road, Woodbury.

Also at 6:30 p.m., Rep. Nydia Velazquez addresses the Spring 2019 Gowanus Superfund Town Hall, P.S. 133, 610 Baltic St., Brooklyn.

Also at 6:30 p.m., Diaz Jr. is honored at the DreamYard Benefit Gala, Capitale, 130 Bowery, Manhattan.

At 7:30 p.m., Williams attends the Brooklyn Children’s Museum Spring Benefit, 145 Brooklyn Ave., Brooklyn.

Headlines…

When it comes to him siding with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his description of Joe Biden as having a “low IQ,” President Trump says the former VP has got it all wrong, and he was actuallysticking up for” Biden.

“The President’s comments are beneath the dignity of the office,” Biden’s Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement. “To be on foreign soil, on Memorial Day, and to side repeatedly with a murderous dictator against a fellow American and former Vice President speaks for itself.”

Biden released the first major policy platform of his campaign, a sweeping education proposal that urges federal investment in low-income schools, supports universal prekindergarten and higher teacher pay, and, he added in a public appearance later, opposes for-profit charter schools.

In recent days, the disconnect between Trump and his national security adviser, John Bolton, has spilled over into public, sowing confusion around the world about America’s foreign policy, particularly on matters of war and peace.

Justice Clarence Thomas predicted the Supreme Court eventually will have to take up abortion law, after the court refused to consider reinstating Indiana’s 2016 law that bans women from aborting a fetus based on its race, gender or disability and requires burial rites for aborted fetuses.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it’s investigating decisions to exclude Chick-fil-A from airport concession contracts in San Antonio, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, over opposition to the fast-food chain owners’ record on LGBTQ issues.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plans to return to her former employment of tending bar in her district at a Friday event to support tipped workers in the Empire State.

Ocasio-Cortez responded to a minor league baseball team that aired a video portraying her as an “enemy of freedom” and put her picture next to Kim Jong Un and Fidel Castro, saying actions like this one inspire a “flood of death threats.”

The pugilistic and embattled attorney Michael Avenatti pleaded not guilty to defrauding his most famous client, porn star Stormy Daniels, and seized the spotlight to toss a barb at Trump.

A young man has been sentenced to a year of probation after he snuck through a tunnel onto Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida while Mr. Trump was there in November, according to court documents.

Mark Lindblom, 19, apologized to a federal magistrate, saying he didn’t mean any harm when he infiltrated the swanky Palm Beach club, but “wanted to see how far I could get.”

A minor league baseball team in California is apologizing after displaying a YouTube video on a big screen that depicted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as an “enemy of freedom.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided his own end-of-session wish list, and it includes everything from legalization of marijuana and driver’s licenses for immigrants in the country illegally to permitting gestational surrogacy contracts.

…Cuomo also announced he plans on seeking a fourth term in 2022.

Cuomo and the state Legislature used a whole bag of accounting tricks to make it appear the latest state budget honored his perennial pledge to limit Albany’s operational spending increases to 2 percent, but it’s really more like 4.9 percent, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Citizens Budget Committee.

While Cuomo and lawmakers debate a litany of issues before the Albany session adjourns on June 19, former GOP US Sen.-turned-powerhouse lobbyist Al D’Amato is co-chairing a “Long Island cocktail reception” fundraiser in Great Neck Sunday for the governor, with tickets starting at $5,000.

It’s languished for more than two decades in the state Legislature, but a bill to create a single-payer health care system in New York may finally stand a chance now that Democrats have control of both houses.

NYC Councilman Brad Lander endorsed Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for president in 2020, saying the reluctance of others to back her is due to a “a bias toward male leadership.”

He rose to power off the generosity of high-priced lobbyists seeking access to City Hall, yet NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio now says his pipe-dream presidential campaign won’t be accepting donations from lobbyists with business before the city and federal government.

Longtime Green Party activist and Syracuse resident Howie Hawkins formally launched his bid for the Green Party’s presidential nomination. The announcement, made in Brooklyn, comes several months after Hawkins this year formed an exploratory committee for a potential run.

More teens accused of serious felonies will be released from jail without bail under New York City’s latest push to limit incarceration.

Legislation to end what’s called the “gay panic” defense, which allows those facing murder charges to say their actions were driven by an extreme emotional disturbance incited by a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity, gained new momentum with renewed support from Cuomo.

New Yorkers, long proud of their status as cultural trendsetters on everything from fashion to Cronuts, have thus far been left out of the electric scooter craze sweeping the nation because they are not yet legal here.

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Loretta Lynch, the first black woman to serve as US attorney general, is about to re-emerge in the legal world, joining the law firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison as a litigation partner in its New York office, where she will work on complex lawsuits and defend companies in criminal prosecutions.

Minutes after Air Force One touched down, returning Trump to Washington after a formal state visit to Japan, former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic frontrunner, responded to the president’s decision to embrace an insult hurled at Biden by North Korean state media.

The US Supreme Court sidestepped part of a case that could have tested the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade, turning down an appeal to reinstate a strict Indiana abortion law. But the court upheld part of the same law regulating the disposal of fetal remains.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is reportedly pitching to reprise his “jack-of-all-trades” role within the Trump campaign as it gears up for the 2020 election.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is preparing for a June fundraising blitz in New York, where he will be joined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and famed short seller Jim Chanos.

Facing a growing storm of outrage over an overtime scandal, Cuomo opened the door to possibly demanding work rule changes from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s unions as part of upcoming contract talks.

Cuomo also cracked open the door on a proposal to expand sports betting outside the confines of brick-and-mortar casinos.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s Spitzer Enterprises has landed a $386 million refinancing package for its luxury multifamily development at 420 Kent Avenue on the Williamsburg, Brooklyn waterfront.

The Problem Solvers Caucus released a report with bipartisan policy recommendations to build a 21st Century infrastructure network for America.

The number of new diabetes cases among U.S. adults keeps falling, even as obesity rates climb, and health officials aren’t sure why.

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, won’t meet with Trump when he’s hosted by the royals next month. She has been critical of the president in her pre-marriage/Hollywood actress life.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is finally throwing his support behind paid vacation time — five years after it was first introduced by a city councilman — just as he’s made compensated leave a central component of his presidential stump speech.

NYPIRG’s review of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule data (2013-2015) found that 176 water systems detected one or more emerging contaminants, affecting nearly 16 million New Yorkers.

The homes provided to college presidents in the Capital Region differ vastly in terms of comfort, size and opulence.

Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer for Netflix, stated the video streaming company may consider pulling out production from the state of Georgia if the recently signed heartbeat bill is upheld in federal courts.

Albany County Comptroller Michael Conners announced his office is investigating an allegation that a county employee had been doing political campaign work on the job.

MTA Police are investigating the vandalism of a billboard at the Bellmore Long Island Rail Road station advertising an upcoming Long Beach festival that attracts tens of thousands of members of the LGBT community, officials said.

Albany Medical Center President and CEO James J. Barba, who has led the major health care institution since 1995, will retire in March, the hospital announced.

The number of self-service laundry spots in New York City has dropped 25 percent since 2015, so owners are doing what they can to stay in business – offering pastries, coffee, free meditation classes and more.

Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino has stopped the town clerk – an elected official – from speaking to the town board during public hearings or on resolutions during regular meetings.