Nick Reisman

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Good-Government Groups, Lawmakers Want Raise Early Voting Awareness

State lawmakers and the good-government organization Common Cause on Friday are making a push to raise awareness of the state’s new early voting law, which is set to be in effect for the first time this month.

The measure enables voters to cast ballots nine days prior to Election Day starting Oct. 26.

“Early voting is a gamechanger for New Yorkers who no longer have to choose between getting to work on time or exercising their democratic rights,” said Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner.

On the legislative side, the awareness effort is being backed by Sen. Zellnor Myrie and Assemblywoman Latrice Walker.

“We like to tell our communities to get out and vote, but for years, New York put barriers between our voters and the ballot box,” Myrie said.

“Too many voters couldn’t make it to the polling place because family responsibilities or their work schedule got in the way. Not anymore. With early voting, we are empowering all New Yorkers to make their voices heard at the ballot box at the time that works for them.”

Voters wanting more information on where and when to vote can find it here.

DOH: Two Incubation Periods Have Passed Without New Measles Cases In Two Counties

More than 42 days have passed since new measles vases were reported in Sullivan and Orange counties — a milestone reached the previous week by Rockland County, the Department of Health said in a statement on Thursday.

Over the last year, 406 people have been infected with measles in the Hudson Valley counties of Rockland, Orange, Sullivan and Westchester, which public health officials have attributed to international travel.

Officials during that time have administered almost 85,000 vaccinations, a 75 percent increase from the previous year.

“The threat, however, for vaccine-preventable diseases remains and the Department is not letting down its guard,” the DOH said in a statement.

“The Department is currently working with our partners in Rockland County in investigating a case subject who contracted measles internationally and traveled to Rockland County. Additionally, the Department has active public health responses underway in Nassau (two cases), Monroe (one case) and Putnam (one case) counties related to measles exposures from international travel but not affiliated with the 2018 outbreak.”

State lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year approved legislation ending the religious exemption for vaccinations in New York.

Delgado’s Impeachment Support Leads To RNC Ad

From the Morning Memo:

Rep. Antonio Delgado last week became one of the first battleground House Democrats in New York to support an impeachment drive for President Donald Trump.

And the endorsement has drawn the ire of the Republican National Committee, which is airing a TV spot in the Albany media market slamming him for his support of impeachment, and urging constituents to call his office to oppose it.

It’s a sign that impeachment, at least for the moment, could still play a potent political role for either side over the coming months, even as Republicans and Democrats alike in their districts week have sought to keep the focus on more local-level issues facing voters.

The ad accuses Delgado of siding with progressive lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and preferring to hold “endless hearings” to investigate the president rather than trying to get something done in Congress.

The RNC’s ad is part of a broader national TV ad buy against Democrats in districts Trump carried in 2016 who are endorsing impeachment. Delgado last year unseated Republican Rep. John Faso.

Delgado’s campaign, in turn, is fundraising off the ad itself.

“We can’t let a tidal wave of negative ads drown out Antonio’s record of fighting for working families,” Delgado’s campaign said in a fundraising email. “We know this campaign has asked a lot of you lately, but it’s urgent that we respond right away.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Max Rose, a Democrat from Staten Island also elected from a Trump-friendly district, announced his support for impeachment.

Here And Now

Good morning and TGIF!

Happening today:

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

At 10 a.m., Mayor de Blasio will be live on WNYC.

At 10:45 a.m., Lt. Gov. Hochul will participate in fishing at the 2019 Adirondack Challenge. 463 NY-3, Saranac Lake.

At 11 a.m., Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks at the memorial service of an NYPD officer. Church of the Sacred Heart, 26 Still Road, Monroe.

At 2 p.m., Lt. Gov. Hochul will deliver remarks at the Taste NY Oktoberfest reception and award ceremony. Whiteface Mount Ski Resort. 5021 Route 86, Wilmington.

Also at 2 p.m., Rep. Paul Tonko with Troy Mayor Patrick Madden will visit Troy factories. MMC Millwork, 18 Colleen Road, Troy.

Headlines:

An FBI investigation into the Cuomo administration has led to a $1.2 million legal contract for the executive chamber.

A state appellate court on Thursday delayed New York’s ban on flavored vaping products used in e-cigarettes, a day before it was set to take effect. The delay is a victory for an industry that has opposed state efforts to limit vaping products.

One vape shop owner in the Rochester area says, “Anybody in this industry right now has been wondering if we’re going to be in business anymore. And some people have put 12 years into this industry already, and our families are on the line.”

As the Schoharie and Amsterdam communities prepare to mark one year since a limousine crash claimed 20 lives, federal lawmakers announced legislation designed to prevent similar tragedies and to regulate the limousine industry on Thursday.

Schumer blamed “fatal loopholes” in the law for the limousine crash.

New York’s attorney general filed a lawsuit Thursday against a loan servicer that handles a student loan forgiveness program for public service workers over how the program has been managed.

A recently hired aide to Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis was arrested in a mob-linked scheme to bribe college athletes.

Bronx and Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t want to spend a lot of time Thursday night on what most of The Hill was talking about: the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

Ocasio-Cortez on Friday will be taking to the stand to explain why she blocks people on Twitter.

Trump, meanwhile, taunted Ocasio-Cortez as a “wack job.”

The son of former congressman Chris Collins pleaded guilty Thursday in an insider trading case.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said an April date for a special election to fill the seat left vacant by Chris Collins earlier this week makes sense.

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.

New York City will create 20 new public schools and reinvent 20 more thanks in part to millions of dollars from the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says raising the age of criminal responsibility has had little effect on his office.

Friends and loved ones paid their respects at the wake for NYPD Officer Brian Mulkeen Thursday.

A line of hundreds of mourners wrapped around the corner of the Smith Seaman and Quackenbush funeral home in Monroe on Thursday to honor the officer’s life.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio disputed police officer’s widow when she said her husband’s death was cause by “trigger-happy” cops.

An ex-Army officer is slamming the mayor’s claims made about making strides on homelessness in New York City during his presidential campaign.

New York State is closer than ever to ending the AIDS epidemic. Gov. Cuomo announced Wednesday that 2018 showed the largest decrease in HIV diagnoses yet.

Buffalo Police say the number of overall homicides to date sits at 37, down from 44 this time last year.

In the wake of all the clergy sex abuse cases within the Catholic Church, Bishop Malone is welcoming the apostolic visitation and review of the Diocese by another bishop.

Dozens of non-union white-collar Albany city employees are poised to receive pay raises of more than 1 percent.

Nassau County is forming a task force to look at the “root cause” of the opioid epidemic.

The Suffolk County district attorney’s office says there’s no need for a special prosecutor in a case in which a man is accused of driving drunk and killing a Boy Scout.

A grassroots breeding effort is underway to help preserve monarch butterflies.

Tessy Plastics is set to expand, creating 50 jobs at four central New York locations.

Developers are proposing a $32 million makeover of the former Xerox tower in Rochester.

Some exciting news for Capital Tonight fans.

In national news:

Texts at the State Department show President Trump wanted Ukrainian officials to launch an investigation of Joe Biden before a face-to-face meeting with the country’s president.

The president publicly called on China to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

No evidence has emerged that Biden sought to trade favors with China.

Biden allies are fuming the Democratic National Committee is not doing more to forcefully pushback against Trump’s attacks on the former vice president.

Manhattan’s top prosecutor pushed back against the U.S. Justice Department on Thursday in a legal battle over President Donald Trump’s tax returns, saying local efforts to investigate the president’s finances should be “free from federal interference.”

President Trump got a warm welcome in The Villages Thursday, where he signed an executive order on Medicare.

After months of pressure, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to provide more funding for states and federal efforts to secure the 2020 election.

Legendary Washington Post editor Bob Woodward moderated a discussion with the authors of a new book about Harvey Weinstein and the MeToo movement. It quickly became awkward.

Weinstein, meanwhile, was denied a motion to move his sexual assault trial out of Manhattan.

From the editorial pages:

The Buffalo News writes the country is not “full” as President Trump claims, and much of western New York’s growth has been fueled by immigration.

Newsday called for the passage of new limousine safety legislation a year after a crash killed 20 people in Schoharie.

The Times Union writes those who are found to have committed sexual harassment should be fired, and the state needs to put better guidelines in place to ensure that.

Peter Kalikow writes in The New York Post that an MTA strike would hurt commuters as well as the union.

From the sports pages:

CC Sabathia has been left off the Yankees’ roster for the American League Division Series.

Court Delays New York’s Flavored Vaping Products Ban

A state appellate court on Thursday delayed New York’s ban on flavored vaping products used in e-cigarettes a day before it was set to take effect, a victory for an industry that has opposed the state efforts to limit vaping products.

The Appellate Division in the ruling blocked the state from enforcing the ban until a broader injunction motion is decided at the trial level. The ruling was first reported by The New York Law Journal.

The suit was filed by the Vapor Technology Association, a trade group that is fighting the ban and has sought restraining order to delay it.

“It is undeniable that the vaping industry is using flavored e-cigarettes to get young people hooked on potentially dangerous and deadly products,” said Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.

“While the court’s ruling temporarily delays our scheduled enforcement of this ban, it will not deter us from using every tool at our disposal to address this crisis. Make no mistake: this is a public health emergency that demands immediate action to help ensure the wellbeing of our children, and we’re confident that once the court hears our argument they will agree.”

But the association argued the development was an acknowledgement of the strength of its case against the ban.

“The New York State Legislature, instead of enacting a flavor ban, already has decided to address concerns about youth vaping by raising the minimum age for vapor products from 18 to 21 and imposing a major tax increase,” said Vapor Technology Association Executive Director Tony Abboud.

“We continue to stand ready to work with the State of New York and all interested stakeholders on the many real solutions that should be implemented to achieve the twin goals of restricting youth vaping, which already is illegal, and preserving flavored alternatives for adults desperately trying to quit smoking.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month moved to ban flavored tobacco used in vaping products amid public health concerns and illnesses that have been linked to vaping. Last week, Cuomo and the state Department of Health moved to add menthol flavored tobacco used in e-cigarettes to the ban, a decision cheered by public health advocates.

Cuomo also wants to work with governors whose states border New York to develop a regional vaping and marijuana policy plan.

Republican Lawmakers Say Public Financing Commission Is Unconstitutional

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan each have appointees on the commission that could determine the future of how campaigns are paid for with public dollars and the practice of allowing candidates to run on multiple ballot lines.

But on Thursday, the commission appointees for the Republicans argued the commission is unconstitutional and can’t alter fusion voting, a provision that is key for the future of the Conservative and Working Families parties.

“Today, I join my Republican colleagues to support the legal efforts of the State Conservative Party and Working Families Party to put a merciful end to the unconstitutional charade being carried out by Democrats,” Kolb said in a statement.

He said the panel has “absolutely no accountability” to New Yorkers.

Flanagan in a separate statement agreed.

“Democrats controlling this state violated the very responsibilities given to them by the people by putting their duties in the hands of nine unelected, and therefore unaccountable, Public Campaign Finance and Elections commissioners,” he said. “This unconstitutional abdication of authority must be struck down by the Court.”

The commission was devised earlier this year to hash out the specifics of a system of publicly financed campaigns in an arrangement that was strikingly similar to a commission devised to approve pay raises for state lawmakers and statewide elected officials.

But the wrangling over fusion voting has grabbed attention in the discussion. The commission’s legality is being challenged by the Conservative Party as well as the Working Families Party in separate legal challenges.

The WFP did not endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election and one of his appointees on the panel, Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs, has been critical of fusion voting and lined up opponents of it to speak at a hearing.

“In addition, the same New York Democrats who pretend to be champions of choice and inclusion are now hell-bent on extinguishing the voices of third-parties and their supporters,” Kolb said. “It’s no surprise the governor and his political minions want to end fusion voting. However it’s disappointing that no other New York Democrats have the courage to stand up to them.”

The commission itself, however, will continue to meet and is due to release a report with recommendations by Dec. 1, which lawmakers can either allow to become law or act to alter by the end of the year.

Schumer Says He Wants A ‘Fact-Based’ Investigation Of Trump-Ukraine Saga

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in central New York on Thursday said he has urged Democrats in the U.S. Senate to “keep our powder dry” as impeachment talk swirls in Washington around President Donald Trump.

The New York Democrat said he supports a “fact-based” and “non-rhetorical” inquiry into the efforts of the president to have the president of Ukraine investigate the business dealings of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter in the country.

“The founding fathers — Jefferson, Madison, Washington — were most worried about foreign interference. So to have a thorough, fact-based, non-rhetorical investigation as to what happened is very called for,” Schumer said. “I’ve told my senators that they should keep our powder dry, that we should not come to conclusions, that we should listen to the facts and then we will all have to make decisions.”

The Senate would consider any articles of impeachment voted on and approved the House of Representatives in an impeachment trial.

Schumer held the unusual distinction of voting twice on a presidential impeachment in 1998 and 1999, when he served out his term in the House and took a U.S. Senate seat in 1999. In both instances, he voted to acquit President Bill Clinton.

MTA Board Should Vote On Capital Plan In Public, Good-Government Group Says

The Capital Program Review Board should meet and hold a vote on the $51 billion capital plan in public, the good-government organization Reinvent Albany said on Thursday.

The group is re-releasing a letter it and 16 other groups sent in August to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the top leaders in the Assembly and Senate asking them to ensure the meeting is held in public and complies with the state’s Open Meetings Law.

The push comes as Cuomo this week has called for the board, composed of representatives of the governor, mayor and top leaders in the Senate and Assembly, to be represented by the principle officials themselves.

Meanwhile, the review board’s website is no longer active. The letter urged the appointing authorities to create and update a new website with information about its activities.

Lawmakers To Hold Single-Payer Hearing In Rochester

State lawmakers next Thursday will hold a public hearing and news conference in Rochester to discuss the proposed single-payer legislation.

The measure, known as the New York Health Act, would create a single-payer system in the state. The bill did not gain a vote in either chamber of the Legislature, but has retained support among lawmakers, who have pledged hearings and broader review of the measure as federal proposals have been debated in the Democratic presidential nominating contest.

The Rochester hearing is the second one in a series of statewide events. More will be scheduled in New York City and the Hudson Valley. The previous hearing was held in Albany on May 28.

State lawmakers previously traveled this summer to Canada to review the country’s national health care system.

Cuomo Says Strides Made In Combating HIV

From the Morning Memo:

New York has made gains in combating HIV and AIDS, and is on target to reach a goal of ending the AIDS epidemic in New York by next year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday evening.

Cuomo received the Larry Kramer Activism Award on Wednesday at the gala of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, touting the falling numbers of HIV cases and the decline over the last 11 years.

Cuomo pointed to the number of New Yorkers using Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, used by people considered to be at very high risk for HIV to take daily medicine as a preventative. The number has grown from 1,600 four years ago to 32,000 today.

“In short, New York leads the nation for the LGBTQ community and we are proud of it,” Cuomo said. “And it honors my father’s legacy and it honors Larry Kramer’s legacy, and the legacy of the Stonewall Movement from day one. And we are going to continue that fight with more strength and more energy than ever before because the odds are higher than ever before.”

The data, from 2018, shows a decrease in the number of new HIV diagnoses in New York since the effort to end the epidemic was launch in 2014. New diagnoses are at all-time low of 2,481. That’s an 11 percent from from 2017 and a 28 percent decline since 2014.