Nick Reisman

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Paterson Not Surprised By Gillibrand Bid

From the Morning Memo:

Former Gov. David Paterson was not surprised U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is running for president, telling NY1’s Inside City Hall on Wednesday he expected big things from her when he appointed her to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat in 2009.

“I did see in her the possibility that she would become a real star in the U.S. Senate,” Paterson said.

Gillibrand’s appointment, plucking her from relative obscurity in a Republican-leaning upstate House district was controversial at the time, given Paterson’s decision to pass over better-known figures who wanted the seat, including Caroline Kennedy, who stumbled during her rollout for the seat.

But Paterson said he believed upstate New York deserved a statewide voice with Gillibrand, who lives in Brunswick.

“Upstate New York had not had a senator in 42 years since Charles Goodell, so I thought it was a good concessions to the upstaters,” he said.

Paterson was not as thrilled with how Gillibrand has handled questions surrounding misconduct accusations leveled against former Sen. Al Franken and former President Bill Clinton, cautioning not to “anachronistically rejudge history.”

Gillibrand’s call for Franken to resign has led to some criticism from liberals within the Democratic Party.

“I think sometimes people in politics want to demonstrate they’re not make decisions based on who’s involved and that’s a really good way to think,” Paterson said.

Gillibrand joined the growing Democratic field for the presidential nomination this week, launching her campaign on The Late Show and then outside of a diner near her home with her family by her side.

Paterson also warned that the Democratic Party should not go too far to the left with its nominee against President Donald Trump.

“What you really want are people who can accomplish the same, but are not pushing as if this is a far more progressive country than it is,” he said. “I was always a progressive, but I know what the facts are.”

But for now, Paterson is not on the bandwagon for the campaign.

“I’m not supporting anyone for president,” he added, jokingly, “I’m in the witness protection program, which doesn’t allow for political activity.”

Cuomo Outlines Lobbying Reforms

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to strengthen regulations for lobbyists in New York, including new reporting requirements for minimum disclosure set at $500, a code of conduct for those who seek to influence public policy and a ban on political consultants from lobbying officials they helped elect.

“We can do more to ensure the public trust and that’s why we want to enact a public Code of Conduct for lobbyists that stops self-dealing and conflicts of interest so everybody knows who they’re working for,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“With this proposal, we will ban political consultants from lobbying the politicians they helped elect, expand the lobbying ban to crack down on the proverbial revolving door and increase penalties for lobbyists who fail to follow the law.”

The proposals were outlined in Cuomo’s 2019-20 budget proposal, due at the end of March.

The provisions would also require lobbyists to further disclose campaign donations in order to identify them as bundling contributions. Lobbyists would also be blocked from giving candidates loans.

Penalties for failing for lobbyists who fail to follow disclosure requirements would also be increased, including possible debarment.

Cuomo Calls For Lower Contribution Limits

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, one of the state’s most prodigious political fundraisers, is calling for lower caps on the amount of money candidates for office can raise.

Statewide candidates would have donations to their campaigns capped at $10,000 for a primary and $15,000 for the generally election, a decline from the $44,000 limit in a general election contest.

Candidates for the state Senate would have their contributions capped at $5,000 each for the primary and general election, down from the $11,000 general election limit and $7,000 ceiling in a primary.

In the Assembly, candidates there would be limited to $3,000 in both the general and primary election.

Cuomo has also called for the public financing of political campaigns with a small donor matching system.

“For far too long, rich corporations and the wealthiest one percent have influenced our elections and drowned out the voices of ordinary New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “Now is the time to implement real campaign finance reform in New York. Let’s overhaul our campaign financing system by incentivizing candidates to focus on small donors, not large corporations, and lowering campaign contribution limits and give the power back to New Yorkers once and for all.”

Cuomo is known for being an aggressive fundraiser. He spent $35.5 million on his re-election campaign. The entire four-year cycle, Cuomo spent $43.1 million. He has $5 million left in his campaign account.

Gillibrand Launches Presidential Bid Asking Voters To ‘Look At My Heart’

As she launched her bid for the White House on Wednesday outside of a diner in Brunswick, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand acknowledged her positions on issues like gun control have changed over the last decade.

“I would tell them, ‘look at my heart,'” she said.

And she urged Democratic primary voters to look at her Senate record representing a heavily Democratic state, a juxtaposition from her time as a relatively moderate member of the House of Representatives from a Republican-leaning upstate district who was opposed to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants and gun control legislation.

Before entering the Senate, Gillibrand had went as far as to say she kept guns in her home under the bed at night.

Gillibrand pointed to the time she spent meeting with victims of gun violence as having an impact on her.

“The pain and the suffering that families are facing every day, I was convicted and I said I have to fight for them too,” she said. “I have to make sure that we fight to end gun violence. What I learned 10 years ago is what American families are learning with these kids from Florida who are part of a movement to end gun violence.””

She added, “I think it’s important to know when you are wrong and to do what’s right.”

Gillibrand announced Tuesday evening on The Late Show she would form an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign. Less than 24 hours later, she was back home in the Capital District flanked by her family, her sons, husband Jonathan and mother Polly, as she entered the race for the Democratic nomination.

“We have to take on President Trump and what he is doing,” she said. “I believe he is literally ripping apart the fabric of this country, the moral fabric. We’ve got to restore that decency and our leadership in the world and so that’s why I feel so called right now to take on that battle.”

Gillibrand, a prodigious fundraiser who has received backing from the financial services industry in New York, pledged to not accept corporate PAC contributions and would not take money from federal lobbyists. She also rejected support from individual super PACs.

“I think it’s important for people to know my values are never for sale,” she said.

Gillibrand’s family has a long history in Albany-area politics. Her grandmother was a trailblazer, having served as a top aide to longtime Albany Mayor Erastus Corning. She spoke also of her mom being one of only a handful of women attending law school.

“I know that I have the compassion and the courage and the fearless determination that is necessary to get this done,” she said. “I know this because of all the people on whose shoulders I stand.”

Gillibrand won a House district represented by Rep. John Sweeney, a Republican who was a favorite of President George W. Bush, in an election victory that helped sweep Democrats back to power in the chamber.

She was a member of the centrist Blue Dog caucus in the House, focusing on issues key to the district, like agriculture. In 2009, then-Gov. David Paterson appointed her to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton over better-known figures like Andrew Cuomo and Caroline Kennedy.

Gillibrand quickly built her profile statewide in a political landscape dominated by men like Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer. Threatened primaries never materialized and Gillibrand has easily won re-election by record margins against little-known Republicans.

In the Senate, she’s focused on issues like sexual assault in the military and on college campuses while also aiding Democratic women running for office.

Her campaign launch today did not come alongside establishment Democrats offering support. Cuomo, who has said he is not interested in running, has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a bid.

Gillibrand served as a top counsel at the Department of Housing and Urban Development while Cuomo was secretary.

Asked about Cuomo’s support for Biden, Gillibrand smiled and said, “I intend to try to change everybody’s mind.”

Cuomo Calls Current School Funding ‘A Scam’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview on Wednesday called the current funding formula for education “a scam” as he pushes for targeted funding increases for poorer schools.

“It was in many ways a scam. You gave money to the poorer district, but they didn’t give it to the poorer schools,” Cuomo said on WAMC.

Cuomo on Tuesday proposed a $956 million education aid increase, including a $338 million foundation aid hike.

That’s far short of the billions of dollars in increased aid education advocates are pushing for in the budget. But Cuomo is seeking a different method altogether of individually poor schools.

“In this law you say you’re not just giving it to the school district, I want it to go to the poorer school,” he said.

Lawmakers have not dismissed the proposal out of hand, but are reviewing the specifics of how the funding formula would change.

“Let’s be clear we’re always going to fight for more funding for these schools,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told The Capitol Pressroom.

Democrats have a full majority in the state Senate for the first time in a decade, and several new members have pledged to boost education by at least $2 billion.

Nevertheless, the push and pull over education spending is a perennial part of the budget negotiations.

“Again, I said I think there’s a lot of things going on for the first time my conference will have for the first time to get this on track,” Stewart-Cousins said. “This is the beginning. Yesterday was the beginning where the governor believes we should go.”

Democratic Lawmakers To Cuomo: Thanks, We Got This

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $178 billion budget proposal will have a lot for lawmakers to haggle over: Education spending, health care, a revamp of how the MTA is run, along with congestion pricing to shore up mass transit.

But many of the proposals Cuomo included in his joint budget and State of the State address — including campaign finance reforms, gun control and strengthening abortion rights and protections for transgender New Yorkers — lawmakers will either take up in the coming weeks or have done already.

“A lot of it’s already happening and will continue to happen,” said Sen. Mike Gianaris, the deputy majority leader. “The governor supports what we’re doing and intends to sign the bills we’re passing, it’s good news.”

Lawmakers next week are expected to take up a package of measures to bolster reproductive and contraceptive rights in New York. It’s another example of long-stalled legislation in the state Senate that Republicans did not hold a vote on, but is now dislodge under Democratic control.

And to be sure, there was plenty Cuomo proposed on Tuesday that lawmakers have not gotten to yet, such as making Election Day a state holiday, as well as an even larger women’s agenda. Cuomo also wants to expand the bottle deposit law as well as ban plastic bags — both of which will likely be a final product of the budget talks.

At the same time, Cuomo appears to have cut the Legislature out of the procurement reform discussion all together, cutting a side deal with Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to restore pre-audit power for contracts.

It’s a strategic retreat for the governor as lawmakers this year increasingly signaled they would take up procurement and contracting reforms that had been initially called for in the wake of the arrest of former close Cuomo aide Joe Percoco.

Nevertheless, the budget is a different dynamic this year given the Democratic control of both chambers of the Legislature. For now, both the governor and Democratic lawmakers are emphasizing what they have in common.

“I think there was an enormous amount of encouragement and support in that room,” said Sen. Liz Krueger. “Many of the things that he laid out are the priorities of the Senate Democrats.”

Krueger added: “We’re going to be moving both in the budget to get things done and free standing legislation.”

Here and Now

The federal government is still shut down.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with nothing public planned.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will be in the Bronx today.

At 8 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will join elected officials, advocates and commuters for a rally and press conference opposing the proposed MTA fare hikes that are slated to be voted on later this month, entrance to 149th Street and Grand Concourse subway station, the Bronx.

At 9 a.m., Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation general secretary and Christy Hoffman, UNI Global Union general secretary will discuss the impacts of Amazon around the globe, including working conditions, economic impacts and on the future world of work, RWDSU, 7 Penn Plaza, 370 7th Ave., 5th Fl., Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., the SUNY board of trustees and its committees meet, State University Plaza, 353 Broadway, Albany.

Also at 9 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will outline the governor’s 2019 agenda, Albany Capital Center, 55 Eagle Street, Albany.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Juvenile Justice meets, 250 Broadway, 16th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Sen. James Skoufis holds a press conference to discuss passage of GENA and the gay conversation therapy ban, the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center, 102 South Williams St., Newburgh.

At 11 a.m., Assemblyman David Weprin tours the Queensboro Correctional Facility with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry, 47-04 Van Dam St., Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen calls for an outside operational audit of the town’s Building Department, Town Hall, 1 Washington St., Hempstead.

Also at 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, WCNY.

Also at 11 a.m., the Liberal Party makes an endorsement announcement in the race for New York City public advocate, 1 Centre St., Manhattan.

At noon, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and NYC Councilman Mark Treyger advocate for the passage of Intro. 1283, which would require the city Department of Education to collect data and report on school-based food, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:15 p.m., Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks, Tres Puentes – Borinquen Court, 285 East 138th Street, the Bronx.

At 1 p.m., Rep. Elise Stefanik will officially launch E-PAC, a PAC dedicated to electing more Republican women to Congress, Samsung Solutions Center, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 6th Fl., Washington, DC.

Also at 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Civil and Human Rights, 250 Broadway, 16th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., the NYC Committee on Hospitals meets, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Educations meets, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., Hochul will deliver remarks at Northland Workforce Training Center Reception, 683 Northland Avenue, Buffalo.

At 6 p.m., Hochul will deliver remarks at the swearing-in ceremony of Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. True Bethel Baptist Church, 907 E Ferry Street, Buffalo.

At 6:30 p.m., NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez holds a budget forum, Isabella Nursing Home, 515 Audubon Ave., Manhattan.


The record-long federal government shutdown is beginning to take its toll on the economy, threatening to strangle growth.

President Trump’s administration is calling federal workers back, but they will not be paid, an indication that the shutdown’s end is nowhere in sight.

In the U.S. Senate, Republicans there are standing by their leader, Mitch McConnell, as he has largely been on the sidelines during the negotiations.

A new court filing indicated prosecutors have more details on the activities of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort that are not yet public.

The president’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, told lawmakers on Tuesday he would not interfere with Robert Mueller’s investigation and be able to act independently.

The U.K. parliament shot down a plan to exit from the European Union, dealing a devastating blow to Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for the Brexit, while the opposition calls for a no-confidence vote.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday unveiled a $178 billion spending plan that he says is in many ways a rebuke to President Donald Trump’s administration.

Cuomo says the government can do more to safeguard against fraud and theft as the state addresses how it procures contracts moving forward. Under his initiative, state agencies would have to certify there is no collusion, no political interference, disclose any payments and prior relationships when entering contracts.

The governor laid out a series of reforms for the MTA and its budget, but gave no specifics in his address.

Cuomo says he wants to make it a felony charge for assaulting a working journalist — a move that comes amid heightened tensions for the press.

Cuomo also called for congestion pricing tolls in Manhattan in order to shore up funding for mass transit.

More than a decade after Mayor Michael Bloomberg fought unsuccessfully for Albany to enact congestion pricing, the plan has new momentum in the state capital.

Cuomo also called for an increase in public education spending, but it’s unlikely to be enough to satisfy education advocates.

Cuomo plans to include safety reforms for stretch limousines, like the one involved in October’s deadly crash in Schoharie, in the 2019 budget, his office announced Tuesday.

The budget also calls for fighting upstate poverty, with Rochester in line to receive $25 million.

Speech reaction: “From the social justice front to rebuilding infrastructure to investing in clean water resources and investing in our upstate communities, I think we’re really well aligned and we’re excited for what’s to come,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.

State lawmakers approved the codification of protections for transgender people and gender identity as well as a ban on gay conversion therapy, long-sought measures for LGBTQ advocates.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand entered the growing field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders Tuesday, telling television host Stephen Colbert that she’s launching an exploratory committee.

“I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom I am going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own,” she told Colbert.

Since the 2016 election, Gillibrand has sought to position herself as a key lawmaker opposing the Trump administration.

The two federal jails in New York City are feeling the effects of the partial government shutdown. For nearly two weeks so-called social visits—relatives meeting prisoners—have been canceled because of staff shortages.

Two weeks after Gov. Cuomo announced he averted the dreaded L train shutdown, it’s not clear he has. The MTA held an emergency meeting on his surprise plan to repair the line’s East River tunnel without suspending service for 15 months.

A federal judge blocked the Trump administration Tuesday from asking about citizenship status on the 2020 census, the first major ruling in cases contending officials ramrodded the question through for Republican political purposes to intentionally undercount immigrants.

Hundreds found front-row seats on Tuesday for the demolition of the Tappan Zee Bridge on Piermont Pier, and recalled memories that made them feel the need to see the 64-year-old structure fall into the Hudson River.

Benjamin Brafman, the lawyer representing Harvey Weinstein in his rape, is reportedly withdrawing.

The Troy Record newspaper is closing its last remaining office in the city.

New York continues to draw a record number of tourists — 65 million — despite the ongoing trade war and immigration rhetoric.

Former FBI Director James Comey was spotted attending a stage production of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

Gillibrand Says She’s Running For President

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday in an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert announced she is forming a committee to run for president of the United States..

“I’m filing an exploratory committee for president of the United States tonight,” she said, according to a video clip released by the show.

Gillibrand, who had flipped a Republican-held upstate House district in 2006, was appointed to the Senate in 2009, filling a seat vacated by Hillary Clinton following her nomination for U.S. secretary of state.

As a member of the House, Gillibrand held moderate fiscal views. Reflecting a more liberal base of support, she began to emphasize concerns closer to the broader Democratic party in New York, including support for gun control and family issues.

“I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom, I’m going to fight for other peoples’ kids as hard as I fight for my own,” she told Colbert.

Gillibrand pledged to fight “institutional racism, the corruption and greed of Washington, taking on the special interests that right legislation in the dead of night.”

“I know I have the compassion, the courage and the fearless determination to get that done,” she added.

Gillibrand joins a growing field of candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has the standing endorsement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is also considering a run as is California Sen. Kamala Harris and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Some Communities Could See AIM End

State funding to municipalities through the AIM program could end for local governments that receive a relatively small portion of the funding when compared to their overall budgets, according to a provision in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $178 billion spending proposal.

Cuomo in previous years has not proposed any increases to the AIM program, much to the chagrin of local government advocates in New York.

This is the first time he’s proposed scaling back the program for communities his budget contends do not overly rely on the program, namely local governments that receive 2 percent or less of their total fiscal expenditures in 2017.

The impacted communities have about $1.6 billion in reserves.

The remaining $655 million in AIM to other communities would continue.

Cuomo Proposes $178 Billion Spending Plan

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday proposed a $178 billion spending plan that seeks legalize adult use marijuana, hikes education spending by $956 million and seeks to codify aspects of the federal Affordable Care Act into state law while adhering to a 2 percent cap on year-over-year state spending.

The budget also closes a $3.1 billion budget deficit.

Cuomo is also backing the legalization of adult-use marijuana officially, estimating $300 million in revenue. Adult-use marijuana would be limited to those over age 21 and local governments would be allowed to opt out.

Cuomo also pledged to aid communities that have been impacted by harsh drug laws with the legalized marijuana law.

The proposal has three-tax plan for adult-use marijuana.

The first tax includes $1 per dry weight gram of cannabis and 25 cents per dry weight of cannabis trim. Another tax would be imposed on the wholesaler to a retail dispensary of 20 percent of the invoice price. And a third tax is a 2 percent tax of the sale from wholesaler to retailer of the invoice price.

Revenues will be used for data tabulation, monitoring and reporting, the governor’s traffic safety committee, small business development, mental health treatment and research on cannabis uses as well public health education.

Cuomo’s education spending proposal also seeks to increase foundation aid by $338 million, far short of what education advocates are seeking to fund schools.

But Cuomo is also seeking to change how individual school districts fund poorer schools, pledging to push for equity on the local level.

This is Cuomo’s first budget of his third term with an all-Democratic state Legislature for the first time in his tenure. Lawmakers are already approving a flurry of top-line policy issues such as reforms to the state’s voting laws, protections for transgender New Yorkers, with more bills on gun control and abortion rights expected to come.

Still, Cuomo has signaled he wants to go further on election reform issues, including extending primary day voting hours for upstate counties. He also called for the passage of the DREAM Act, being named after the late state Sen. Jose Peralta.

Cuomo called for congestion pricing for the MTA

He wants a ban on campaign contributions from corporations and the creation of a public financing system.

On gun control, Cuomo wants an extended background check for firearm purchases.

Many of these measures, some of which have been long stalled in the Republican-led state Senate, are likely to be approved given Democratic control of the state Legislature.

Lawmakers are already signaling they will take up many of the proposals outside of the budget, an inverse of previous years in which major policy matters were included in the final budget deal.

“It’s a lot, no doubt about it,” Cuomo said. “But a lot has been bottled up for so long. In a way, I feel like the state has been liberated by the Senate Democratic caucus.”

But bigger fights are coming on education spending as newly elected Democratic lawmakers have called for a $4 billion increase in school aid in order to satisfy the terms of a funding lawsuit Cuomo insists is a settled matter.

Cuomo is calling for a new funding formula meant to benefit poorer schools, calling it “education equity” — the product of a review of school-by-school spending the governor said showed glaring disparities in how money is being spent.

The budget proposes to boost education aid overall to $27.7 million.

Lawmakers are almost certainly to push Cuomo to do more spending on schools as is usually the case each budget season. Sen. Robert Jackson, however, is one of the initial plaintiffs of the funding lawsuit from the previous decade and has pledge to boost education aid as advocates hav sought.

The budget is expected to pass by March 31, the final day of the state’s fiscal year.