Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo Signs Bill To Require Listed Ingredients For Menstrual Products

From the Morning Memo:

A bill that would require menstrual product packaging to conspicuously list all of its products’ ingredients was signed into law last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The measure once in effect will make New York the first state in the country to require ingredient labels on menstrual product packaging.

The new law will be in effect in 180 days, and give manufacturers 18 months to develop new packaging designs to include ingredients.

The legislation was sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and Sen. Roxanne Persaud.

“Now that my bill to require menstrual product ingredient disclosure on packaging has become law, every single New Yorker who uses tampons and pads will know exactly what’s in the products they use in and on some of the most sensitive parts of their bodies for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, one week out of the year for as many as 40 years,” Rosenthal said in a statement.

“This first-in-the-nation disclosure law firmly establishes New York as a national leader on menstrual equity. Menstrual product ingredient disclosure is a vital consumer empowerment tool, and will hold menstrual product manufacturers to the highest level of accountability. It is my hope that more states follow suit.”

The measure covers products like tampons and pads used by women across the country and marketed with little information about the ingredients they contain. The hope is that new disclosure requirements will allow women and girls to make better informed decisions about the products they are using and potentially avoid harmful chemicals.

“Practically every product on the market today is required to list its ingredients, yet these items have inexplicably evaded this basic consumer protection,” Cuomo said.

“It’s part of the pervasive culture of inequality in our society that has gone on for too long, and that injustice ends today as we become the first state in the nation to mandate ingredient disclosure and empower women to make their own decisions about what goes into their bodies. This builds on the reproductive health protections that New York has safeguarded for women and girls across our state and we are proud to lead the nation by advancing these critically important new protections.”

New York Fines National Grid Over Brooklyn Power Connection

New York is set to fine utility National Grid millions of dollars for failing to not connect residential customers with natural gas, a move that was required by the state’s main utility regulatory agency, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Friday said.

The controversy affects more than 1,100 customers who have previously been denied service.

At the same time, Cuomo announced the Public Service will expand its investigation to determine whether the company planned well enough to meet the needs of its customers.

“It is the fundamental responsibility of our utilities to provide reliable service,” Cuomo said.

“National Grid has acted in bad faith throughout this process — first by denying over 1,100 eligible customers with service and now by failing to fulfill its core responsibility. Today, National Grid is being ordered to immediately connect those 1,100 customers, and I have directed DPS to expand their ongoing investigation to include potential negligence in not preparing for the months ahead. Make no mistake, New York will hold National Grid accountable.”

Meanwhile, PSC Chairman John Rhodes issued an order to show cause that will require National Grid to immediately connect 1,157 residential and business customers and to implement an alternative supply.

“With the winter heating season beginning, the Department of Public Service has determined that immediate action is warranted to address the customer hardships created by National Grid’s unwarranted denial of service for 1,157 of its customers in New York City and Long Island,” Rhodes said. “The law requires utilities to provide gas service without unreasonable qualifications or lengthy delay when sufficient gas supply exists, which the order alleges is the case for these previously existing customers of National Grid who found themselves suddenly cut off from gas without adequate warning and preparation.”

Cuomo Praises Bellone For Governing In A ‘Tough’ Suffolk County

From the Morning Memo:

Democrat Steve Bellone is running for a third term in Suffolk County, a purple-tinged suburb that President Donald Trump carried three years ago.

It’s home to the Senate Republican minority leader and prominent supporters of the president in Congress.

But Bellone has held the county executive’s office for Democrats over the last two terms.

And Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a fundraiser on Thursday praised Bellone’s leadership, casting him as a bipartisan leader who can make decisions quickly.

“It’s a tough county,” Cuomo said, according to a recording of his remarks obtained by Spectrum News. “You have to be not only moderate, but you have to be skilled in being moderate.”

The event was attended by a range of figures in New York politics: Republican businessman John Catsimatidis, Democratic fundraiser Dennis Mehiel and RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum.

“To represent Suffolk, that is a political argument,” Cuomo said. “You have Democrats, you have Republicans. It is moderate. You have to be able to work with both sides. It’s not a like a New York City Democrat who just talks to the Democrats and is preaching to the choir.”

It’s a pitch that may seem largely out of fashion with the Democratic base, especially as incumbent Democrats continue to be challenged by progressive primary candidates.

But Cuomo has internalized the lessons learned from 2018, when he successfully defeated Cynthia Nixon, running to his left, in a Democratic primary.

Cuomo a year ago was re-elected to a third term himself and in his remarks said he is better in his third term than when he was when he was first elected in 2011.

“I’m a better governor than when I took office,” Cuomo said. “You grow and you learn.”

The governor also praised Bellone’s leadership during Hurricane Sandy and his efforts to combat toxic algae blooms in the county.

“That is natural born,” Cuomo said. “You can’t teach that type of leadership where they are willing to step up.”

For his part, Bellone echoed a Cuomo governing philosophy at the fundraiser: “It’s about actually getting things done that help change peoples’ lives.”

Bellone faces Republican Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy next month in the general election.

After First Vaping Death In NY, Cuomo Urges Federal Action

Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated on Tuesday his push for the federal government to act on curtailing the use of vaping products following the first death in New York of a 17-year-old resident in the Bronx believed to be linked to e-cigarette usage.

“The federal government should act,” Cuomo said at an unrelated press conference on Tuesday. “The President had talked about taking action. I don’t know how many people have to die before he takes action, but the State is already taking aggressive action. We moved to ban flavored e-vaping, et cetera. It’s now pending in the courts.”

Cuomo through executive action last month moved to ban flavored tobacco products used in e-cigarettes, a ban that was later expanded to include menthol.

But the vaping industry has challenged the ban in court, and a state judge last week moved to delay the ban from taking effect while the lawsuit is heard in court.

Cuomo on Tuesday compared the fight over vaping to the push against cigarette usage

“We went all through that with cigarettes,” he said. “All those people had to die before we found the truth. And now the tobacco company goes into the vaping business and targets young people and markets to young people with a product that might actually be more dangerous than a cigarette. A cigarette didn’t kill you in year one. These vaping products – 1,000 cases.”

The nationwide total of deaths believed to be linked to vaping is now at 19. A Siena College poll released this week found majority support for a ban on vaping products.

Pay Equity Legislation Takes Effect

From the Morning Memo:

Updated: This post has been updated. A previous version reported another bill is taking effect today that would end a salary history question. That measure does not take effect until January.

A measure that would expand definition of “equal pay for equal work” is taking effect today.

The provisions bolster an executive order Cuomo had previously signed meant to eliminate the wage gap between men and women.

“We are at a critical point in history when this country is finally recognizing the long-term discrimination against women and taking action to right the wrongs of an unfair system,” Cuomo said.

“There is no rational reason why women should not get paid the same as men, and these common sense measures will take us one step closer to true equality. Now it’s time for businesses across the state to take a hard look at their pay policies and ensure women employees get paid the same as their male colleagues if they are doing substantially similar work.”

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.

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.

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.

Cuomo Turns Sights On CPRB

One broad-based issue that has animated Gov. Andrew Cuomo turning his time in office is a bending of the bureaucracy in New York government.

He’s been around state and federal government enough to understand it, work it and, often, be frustrated by it.

Over the last several days, Cuomo has pushed a plan that would directly appoint himself, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the top leaders in the state Senate and Assembly to a little-known board to consider the MTA’s capital plan.

Cuomo called the board, known as the Capital Program Review Board, a “bizarre old backroom political fixing machine” during an interview on WAMC on Wednesday afternoon.

It was the second interview Cuomo has given in the last several days on the issue since the capital plan proposal has been released.

Earlier this week, Cuomo once again swatted any implication that he “effectively controls” the MTA as “garbage.”

On Wednesday, he once again said the transit authority, which oversees mass transit in the New York City region for commuters, as a vehicle meant to decentralize any accountability.

“The MTA is flawed by from inception,” he said. “It was a cynical move by the powers that be at the time to create this board where everyone had a voice, but nobody had control or responsibility, because nobody had responsibility.”

He added, “I have now injected myself into the MTA and pushing very hard at every lever that I can.”

Cuomo has compared the push he’s making on Capital Program Review Board to the controversy surrounding the death of the Amazon project in Queens and how localized concerns for an expansive effort can be sunk by an appointee to little known entities like the Public Authority Control Board.

“I think that’s wrong,” Cuomo said in the Wednesday radio interview. “If the mayor wants to veto it, God bless him. If Andrea Stewart-Cousins wants to veto it, God bless it. But stand up and explain why you want to veto it.”

Cuomo Considers Appeal In SALT Cap Lawsuit

The multi-state lawsuit pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to overturn a key provision of the federal tax law of 2017 was rejected by a federal judge on Monday, upholding the federal government’s ability to cap state and local tax deductions at $10,000.

On Tuesday in a radio interview with WAMC, Cuomo indicated he is considering an appeal in the ruling.

“It was a judicial defeat for the people of the state of New York,” Cuomo said in the interview.

“I represent the people of the state and in this lawsuit I represent the best interests of the people of the state. The tax reform passed by Trump was a partisan bill that literally took money from the Democratic states and gave it to the Republican states.”

The cap on deductions affects high-tax states like New York — a move Cuomo calls grossly unfair. New York was among the coalition of states affected by the SALT cap to file the suit.