Liz Benjamin

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Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

Here and Now

Good morning and happy Friday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with nothing public planned.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will travel to Las Vegas this weekend and return on Sunday.

Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence travel to Houston, Texas, where the VP will receive a briefing from Homeland Security Investigation and ICE agents and deliver remarks to them.

Pence will also meet with Venezuelan families and deliver remarks at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy before heading to College Station, Texas, where he will deliver remarks at the Vice Presidential Film premier hosted by the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation.

The Pence’s will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, where they will be spending the night at an undisclosed location.

At 8:15 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul addresses the Rochester/Monroe County Domestic Violence Consortium’s legislative breakfast, Rochester Academy of Medicine, 1441 East Ave., Rochester.

At 9 a.m., Rep. Joe Morelle will deliver remarks at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Death 50th Anniversary celebration. Panara Theater, Rochester Institute of Technology, 52 Lomb Memorial Dr., Rochester.

Also at 9 a.m., Hochul delivers remarks at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf’s Rededication of Lyndon B. Johnson Hall, Rochester Institute of Technology, 52 Lomb Memorial Dr., Rochester.

At 9:30 a.m., Assemblyman David Weprin joins Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and NYC Transit President Andy Byford for the Queens bus network redesign kickoff briefing, Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Queens.

At 10 a.m., Mayor de Blasio will be live on WNYC, taking calls from listeners.

At 11 a.m., Morelle will deliver remarks at the University of Rochester’s Optics Industrial Associates Symposium. Douglass Commons Feldman Ballroom, University of Rochester, 500 Joseph C. Wilson Blvd., Rochester.

At 11:30 a.m., Hochul breaks ground on the Veterans Outreach Center Liberty Landing, 185 Scio St., Rochester.

At noon, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli speaks at the National Action Network 2019 Convention, Times Square Sheraton Hotel, 811 Seventh Ave., Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will be endorsed for re-election by the Bronx Democratic Party at a press conference with its chairman, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, and a coalition of city and state elected officials, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

Also at 1 p.m., Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and others hold a press conference on the oversaturation of pre-K centers threatening to put small community-based programs out of business, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Preschool, 414 80th St., Brooklyn.

At 6:20 p.m., U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will be in New Hampshire to meet voters and deliver remarks. Flight Coffee, 478 Central Ave., Dover, NH.

Headlines…

President Trump said in an interview that he wasn’t surprised Barbara Bush is quoted dissing him in a new book — because he campaigned so harshly against the former first lady’s children.

Joe Biden hit back at Trump after the commander in chief tweeted out a video mocking the former vice president’s handsy reputation, tweeting: “I see that you are on the job and presidential, as always.”

Trump had ignored his own troubled history with women and bragging about sexual misconduct when he tweeted out the video about Biden.

Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel says he’s running for president, but couldn’t care less about winning, but rather only wants to push the Democratic 2020 field further to the left.

Trump plans to raise $1 billion for his re-election campaign — more than double what he spent to win the White House in 2016.

The president confirmed that he planned to nominate former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain to serve on the Federal Reserve board.

Trump called Cain, who abandoned his 2012 presidential bid in the face of escalating accusations of sexual misconduct, a “truly a truly outstanding individual” and said, “I’ve told my folks that’s the man.”

Some of Robert Mueller’s investigators have told associates that Attorney General William Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for Trump than Barr indicated, according to government officials and others familiar with their simmering frustrations.

As South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg pursues the Democratic nomination for president, his 2015 use of the phrase “all lives matter” — which has often carried the connotation of ignoring the specific grievances of black Americans — has come under scrutiny.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it would allow children of same-sex couples to be baptized, a remarkable reversal of church policy from one of the religious groups that had long sought to be a bulwark against gay rights.

Preliminary findings from the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 have cast doubt on whether Boeing’s emergency checklist instructions for a powerful new anti-stall system were sufficient, adding to the scrutiny over Boeing’s and federal regulators’ response to two deadly crashes involving the same jet model.

Trump said that he would nominate Jovita Carranza, the United States treasurer, to lead the Small Business Administration, replacing the former pro wrestling executive Linda McMahon.

The president has privately told White House advisers that he does not plan to hand over his tax returns to Congress and that he would fight the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court, hoping to stall it until after the 2020 election.

The House will file a lawsuit to block Trump from snatching cash from military reserve budgets and use it to bankroll the construction of his long-sought Mexican border wall, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced.

With a little more than a month to go until he is slated to report to prison, former Trump fixer Michael Cohen is asking House Democrats to help keep him out of prison.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended congestion pricing, saying – as a “queens boy” – that most motorists won’t be affected because only “very rich people” can afford to drive into Manhattan.

One battle over congestion pricing is over. But now that the plan is officially coming to New York City, the next fight has begun: Who will pay, how much will it cost and who might get a break?

Transit advocates vowed to ensure congestion pricing isn’t killed by New Yorkers looking for a free ride through expeditions.

Signal technology rolling out on New York’s subways is too far behind the curve, the governor complained.

Cuomo ordered an independent review of the bloated and much-maligned East Side Access project to connect the Long Island Rail Road with Grand Central Terminal.

State Attorney General Letitia James said she had filed a lawsuit against a for-profit stem cell clinic, Park Avenue Stem Cell, claiming it performed unproven, rogue procedures on patients with a wide range of medical conditions, from erectile dysfunction to heart disease.

More >

Extras

In a video released today, former Vice President Joe Biden promised to be more “mindful and respectful” of people’s personal space in response to mounting allegations of unwanted and inappropriate behavior.

The House Judiciary Committee authorized its chairman, Manhattan Rep. Jerry Nadler, to use a subpoena to try to force the Justice Department to give Congress a full copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report and all of the underlying evidence used to reach his conclusions.

An NBC News review of those who donated to the Trump inauguration “found at least 14 major contributors to its inaugural fund who were later nominees to become ambassadors, donating an average of slightly over $350,000 apiece.

Perennial Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins is exploring a 2020 presidential run, after being urged by party leaders across the country to get into the race.

Uber spent $2 million since 2015 in a campaign to approve congestion pricing, the company confirmed.

The Auto Alliance has urged Trump against shutting the border with Mexico in his immigration dispute with the U.S.’s southern neighbor, warning of “significant disruptions” were he to make good on his threats.

Ben Stiller and Star Jones are among the moderators who will lead conversations with Bill and Hillary Clinton on their upcoming speaking tour.

Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman reportedly won’t be spared prison time in any plea bargain they cut for their alleged involvement in a college admissions scandal.

A law-enforcement official with knowledge of the matter said that Huffman and Loughlin, who are among 33 parents charged in the case, could get sentenced to between six and 21 months behind bars if they plead guilty or are convicted at trial.

Judith Clark faces a parole hearing this week in another effort to get out of prison since Gov. Andrew Cuomo commuted her sentence for her get-away driver role in the 1981 robbery and murders of two Nyack police officers and Brinks armored car guard.

NYC voters give Mayor Bill de Blasio an anemic approval rating in the latest Q poll, and say it would be bad for the city if he runs for president.

Two Hudson Valley state senators – James Skoufis and Jen Metzger – missed the vote on whether to authorize a 40 percent raise over three years for the governor, but won’t say whether they did that on purpose.

It may come as a shock to the supermarket chain’s loyalists in Rochester and beyond, but no — not everyone knows what Wegmans is. That fact was proven Sunday afternoon during a state Senate debate over New York’s new plastic-bag ban, which is set to take effect next year.

Lauren Salzman admitted when she pleaded guilty last week that she took part in holding a young Mexican woman against her will in a Halfmoon townhouse if she did not perform tasks for NXIVM co-found Keith Raniere.

Six states – including New York – and the District of Columbia have sued the Department of Agriculture, saying it weakened nutritional standards in school breakfasts and lunches when it relaxed the requirements affecting salt and refined grains last year.

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan said he offered some advice to freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – mostly to take it easy and sit back and watch for a while – but she wasn’t interested.

Outdoor retailer Patagonia will no longer sell its corporate logo vests to companies that are viewed to be “ecologically damaging,” a move that comes as part of the corporation’s push to work with organizations that prioritize the planet.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that an “expert panel” of engineers, civic leaders, architects, and urbanists has been convened to look at the options for the reconstruction of the BQE.

The de Blasio administration plans to use eminent domain on a set of parcels near Hudson Yards for what may become New York City’s most expensive park, on a per-acre basis.

A probe by investigators into the state Office of Children and Family Services was met with resistance from the agency, according to a new audit from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

The clock is ticking for the state Legislature to help Westchester’s suburban districts provide property-tax relief for the upcoming school year.

EJ McMahon: “(I)f Cuomo scored another short-term political win with this budget, he needs to be increasingly concerned about the Empire State’s long-term fiscal and economic outlook.”

New York City spends $6.3 million a year on a citywide training program that it likens to a CPR course for behavioral health. But critics say few studies have examined, or proven, how the course helps the mentally ill.

A male juror in the retrial of the East New York man convicted of killing Karina Vetrano told the Queens Daily Eagle that the jury’s opinion on the case seemed initially split along racial lines and that he believed Judge Michael Aloise wanted jurors to arrive at a verdict the same day deliberations began.

The CITY is live. Check it out.

Here and Now

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

This morning, Vice President Mike Pence participates in a Joint Session of Congress for the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and in the afternoon, delivers remarks at NATO Engages: The Alliance At 70.

This evening, Pence and President Donald Trump will be briefed by senior military leaders, and then have dinner with them.

At 7:30 a.m., state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris will be a guest on “Good Day New York” on FOX 5.

At 10 a.m., the Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network, opens the Annual NAN Convention, a three-day event with 2020 presidential hopefuls, senators, and civil rights activists, Sheraton Times Square Hotel, 811 Seventh Ave., Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Assemblyman Colin Schmitt, along with county, town, village and school leaders, veterans, first responders and community members from across Orange and Rockland Counties will hold a press conference tomorrow to highlight some of the budget successes Assemblyman Schmitt delivered, New Windsor Town Hall (Court Room), 555 Union Ave., New Windsor.

Also at 10 a.m., County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo will be joined by county legislators and project partners or an official groundbreaking ceremony for Monroe County’s Jobs on Main project, CityPlace, 1st Fl., 50 W. Main St., Rochester.

At 10:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul announces the opening of an affordable housing development, Woodhull Residence, 179 Throop Ave., Brooklyn.

At 10:45 a.m., the NYC Council Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses meets, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Land Use meets, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams tours a new Pathmark supermarket at a pre-opening event, 1525 Albany Ave., Brooklyn.

Also at 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features EJ McMahon, founder and research director of the Empire Center for Public Policy, Ron Deutsch, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute and others, WCNY.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio participates in an “armchair discussion” with Atlantic Senior Editor Ron Brownstein as part of the Atlantic Renewal Summit, CNVS, 635 W. 42nd St., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC Council Members Antonio Reynoso, Robert Cornegy, Inez Barron, Brad Lander and other elected officials join the Vassell family to demand real accountability for NYPD officers who killed Saheed Vassell in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At noon, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano honors Yonkers volunteers who have gone above and beyond for their community as part of the Mayor’s Day of Recognition for National Service, Yonkers City Hall, 40 S. Broadway, Yonkers.

Also at noon, state Attorney General Letitia James makes an announcement regarding the Trump administration’s rollback of policies involving schoolchildren, P.S. 67 , Charles A. Dorsey School, 51 St. Edwards St., Brooklyn.

At 12:45 p.m., Hochul attends the NAN convention during the “Mothers of the Movement” panel discussion, Sheraton Times Square, 811 7th Ave., Manhattan.

At 1:45 p.m., de Blasio delivers remarks at the annual NAN Convention, Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, Empire Ballroom, 2nd Fl., 811 7th Ave., Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., James will address and take questions from AARP members across New York on identity theft, romance scams and other forms of fraud, focusing on how New Yorkers can protect themselves and fight scammers and how her office can help, call-in, listen-only at 866-495-1076, or via livestream at https://teleforum.broadnet.us/bnts/teleforum/?tfas=8ffbd60786087653cfb990b72629f872.

At 5 p.m., Williams will be a guest on the “Cats at Night” radio show with John Catsimatidis.

At 5:30 p.m., Hochul discusses the state budget on AM 970 ‘The Answer’ with Catsimatidis.

At 6 p.m., Williams attends the NAN convention’s “Keepers of the Dream” dinner, 811 7th Ave., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., City & State hosts the Real Estate Power 50 networking reception, The Mezzanine, 55 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Councilman Stephen Levin, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and others join local residents in a Town Hall to give updates on the City’s controversial plan to rebuild the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) and galvanize support behind alternative options, Plymouth Church, 57 Orange St., Brooklyn.

Also at 7 p.m., after mass shootings in New Zealand and the U.S., state Sen. Pete Harckham, chair of the Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, hosts a public roundtable, “Hate in the Age of Multiculturalism: Are Thoughts and Prayers Enough?”, Pleasantville High School Auditorium, 60 Romer Ave., Pleasantville.

Headlines…

The controversy over Joe Biden’s behavior toward women has split Democrats along generational and political lines and is testing the party’s zero tolerance policy on sexual misconduct in the “Me Too” era.

President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, mocked Biden’s entry into the already crowded Democratic field during a campaign-style speech. (Then former VP hasn’t yet formally announced his 2020 candidacy).

Biden came up in politics as an old-school backslapper whose greatest strength was his ability to connect, doling out handshakes and hugs to friends and strangers alike. His tendency to lavish his affections on women and girls was so central to his persona that it became fodder for late-night television jokes.

As Biden’s camp scrambles to contain any political damage over his past behavior with women, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had some words of advice: Keep your distance. “Join the straight-arm club,” Pelosi said. “Just pretend you have a cold and I have a cold.”

News industry leaders are fighting back against the charge by President Donald Trump and his supporters that the administration’s summation of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report proved that journalists were “so wrong for so long” in their coverage of the Russia investigation.

The House of Judiciary Committee is expected to vote today to subpoena Mueller’s full, unredacted report and underlying evidence from his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Trump backed off plans to introduce a Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell privately warned him that the Senate would not revisit health care in a comprehensive way before the November 2020 elections.

One gauge of avocado prices is having its biggest gain in almost a decade as consumers weigh the latest rhetoric from Trump on his threat to close the U.S. border with Mexico, a major supplier of the fruit. The Mexico City Hass price from Michoacan, the heartland of Mexican avocado production, jumped 34 percent yesterday. That would be the biggest one-day gain since April 13, 2009.

Federal prosecutors filed charges against a woman carrying Chinese passports whom they allege illegally entered Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida in late March while carrying a thumb drive infected with malware.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expected to become a “lightning rod” for conservatives after she was elected, but she didn’t anticipate this “next level” amount of anger and criticism.

Turnout among voters aged 18 to 29 increased in the 2018 midterms in 34 states, according to newly available data.

Andrew Yang, a previously little-known tech entrepreneur, has raised $1.7 million for his 2020 campaign during the last two months.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2020 campaign announced it hauled in more than $18 million in the first quarter of this year, outperforming the fundraising efforts of all other Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot says the city’s voters have created a movement for change, after she became the first black woman and openly gay person elected to lead the nation’s third-largest city, an overwhelming victory over political veteran and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will be heading out of town again on Friday, first to Boston and then to Las Vegas, as he continues to flirt with a potential 2020 run.
Trump said his father was “born in a very wonderful place in Germany,” even though Fred Trump was born in New York.

The National Endowment of the Humanities announced $28.6 million worth of grants supporting 233 projects across the country two weeks after the Trump administration released a proposed budget that called for closure of the agency, whose activities were described as outside of “core federal responsibilities.”

Los Angeles police have taken a suspect into custody in connection with a fatal shooting in Los Angeles that left rapper Nipsey Hussle dead and two others injured.

A recently released NBC News poll indicates 68 percent of those surveyed would be comfortable with a LGBTQ White House hopeful. Most intriguing is that while 54 percent claim they would be comfortable with a gay or lesbian contender, 14 percent — one in seven — say they would be enthusiastic.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic lawmakers are ready to renew their campaign to legalize marijuana after time ran out to include it in the recently enacted budget deal – the most high-profile item, and potentially hardest to advance, of the far-left agenda that lawmakers are scripting before they leave Albany in 11 weeks.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says his Democratic conference will be “laser focused” on the rent laws on the post-budget session, and there is support for universal rent control in the state.

Here are some more post-budget session issues to keep an eye on.

Cuomo’s budget office has restored $50,000 that was cut from a $200,000 allocation in the state budget for the Special Olympics, officials said.

More >

Extras

Even as he asked a court to cancel his predecessor’s signature domestic achievement, President Trump reassured Americans last week that they need not worry about the demise of the Affordable Care Act because Republicans would replace it with something better – but not for at least 19 more months, as it turns out, and then only if Republicans win the 2020 election.

Trump lashed out against Puerto Rican politicians, thumbing out a string of fact-challenged tweets that appeared to question the hurricane-ravaged island’s status as a U.S. territory.

Former FBI Director James Comey condemned Trump’s calls for a possible investigation into how special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry started, adding that it creates a troubling precedent.

A top super PAC supporting Trump’s reelection campaign is releasing a new advertisement taking aim at the controversy around former Vice President Joe Biden, who has been accused by two women of inappropriate touching.

Michael Bloomberg might still run for president in 2020, especially if former Biden winds up not getting in, according to people who have discussed the matter with the former New York City mayor.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared to take a shot at White House senior adviser Jared Kushner for his alleged used of WhatsApp to conduct official government business, asking if sharing the nuclear codes via Instagram direct message would be next.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz slammed Yahoo News over a report that claimed he “missed the point” being made by Ocasio-Cortez, with the senator arguing that bagels at LaGuardia Airport are expensive because of “government monopoly with a $19 minimum wage” and “Medicare for all promises.”

Trump’s spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, ripped ObamaCare and congressional Democrats for not supporting the president’s agenda and for demanding the release of the special counsel’s full report on Russia.

If it seems elements of the U.S. labor movement are reluctant to jump into the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, it’s not an illusion.

In the past two weeks, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has begun traveling with two armed Erie County sheriff’s deputies and security vehicles to his scheduled events – a new development made necessary by recent threats.

Former Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio is officially running for office again, filing paperwork with the Monroe County Board of Elections to seek a seat on the city council.

A new state law calls for the Long Island Rail Road to overhaul the way it measures on-time performance, including by considering a train late if it arrives just two minutes or more after its scheduled time — less than half the current threshold.

New York State postponed computer-based testing in English Language Arts scheduled for tomorrow after technical problems today left some students unable to submit the tests. School districts also had problems connecting with the portal, operated by the state’s vendor, Questar.

Backers of a new Hudson River rail tunnel have an idea for how to wait out the Trump administration’s opposition to funding it: a cable-racking system like one Cuomo pushed for a subway tunnel under the East River.

State Senate Democrats from Long Island celebrated the passage of a state budget and said Republicans had it wrong when they predicted a Democratic majority would cater to the interests of New York City.

The families of six of the Schoharie limo crash victims want more efficiency and involvement in the prosecution process, but said they feel they’re not being given much information, according to a statement sent by their attorneys.

Westchester County’s bid to raise its sales tax by one cent as part of the state budget deal failed to gain the support of Cuomo, who told legislators the increase did not belong in the state’s omnibus spending plan.

The new state budget agreement between Cuomo and the state Legislature includes $20 million in U.S. Census outreach funding, half of what community advocates say is needed to ensure an adequate count of New York’s population next year.

Lorraine Branham, who led Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications as dean for more than a decade, has died after a battle with cancer, Chancellor Kent Syverud announced.

Cuomo’s budget proposal to allow localities to decide for themselves whether to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters did not make it into the final deal.

New York City shoppers who switch to paper bags when plastic ones are outlawed by the state next year will have to fork over 5 cents for each one under legislation proposed by city lawmakers.

A commission to examine a public campaign finance system for state wide elections in New York may also look at whether to continue the state’s practice of what’s known as fusion voting.

Susan Rosko Fogarty, a former music and banking executive who when chosen to run Albany’s Palace Theatre a year and a half ago was expected to lead the historic venue through a multiyear renovation and expansion project that could cost more than $35 million, will step down in early summer.

Here and Now

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

After working into the early morning hours yesterday passing the budget, the Senate has decided to call it quits for the week, though both houses were scheduled to be in session through Wednesday. The Assembly has committee meetings, but no full session.

Vice President Mike Pence today meets with the family members of six Citgo executives currently detained by the Maduro regime in Venezuela.

Pence then joins President Donald Trump for an expanded bilateral meeting with the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

At 9:30 a.m., the NYC Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises meets, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will attend the Computer Science for All Fair, Armory Track, 216 Fort Washington Ave., Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., NYC Council members Brad Lander, Margaret Chin, Antonio Reynoso, Donovan Richards and Peter Koo hold a press conference announcing upcoming legislation to implement a fee on paper bags in the five boroughs, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features Assembly members Latrice Walker and William Barclay, WCNY.

Also at 11 a.m., Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott welcomes New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer as the library launches a new initiative to sharpen its focus on customer experience with a new visual identity, website and a name change, Queens Public Library, Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Blvd., Queens.

At noon, the six Long Island Democratic state senators will be joined by state Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs to discuss the new state budget, Nassau County Democratic Committee, 500 Old Country Rd., Ste. 103, Garden City.

Also at noon, labor unions, community leaders and local elected officials deliver a letter to Amazon to support former Amazon employee Rashad Long, who is being interviewed by the National Labor Relations Board, parking lot at Fifth Street and Chelsea Avenue, Staten Island.

Also at noon, LG Kathy Hochul, NYC Speaker Corey Johnson and several other council members host a press conference calling attention to the wage and opportunity gap for women in New York, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at noon, on National Equal Pay Day, New Yorkers will join together to declare war on wage inequality and demand swift and meaningful action to eradicate the gender wage gap, especial for women of color, Workers United, 750 East Ave., Rochester.

At 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor meets jointly with the Committee on Transportation, 250 Broadway, 14th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., another Equal Pay Day rally is held, Buffalo History Museum, 1 Museum Court, Buffalo.

At 1:30 p.m., the NYC Board of Elections commissioners meet, 32 Broadway, Manhattan.

Also at 1:30 p.m., Hochul announces the NYPA Innovation Challenge in partnership with NYU Tandon’s Urban Future Lab, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, 15 MetroTech Center, 19th Fl., Brooklyn.

At 2 p.m., de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill will hold a media availability on crime statistics, Christian Cultural Center, 12020 Flatlands Ave., Brooklyn.

At 6 p.m., the Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation holds a public hearing on the MTA fare increase, Peter Chema Sr. Community Center, 435 Riverdale Ave., Yonkers.

Headlines…

The U.S. Senate blocked billions of dollars in disaster aid for states across the country as Republicans and Democrats clashed over President Trump’s opposition to sending more food and infrastructure help to Puerto Rico.

Trump is reportedly considering appointing an “immigration czar” to coordinate his border policies across federal agencies.

Pope Francis issued a warning to Trump and other political leaders who want to build walls to keep migrants out of their countries.

While Trump sees shutting the border with Mexico as punishment for its failure to stop the flow of undocumented immigrants, economists warn that the move would effectively paralyze the US economy given the huge volume of bluejeans, cars, flat-screen TVs, avocados and other goods that cross the border every day.

A Connecticut woman is the latest to accuse former vice president and rumored 2020 hopeful Joe Biden of inappropriate contact, saying he grabbed her by the head and rubbed noses with her during a 2009 political fundraiser in Greenwich.

The woman, Amy Lappos, said in an interview with The Hartford Courant, “When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth.” She said the encounter “wasn’t sexual” but that there was “a line of respect” that Biden had crossed.

Baltimore’s embattled mayor announced she is taking an indefinite leave of absence, just as a political scandal described by critics as a “self-dealing” book-selling arrangement intensifies dramatically and threatens her political career.

Although Trump has dismissed efforts by state Attorney General Letitia James to investigate his business dealings, several former New York attorneys general and legal experts say the president could have plenty to fear.

House Republican leader Liz Cheney has been trading Twitter jabs with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over her knowledge — or lack thereof — of the US Constitution.

NY-21 Rep. Elise Stefanik defended her decision to join eight other Republican members of the House intelligence committee in calling for its chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff to step down, saying he crossed the line and taken it “to a new level of partisanship” in the first three month of Democratic control of the house.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on the Federal Aviation Administration to remove Boeing from a federal airline advisory group while the investigation continues into fatal crashes involving two of its jetliners.

Boeing’s software update for its troubled 737 Max jetliners has been delayed after the company deemed further work was needed on the fix before it was submitted to the FAA.

Hollywood’s elite are joining together to call on Republican governor Brian Kemp to veto Georgia’s new anti-abortion heartbeat bill.

California Sen. Kamala Harris announced that her 2020 campaign raised $12 million in her first two-plus months running for president, a sum that is expected to vault her into the top tier of financial competitors in the wide-open Democratic primary.

Progressives, prosecutors and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle griped about the state’s $175 billion budget as Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a victory lap, touting the bona fides of the fiscal plan passed just before dawn.

Several assembly members who voted for the budget bill listed what they saw as failures and said that there was “not a lot we should smile about.” Sen. Julia Salazar wrote on Twitter that she had cried as the votes were being counted.

Community Colleges across the state got a boost in the 2019-20 state budget with a funding increase as well as assistance in offering courses to high school students.

New York is poised to become the ninth state to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes and electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21.

Supporters say this will reduce teen smoking and eventually save lives and reduce health care costs associated with tobacco use. Critics say it is unfair to individuals who can vote, serve in the military or even be elected to the State Legislature to be banned from buying tobacco and nicotine-related products.

Cuomo supports raising the age to 21 for purchasing cigarettes and is expected to sign the legislation. Once that happens, the new law will take effect in 120 days.

The MTA scored $25 billion in badly needed funding in Albany, but the legislative package lacks key reforms to dent the agency’s sky-high costs, good government groups said.

The new funding the MTA will receive in New York’s state budget will go a long way toward supporting the agency’s next five-year capital-spending plan, MTA Chairman Patrick Foye said.

Chris Churchill: “When New Yorkers woke up Monday to learn that the budget agreement had also produced a bill that would make Andrew Cuomo the nation’s highest-paid governor, it felt like an April Fool’s joke. Only nobody is laughing.”

More >

Extras

Former Vice President Joe Biden defended his years of what he called “expressions of affection” and claimed he “not once – never – did I believe I acted inappropriately.”

Stephanie Carter, whose husband is former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, rejected claims that a 2015 photo of her and Biden shows inappropriate behavior and said the image was “misleadingly extracted” from a video.

Lucy Flores, a former Nevada assemblywoman and 2014 candidate for lieutenant governor who accused Biden of giving her an “awkward kiss” in 2014, said she decided to go public because she wanted to force Democrats to confront his inappropriate behavior as the former vice president decides to run for the White House.

Biden’s spokesman Bill Russo said in a new statement that some of the photos being circulated on the internet that allegedly depict Biden inappropriately touching women and children have been mischaracterized and photoshopped, calling them “smears and forgeries.”

Magician David Blaine is being investigated by the New York Police Department for sexual assault allegations brought by two women, dating back to 1998.

The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee said it will vote on Wednesday on whether to authorize subpoenas to obtain Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full report investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, a Manhattan Democrat, wrote in the NYT: “(W)e require the report because one day, one way or another, the country will move on from President Trump. We must make it harder for future presidents to behave this way. We need a full accounting of the president’s actions to do that work.”

As he was deliberating last year over replacing Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Trump told confidants he had big plans for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, saying he is “saving” her for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat.

Trump is claiming the 2020 census will be “meaningless” if it doesn’t include a citizenship question.

A group of U.S. Senate Democrats will introduce a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College this week – the latest sign that idea is picking up mainstream support in the Democratic Party.

A career official in the White House security office says dozens of people in Trump’s administration were granted security clearances despite “disqualifying issues” in their backgrounds, such as concerns about foreign influence, drug use and criminal conduct.

Pete Buttigieg announced that his presidential campaign had raised more than $7 million in the first quarter of 2019 – a significant sum for a mayor who was little known outside of South Bend, Ind., only a few months ago.

Democrat firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is amping up her call for the White House to address climate change – comparing the nation’s swift response to terror attacks with its slow reaction to natural disasters.

Ocasio-Cortez incorrectly asserted that Republicans amended the Constitution to stop former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from being re-elected — even though he died in office.

“Croissants at LaGuardia are going for SEVEN DOLLARS A PIECE,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted this morning. “Yet some people think getting a whole hour of personal, dedicated human labor for $15 is too expensive??”

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz seized upon Ocasio-Cortez’s croissant message, but he seemed to miss her point, tweeting: “Oh the humanity! Here’s the answer: government-mandated FREE CROISSANTS FOR ALL. And we’ll just force the bakers to give all of their time for free. #SocialistLogic #AprilFools.”

Thanks to the new budget, New York law now allows voters to take up to three hours off from work to go to the polls – but there are caveats and restrictions.

Rochester City Councilman Adam McFadden has pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and filing a false tax return in the Rochester Housing Authority corruption case. He could face up to 20 years behind bars, but may face less under the plea.

Despite the state Legislature not finishing up the passage of budget bills until this morning, when the new fiscal year had begun, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is crediting them with hitting their deadline, meaning they’ll get a $10,00 pay raise next year

Cuomo will become the nation’s highest paid governor, thanks to a pay raise approved by lawmakers as part of the new state budget, with his salary raising from the current $179,000 to $250,000 on Jan. 1, 2021.

The higher compensation for Cuomo – as well as Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul – comes after state lawmakers and top state agencies heads were awarded hikes following the binding recommendations last year by a state-created pay study commission.

A wild rumor flying around the TV industry is that CNN chief Jeff Zucker is eyeing a run for mayor of New York City in 2021.

A federal judge has upheld the crux of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by a female attorney who was fired from her job at the state Division of Criminal Justice Services for her testimony in a sexual harassment investigation.

Fired Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio will stand trial this week before Syracuse-based judge Gordon Cuffy after her case was deemed too hot to handle in Rochester. An appellate court agreed that Astacio’s transgressions were so widely known that she couldn’t get a fair trial in her hometown.

The plastic bag ban is coming, whether you like it or not. Here are some helpful tips on how to prepare.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he’s “very happy” that New York State banned the single-use plastic bags at grocery stores but isn’t committing yet to the idea of implementing a five-cent fee for paper bag use.

New York liberals who saw last year’s state elections as a sign that a new progressive golden age was at hand were delivered a gut punch by the passage of a budget that fell far short of their expectations.

No personal information about city of Albany workers or residents was taken during the ransomware attack that disabled some city government computers over the weekend, Mayor Kathy Sheehan said.

The first trailer has dropped for a zombie comedy filmed in the Catskills.

An April Fool’s Day Budget

From the Morning Memo:

One might argue that the joke’s on New Yorkers this year. 

Over the weekend, legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached a $175 billion budget deal – a fact announced via a very early morning press release from the governor’s office. Reporters awoke to find said release in their emails, which they were prodded to read by tweets from members of the governor’s press office.

Sleepy-eyed reporters read through the announcement, and dutifully wrote up the bare bones details, though when some headed to the state Capitol, it quickly became clear that a number of last-minute details had yet to be finalized.

They – and rank-and-file lawmakers – waited around until those details got hashed out behind closed doors. By the time Sunday rolled around, the deal was finally done, and with the ink not yet dry on the final product, lawmakers begin the arduous task of debating and passing the 2019-2020 budget.

On a Sunday. When almost no one, except various special interests, advocates, lobbyists and members of the media, was paying an iota of attention.

The three-day aging period usually necessary to make sure lawmakers have time to actually read what they’re voting on before they vote, was circumvented – as usual – by messages of necessity issued by the governor. 

And, thanks to the fact that they got it done more or less in a timely way, though not necessarily by the stroke of midnight, they all qualified for the next bump in their salaries, which for state lawmakers is $10,000. 

This is not to say that there isn’t some goods stuff in the budget.

Environmentalists are happy with the plastic bag ban, though they aren’t thrilled it also includes a paper bag tax from which counties can opt out if they want.

There’s more money for public schools, though, again, not as much as advocates – not to mention the Board of Regents – had sought.

There’s a congestion pricing system for Manhattan, with carve outs on certain bridges and for certain drivers and cash for upstate, too. This will be funded in part through a real estate transfer tax that’s taking the place of the proposed pied-a-terre tax, which the powerful real estate industry was quick to kill. 

There’s criminal justice reform, though not a full eradication of the cash bail system. (The state’s district attorneys are furious about this portion of the agreement, and have made no secret of that). 

There’s a commission tasked with setting up a statewide public campaign finance system, which again, isn’t what advocates wanted – nor what progressive lawmakers promised, particularly members of the New Democratic majority in the state Senate.

The 2 percent property tax cap is being made permanent. 

As for that new Senate majority…

Despite all lawmakers’ saber-rattling throughout the start of the session, and despite their willingness to pass legislation – much of which the governor included in his executive budget proposal – and despite their tough talk about drawing lines in the sand on various issues (like education aid, for example), the reality is that Cuomo got pretty much everything he wanted in this deal.  

The constitutional set up of an enormously powerful executive who can more or less single-handedly control the budget process wins again. 

So, while though there was a massive change at the state Capitol this year, with an entirely Democrat-controlled state government, leading some people to think the whole process of budgeting might change, the reality is that is was really the same, secretive process it ever was.

Except arguably more so, given the timing of the whole thing.

Good government reformers had hoped for more. Voters deserve more. Maybe next year, they’ll get it. But this year’s precedent-setting budget doesn’t bode well for that. 

Here and Now

It wasn’t pretty, and it was only more or less on time, but nevertheless, we have a budget.

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

The state Legislature is in session, though Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins suggested – very early this morning as her chamber finished passing the budget deal – that perhaps the three days scheduled this week should be cancelled.

Now, it looks like today’s session will take place this afternoon in the Senate, but lawmakers might not be at work tomorrow or Wednesday.

Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump have lunch together today at the White House. Tonight, Pence will deliver remarks at the BakerHostetler Legislative Dinner taking place at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

At 8 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul discusses the new state budget on WBEN’s ‘A New Morning’ with Susan Rose and Brian Mazurowski

At 9:15 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli speaks at the LGBT Network Youth Summit, CUNY School of Law, 2 Court Square W., Queens.

At 10 a.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks at the dedication of The Shed cultural center, outdoor plaza between The Shed and 10 Hudson Yards at West 31st Street between 10th and 11th Avenues, Manhattan.

At 10:15 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver remarks at the dedication of The Shed, 545 West 30th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenue, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., “The Brian Lehrer Show” features California U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democratic 2020 contender, WNYC.

At 11 a.m., NYC Councilman Carlos Menchaca, Census Day 2020, and the Office of Census for New York City hold a rally to educate New Yorkers about Census participation and ensuring an accurate count of city residents, Community Board 7, 4201 Fourth Ave., Brooklyn.

At 2 p.m., Onondaga County GOP Chair Tom Dadey, County Executive Ryan McMahon, DA Bill Fitzpatrick, Comptroller Matt Beadnell and County Clerk Lisa Dell will be filing the “Republican Designating Petition” for the upcoming election cycle, Onondaga County Board of Elections, 1000 Erie Blvd. West, Syracuse.

Also at 2 p.m., Westchester County Executive George Latimer announces a Census 2020 Complete Count Committee, Michaelean Office Building, 148 Martine Ave., 9th Fl., White Plains.

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

At 6:30 p.m., Brewer speaks at a Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs event on women in politics, 15th floor, 420 W. 118th St., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio will be a guest on “Inside City Hall on NY1.

Headlines…

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the decidedly left-leaning $175.5 billion state budget enacts “transformative policies,” adding: “This is probably the broadest, most sweeping state plan that we have done.”

“There are a number of national firsts and it really grapples with the tough issues that have been facing this state for a long time,” Cuomo continued. “And we’ve done a lot of good work in this state, a lot of good work that has informed the nation and I think this budget is probably the strongest progressive statement that we’ve made and actually addresses many of the difficult, difficult issues that we are facing today.”

The majority of legislators resigned themselves to the defects they saw in New York’s $175 billion spending plan, in exchange for what many view as progressive policy victories and assurances that their priorities have been funded.

Counties outside of New York City will split $160 million in new internet sales tax revenue as part of the final budget deal.

The deal also includes an agreement to make permanent the governor’s signature 2 percent cap on annual property tax increases that applies everywhere outside New York City, as well as an MTA management reform plan tied to congestion pricing, and a $1 billion increase in overall education aid to localities.

The new state budget that lawmakers hurried to wrap up this morning delivers $150,000 to the Women’s Business Center at Canisius College and millions more for an array of pro-business programs in the Buffalo region.

The budget includes a 3.8 percent increase in state education aid, which is slightly higher than what the governor rolled out in January, but hundreds of millions of dollars less than what education advocates had hoped for.

Most single-use plastic bags provided by supermarkets and other stores will be banned statewide starting March 1, 2020. Individual counties will have the option of charging 5 cents for paper bags, with 2 cents going to local governments and 3 cents to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

Former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky on the budget process: “We have reaped the consequences of the destruction of the Legislature as an independent check on executive power. We govern with a system of concentrated executive power usually associated with despotic regimes and autocracies.”

Cuomo just can’t get the aborted Amazon project out of his head.

Still stung by the demise of Amazon’s plan to build a campus in Queens, Cuomo successfully pushed a budget provision that would give him more power over the state board that held sway over the project.

Buried deep within a lengthy budget bill grants the governor oversight to remove unruly members from the Public Authorities Control Board — a not so shy slight to famed Amazon opponent, Queens Sen. Michael Gianaris.

New York lawmakers created a congestion-pricing system in Manhattan, increased taxes on real-estate transactions in New York City and moved toward a public campaign financing system as part of a $175.5 billion budget deal.

While the New York real-estate industry fretted about the potential impact of new state taxes on expensive real estate, the Manhattan residential market deteriorated further in the first quarter as sales slumped to the slowest pace in six years.

Plans called for the so-called “mansion tax” to be hiked in seven tiers, starting at 1.25 percent for homes that sell for between $2 million and $3 million, and topping out at 4.15 percent on deals worth $25 million or more.

New York is slated to become the second state in the US to ban single-use plastic bags.

Bob McManus: “look for descriptives like ‘progressive,’ ‘innovative,’ ‘compassionate’ and ‘courageous’ to be woven into the rhetoric this self-serving budget is generating. But virtually none that is true. The budget, in fact, is principally intended to benefit the state’s political class — just like always.”

“Everyone (except perhaps the Republicans) was declaring victory on Sunday. And to a certain extent, everyone could.”

Despite a clamor for more revenue to fund education and other services, mobile sports betting did not make the final cut in the new $175.5 billion state budget that goes into effect for the fiscal year beginning today.

Also not in the final budget deal: Legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use.

More >

The Weekend That Has Been So Far

There’s a $175 billion budget deal, as we’ve reported and the governor’s office formally announced via an early-morning press release.

Or, as Jesse McKinley of the NYT puts it: “In typical fashion for a State Capitol known for its peculiar and sometimes dysfunctional habits, the deal was announced after midnight via a five-page news release.”

Voting will take place today as lawmakers rush to beat the midnight deadline – and qualify for their next pay bump of $10,000 in the process. Below are are headlines form the weekend leading up to the budget – some of which are budget-related, others not.

The final sticking point in the budget talks: A publicly funded campaign finance system.

Ultimately, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers couldn’t agree on a campaign pledge to create public financing for those running for office, and so settled on establishing a commission that would have the power to develop and implement such a system.

The commission is to report back on such a finance system and other election-related matters by Dec. 1. and its ideas become law unless the state Legislature rejects them. Officials say the finance system won’t be in place, if enacted, until 2020.

In: Congestion pricing, MTA overhaul, a cash bail compromise – but not total elimination – changes to the discovery process, a so-called “mansion tax,” a plastic ban bag/paper bag tax (opt in optional for counties), a permanent 2 percent property tax cap.

Legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use didn’t make the cut.

Motorcyclists might avoid a new congestion toll for entering the core of Manhattan that would apply to other vehicles – one of many carve outs to the plan.

Albany’s congestion pricing plan will hit the wallets of all New Yorkers — not just drivers — because it impacts 5 million delivery trucks serving Manhattan retailers each year.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is in line for a $100 million state aid boost over the next five years to use for major infrastructure improvements on its deteriorating Metro Rail system.

New York lawmakers are closing in on agreements to raise overall school aid by about $1 billion, which is a smaller increase than educators and school advocates wanted but could be considered a victory given the state’s fiscal condition.

A small change in New York’s criminal law will spare thousands of illegal immigrants and green-card holders from being deported, detained or denied citizenship, officials said.

New York lawmakers are set to approve a measure that would allow police to withhold all arrest booking information from the public, including mugshots and charges brought against any individual – including elected officials who get arrested.

When state leaders rallied this month behind a tax on luxury second homes in New York City, it seemed to encapsulate the goals of the Capitol’s new Democratic leadership, but the real estate industry wasted little time in killing it.

Towns that dropped glass from their curbside recycling programs late last year will have to analyze the costs associated with the change or restart glass collection, according to a letter sent by the state DEC and statements from state officials.

Hawaii edged out New York in 2018 as the state with the most heavily unionized workforce. An estimated 22.3 percent of New Yorkers were union members in 2018, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, down from 23.8 percent in 2017.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani hailed Fox News’ “Justice with Judge Jeanine” host Jeanine Pirro as a “crusader for justice” as she returned to her show Saturday.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick criticized the handling of the Jussie Smollett case in an appearance on “Justice w/ Judge Jeanine.”

Actor Robert De Niro reprised his role as Special Counsel Robert Mueller as “Saturday Night Live” dedicated the opening sketch of its return show to the fallout from the Mueller report’s conclusion.

Trump’s executive order reversing an Obama-era ban on offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean is unlawful, a federal judge in Alaska has ruled.

When Florida authorities shut down 10 massage spas last month and charged hundreds of men with buying sex, they broke a longstanding pattern of meting out minor charges and punishment for owners, letting patrons off scot-free and turning a mostly blind eye to signs of human trafficking.

More >

Extras

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Republican Rep. Devin Nunes’s leadership while chairman of the House Intelligence Committee as Republicans call for the resignation of his successor atop the panel, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff.

U.K. lawmakers rejected the government’s divorce agreement with the European Union for a third time, leaving Britain just two weeks to decide between a long delay to Brexit and an abrupt no-deal departure from the bloc.

Linda McMahon, the head of the Small Business Administration, is planning to announce that she’s stepping down, and is expected to rejoin the private sector, though her exact plans are unclear.

The president’s aides want McMahon to help raise money for Trump’s re-election effort, including for the primary super PAC supporting his campaign. She is close to Trump and his family, who are heavily involved in his re-election campaign.

Trump reversed himself and called for full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an Obama-era effort that’s been credited with cleaning up the Buffalo River and many other spots across the heartland waterways between the United States and Canada.

A former Trump family driver, Zoltan Tamas, who worked as a senior security guard at Trump National Golf Club in the town of Jupiter, FL and was licensed to carry a gun, has spent the past eight months in ICE custody as he fights a protracted legal battle to remain in the United States.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the GOP’s newest bogeyman, invoked to raise campaign cash and rally the base.

The gatherings planned for tomorrow evening in several living rooms around Erie County won’t approach the throngs that Democratic White House hopeful Beto O’Rourke is attracting in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, but they mark the first local stirrings of the 2020 contest for president,

A new survey from DrugAbuse.com, which offers educational content and recovery resources to people dealing with addiction, found that 23 percent of U.S. workers responding to the survey say they have used drugs or alcohol on the job.

A procession of wealthy parents, from a Napa Valley vineyard owner to a Hot Pockets heiress, appeared in court today to hear charges that they paid bribes to get their children into top colleges.

Despite Attorney General William Barr’s public summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, three in four Americans, including a majority of Republicans – 54 percent – want full transparency of the report’s details, and 75 percent of residents think the full report should be made public, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

With spring arriving and the snowmobiling season winding down, New York had the same number of snowmobile deaths (20) as Wisconsin – a state with twice the number of registered snowmobiles.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s planning to run for a fourth term — just months after cruising to re-election to his third term.

The application of New York’s law banning so-called gravity knives by the office of Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. was found unconstitutionally vague by a federal judge in Manhattan, who said in an opinion enjoining the statute that it presented “a high risk of arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio defended huge subsidies to the city’s ferry system and said that questions raised about the cost by the Citizens Budget Commission were “very short-sighted.”

The mayor is prepared to opt in to the 5-cent fee on paper bags when a new state law kicks in next year banning the plastic ones.

The growing list of potential candidates to replace Bronx Rep. Jose Serrano when he retires at the end of next year is short on one thing: Women.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, both Democrats, are fuming over Cuomo’s plan to implement congestion pricing for vehicles entering parts of Manhattan via bridge and tunnel crossings.

Patrick Foye, who has pushed for transportation improvements for Long Island Rail Road commuters since his days as Nassau’s representative on the MTA Board nearly a decade ago, has been tapped by Cuomo to lead the MTA as its new chairman.

The high-speed ferry that brought pride and then heartbreak to Rochester like nothing else in memory now rests, neglected and unusable, at a shipyard in the Venezuelan city of Puerto Cabello. And there, it could help topple a government.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro might have two challengers in his re-election bid.

The National Rifle Association could shut down “very soon,” according the four-page fundraising letter, signed by the group’s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, who blames Cuomo for the revenue shortfall.