Nick Reisman

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Schumer: I’m The Juror, Pelosi’s The Prosecutor

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is making a courtroom analogy for impeachment: He’s just a juror, trying to keep his head down.

Schumer in central New York on Monday declined to take a specific stance on whether President Donald Trump should be impeached, insisting the Senate’s literal role in the process is to act as a jury.

Schumer has said he wants the members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate to do the same.

“Don’t take a position now,” he told reporters. “A good conscientious juror doesn’t take a stand, they wait until all the facts are presented. That’s what I am doing and I believe every senator, Democratic and Republican, should do the same.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Schumer said is “a prosecutor. I’m a juror. I’m not saying anything. I’m not commenting on the specifics.”

This is stretched analogy only partially true: The House of Representatives is similar to a grand jury in impeachment proceedings, voting to forward articles of impeachment in a similar way that a grand jury approves an indictment.

An impeachment trial is held in the Senate, where senators vote on whether to remove the president from office. Senators and House members can also act as lawyers to defend or prosecute the president.

Either way, Schumer said he approved of Pelosi’s handling of the events as they unfold, with Trump accused of seeking to pressure foreign governments to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

“I think Nancy Pelosi is pursuing it in the right way,” Schumer said. “She’s trying to be fact-driven.”

And either way, Schumer is treading very cautiously on the impeachment question. In a way, he can afford to: It’s not up to minority Senate Democrats to impeach. Should it reach that point, focus will turn to the Senate and whether there are the votes to remove the president from office.

NY-21: Stefanik Raises $450K, Cobb $250K In Q3

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik’s re-election campaign on Monday announced having raised more than $450,000 in the third fundraising quarter of 2020.

Democrat Tedra Cobb, who is once again seeking her party’s nomination to challenge Stefanik in the sprawling North Country House seat, has raised $250,000 during the same period.

The 21st congressional district is expected to be in the spotlight again next year in the battle for control of Congress. Stefanik has held the seat since 2014.

The incumbent GOP lawmaker has nearly $1.3 million in cash on hand for her re-election bid over the next year.

“This record level of support reflects my independent record of always putting the North Country first, and of reaching across the aisle to deliver real results for our district,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to build our tremendous grassroots network of volunteers and supporters, and to winning in 2020.”

Stefanik’s campaign said $95,000 was raised for E-PAC during the third quarter, with nearly a half-million dollars raised since it was relaunched. The PAC has contributed $125,000 to two dozen Republican women running for office.

Cobb, meanwhile, has $500,000 in cash on hand and reported two-thirds of overall contributions came from inside the district and 85 percent from in side New York. She raised money from 1,935 individual donoars and has not received money from corporate PACs.

“I am proud of the support we have received,” she said.

“People are tired of the gridlock in Washington and Congresswoman Stefanik is part of the problem. Stefanik has spent her career in DC climbing the partisan political ladder and supporting policies that hurt Northern New York families. She voted to kick 64,000 people off their healthcare, to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions and supports privatizing Social Security and Medicare to benefit her corporate donors.

The differences between us couldn’t be more clear. I have spent 30 years fighting for Northern New York families, whether it was to expand access to health care, lower the cost of prescription drugs, or as a volunteer firefighter. ”

Lawmakers To Meet 57 Days In 2020 With A Front-Loaded Calendar

The state legislative calendar for the 2020 session was released on Monday, showing state lawmakers are scheduled to be in Albany for 57 days next year.

The calendar is an unusual one this year for the tradition-bound Legislature, with the calendar front-loaded with session days in January and February in order to accommodate the June congressional and state primaries.

The session, which normally runs through the end of June, will now begin Jan. 8 and conclude on June 2.

By contrast, the Capitol, normally a sleepy place at the start of the session in the new year, will be comparatively a hive of activity, with more legislative session days planned.

State lawmakers met for 61 days in 2019.

The June primary is a first for state lawmakers after the Legislature this year approved a consolidation of both primary dates. The state and local primaries were previously held in September.

But with legislators readying to run in primaries of their own by early summer, the political and governing calendars have been scrambled.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had previously sought to cajole lawmakers into consolidating the primary election days even further by moving the legislative and federal primaries to April 28, the day of the state’s presidential primary in order to save money and boost turnout. So far, lawmakers have not embraced the proposal.

sessioncalendar_2020 by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Good-Government Groups Want To See Draft Work From Public Financing Commission

A half dozen good-government organizations on Monday in a letter to the commission determining the contours and specifics of New York’s system of publicly financed campaigns urged the panel to release a draft report of its recommendations.

“We appreciated the Commission providing the opportunity for us to share our expertise relatively early in this process,” the groups wrote in the letter. “An interim recommendation would allow for comment and analysis on something more specific, helping to ensure a workable final policy. It would help avoid a rush at the end to meet the December 1 deadline — and would increase public trust in this process and final result.”

The commission is due to release its recommendations by Dec. 1, which will become law by the end of the year unless the Legislature returns to alter it.

Scrutiny has been placed on the commissions work in part over the debate surrounding the future of fusion voting, the practice of allowing candidates to run on multiple ballot lines — an issue that’s of concern for the Working Families Party and the Conservative Party.

Top Republican lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly last week announced they support a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the commission.

The letter was signed by Laura Ladd Bierman, League of Women Voters of New York State; Betsy Gotbaum, Citizens Union; Blair Horner, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG); John Kaehny, Reinvent Albany; Susan Lerner, Common Cause New York; and Lawrence Norden, Brennan Center for Justice.

Cuomo Signs Bill Barring Ambulance Service Providers From Disclosing Patient Info

A bill that would bar ambulance and first response service providers from disclosing or selling the information of patients to third parties was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The bill is meant to close what amounts to a loophole in patient privacy laws that allowed service providers to sell information for marketing purposes, including addresses, phone numbers, prescriptions and medical history.

The new law prevents that disclosure save for health providers, a patient’s insurer and other parties with appropriate legal authority.

“Nothing is more personal than your health records, and New Yorkers have a right to privacy when it comes to this incredibly sensitive information,” Cuomo said. “This law sets clear guidelines so patient information isn’t sold or used for marketing purposes and most importantly doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.”

The bill was sponsored by Sen. John Liu and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein.

Siena Poll: New Yorkers See Serious Health Threat In Vaping

From the Morning Memo:

The vast majority of New Yorkers say vaping is a serious threat to public health, while more than half support a ban on flavored e-cigarette tobacco, a Siena College poll released Monday found.

The poll was released amid a court battle over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to ban flavored e-cigarette tobacco products in New York, a push that received a setback last week when a court delayed the executive order from taking effect as a lawsuit backed by the vaping industry is being considered.

Cuomo moved to ban flavored vaping products after a serious illnesses believed to be linked to e-cigarettes alarmed public health officials.

New York lawmakers are expected next year to consider a raft of anti-vaping legislation, including limits to how companies can target younger consumers.

The poll found a combined 78 percent believe vaping is either a serious or very serious public health concern, while 61 percent support Cuomo’s executive action to ban flavored tobacco sales in the state.

A narrower majority, 52 percent, back banning all e-cigarette and vaping device sales, while 74 percent support raising the age in New York purchase nicotine products including vaping and e-cigarette products to 21.

Twelve percent of New Yorkers polled say they vape on a regular basis.

Cuomo wants to package efforts to curtail vaping, especially among young people, with a regional plan to address the legalization of marijuana, which the poll found is supported in New York 56 percent to 36 percent.

Still, a majority also believes legalization of marijuana will lead to more use and abuse by kids, 53 percent to 39 percent. A plurality, 47 percent, believe marijuana legalization will lead to problems in the workplace. Most people polled, 52 percent, say they have used marijuana and 21 percent currently do.

The poll found 62 percent of state residents have been affected in some way by the opioid addiction crisis, an increase from 54 percent in February 2018, with 20 percent saying that they or someone in their immediate family has abused opioids. A quarter of voters polled know someone through work has abused opioids, up 14 percent from 2018. And 35 percent know someone who has died from opioid abuse.

The poll of 589 New York adults via phone line and 217 online responses was conducted from Sept. 22 through Oct. 1. It has a 4.3 percentage point margin of error.

Sub0919 CrosstabsDemos by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Bellone Holds Fundraising Advantage In County Exec Race

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is maintaining a fundraising advantage over Republican challenge John Kennedy.

Bellone is heading into the final stretch of the campaign with $1.6 million in cash on hand, his campaign said.

Kennedy, the county comptroller and Republican challenger, is holding $235,415 after reporting have raised $153,095.

Bellone is running for a third term in a county won by President Donald Trump in 2016, but could be considered a key suburban bellwether for either party heading into the 2020 election.

Here And Now

Good morning and happy Monday! It’s back to the grind for most of us on a rainy fall day.

Happening today:

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

At 11:30 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy hochul will highlight National Disability Employment Awareness month. 87-46 123rd St., Richmond Hill.

At noon, New York Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy will denounce Rep. Max Rose’s support for impeachment. Rose’s district office, 265 New Drop Lane, Staten Island.

At 1 p.m., Hochul will mark statewide Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Staten Island University Hospital. Breast Cancer Imaging Center. 265 Mason Ave., 2nd Floor, Staten Island.

At 2:30 p.m., local elected officials in New York City will attend a press conference opposing a women’s shelter transition. 237 W. 107th St., New York City.

At 7 p.m., Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Sen. Shelley Mayer will host an Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. United Community Center of Westchester. 360 North Avenue. New Rochelle.

At 7:15 p.m., Hochul will deliver remarks at the Waterfront Alliance’s Heroes of the Harbor Award Dinner and boat parade. The Lighthouse, Pier 61, Chelsea Piers, New York City.


President Donald Trump took to Twitter to call her a “Wack Job”; she responded by calling him a “criminal who betrays our country.” All of it was sparked by an apparent supporter who went off the rails at New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s town hall meeting.

Despite being rattled by Ocasio-Cortez’s upset victory over Rep. Joe Crowley in 2018, the Queens Democratic machine has done little to change.

Low-level housing authority officials have doled out $250 million worth of no-bid, and some instances no-work, contracts.

The Bronx has logged the most heat and hot water complaints of any borough.

A Newsday analysis found men earn $1 for every 67 cents a woman is paid in Long Island government.

Transportation and fiscal policy experts say there are questions over how the MTA will pay for its $51 billion capital plan.

Impeachment talk has complicated the progressive primary challenges to incumbent lawmakers in New York.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of the Hudson Valley defended House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s handling of the impeachment inquiry.

Jimmy Vielkind in The Wall Street Journal writes the Erie County executive’s race could be seen as a bellwether for the presidential election next year.

New York City voters will be asked in a referendum if they would want to rank candidates by preference.

Multiple elected officials are calling on the NYPD to include hate crime attacks in its weekly crime statistics.

Good news for Albany-area commuters: The new Northway airport exit is nearing its completion.

More than 200 people this weekend protested the proposed new jail for lower Manhattan.

The proposed city jails have also drawn the ire of architects.

Parole panels have been producing deadlocked votes, leading to prisoners left in limbo.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s failed bid for the White House may hurt his job prospects after he leaves City Hall, experts say.

Elections officials purchased new voting machines over concerns they might be hackable.

A coalition of good-government groups are celebrating a legal victory over Governor Cuomo that would have required them to reveal the identity of their donors.

Sunday marked one year since the limousine crash in Schoharie cut short 20 lives, with the tragedy spilling over into all the communities they touched.

One year after the tragedy in Schoharie that took 20 lives, many of them Amsterdam residents, the city is still grieving — but its people are grieving together.

Echoing recommendations from the NTSB, state and federal lawmakers have been calling for new laws that would require new limousines to come with lap and shoulder belts for every seat. But, limo companies say new vehicles are equipped with seat belts.

Police have charged a man with killing four homeless men in Chinatown this weekend.

The arrest of the 24-year-old suspect came after his confession, police said.

A new report by Pattern for Progress says the Hudson Valley is in the middle of a demographic shift.

The legislature did approve a new vehicle inspection fee, tougher legal and civil penalties for illegal limo operators, and gave the Department of Transportation and the State Police to remove license plates from limousines that fail inspection. Limo companies must also display certification, inspection information and driver qualifications. But a year after the crash, some lawmakers, including Senator Jim Tedisco, say they deserve an incomplete grade for what got done.

Allegations of sexual abuse are leveled against Bishop Howard Hubbard for what is now the third time this year.

Albany County is exploring the idea of closing restaurants and bars at 2 a.m. instead of 4 a.m. Bar patron Lauren says that is a proposal she disagrees with.

As part of breast cancer awareness month, a Manhattan fertility clinic is offering to help those battling or recovering from the disease to start a family when they are ready.

The Niagara Falls City School District hopes newly installed technology on their school buses will keep students safe when traveling to and from school.

A never-before-seen J.D. Salinger collection will be on display at the main branch of New York Public Library.

In national news:

The Associated Press reports: As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials last spring to investigate one of Donald Trump’s main political rivals, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer were also active in the former Soviet republic.

A second whistle-blower may step forward to claim first-hand knowledge of dealings between President Trump and Ukrainian officials.

The impeachment drive has been a struggle for Republican lawmakers to respond to, with many weighing their political futures and legacies.

Attorney General William Barr, along with a federal prosecutor, cast a broad net in their investigation of the circumstances that led to investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The Supreme Court is ready to gavel back into session into one of the most politically consequential terms in recent memory.

Former President Jimmy Carter received a black eye and is recovering after a fall.

From the editorial pages:

The New York Times urged Mayor Bill de Blasio to “get back to work” and that it’s not too late to salvage what’s left of his time as mayor.

The Daily News chided the mayor for failing to do “his homework” on a paid vacation proposal.

The Times Union says the package of proposed federal legislation to address limousine safety is a good start toward preventing another tragedy.

Newsday says President Trump is trying to distract the American public from his dealings with Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

The Buffalo News complimented the budget proposal of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz for controlling costs while still maintaining funding for roads, education and human services even as it was weighed down by mandated spending.

From the sports pages:

The Buffalo Bills are 4-1, beating the Titans 14-7.

A step back for the new Daniel Jones-led Giants.

The Jets stink and really should not be included in a roundup of professional sports.

The Washington Mystics have taken a 2-1 lead in the WNBA Finals.

Liquor License Database Bill Approved

A bill that would require the State Liquor Authority to build and maintain a publicly available database of on-premise liquor licenses was approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a move cheered by lawmakers who backed the measure.

The bill, sponsored by Manhattan Democrats Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Sen. Brad Hoylman, would enable a resident to look up information on bar, such as whether it has permits for live music or an outside patio — enabling police to respond faster to noise complaints in a neighborhood.

“Community boards, block associations, and residents across my district have for years called upon the State Liquor Authority to make information on these licenses more available and accessible, so that they can better understand their impact on our neighborhoods,” Hoylman said. “This is basic, good government.”

Glick also applauded the bill’s approval, saying it will allow people to check if neighborhood establishments are being good neighbors.

“For too long, it has been nearly impossible for community members to get very basic information about State Liquor Authority licensees that operate in our neighborhood,” she said. “Now that liquor license information will be easily obtainable, people can see for themselves if nearby establishments are being good neighbors and are operating within the constraints of their license.”

Lentol Urges Approval Of Records-Sealing Bill

Democratic Assemblyman Joe Lentol urged in a statement on Friday the approval of a bill that would have the records sealed of people who have been convicted of petty offenses by default.

The measure would add language to the law in order to clarify the only determination for whether a record should be sealed is the final disposition of the case, not the original charge.

The bill is meant to address inconsistent records sealing when the top charge was a violation or traffic infraction, leading to low-level violations many people thought had been sealed, were not.

“There were problems with how law enforcement on the local level was applying a 1994 law we passed. We needed to clarify the intent of the original bill that aimed to seal petty offenses,” Lentol said.

“We are confident that this bill will ensure that those cases that the court determines can be sealed will be sealed. This bill is a no brainer for creating a more fair and equitable criminal justice system. We passed monumental criminal justice reforms and this is another win for New Yorkers.”

The bill was delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week.