Nick Reisman

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Assembly To Take Up Trump-Centric Bills

The state Assembly this week will take up final passage of a pair of bills meant to curb the reach of his pardon powers for New York prosecutors and a bill that could give congressional Democrats access to his state tax returns.

The pardon legislation and the tax measure previously passed in the state Senate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signaled he would sign the tax legislation.

Both chambers on Wednesday are set to approve a chapter amendment to the tax bill meant to narrow its scope to elected officials and those in public office.

“It’s going to be narrowed down to people in public office and public officials, so it won’t be open to 19 million constituents,” Heastie said. “It will be a little more narrowed focus.”

The bill comes as lawmakers in Congress have sought the president’s federal tax returns as part of a broader investigation into his business interests. Trump has broken with tradition and so far refused to release his taxes voluntarily.

“This can be just like an in-case-of-emergency-break-glass if they feel like they need to public officials tax returns,” Heastie said. “I think the fact that Trump is a New York state resident before he was elected puts the focus on us.”

The bill limiting the president’s pardon powers is scheduled to be considered on Tuesday by the Assembly and allow local prosecutors to bring cases against those who have received a federal pardon.

The legislation was proposed amid investigations by New York prosecutors, including Attorney General Letitia James. It would apply to those who have worked in the president’s administration and his family.

Langworthy On Verge Of Becoming State Republican Chair

Nick Langworthy is on the verge of becoming the next state Republican Chairman, ousting Ed Cox after a decade of leadership.

Updated: In a statement, President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign said Cox would join the campaign’s finance committee.

The Empire Report on Monday reported Cox was preparing a transition of leadership to Langworthy, the Erie County chair.

“The Chairman has been presented with an important new opportunity and there are talks underway for a transition,” said Republican spokeswoman Jessica Proud. “More details will be announced in short order.”

Langworthy on Monday appeared to be poised to win a majority of the county committee endorsements with the backing of Monroe County Chairman Bill Reilich.

Langworthy in a text said he is meeting with Cox on Tuesday morning.

“Today is a new beginning for the New York State Republican Party,” said Saratoga County Chairman Carl Zeilman. “

“As we transition to new leadership and begin rebuilding our Party in New York, we must continue to fight for every vote and every taxpayer. From building local campaign infrastructure to raising millions of dollars for candidates, Nick Langworthy brings the experience, dedication, and acumen we need to revitalize our party. From Buffalo to Ballston Spa, Nick will be the Chairman we need to bring the Empire State back from the brink.”

Langworthy launched his bid this year Republicans lost the state Senate majority in November, the GOP’s final toehold on state power. He has pledged to enroll more voters and jumpstart campaign fundraising.

Cox, a son in law of former President Richard Nixon, sought to highlight his recruitment of women and black candidates in a difficult political environment for Republicans in a deeply blue state.

NY-19: Faso Will Not Run For Old Seat

Republican former Rep. John Faso in a statement on Monday said he will not run for the seat he lost last year to Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado in the 19th congressional district.

Faso served for one two-year term in the Hudson Valley House seat.

“After much consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election to the House of Representatives in the 2020 election,” Faso said in a statement.

“Family and professional obligations will make it impossible for me to wage another campaign, especially since such efforts would have to begin almost immediately. Serving in the House was a great privilege for which I will always be grateful to the people of the 19th Congressional District for giving me that opportunity.”

The move opens up a potentially large Republican field for the nomination next year to challenge Delgado. The seat has been viewed as a key swing district for the last several election cycles.

Faso is a former Assembly minority leader who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006.

A Staff Reunion For 52 And 56

From the Morning Memo:

Alumni staffers of both the Mario and Andrew Cuomo administrations gathered together last week for a reunion party honoring governors 52 and 56.

Nearly 300 former staffers, aides and their families attended the event at the Penthouse at the Park on 10th Avenue on Thursday night in New York City. They noshed on finger foods and, naturally, the event included a PowerPoint presentation by Jim Malatras, the former state operations director and incoming president of SUNY Empire.

Form the Mario Cuomo administration:

Former secretaries Mike DelGudice and Gerry Crotty and former Mario Cuomo operations director Marry Ann Crotty.

From Team Andrew:

Mylan Dennerstein, a former Andrew Cuomo counsel was there, as was former secretary and now-MTA board member Larry Schwartz and ex-secretary Bill Murlow. Incumbent secretary-to-the-governor Melissa DeRosa was there as well.

Steve Cohen, who served in both the governor’s office as secretary and in Andrew Cuomo’s term as attorney general attended. Former press staffers Josh Vlasto and Rich Bamberger attends as did Ben Lawsky, a former Financial Services superintendent, gubernatorial advisor and official in the attorney general’s office.

And the family of the late Drew Zambelli, Barbara and his son Drew, also attended. Zambelli, who died earlier this year, served as an advisor to both Mario and Andrew Cuomo.

Bill Would Seek To Place Inmates Near Their Children

Form the Morning Memo:

The Assembly Correction Committee this week will consider a bill that would require state prison officials to place inmates in facilities closest to their children.

The measure would require the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to determine if placing an inmate in a prison closest to their children is within the child’s best interest. DOCCS would be required to submit an annual report on the progress of the implementation of the policy.

The bill, on the panel’s agenda for its Tuesday meeting, is meant to address what criminal justice and child care advocates have said is beneficial to childhood development and can lower recidivism.

“Over 100,000 children in New York State have at least one parent in state prison,” the bill’s sponsor memo states. “At present, a majority of individual s are being housed in facilities that are hours away from their children and families.”

State officials announced on Friday DOCCS will close two prisons, one in Manhattan and another in Livingston County, amid a declining inmate population.

Two Prisons, One Upstate, One In New York City, Will Close

State corrections officials on Friday announced two prisons will close in Manhattan and Livingston County within the next 90 days following an official review and authorization in the newly adopted state budget.

Livingston Correctional Facility in Livingston County and Lincoln Correctional Facility in New York City will both close, which currently house a combined 939 inmates. Lincoln, the smaller facility, has a staff of 113 people. Livingston Correctional Facility employs 327 people.

The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision in a statement said those workers would be transitioned to different jobs, facilities or other state agencies.

Lawmakers and Cuomo agreed to the prison closures amid a decline in the overall inmate population.

“These closures are a result of the Governor’s successful progressive criminal justice reforms that have led to a historic decrease in crime, including both violent and property offenses, as well as individuals incarcerated in New York State prisons,” said DOCCS spokesman Thomas Mailey.

“In 2017, reported crime reached an all-time low since statewide reporting began in 1975. Preliminary data for 2018 shows that crime continued to decline for the sixth consecutive year and will mark yet another historic low. This has cemented New York’s position as the safest large state in the nation.‎”

The population at state prisons in the last 20 years has decreased by more than 26,000 inmates, a 35.8 percent drop.

The union that represents corrections officers earlier this year blasted the plan to close prisons, saying the state should instead focus on staffing levels, especially in facilities that house violent inmates.

Krueger Urges DOH To Develop Max Levels For PFOA, PFOS

A letter released Friday by Sen. Liz Krueger to the state Department of Health urged Commissioner Howard Zucker to move forward with the development of maximum contaminant levels for PFOA, PFOS and 1,4 dioxane.

Krueger, a Democrat from Manhattan who is chairwoman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, wrote the state “cannot wait any longer to have their drinking water protected from these dangerous chemicals.”

Communities in parts of upstate New York — including Petersburgh, Hoosick Falls and Newburgh — have grappled with water contamination problems in recent years involving the chemicals.

A drinking water quality panel last year announced recommendations for maximum contaminant levels in December.

Six months later, Krueger said she is concerned about the delay in formalizing the levels.

“Although the recommended levels were not as low as I and many others had advocated, the way is now clear for the Department to move forward with the rulemaking process,” she wrote in the level. “I was assured by your staff in November that that process would be well underway by the beginning of this year, but that is clearly not the case.”

Krueger also reiterated that her preferred contamination level caps should be maxed out at 4 parts per trillion for PFOA and PFOS, and 0.3 parts per billion for 1,4-dioxane. She also called for statewide testing of emerging contaminants.

“In 2017, the Legislature instructed the Department to create a list of chemicals of concern for testing in all communities, regardless of size,” she wrote. “Yet New Yorkers still lack this critical drinking water protection.”

May 2019 Letter to Com. Zucker Regarding MCLs by Nick Reisman on Scribd

With Friends Like These…

Attorney General Letitia James in a live interview with the liberal podcast Pod Save America did not mince words when asked about Mayor Bill de Blasio’s run for the presidency.

“Listen, we need a mayor who is going to be on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said to cheers in front of a live audience.

James, the former public advocate in New York City who had been an ally of de Blasio’s listed a series of policy issues where she believes the mayor has fallen short.

“So I ask the question: Has the crisis in affordable housing been addressed? No,” she said. “Has income inequality been addressed? No. Equal pay for equal work? No. How about cyclists who are unfortunately dying on our streets as the result of crashes? No. So what is the legacy? What are you running on? Has school segregation been addressed? Listen, he can run, he’s the 23rd candidate, I understand that. But the question is why? Por que? Like what’s up?

With a pause and a head tilt, James added, “But he’s a friend.”

The comments made in the interview were similar to what she told NY1 on Thursday as de Blasio launched his campaign.

“Serving as mayor of the City of New York is the second toughest job in our nation and New Yorkers require a mayor who is laser focused on the issues affecting our city,” she said. “I think it’s an issue that he should think about while he’s in Ohio.”

James last year was the victor in a crowded Democratic primary field for attorney general, backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been at odds with the mayor over the years. De Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, endorsed James’s primary rival Zephyr Teachout.

Columbia County Moves To Opt Out Of Marijuana Business

Columbia County this week became the latest county to announce plans to not allow the retail marijuana industry in New York if a legalization bill is approved by state lawmakers.

The county joins larger counties to its south — including Suffolk, Nassau, Rockland and Putnam — in opting out.

“Columbia County’s leaders get it. Commercial pot isn’t a boon for tax revenue or those seeking social justice,” said Kevin Sabet, a former drug policy advisor in President Barack Obama’s administration and the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana New York, a group that opposes marijuana legalization.

“It just creates another predatory industry that will victimize communities to enrich Big Tobacco, Pharma and the alcohol industries. We applaud the county’s leaders for listening to the serious public health and safety concerns being raised by parents, doctors, addiction professionals and local community leaders. Commercial pot in New York will also have dramatic fiscal impacts on county and town governments who will bear the brunt of cost increases for law enforcement, social services and public health programs that will be passed along to local taxpayers.”

Lawmakers this week announced a revised bill that in part backs what Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed earlier this year with the creation of a unified cannabis management office to regulate retail and medical marijuana as well as hemp production.

NY-18: Stefanik Endorses Farley

Rep. Elise Stefanik on Friday endorsed Republican congressional candidate Chele Chiavacci Farley for the nomination in a Hudson Valley House district.

Farley is running for the seat held by Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who was re-elected last year to a third term in what has been in prior election cycles a closely watched battleground district.

“Chele Farley brings intelligence, energy, and determination to her race for Congress. Her real-world business experience will be an asset in Congress as she fights to protect tax dollars for hardworking families, fully fund our military, take care of our military families, and address the state’s crumbling infrastructure,” Stefanik said. “I have made it my top priority to help elect more Republican women to Congress and I’m proud to endorse Chele. I know she will serve the people of the Hudson Valley well.”

Stefanik was first elected as the youngest woman to a North Country House seat in 2014. Farley last year ran against U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

“I am honored to have the backing of Elise Stefanik in this race. Elise is a leader for our state and the Republican Party in Congress,” Farley said. “I look forward to working with her to win and serving with her to fight back against the wave of socialism that has taken over Washington.”