Michael Johnson

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Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com

Posts by Michael Johnson

Connecticut Public Campaign Financing System A Model For NY?

As New York lawmakers continue to debate public financing for campaigns – a new report is out looking at the voluntary system that is in place in our neighboring state of Connecticut. The report examines the 3 election cycles since the law was put in place and concluded that the influence of lobbyists has decreased as participation in the program has steadily risen. Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill and DEMOS Senior Policy Analyst Mijin Cha sit down with Liz to discuss.

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Greg Ball Discusses Controversial Tweet

On Friday when the second Boston Bombings suspect was taken into custody, State Senator Greg Ball tweeted: “So, scum bag #2 in custody. Who wouldn’t use torture on this punk to save more lives?” He defends that comment on Capital Tonight.

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Steve Greenberg Breaks Down Latest Siena Poll

91 percent of New Yorkers think there is a corruption problem in Albany. And 62 percent think Andrew Cuomo will do something to fix it. Liz discusses those numbers and much more with Siena College Pollster Steve Greenberg.

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FBI Releases Video Of Boston Bombing Suspects

The FBI is enlisting help from the public to track down two suspects they believe responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing. Below is the video of the suspects walking through the streets of Boston. One is wearing a black ball cap. The other is wearing a white hat backwards.

FBI is asking anyone with information about the potential suspects to call them at: 1-800-CALL-FBI

Additionally, the FBI is asking those who may have images, video, or other details that could be helpful to the investigation to submit them to https://bostonmarathontips.fbi.gov


Here And Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the New York City area today.

At 10:30 a.m., Mayor Bloomberg discusses the local, national and global impact of the 2003 Smoke-Free Air Act on the law’s 10th anniversary, 45 E. 18th St., Manhattan.

At 3:20 p.m., VP Joe Biden will participate in a press call ahead of tomorrow’s National Day of Action calling for gun control, which was organized by Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

The US Supreme Court justices are on Day II of oral arguments related to same-sex marriage cases – this time they’ll hear challenges to DOMA.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner presents the 2013 Woman of the Year award, 5 p.m., City Hall Commons, 201 E. Washington St., Syracuse.

At 6:30 p.m., Bloomberg speaks at the Smoke-Free Air Act 10th anniversary celebration, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., IDC member Malcolm Smith holds a town hall on how federal funding for Sandy relief should be spent, Peninsula Preparatory Academy, 611 Beach 19th St., Queens.


The state Senate finished passing the budget around 4:30 a.m. this morning after a debate that included talk of kumquats and vampires, as Nick Reisman notes in the blog post below. Members aren’t due back in Albany until April 15.

You can read more about the late night session here, here, and here.

Senate Republican No. 2 Tom Libous fired back at good government groups who criticized the late night session by saying they should “get real jobs.”

The minimum wage deal includes a tax break for businesses to help offset the added cost of paying employees.

The budget also contains $27 million for a gun database.

State education funding increased about $1 billion dollars in the budget.

The budget contains a tax credit for restoring historic buildings and added incentives for movie makers to film upstate.

The MTA will get up to $40 million more in state funds than expected – partly the result of transit-dedicated taxes coming in higher than the authority predicted in its 2013 fiscal plan.

The Times Union obtained draft copies of mailers the IDC may send out touting the budget deal – the first one ever negotiated by four men in a room instead of three.

More >


Supreme Court justices seemed reluctant to make a sweeping ruling on gay marriage during today’s hearing on Prop 8.

Some court watchers believe the justices may dismiss the case without ruling.

Justice Samuel Alito suggested that same-sex marriage is newer than cell phones and the internet.

Among those in attendance at today’s SCOTUS hearing was John Robert’s cousin, who is a lesbian.

Fivethirtyeight’s Nate Silver crunches the numbers on same-sex marriage opinions.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman pens an op-ed praising the NY SAFE Law, blasting DC for doing nothing on gun control, and touting his record of cracking down on illegal sales at gun shows.

If you are getting a STAR rebate check, you are going to have to reapply.

The fine for texting while driving is going up.

Official state dirt???

NY Post editorializes on George McDonald and John Liu’s opposing legal challenges to the NYC campaign matching program.

IRS employees rallied against sequester cuts in Albany today.

North Dakota’s governor signed into law the most restrictive abortion law in the country.

President Obama named Julia Pierson to be the first female director of the Secret Service.

Former Governor Eliot Spitzer is hosting a fundraiser Thursday for his old friend and Massachusetts US Senate candidate Ed Markey.

A Dunkirk power plant issued a new report suggesting electricity prices would drop in WNY if they switch from coal to natural gas.

Cuomo made an appointment to the Onondaga Community College Board of Trustees.

New York dairy farmers captured 6 gold medals in the 2013 US Championship Cheese competition.

More Conference Committee Meetings

A new joint budget conference committee schedule just landed in our inbox.

According to the schedule, subcommittee hearings on Education, Health, Economic Development, and general government are getting started right now. They will be followed by sessions at 3:30p on Mental Hygiene, Transportation, and Labor. And at 4:30pm, Higher Education, Public Protection/Criminal Justice/Judiciary, and Environment/Agriculture/Housing.

The general conference committee meeting is one more sign that we are moving closer to a deal on the budget, though we have been close to a deal for a while now. And as Governor Andrew Cuomo is found of saying, “There is no deal until there is a deal.”

Cuomo Praises Police In Standoff Raid

Around 8 this morning state police, FBI officials, and local law enforcement raided the abandoned building in Herkimer where they believed mass shooting suspect Kurt Myers was hiding. Police shot and killed Myers. They have scheduled a press conference for 10am to discuss the shooting.

Governor Cuomo issued this statement a short time ago:

“This morning law enforcement officials entered the building and, after being fired upon, shot and killed the suspect, Kurt Myers. There were no injuries to law enforcement officials, though an FBI police dog was fatally shot. We commend the courage and extraordinary efforts of the state police, the FBI, and local law enforcement officials in finding the suspect and ending this horrific spree of violence and bloodshed.

It is now time for mourning those who we lost in this senseless act of violence. In the darkest of times, the bravery, kindness, and the spirit of community of New Yorkers shines the brightest, and that is what we saw yesterday in Herkimer and Mohawk as the community came together during this difficult time. The thoughts and prayers of my family and of all New Yorkers are with the friends and loved ones of the victims.”


As of this posting, there are at least four people are dead, two others injured, after two related shootings in Herkimer and Mohawk today. Click here for latest from YNN.

The biggest national news was the election of a new pope – Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

He is the first Pope to be selected from South America.

He took the name Francis, after Francis Assessi, a sign that he will be a reformer even though he wasn’t considered one before entering the conclave.

In a statement Cardinal Dolan said “the bishops of the United States thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspired choice of the College of Cardinals.”

Among those in Vatican City today was former NBA star and controversial figure Dennis Rodman. He’s promoting an Irish betting website.

The Boy Scouts of America are sending surveys to members about homosexuality that include questions like is it okay for a gay scout to camp overnight with a straight scout.

President Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner today to talk about the budget.

Senator Chuck Schumer says the federal government will pick up the $1 billion tab for rebuilding beaches destroyed by superstorm Sandy.

Senator Gillibrand held a powerful hearing on sexual assault in the military.

Rick Santorum’s son wants to be president – of The Citadel.

The Iranian government is thinking about suing Hollywood over the film Argo.

Overwhelming Support For Background Checks In Gibson, Reed Districts (Updated)

NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-gun organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns has just released polling data for two dozen states and 40 congressional districts on where voters stand on background checks for all gun purchases.

The polls specifically targeted lawmakers with high NRA ratings, and two upstate Republican House members made the list: Southern Tier Rep. Tom Reed and Capital Region Rep. Chris Gibson.

Both have an “A” rating from the NRA. And in both of their districts, 94 percent of residents said they support mandatory background checks for all gun sales.

“That 94 percent of New York’s 19th Congressional District residents want every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check speaks volumes about the changing public mood on guns,” said pollster Doug Schoen in a press release.

“This margin is unlike any I’ve seen on this issue, and it marks a real sea change. Voters want their elected officials to fight gun violence, and after Newtown, they’re demanding it.”

Schoen gave the same quote in the press release about Reed’s district. He goes on to say that 40 percent of current gun sales each year, amounting to about 6.6 million guns, are conducted without background checks.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns printed the results from all these polls in a full page ad in today’s Washington Post. A copy of that ad appears below.

UPDATE: Bloomberg’s organization also released a new public service announcement today that features 30 mayors from around the US calling on Congress to pass legislation to require background checks for all sales, limit military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime.

One New York mayor – Niagara Falls’ Paul Dyster, a Democrat – appears in the PSA. He gets to say a single word: “Columbine.”

Just this morning, a key Senate committee on advanced an element of President Barack Obama’s broad gun control initiative, approving a measure aimed at combating gun trafficking and straw purchasing in a bipartisan vote. (One Republican, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, joined the committee’s 10 Democrats to approve the bill, 11-7, sending it to the full Senate for consideration).

The Judiciary Committee is considering four gun control bills today – an assault weapons ban, a school safety measure, a universal background check bill and the gun trafficking law. The assault weapons ban is expected to generate the most Republican opposition.

MAIG BackgroundCheck Polls by