Nick Reisman

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NY-17: Carlucci Receives IBEW Nod

House candidate David Carlucci on Monday was endorsed by the IBEW Local Union 363 in the crowded Democratic primary field for the 17th district.

Carlucci, a state senator, is running for the seat held by retiring Rep. Nita Lowey.

“With the labor movement and middle class under attack in Washington, D.C., we need a Congressman like David Carlucci who has a proven track record of delivering results and protecting middle class workers,” business manager Sam Fratto said in a statement.

“He has improved conditions for working families in New York by passing a $15 minimum wage law, 12 weeks of paid family leave, deductibility of union-dues, and policies to protect union members following the Janus decision. Working men and women need a champion like Carlucci who knows what middle class issues are and will bring those concerns to the national table.”

The union founded in Rockland County represents Hudson Valley workers in the electrical construction, voice, data and telecommunications industries.

“It’s an honor to receive the support of the hardworking men and women of IBEW Local Union 363,” Carlucci said. “As our next member of Congress, I will fight to protect workers’ rights to bargain, organize, and receive fair wages and benefits. The labor movement was founded in New York, and I plan to stand shoulder to shoulder with our union members against anyone on the federal level who puts their rights in jeopardy.”

Cuomo Signs Legislation Cracking Down On Telemarketing

A bill meant to crack down on telemarketing calls was approved on Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

It takes effect in 90 days.

The measure is meant to strengthen the 18-year-old Do Not Call Law by closing what supporters say is a loophole in the legislation. The new law requires live telemarketers to give consumers the option of being added to the seller’s restricted call list.

The bill also requires telemarketers to have a consumer’s written consent before sharing or selling their contact information.

“This loophole is a license to annoy New Yorkers that telemarketers have taken advantage of for far too long,” Cuomo said in a statement. “With these new protections, we can help ensure New Yorkers receive fewer unwanted calls and their privacy is protected once and for all.”

The measure was sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Sen. Todd Kaminsky.

“People live busy lives, and the last thing that they need to deal with are disruptive calls from telemarketers,” Kaminsky said. “Over the last few years, the amount of nuisance calls has increased drastically, and this bill would curb these bothersome calls. I am thankful to work with Assemblywoman Amy Paulin on this legislation and thank Governor Cuomo for signing it into law.”

Commission Releases Report Detailing How Elections Will Be Funded In New York

From the Morning Memo:

A commission released its 144-page report Sunday evening detailing its recommendations for how campaigns will be funded in New York through a system of taxpayer funds matched to lowered contribution rates and tougher thresholds for parties to achieve ballot access that could spell trouble for minor ballot lines.

The report’s recommendations are the culmination of the work of a commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the top lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate, the product of what amounted to a punt earlier this year amid a contentious debate over publicly financed elections that has been conducted in the state for more than a generation.

The findings of the commission have the force of law once phased-in deadlines take effect. The higher party thresholds will be in effect for the 2020 election year; the public financing program will be in effect for legislative races in 2024 and statewide races in 2026.

Lawmakers can act to change the recommendations, however, but so far little movement has been created to do so as the details of commission’s work were made public and voted on last week.

The new ballot status qualifications — reaching 2 percent or 130,000 of the total votes cast in a presidential and gubernatorial election — are harder for many of the existing ballot lines to achieve than the 50,000 vote requirement for a gubernatorial candidate.

Proponents of the new requirement argued it’s meant to ensure bona fide party candidates receive public matching dollars.

But it also came after discussion of ending fusion voting, which allows multiple ballot lines for a single candidate to run on, died down.

The change in ballot qualification has led to accusations the provision — pushed by Cuomo appointee Jay Jacobs, the state Democratic Committee chairman — was meant to hobble the Working Families Party, which has feuded with the governor over the last decade.

“The Working Families Party, I think, would meet that threshold. You have to work to meet the threshold,” the governor said last week. “But if you are not meeting the threshold, then you shouldn’t be qualifying for public money anyway.”

Matching funds will qualify for donations of $250 or less. The matching ratio in statewide races will be set at 6-to-1, and phased upward for legislative races.

Caps to public dollars are being set at $3.5 million in a primary and $3.5 million in a general election statewide. State Senate candidates will be limited to $375,000 in a primary and general election each; Assembly candidates limited to $175,000 in public matching dollars in both races.

Supporters of publicly financed campaigns had wanted even lower contribution limits for those participating in the system.

“Money in politics will still be there,” said Blair Horner, the legislative director of the good-government group NYPIRG. “There will still be big campaign contributions. The difference is for the small donation, there is now a strong incentive to go out and get them.”

Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan on Sunday evening blasted the commission’s recommendations in a statement.

“This taxpayer scam, born out of a questionable process, only serves to strengthen the power of incumbent Democrats and embarrassingly mocks a fusion voting system that enhances democracy and empowers real people,” he said.

Final Report by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Zemskys To Hold Fundraiser For Ryan’s Senate Bid

EKj3OHtWwAUSFvYFrom the Morning Memo:

Howard and Leslie Zemsky are getting behind the state Senate bid of Democrat Sean Ryan.

The couple will hold a fundraiser next week for Ryan, a state assemblyman seeking the Senate seat held by Republican Chris Jacobs, who himself is running for the House district vacated this year by GOP former Rep. Chris Collins.

Contributions to attend the Dec. 10 event at the Larkin Filling Station range from $250 to $1,000.

Howard Zemsky is a former top economic development advisor to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Democrats view the race as a potential pickup opportunity in western New York for the conference, which won the majority a year ago for the first time in a decade.

Democrat Declares For SD-51

From the Morning Memo:

Democrat Jim Barber on Monday is set to announce his bid for the 51st Senate district in central New York.

Barber is running for the seat currently held by Republican Sen. James Seward, which includes Cortland, Otsego, and Schoharie Counties and parts of Cayuga, Chenango, Delaware, Herkimer, Tompkins, and Ulster Counties.

Barber, a fifth generation farmer, has worked for both the federal and state governments, including seven years as the state executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency and for two years as the state Department of Agriculture and Markets special assistant to the commissioner.

“For generations, my family has been proud to live in this region, to run our family farm, and to invest in our communities,” Barber said in a statement.

“I am going to bring that work ethic, love of community, and ability to get results to Albany as this region’s next state senator. Over the coming months, I look forward to discussing important issues with residents and small business owners throughout the 51 st Senate District and earning their support for my State Senate campaign.”

His campaign plans a formal launch event at his family farm on Dec. 14.

Here And Now

Good morning and welcome to December. The snow is going to keep piling up today, unfortunately.

Parts of the Thruway and other highways will have their speed limits lowered to 45 mph due to the second punch of the snowstorm upstate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed non-essential state workers in affected areas should stay home today. Here’s the news.

Happening today:

Gov. Cuomo is in Albany with nothing public scheduled.

At 10 a.m., New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will testify at a corrections hearing. 125 Worth St., New York City.

Also at 10 a.m., Mayor de Blasio will hold a media availability. OEM 165 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn.

At 11 a.m., Lt. Gov. Hochul will deliver opening remarks t the downtown revitalization initiative project. 116 S Union St., Olean.

Also at 11 a.m., Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks. 1 Police Plaza, New York City.

Also at 11 a.m., advocates and supporters will rally in support of parking legislation, City Hall Steps, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks. New York Historical Society. 170 Central Park West, New York City.

Headlines:

Here’s a look at Michael Bloomberg’s legacy when it came to taxing the rich as the mayor of New York City.

It could be the most important moment of Jerry Nadler’s career. Starting next Wednesday, the impeachment inquiry reaches the House Judiciary Committee. As its chairman, Manhattan and Brooklyn Rep. Nadler, will be the leading voice.

Republican state Sen. George Amedore will not seek re-election. Amedore announced Friday afternoon that he will not seek another term serving in Albany in 2020.

State lawmakers have proposed legislation that would require the governor to come before the Legislature and answer questions similar to prime minister’s question time.

Five years ago, Gov. Cuomo sought to curb sexual assault and rape on college campuses, but compliance after the “Enough is Enough” campaign is unclear.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is urging Gov. Cuomo to provide more information on potential cuts to the Medicaid program in order to help close a $4 billion gap.

The overall state budget gap of $6.1 billion has taken shape despite an otherwise robust economy.

The New York Rifle and Pistol Association will be arguing a gun control case at the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a 2001 New York gun law.

Some lawmakers are proposing to equip state troopers with body cameras in New York, one of few states where the primary law enforcement agency doesn’t have body or dashboard cameras already.

The state inspector general’s office released a letter on the JCOPE leak investigation, shedding little new light on the circumstances.

Connecticut’s push to expand gambling laws so far has not been successful.

The New York real estate industry is looking toward 2020 as a rebound year after a tough 2019 following new efforts in Albany to approve regulations.

Transit workers are pushing the MTA to hire more subway workers in order to fight trash-strewn trains.

Homeless youth were promised by the de Blasio administration housing vouchers to help make rent in 2017, similar to what older people receive. They are still waiting.

Nassau County spent $43 million on a new computer system over the last decade and it’s still woefully in need of an update.

Democrat Bridget Fleming has announced plans to challenge Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin.

Gov. Cuomo’s office is reviewing the murder conviction of Keith Bush, citing possible prosecutorial misconduct.

Republicans in heavily Democratic Westchester County are facing the question of how far they should go in embracing President Trump.

After more change to the STAR rebate program were approved, state lawmakers say that they’ve had enough.

To quit vaping, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is considering running the marathon.

Dermot Shea officially took over as the 44th police commissioner of New York City.

The New York City Council is planning a public hearing on the New York City schools inspector general after a whistleblower complained the office squelched investigations of the mayor and education chancellor.

Two top priorities for Rep. Brian Higgins — an infrastructure package and lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 50 — have gone nowhere in the House.

Part of Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy’s strategy as the new statewide GOP leader has been to travel the state and stage demonstrations in front of the offices of Democratic officeholders’ doors.

Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner is emerging as a top candidate for the seat being vacated by Assemblyman Robin Schimminger.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the Centers for Disease Control to study the high suicide rate among farmers.

In national news:

Lawyers for President Trump’s defense team said they will not participate in Wednesday’s impeachment hearing by the House Judiciary committee.

President Trump is traveling to the NATO summit this week amid anxiety over the future of the alliance.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is still struggling to gain black support and called for “moral unity” at a church in North Carolina.

In 24 hours, Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign raised $750,000.

Two major trade deals with North American countries and China could provide an election-year boost for the president.

Supporters of abortion rights are divided over how to proceed against new laws and court challenges.

Not surprisingly, online shopping is driving much of the holiday buying so far.

From the editorial pages:

Newsday urged Gov. Cuomo to sign three bills meant to prevent water pollution and contamination.

The Buffalo News writes it’s beyond dispute the climate is changing and fossil fuel usage is to blame.

The Times Union says the city of Albany is still struggling with its recycling program.

The New York Post called the impeachment push that’s intensify in the House an “ugly Christmas present” to the country.

From the sports pages:

Garbage from the Jets.

Garbage from the Giants.

Garbage from the Knicks.

Amedore Won’t Seek Re-Election

Republican Sen. George Amedore on Friday announced he would not seek another term to the district he has represented since 2014.

In a statement, Amedore said he never intended to become a career politician and made the decision to retire from the Senate after “careful consideration and reflection.”

The district was initially added to the Senate map by Republicans in 2012 with Amedore, then a member of the Assemblyman, in mind.

But Democrat Cecilia Tkacyzk narrowly won the seat in 2012. Amedore would win it in 2014.

The district stretches from the Mohawk Valley to the Hudson Valley. It is seen as a potential pickup by Democrats; Michelle Hinchey has previously announced her bid for the district.

James Joins Coalition Supporting Immigration Status For Liberians

Attorney General Letitia James is backing an effort that is meant to bar the deportation of Liberian immigrants in the United States who benefit from the Deferred Enforced Departure program.

The coalition, composed of 14 states, filed an amicus brief in support of African Communities Together v. Trump, a lawsuit filed after President Donald Trump’s administration sought to phase out the program.

The program or temporary protected status grants Liberians the ability to remain in the U.S. and the program itself has been in effect since 2007.

Many Liberian immigrants have lived in the United States for decades after fleeing the country during a civil war in 1989.

“Liberian immigrants are essential to the economic and cultural make-up of New York and this nation,” James said.

“Each individual and each family deserves a pathway to citizenship for the country they view as their home, instead of being forced to move to an unfamiliar, unsafe place. I am proud to join this coalition to push back against the Trump Administration’s attempts to terminate the lawful immigration status of long-term residents who came to America seeking safety and protection.”

Public Financing Coalition Wants Session To Change Recommendations

Groups that have pushed for the public financing of campaigns wants state lawmakers to return before the end of the year and take up what it says are necessary changes to the recommendations proposed by a commission responsible for the specifics of the program.

The coalition, Fair Elections NY, broadly are seeking lower contribution limits than the caps of $18,000 for statewide office, $10,000 for the state Senate and $6,000 for the state Assembly, as proposed by the commission.

At the same time, the coalition wants a stronger enforcement mechanism for public financing, have the program launch in 2022 and reject the more stringent requirements for ballot access that will likely hinder third parties in the state.

“The Commission you created was formed in response to public outcry around the undue influence of big money in Albany,” the groups wrote in the letter. “The Commission ended up approving a program that will not do enough to reduce big money’s dominance, and the Commission abused its power in an anti-democratic attack on New York’s minor parties.”

The Legislature doesn’t necessarily have to return in a special session before 2020 begins. Unlike previous commissions like a pay raise taking effect in the new year, the changes to the campaign finance system won’t be taking effect immediately.

In Fundraising Email, WFP Hints At Next Steps

From the Morning Memo:

A proposal that will make it harder for minor parties to qualify for ballot status was the subject of a blistering fundraising email by the Working Families Party on Tuesday as it blamed Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the recommendation that could see ballot lines swept from qualification in the coming cycles.

But at the same time, the WFP hinted at a broader plan to respond to the change, including primaries, legal action and the “biggest” get-out-the-vote operation by the party.

A campaign finance commission this week backed a recommendation that would require parties to meet the threshold of 130,000 votes or 2 percent of turnout in presidential and gubernatorial elections in New York every two years — a higher bar than the current 50,000 votes every four years for a gubernatorial nominee.

The change could spell trouble not just for the WFP, which has long feuded with the governor, but also parties like the Greens, Libertarians and the Independence Party.

A change to the threshold requirement by the commission, broadening its purview over how elections are run in New York, was done ostensibly to limit the amount of public money candidates running for office will be able to receive.

But the WFP has long suspected since the commission was formed that it could be used as a vehicle to hinder them, given the party’s initial endorsement last year of Cynthia Nixon over Cuomo amid the Democratic Party.

In the fundraising email, the WFP suggested a legal challenge to the recommendations is possible.

“If the proposals hold up to legal scrutiny, New York would be the most hostile state in America to minor parties,” the WFP wrote in the email. “It would mean we’d have to have to fight three times as hard to defeat them.”

And beyond that, the WFP promised a robust turnout effort next year — as well as primary challenges from the left against incumbents.

“In 2020, we will bring the full power of the WFP and our allies to bear in challenging those who block progressive change and electing the next generation of progressive leaders — including in Democratic primaries,” the email stated.

“We will build the biggest WFP GOTV operation yet to meet these new thresholds and elect progressives from the top of the ballot on down.”

Cuomo in New York City on Tuesday said he thinks the WFP should be able to achieve the higher threshold, but it, along with other ballot lines will have to do the work to get there, he said.

“If it’s not a credible party, then it shouldn’t be getting public tax dollars in primary races, etcetera,” Cuomo said. “The Working Families Party I think would meet that threshold. You have to work to meet the threshold, but if you’re not working to meet a threshold, then you shouldn’t be qualifying for public money, anyway.”