Andrew Cuomo

Warren Backs WFP In Commission Imbroglio

The Working Families Party is facing an increasingly existential threat, seemingly, from the public financing commission.

First, it was the potential end or curtailing of fusion voting that threatened the liberal ballot line’s status.

Now, as The New York Times reported this morning, the commission through state Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs may raise the threshold of votes needed to retain ballot status from 50,000 to 250,000 for the gubernatorial election. The move would hurt third parties like the WFP, and also the Green Party.

Hours later on Tuesday, the WFP got some public backing from Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator whose White House bid the party has endorsed.

“This proposal comes from, of all places, a commission meant to improve our democracy,” Warren wrote on Twitter. “But attacking the @NYWFP is deeply undemocratic—and it will only benefit Republicans. No Democrat should allow this to pass.”

Minor ballot lines have been a staple in New York elections for generations. And candidates for governor have created ballot lines to push key issues. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has battled the WFP over the years, created the Women’s Equality Party. Republican Rob Astorino formed the Stop Common Core ballot line in the wake of opposition to the state-imposed standards.

But the enmity between Cuomo and the WFP is the prologue to much of the dispute right now over what the commission will ultimately do not just with public financing — a key issue for progressive groups — but also how elections are potentially conducted in New York.

Cuomo Signs Measure Expanding, Streamlining Campaign Filing Requirements

A bill that requires all candidates and committees to electronically file campaign finance data with the state Board of Elections was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The measure ends the minimum threshold of $1,000 for campaigns to file with the Board of Elections and also removes the requirement that filings be sent to a county Board of Elections.

The new law is meant to streamline and centralize the reporting process for campaign finance data.

“Transparency throughout the election process is crucial to ensure voters are well-informed about candidates and have all the facts,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This law will not only provide voters with better access to relevant candidate information, but it will also make the reporting process more efficient and sensible for both campaigns and the Board of Elections.”

The measure’s approval comes amid a spate of new campaign laws that are meant to strengthen ballot transparency and make it easier to vote in the state. The bill was backed by Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright and Sen. Zellnor Myrie.

“This was a historic year for campaign finance and election reforms. But in order to ensure these new laws are followed, we need modern and transparent methods of monitoring campaign contributions,” Myrie said. “By finally bringing electronic campaign finance filings to New York, this legislation will protect the integrity of our democracy.”

Cuomo, Staff And Administration Alums Hold Football Get-Together

From the Morning Memo:

Former and current staffers for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration on Sunday descended on an Upper Eastside bar for an alumni get-together.

The event, which the governor attended, also included former top aides to Cuomo, Bill Mulrow, Steve Cohen, Larry Schwartz and Michael Deljudice. Current-day staffers also attended, including secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa, senior advisor Rich Azzopardi, Communications Director Dani Lever, Chief of Staff Jill DeRosiers, Director of the Governor’s Offices Stephanie Benton and Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton.

State lawmakers in attendance included state Sen. Anna Kaplan and Assemblyman Michael DenDekker.

And the event drew people from the political world, including PR executive Ken Sunshine, Parkside Group President Harry Giannoulis and Charlie King, a longtime Cuomo ally.

All told, about 200 staffers, friends and allies watched the New York Giants take on the Detroit Lions at Dorrian’s Red Hand in Manhattan.

The network of former and current Team Cuomo members has grown over the governor’s eight years in office, but remains something of a tightly knit bunch.

“This is a network that has been together in one shape or another for almost 40 years and this was a great excuse to get together, watch some football and have a little bit of fun as we enter year 10 and a new legislative session,” an attendee said.

Cuomo Announces New National Gun Control Platform Push

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has long complained that New York’s gun control efforts can only go so far.

In fact, he’s noted, they stop at the state’s border.

On Saturday, Cuomo launched a renewed national effort to urge the Democratic presidential candidates to embrace his gun control plan — dubbed the “Make America Safer” campaign — in order to address the issue on the federal level.

The effort is taking shape in the form of a social media campaign that will focus on engagement on gun control. Cuomo made the announcement with the backing of advocates from the national gun control groups Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action and March for Our Lives.

“As the federal government continues to abdicate its responsibility to protect the people in this country by failing to take action on meaningful, common sense gun control, it is now more important than ever to have a leader in Washington that has a plan to tackle these issues and end this violence once and for all,” Cuomo said in a statement. “That is why I’m asking all Democrats running for president to make a simple, clear choice for the American people and sign the ‘Make America Safer Pledge.'”

Cuomo on Saturday held the second of three gun control conferences, with today’s event focusing on teachers, school administrators and parent representatives to discuss the implementation of the state’s new “red flag” law, which is meant to keep guns away from people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

Cuomo’s gun control platform includes a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, a national version of the red flag measure, universal background checks for gun purchases and the creation of a mental health database.

Gun control has been a signature issue for the governor, with the passage of the 2013 package of gun laws known as the SAFE Act considered a key measure during his first term.

“New York State passed these laws six years ago and they have worked,” Cuomo said. “No legal gun owners’ rights have been violated, but unnecessary, dangerous weapons are off the streets and dangerously mentally ill people cannot by guns. We were the laboratory, and now it must be done on the national level. And if a candidate can’t support this pledge, I don’t believe they should be running for president as a Democrat.”

Cuomo Signs Bills Meant To Provide More Transparency In Local Elections

All politics is local and so is the package of measures Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law Friday that are designed to strengthen election transparency.

Cuomo approved bills that require local boards of election to publish more information on contribution limits and special elections.

“The democratic process only works when voters and candidates alike have the right information – especially when it comes to contribution limits and election dates,” Cuomo said. “By signing these measures into law, we will further increase transparency and help ensure all New Yorkers have the opportunity to make their voices heard during special elections.”

One bill approved Friday will require local boards of elections to tabulate and publish contribution limits for all county, town, city and village offices on the ballot in an election year on their websites by April 15.

The other measure will require local elections to provide additional notice and information ahead of special elections, such as informing voters of the date, times and candidates as well as poll site information.

Cuomo Says He’ll Push For Measure Banning Serial Sexual Assault Offenders From Subway

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in an interview on NY1 Friday said he plans to push for a measure in the 2020 legislative session that will ban people who are repeatedly sexual assault offenders from subway trains and stations.

“I think we have to have a system where a judge can say enough is enough and that person’s right to access the subway should be ended,” Cuomo said in the interview. “I mean, how many sexual assaults do you get and we say, ‘Enough, no more.'”

Cuomo’s public backing of the legislation comes after a viral video this week showed a man shoving a woman into a stopped subway car at a station. The 28-year-old, recognized by law enforcement as a repeat offender, faces a felony charge.

The legislation has been long sponsored by Sen. Diane Savino, a Democrat from Staten Island. The measure was approved last session in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Savino wrote on Twitter: “@NYGovCuomo, i did the heavy lift, get the Assembly to move my bill, already passed numerous times in the Senate.”

Bill Lowering Threshold For Hunting While Intoxicated Approved

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week signed legislation that lowers the legal threshold for being considered legally drunk while hunting.

The new law lowers the threshold from .10 blood alcohol content to .08, the same standard used for determining if a person is driving a car or boat while drunk.

The measure was sponsored by Sen. Anna Kaplan and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski.

The new law follows what other states, including Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire and West Virginia have done to lower the legal intoxication threshold.

Sponsors of the legislation in a bill memo pointed to the .08 threshold for operating a boat or car, saying hunting is an activity that should have the same level of safety.

“An individual who is too intoxicated to drive a car or pilot a boat is also unfit to engage in hunting and the increased risk is not only to the hunter, but to everyone else in the field. This bill would ensure a consistent standard for intoxication in state law,” the bill memo states.

The bill takes effect on Sept. 1, 2020.

Cuomo Appoints 19-Member Statue Commission

New York is committing up to $750,000 for a statue honoring the famed Catholic nun and saint Mother Cabrini, with a 19-member commission to oversee its creation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Thursday announced.

“Mother Cabrini was a great New Yorker and a great Italian-American immigrant who did untold good for the people of this state, and there is no doubt she is deserving of a statue in her honor,” Cuomo said. “With the help of this new commission, we are going to get this done to help ensure Mother Cabrini’s legacy of service to her community and those who are less fortunate is remembered for generations to come.”

The commission will be composed of Angelo Vivolo of the Columbus Heritage Coalition and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn Diocese as well as Gary LaBarbera, the president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Fox Business journalist Maria Bartiromo.

Mother Cabrini is the first naturalized American citizen to be canonized by the church. She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which aided Italian immigrants.

Cuomo earlier this month announced the state would pay for the statue after a New York City commission did not include Mother Cabrini among prominent historical women to honor in a statue series.

Cuomo To Hold Fundraiser With Celebrity Chef

cuomofundraiserGov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign in December will hold a fundraiser at the Columbus Club in New York with celebrity chef, restaurant owner and cook book writer Lidia Bastianich.

Tickets for the Dec. 17 evvent range from $5,000 for limited availability, $10,000 and $15,000 for two.

Bastianich specializes in Italian cuisine and is the owner of restaurants in New York City, Las Vegas and Kansas City. She is also the host of Lidia’s Kitchen seen on public television.

Cuomo’s re-election campaign in July reported $8.3 million in cash on hand.

Cuomo Signs Bills Designed To Strengthen Ballot Comprehension

Reading a ballot before you vote could get a little easier in New York after Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday approved a trio of bills designed to improve comprehension of ballots.

The bills include measures that will require ballots be more voter friendly — easier to both read and use.

Another bill approved will require ballots inform voters when the ballot has two sides — a front and back — for them to consider.

And a third bill approved will require boards of election to post sample ballots online before an election is held.

“Voting is a fundamental right and there should never be a situation where that right is infringed on just because the ballot isn’t clear,” Cuomo said. “These measures will bolster the progress we’ve made to improve voting access by ensuring ballots clearly lay out the choices and there is no confusion when New Yorkers walk into the voting booth.”

The measures come as state lawmakers this year and Cuomo have backed legislation designed to strengthen the state’s election and voter access laws. Early voting for the first time will be held in New York starting on Saturday.

In September, Cuomo approved a bill that expedites party enrollment changes ahead of primary elections, removing the Oct. 11 deadline and changing it to Feb. 14.