Agreements, Progress Made Over The Weekend

From the Morning Memo:

Progress on key issues facing the state Legislature was made over the weekend as staff for the state Senate, Assembly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed end-of-session legislation.

“The governor has spoken to the leaders multiple times and staff has been working around the clock on our legislative priorities,” said Rich Azzopardi, a senior advisor to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “We’re making progress on all issues.”

Bills emerged over the weekend that included:

An amended version of a key environmental bill, the Climate Change and Community Protection Act.

-A bill designed to bolster upstate casinos

-A bill that would expand labor rights for farm workers include collective bargaining, overtime and other benefits.

-Lawmakers also introduced a new version of a bill meant to broaden the definition of sexual harassment from “severe and pervasive” which advocates say is too narrow.

-And a revised version of a bill decriminalizing marijuana was also introduced overnight.

It’s not clear if all of these new measures represent agreements between the Senate, Assembly and governor.

The measure legalizing marijuana hit roadblocks over the weekend amid a proposed “opt in” for local governments and how the revenue from the program should be spent.

Lawmakers are scheduled to end the legislative session on Wednesday.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is presumably going to be in Albany at some point as end-of-session talks continue, but his office has not yet released his public schedule for the day.

The state Legislature is in town for the final scheduled days of the 2019 session.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence meet for their weekly lunch at the White House. Later, Pence meets with the Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini.

At 10 a.m., Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Workforce Development Director David Mathis, representatives from Black River Systems and other area employers and program participants highlight the growth and importance of the Oneida County College Corps Internship Program, Black River Systems, 162 Genesee St., Utica.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Housing and the Committee on Oversight and Investigations reports the results of a six-month investigation into the Third Party Transfer program, Council chamber, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Fire and Emergency Management meets, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Westchester County Executive George Latimer announces the reestablishment of the Westchester Urban County Consortium and the county’s application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for federal grants, DeLuca Park, 28 N. Hillside Avenue, Elmsford.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will speak to the graduating seniors and their families on the theme of P.R.I.D.E. (Professionalism, Resilience, Investment, Dignity and Empathy), 227 W. 27th St., Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Rep. Joe Morelle will host a press conference detailing the findings of a Congressional Report on the skyrocketing cost of prescription diabetes medication and its effect on residents of the Rochester community, Highland Family Medicine, Farley Conference Room, 777 S. Clinton Ave., Rochester.

Also at 11 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. speaks at a ribbon-cutting, 810 River Ave., the Bronx.

At 11:30 a.m., survivors of solitary confinement and other advocates will hold a speak-out on the 5th day of a hunger strike to protest the torture of long-term solitary confinement currently experienced by thousands of people in New York prisons and jails, outside Assembly lobby, 3rd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

At noon, state legislators and former St. Clare’s Hospital employees and retirees rally to urge the state to launch an investigation of the St. Clare’s Hospital $53 million pension fund collapse, Million Dollar Staircase, 2nd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

At 1 p.m., the NYC Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction meets jointly with the Committee on Criminal Justice and the Committee on Justice System, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., Liberty Cab calls on Attorney General Letitia James to open a statewide investigation into Uber drivers engaged in manipulating fares to create artificial price surges at Reagan National Airport, Liberty Cab, Conference Room, 1580 Kenmore Ave., Buffalo.

At 3 p.m., the state Senate is in session, Senate chamber, state Capitol, Albany.

At 5 p.m., Diaz Jr. attends the 1199SEIU officers swearing-in ceremony, Sheraton Hotel, New York Ballroom, 811 Seventh Ave., Manhattan.

At 5:45 p.m., Williams will join Justice League NYC to put pressure on Manhattan DA Cy Vance to investigate Linda Fairstein’s past cases and remove Elizabeth Lederer from her post in light of their conduct in the Central Park Five case, 100 Centre St., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., the NYC Commission on Gender Equity is hosting a Brooklyn Gender Equity Summit, BRIC, 647 Fulton St., Brooklyn.

Also at 6 p.m., climate activists protest Joe Biden outside of his campaign’s big donor fundraiser at the New York City home of billionaire James Chanos, 3 E. 75th St., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” with Errol Louis.


President Trump said his tax cuts and cuts to government regulation, not the appointment of conservative federal judges, will be his lasting legacy when he leaves the White House.

Trump also said he’ll be rolling out a new health care plan in a couple of months, saying it will be a key focus in his 2020 reelection campaign.

The president is anxiously searching for a way to counter Democrats on health care, one of their central issues, even though many of his wary Republican allies would prefer he let it go for now.

“I think that we have a very real risk of losing the presidency to Donald Trump if we do not have a presidential candidate that is fighting for true transformational change in the lives of working people in the United States,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is not yet prepared to back any of the 2020 Democratic hopefuls.

Ocasio-Cortez called Trump’s “bluff,” responding to his earlier tweet citing her while defending himself against impeachment.

In a House that can be dominated by loud voices on the left – freshman Democrats who flipped Republican seats in 2018 — form the backbone of a quiet power center, and centrist “majority makers,” not liberals, will most likely have the final say on impeachment.

Trump’s re-election campaign has severed ties with some of its pollsters after the leak of months-old surveys showed him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in key states, according to multiple reports.

Trump wanted to boot his chief of staff Mick Mulvaney out of the Oval Office for coughing during an interview, according to footage of the sit-down with ABC News that aired yesterday.

Indianapolis Mayor Pete Buttigieg doesn’t believe he’ll be the first gay president if elected in 2020. “I would imagine we’ve probably had excellent presidents who were gay — we just didn’t know which ones,” he said.

State Senate sources said the chamber plans this week to take up the Green Light bill, already passed already by the Assembly, that would permit individuals who are in the country illegally to apply for driver’s licenses in New York.

The Assembly and Senate reached a consensus yesterday on legislation to combat climate change that they plan to approve later in the week if negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office aren’t successful, according to two legislative sources.

Democrats in the Senate and Assembly also introduced two-way legislation that would reduce the penalties for possessing marijuana, allow for the expungement of some criminal records and expands the public health law’s definition of “smoking” to include marijuana.

Three-way talks with the governor on a marijuana deal continue, but so far haven’t resulted in a deal, and time is running out.

According to four sources with knowledge of the talks, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, Senate officials say they don’t have enough votes to pass the bill unless there’s an “opt-in” provision requiring localities to affirmatively state that they will allow retail marijuana sales within their borders.

Also unresolved: how the hundreds of millions of dollars in anticipated annual revenues from marijuana taxes would be distributed.

Another obstacle to passage has been concern by Long Island’s six Democratic senators about the law enforcement and health ramifications of legalizing marijuana for recreational use by adults 21 years old and older.

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said the marijuana bill had enough support to pass in her chamber.

Writing in the NYT, two high-level health care experts say states that legalize marijuana should set a minimum age of no younger than 25, impose stricter limits on THC levels and strictly monitor them, and launch educational campaigns to help the public understand that marijuana is not harmless

On separate issues, according to The Buffalo News’ Tom Precious, there were deals made over the weekend to raise the current, five-year statute of limitations for victims to report cases of second- and third-degree rape crimes – which are those in which a victim was physically or mentally incapable, or too young, to give consent.

There’s also a bill proposed to assist upstate casinos, which haven’t seen the financial success they initially projected and have been asking the state for help.

A measure the would end the so-called “gay panic” defense in New York is on the Assembly Codes Committee’s agenda for today.

After five months of tension, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie did an end-run around Cuomo to craft a sweeping rent-regulation bill that was approved last week, re-establishing some of the Legislature’s power the body has ceded to the executive for years.

Former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky says the real estate industry shouldn’t be shocked about the pro-tenant rent deal, adding: “It takes a certain kind of blindness and a certain kind of arrogance to have missed the changes that have swept the state Capitol. What happened to the rent laws was predictable to anyone who was paying attention.”

More >

The Weekend That Was

The U.S. is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively.

President Trump accused The New York Times of committing a “virtual act of treason” by publishing the above story saying his administration has been targeting Russia’s power grid as part of an ongoing operation to counter cyber threats.

Trump’s campaign has decided to purge some of its pollsters after a leak of dismal internal polls for the president that he denied existed.

Trump said he did not order the White House counsel to fire special counsel Robert Mueller because that “didn’t work out too well” for former President Nixon during Watergate.

Jon Stewart ripped Mitch McConnell, saying the U.S. Senate Majority Leader has never acted with compassion when it comes to securing health-care funding for 9/11 first-responders.

Trump needled the “never Trumpers” on the fourth anniversary of him and First Lady Melania Trump descending the escalator at Trump Tower to announce his bid for the presidency.

Men, women and children from central Africa are showing up at U.S. borders after embarking on a dangerous, monthslong journey. Their arrival at points both north and south is confusing immigration officials and overwhelming local officials and on profits.

Across the country, education leaders have warned that Trump administration immigration policies that prevent parents from letting their kids attend classes for fear of deportation could send school budgets into tailspins.

Trump on Saturday resumed his 3,675-mile feud with the mayor of London, calling him “a disaster” who should be turned out of office after a spate of stabbings in Britain’s capital.

Secret Service agents stopped a person trying to cross a White House security barrier on Friday night.

In preparation for the three final days at the state Capitol, the weekend was busy with negotiations, vote-wrangling and last-minute tweaks for the unfinished agenda, which includes marijuana legalization, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, stricter sexual harassment standards, the Green Light bill, and expanded limo safety measures.

There could be new marijuana legalization language released by tonight, as three-way talks occurred throughout Saturday.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio weighed in on the pot debate today, saying: We have a small window to legalize marijuana the RIGHT way.”

One of the biggest sticking points was the effort by several legislators to make sure the heavily regulated marijuana industry would benefit poor neighborhoods with racial minorities, the groups that were most targeted in criminal enforcement of marijuana laws.

A lawsuit filed against Trump by a former campaign staffer who claimed that he “forcibly kissed” her in 2016 has been thrown out of a Florida federal court.

A 27-year-old man has been arrested after allegedly trespassing in the Queens office of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and barricading himself inside a closet.

Douala Hashi, 31, allegedly argued with security on the ground floor of the Jackson Heights building just before 5 p.m. Saturday and ran up to the third floor, where he refused to leave, according to police. He’s facing a series of charges.

Ocasio-Cortez turned up the heat on U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to push ahead with an impeachment probe of Trump.

A United Airlines jet skidded off the runway at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey leading FAA to temporarily halting all travel in an out of one of the nation’s busiest airports Saturday afternoon.

David Bellavia’s life is about to change. He will stand before Trump at the White House on June 25 and receive the nation’s highest military decoration – the Medal of Honor. Will he heed the president’s call to run for Congress in NY-27 if asked?

At a fund-raiser earlier this month on Long Island, Cuomo and Jay Jacobs, the leader of the state Democratic Party, met with five suburban senators and told them that voting for the Green Light bill would be politically perilous, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

A judge has ordered the NYPD to release videos from a 2017 fatal shooting, saying that keeping police footage from the public flies in the face of the key goal of the body-worn camera program: transparency.

With each successive budget, de Blasio and City Council leaders have spent more taxpayer money, hiring more workers and increasing city services, and this year is no different, despite warnings of revenue drops: The budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which begins July 1, weighs in at $92.8 billion.

The new spending plan slashes $20 million from first lady Chirlane McCray’s embattled “Thrive NYC” mental health initiative, with more than half of the money redirected to hiring licensed social workers to serve public schools.

More >


Data from President Donald Trump’s first internal reelection campaign poll conducted in March, which he denied repeatedly even existed, showed him losing a matchup by wide margins to former Vice President Joe Biden in key battleground states.

It’s a big day for Trump – his birthday! And he’s bought nearly $1 million in Facebook ads to make sure it goes off with a bang.

Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s current spokeswoman, is reportedly near the top of the internal list to replace outgoing White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump said that his own wife had taken over the mantle of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, declaring that, “We have our own Jackie O, it’s called Melania, Melania T.”

The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo is actively working with the FBI as they are trying to determine the cause of death of at least seven American tourists who died in the Dominican Republic, officials said.

One day after Trump said he would entertain the idea of accepting dirt on his political rivals from foreign nations, Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub released a statement making it clear that candidates for public office cannot accept assistance of any such kind.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren proposed legislation that would allocate $7 billion in federal grants to help minority entrepreneurs start businesses.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a verse by what she and her colleagues called the “Congressional Destiny’s Child” in promotion of new legislation they released yesterday that seeks to make birth control more accessible and affordable to patients.

Hillary Clinton has created a new nonprofit to supplement her post-2016 advocacy work, corporate records indicate. The Onward Together Foundation was formed on June 3 by Ezra Reese, an attorney at Perkins Coie, Clinton’s longtime law firm, according to District of Columbia incorporation records.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio says he now believes Congress should start impeachment proceedings on Trump following his comments on accepting information on an opponent from foreign governments. He made the comments during an appearance Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

De Blasio and the NYC Council have agreed on a $92.8 billion city budget for the 2020 fiscal year that will put more social workers in public schools and bolster the city’s reserves.

EJ McMahon: “Many of the faces have changed, and so has the majority party, but the state Senate is more united than ever in its willingness to weaken disciplinary procedures for cops and firefighters accused of wrongdoing.”

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge has denied attorneys for Exxon Mobil Corp. access to former state AG Eric Schneiderman’s personal email account but agreed to consider a request from the company to depose a representative of the state Attorney General’s Office

An Albany bill that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis would allow up to six marijuana plants to be grown in a person’s home or yard. That’s a key difference from the legalization plan Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed earlier this year as part of his budget package.

New York City will spend $250,000 to help poor women who travel from other states to obtain abortions here, inserting itself into the increasingly contentious debate over access to the procedure. While the amount of money is relatively small, the allocation is a symbolic if provocative move as more conservative states take steps to all but ban abortion.

If Tiffany Cabán wins the Queens DA Democratic primary in late June and general election in November — and actually puts her plan in place — it would mark one of the biggest successes for the sex work decriminalization movement that, after years of struggling to gain mainstream traction, has growing popularity and political influence across the country.

Syracuse University announced that it had come to a new multi-year agreement with Nike that will keep the Orange wearing the Swoosh the next few years.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader and New York Senator Chuck Schumer wants to memorialize the first female sailor to die in combat in Syria by naming a U.S. warship after her.

Former state legislator Harvey Weisenberg received a rare honor this week when the Senate, where he never served, lauded him in a proclamation for his “unparalleled devotion” to people with disabilities in his long career representing Long Beach in the Assembly.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no interviews or public appearances yet announced.

The state Legislature is in session. The Senate and Assembly are set to vote today and their two-way deal on the rent laws.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence this afternoon meet with U.S. Education Secretary Besty DeVos in the Oval Office.

LG Kathy Hochul participates in the 2019 Leadership Summit of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers at the Discovery World Science & Technology Center, and Pfister Hotel, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A press conference will be held at 2:30 p.m.

At 9:30 a.m., Rep. Nydia Velázquez attends District 15 Community Education Council Legislative Breakfast, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Community Room, Brooklyn.

At 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show,” and take calls from listeners.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Councilman Eric Ulrich will host a street renaming ceremony honoring FDNY Chief Ronald Spadafora – a 9/11 hero who notably led rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero, intersection of 90th Street and Rockaway Boulevard, Ozone Park, Queens

At 10:15 a.m., Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, along with U.S. Census Bureau representatives, announce the city of Yonkers’ efforts in ensuring city residents participate in next year’s census, Yonkers City Hall, Mayor’s Reception Room, second floor, 40 South Broadway, Yonkers.

At 11 a.m., the state Senate is in session, Senate chamber, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., survivors of solitary confinement on hunger strike and other advocates demand the enactment of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act, outside Cuomo’s New York City office, 633 Third Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., hundreds of immigrant New Yorkers will demand Cuomo to put all political games aside and prioritize the passage of the legislation to restore access to driver’s licenses for all qualified New York drivers, 633 3rd Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., tenants and advocates will hold a press conference ahead of the vote to approve the rent reform deal put forward by the state Senate and the Assembly, Million Dollar Staircase, state Capitol, Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., along with hip-hop legend and Bronx native Fat Joe, will distribute sneakers as part of their ongoing initiative designed to increase student performance in Bronx public schools, Fox Street Campus, home of Accion Academy and I.S. 217 School of Performing Arts, 977 Fox St., the Bronx.

At noon, state Assemblyman Nick Perry and Sen. Jamaal Bailey will hold a press conference to highlight past and pending criminal justice reforms, including the stalled implementation of the New York State Commission of Prosecutorial Conduct, Million Dollar Staircase, state Capitol, Albany.

At 12:30 p.m., Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney announces new legislation to assist Habitat for Humanity and other housing organizations in cleaning up health-threatening environmental hazards during home renovations, 128 William St., Newburgh.

At 3 p.m., NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams interviews state Sen. Julia Salazar live on Instagram to discuss the status of the rent regulations package.

At 6 p.m., Williams will attend the vigil marking the seven year anniversary of the death of Shantel Davis, who was shot and killed by NYPD officers in East Flatbush, East 38th Street and Church Avenue, Brooklyn.


Explosions crippled two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in what the U.S. called “unprovoked attacks” by Iran, raising alarms about immediate security and potential military conflict in a vital passageway for a third of the world’s petroleum.

President Trump’s defiant declaration that “I’d take it” if Russia again offered campaign help and his assertion that he would not necessarily tell the F.B.I. drew bipartisan condemnation, fueling calls for legislation requiring candidates to report such offers to the authorities and emboldening Democrats seeking his impeachment.

Trump potentially viewing opposition research information from foreign governments is very different than Hillary Clinton utilizing the Christopher Steele dossier, according to New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary who fiercely defended Trump through one of the most tumultuous periods in American politics while presiding over the end of the iconic daily news briefing, will step down at the end of the month.

Sanders appeared emotional as she joined Trump unscheduled at an unrelated event in the East Room of the White House, which was officially devoted to criminal justice policy. “I’ve loved every minute, even the hard minutes,” she said. “I love the president. I love the team that I’ve had the opportunity to work for.”

Two additional GOP senators signaled their support for the 9/11 Victims Fund bill following Jon Stewart’s shaming of lawmakers who were not present for testimony from 9/11 first responders at a Judiciary subcommittee hearing earlier this week.

An independent government agency recommended that Trump fire Kellyanne Conway, his White House counselor, for repeated violations of an ethics law barring partisan politics from the federal workplace.

The Democratic National Committee announced the candidates who qualified for the first debates of the 2020 presidential campaign, chopping the historically large field of 23 contenders down to the 20 available slots. Both NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made the cut.

De Blasio secured a debate spot even though he has failed to get at least 65,000 donors.

Four candidates did not make the stage: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) and Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne Messam.

Alan Dershowitz, a longtime Harvard law professor and frequent contributor to Fox News, said he could “enthusiastically” support Joe Biden over Trump if the two meet in the 2020 presidential race, but would not support Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Lawmakers in New York, the epicenter of the nation’s measles outbreak, voted to end religious exemptions for immunizations, overcoming opposition by vaccine skeptics and others who said the measure infringed on religious and constitutional rights.

The Assembly narrowly approved the vaccine measure, by a 77-53 vote, one more than required to pass a bill; the state Senate a couple hours later, and with far less drama, OK’d it, by a 36-26 margin.

Calling it a public health emergency, Gov. Andrew Cuomo immediately signed the bill, adding New York to a small handful of states that do not allow exemptions on religious grounds, including California, Arizona, West Virginia, Mississippi and Maine.

“The science is crystal clear: Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to keep our children safe,” Cuomo said. “While I understand and respect freedom of religion, our first job is to protect the public health and by signing this measure into law, we will help prevent further transmissions and stop this outbreak right in its tracks.”

The vaccine bill only narrowly passed in the Assembly, where anti-vaxxers watched from the balcony and yelled epithets at the measure’s sponsor, Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, a Bronx Democrat.

“We’ll be back for you Jeffrey!” shouted one man in Orthodox religious garb, who was fuming in the gallery with others, many of whom had children with them. “Motherf–ker!” screamed another person. “Shame!”

Jessica Beil’s appearance in Sacramento, CA with anti-vaxxer RFK Jr., lobbying against a bill to tighten immunization requirements, instantly placed the actress in the company of vaccine skeptics, and among the many Hollywood celebrities who have taken a stance on the issue, including Robert De Niro and Jenny McCarthy.

The measles epidemic in the New York region has largely spread among ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Rockland County and in New York City. But health authorities fear it could jump to other unvaccinated groups like the ones linked to the children of families who attend Waldorf schools.

There’s still unfinished business for state lawmakers to address in Albany, and the session clock is ticking down quickly.

A bill to authorize millions of dollars in capital spending is simmering on the back burner as New York state lawmakers talk about legalizing marijuana, giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and other issues in the final week of their annual session.

More >


President Donald Trump said that Canada and Mexico are completely in line on the new North American trade deal and it is up to the United States to get it passed.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will leave the job at the end of the month, Trump announced via a pair of tweets, revealing that she will return to her home state of Arkansas.

A federal watchdog recommended that White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway be booted from the administration for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act by engaging in partisan political activity on behalf of President Trump.

House Democrats voted to block the Trump administration’s recent ban on using federal funds to conduct medical research that relies on material collected from elective abortions.

In response to Trump’s admission he would accept campaign dirt from foreign countries, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a new legislative push to prevent foreign collusion.

The Trump 2020 campaign funneled money to a shell company tied to ad buyers at the center of an alleged illegal coordination scheme with the National Rifle Association (NRA) as recently as May 2019, according to new government records analyzed by OpenSecrets.

Actress Jessica Biel is facing criticism across social media after she made an appearance at the California state Assembly alongside known anti-vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to lobby against a vaccination bill.

In an Instagram post, Biel denied that she is anti-vaccination, saying: “I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians.”

Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter blamed his wife after he was charged with misusing federal campaign funds for personal use. Today she struck back, pleading guilty to conspiracy and agreeing to “provide substantial assistance” to prosecutors in the investigation of her husband.

Cuba Gooding Jr. met with NYPD sex-crimes detectives today to face an allegation that he drunkenly groped a clubgoer at a rooftop bar in Midtown.

Gooding was arrested and charged with forcible touching after he turned himself in.

“Fake news” is about to get faker than ever thanks to artificial intelligence, which lets people compose entirely made-up videos that show politicians saying things they never said. That’s the stark message that experts – including a former Defense Department official who now teaches at UBuffalo – brought to a House Intelligence Committee hearing.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s spokesman sent a profane tweet to a potential Republican challenger as he ripped him for wanting to debate his boss. He admitted to both sending the tweet, and also deleting it the next day because it “didn’t seem helpful.”

Real estate industry leaders are planning to file a lawsuit against the state to challenge the sweeping rent regulation package that is expected to be signed by the governor tomorrow.

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, said she was first inspired to run for public office while campaigning for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

The bill ending the religious exemption for vaccines only narrowly passed the Assembly health committee – 14 to 12 – after one lawmaker reversed his “no” vote in order to allow the bill to go to the floor for debate.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a summons diversion program aimed at getting homeless subway riders into shelters by allowing them a chance to accept social services rather than receive a summons for violating transit rules.

The maritime company that runs New York City’s ferry service has been in a months-long battle to stop its boat captains from unionizing, saying they are supervisors and should be exempt from organizing.

A former Hempstead Village trustee admitted to corruption charges, pleading guilty after a half-dozen indictments in less than a year that put him at the center of a web of alleged criminal dealings that prosecutors claim reached to the municipal police force’s highest ranks.

State Attorney General Letitia James said 44 New York pharmacies, including on Long Island, failed to post the costs of drugs for consumers.

The MTA has revealed a special set of Pride MetroCards, along with Pride-themed Transit merchandise and a new Pride logo on select subway cars. All of the festive additions mark not only World Pride being hosted in NYC this year but the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.

June 24 will be the final print edition of the Monday Watertown Daily Times. After that date the newspaper will be in print Tuesday through Sunday and online always.

The Big Apple’s latest subway saboteur is a litterbug who has scattered random items — including Christmas lights, concrete mix and a fire extinguisher — on Brooklyn subway tracks at least four times over the course of a month, police said.

A leading real estate website has just named Rochester, NY, the hottest real estate market in America.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public appearances or interviews yet announced.

The state Legislature is in session.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio today will meet with Asian community leaders in a closed-press gathering.

Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence are headed today to Montana, where the VP will deliver remarks at Yellowstone National Park before returning home to D.C.

At 8 a.m., NYN Media hosts the 2019 Nonprofit OpCon, bringing together board members, executive directors and chief financial officers from nonprofits across New York to discuss how to streamline processes, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 1 W. Fourth St., Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul keynotes CUNY’s 13th annual NY Solar + Storage Summit and announces state investment in clean energy, John Jay College, Main Theater, 524 W. 59th St., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Finance meets, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Fire and Emergency Management meets, Council chamber, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. will call for the reform of animal rescues in light of the recent situation at the Road to Home Rescue facility in Utica, Oneida County Office Building, 9th Fl. Conference Room, 800 Park Ave., Utica

At 10:30 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations meets, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Criminal Justice meets, Council chamber, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the Public Service Commission announced today that it will hold its next regular session, 4th Fl. Board Room, 90 Church St., Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections meets, Council chamber, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on State and Federal Legislation meets, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., state Assemblyman David Weprin speaks at the Drug Policy Alliance’s press conference calling for universal access to medication-assisted treatment, outside of the Senate chamber, state Capitol, Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and others highlight resources available to senior citizens in the wake of several high-profile violent incidents, Bronx County Building, Veterans’ Memorial Hall, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

Also at 11:30 a.m., Weprin speaks at the New York State Nurses Association’s Day of Action rally, Million Dollar Staircase, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 11:30 a.m., state Sen. Martinez and Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre hold a joint press conference on Shannon’s Law, expanding access to mammograms, 4th Fl. gallery, state Capitol, Albany.

At noon, NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Transportation Committee, will address de Blasio’s proposed cap on for-hire vehicles announcement, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., state Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assemblywomen Stacey Pheffer Amato and Karines Reyes, with 9/11 first responders, hold a press conference calling for action on a package called the 9/11-related bills, fourth floor lobby, near Senate chamber, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 12:30 p.m., NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will speak about his legislation passing the Council this afternoon, Intro. 799, which would protect employees from facing any employer retaliation after requesting reasonable accommodations under the Human Rights Law, City Hall Red Room, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., Weprin delivers remarks at the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s Annual Memorial Service and Medals Ceremony, Albany Training Academy, 1134 New Scotland Ave., Albany.

Also at 1 p.m., Judge Tom Walsh, candidate for Rockland County district attorney, joins Patti Ann McDonald for an announcement regarding protections for people with disabilities, Haverstraw Town Hall, 1 Rosman Rd., Garnerville.

Also at 1 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul and DOCCS Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci participate in a ceremony honoring 12 DOCCS employees for their outstanding service during 2018 and memorializing 43 employees who have died in the line of duty, DOCCS Training Academy, 1134 New Scotland Rd., Albany.

At 1:30 p.m., the NYC Council meets for a stated meeting, Council chamber, City Hall, Manhattan. (Williams will preside).

At 3 p.m., the state Senate is in session, Senate chamber, state Capitol, Albany.

At 5 p.m., WBAI 99.5 FM’s “Driving Forces,” hosted by Celeste Katz and Jeff Simmons, features state Sen. John Liu, WBAI, 99.5 FM.

At 5:30 p.m., NYC Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, state Sen. Jose M. Serrano and Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner host the 6th Annual Housing Conference, Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, the Bronx. (Williams delivers a keynote address).

At 6 p.m., Diaz Jr. is the featured guest at the Association for a Better New York’s Young Professionals What’s On Tap? conversation series, The Half Pint, 234 Thompson St., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Jewish Heritage Reception, Gracie Mansion, East 88th Street & East End Avenue, Manhattan.

At 8 p.m., a neighborhood justice organization will honor Williams for his work to build socially, racially and economically just neighborhoods, 131 Berry St., Brooklyn.


President Donald Trump said that he would be open to accepting information on political opponents from a foreign government during the 2020 election, and dismissed suggestions about contacting the FBI about possible interference in a US election.

Justice Department officials intend to interview senior C.I.A. officers as they review the Russia investigation, indicating they are focused partly on the intelligence agencies’ most explosive conclusion about the 2016 election: that President Vladimir Putin of Russia intervened to benefit Trump.

A House committee voted to recommend that two cabinet secretaries be held in contempt of Congress, hours after Trump invoked executive privilege to block disclosure of crucial documents on the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Former Trump aide Hope Hicks has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee behind closed doors, the committee announced.

Hicks last week agreed to supply documents from Trump’s 2016 campaign to the committee, despite a White House directive advising her not to provide the panel with material from her subsequent time at the White House.

Saying the American dream of upward mobility is in “peril,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders gave a spirited defense of democratic socialism while condemning the power of the wealthy and differentiated himself from Trump’s divisive politics.

Donald Trump is getting a new “friendship tree” after the first one he received as a gift from his French counterpart died in quarantine.

Maine became the eighth state to legalize medically assisted suicide.

U.S. Catholic bishops voted to create a new national sex-abuse hotline run by an independent entity, a decision that represents one of the church’s most tangible steps yet in confronting its sex-abuse crisis.

Pressed to explain his recent Hyde Amendment flip, former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic nomination frontrunner, said in an interview that political expediency had not been the reason behind his change of heart.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz asked New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to team up on legislation that would make birth control available over the counter — less than two weeks after the two polar political opposites joined forces on an anti-lobbying bill.

Facebook Inc. uncovered emails that appear to connect Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to potentially problematic privacy practices at the company, according to people familiar with the matter.

Democrats in the state Assembly approved a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license in New York, pressuring their Senate colleagues to do the same before the legislative session ends next week.

Debate over the so-called Green Light bill lasted hours, with sponsor Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, a Bronx Democrat, facing dozens of questions from lawmakers from Long Island and upstate with concerns.

The Assembly ratified the bill in a 87-61 vote, triggering a roar of applause from supporters in the balcony above the chamber floor. It marked the first time either house of the State Legislature approved the “driver’s licenses for all” bill after more than a decade of debate in Albany.

Nineteen Democrats split from their party conference to vote against the bill, including every Democrat from the Buffalo area except Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, of Buffalo.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered support, but little praise, for a tenant-friendly rent reform deal reached this week by legislative leaders. He did say he’ll sign the sweeping omnibus bill that has left landlords livid, calling the set of measures a “step forward.”

New protections for tenants in the Capital Region and across upstate are included in the two-way deal to extend New York City’s rent control laws.

The omnibus bill, the provisions of which mostly affect New York City, also applies new statewide standards for how landlords may treat tenants and provides a series of first-ever safeguards for people who live in manufactured home parks.

Nicole Gelinas: “New York lawmakers and (Cuomo) are enshrining rent regulation into law for another generation — and claim that the move protects tenants. But rent regulation is the most inefficient way to protect affordable housing. It does protect something else important to the pols: a reliable voting bloc.”

The real estate community is making a last-ditch – and likely fruitless – effort to kill the rent control deal, or at least have it tweaked, before Cuomo puts pen to paper.

Both chambers of the Legislature are expected to vote on the new package this week, before the current set of regulations are set to expire on Saturday. Unlike previous regulations, which had to be renewed once they expired, the new rules would be permanent.

More >


For the first time, federal prosecutors have disclosed they are developing a potential national security case against Yujing Zhang, the 33-year-old Chinese woman charged with unlawfully entering Mar-a-Lago with a stash of electronic equipment.

The bill that permanently authorizes the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund passed out of the House Judiciary Committee unanimously – a day after former “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart shamed members of a Judiciary subcommittee for failing to be present for testimony from 9/11 first responders.

A new proposed rule from the U.S. Forest Service designed to make environmental reviews more efficient would shortcut important oversight of industry plans, environmentalists say.

Nearly 70 percent of American voters believe a sitting president should be able to be charged criminally, but 61 percent oppose Congress beginning the process to impeach President Trump, a new Q poll found.

Two weeks after making headlines for a pledge to work together on legislation prohibiting members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, Texas Sen. Cruz and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are on the same side of another issue: making birth control available over the counter.

Hunter Biden, the younger son of Former Vice President-turned-presidential hopeful Joe Biden, recently married South Africa native Melissa Cohen. This comes about a month after a report that he had split from the widow of his late brother, Beau Biden.

With the daily app-based for-hire vehicle trips nearing 800,000 per day, Mayor Bill de Blasio has decided to permanently suspend the issuance of new licenses, a limit passed by the City Council in August.

A little more than a month after unveiling plans for a $400 million mixed-use project on Long Island, Macy’s has agreed to sell its store at the Galleria shopping mall in White Plains.

A City Limits investigation indicates enforcement of AC 19-190 in NYC is falling short of its intended goal of creating tougher penalties for drivers who fail to yield the right of way and hurt people as a result, since the majority of actions under the law have been civil summonses, a majority of which end up getting tossed.

Bill Hammond: “Dozens of health-care bills percolating through the Legislature in the closing days of session have one thing in common: They would add to the already high price of health insurance in New York State.”

Leaders of the International Joint Commission will meet soon to discuss Lake Ontario shoreline flooding — but said they cannot unilaterally change the regulations that govern the lake’s water level.

During an interview with The Des Moines Register, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a 2020 Democratic hopeful, said opposing abortion rights is akin to being racist.

Democracy for America became the first Democratic group to make an endorsement in the NY-24 2020 race, endorsing Dana Balter over two Democratic rivals for a re-match against Republican Rep. John Katko.

The biggest beneficiaries of rent regulation in New York aren’t low-income tenants across New York City, but more affluent, white residents of Manhattan, challenging the view that the plight of tenants is constantly changing for the worse.

Workers at The Syracuse New Times have been told there will only be two more issues published. This comes just a few months after the New Times became a paid subscription service, in an effort to keep operations afloat.

Residents of Manhattan’s “Billionaires’ Row” plan to appeal a court decision that greenlights a homeless shelter in the ritzy Manhattan neighborhood, they said.

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson is expected to unveil a package of bills aimed at preventing inaction by the Taxi and Limousine Commission while cab drivers became mired in reckless loans that saddled them with debt they could not afford.

A coalition of good-government groups are asking the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics to structure its search for a new executive director in a way that promotes independence at the watchdog entity.

Sen. Bob Antonacci stood out in the New York Senate yesterday when he was the only member to vote against two bills aimed at preventing suicide by black and LGBT youth.

The next new development to ride Manhattan’s senior housing wave could soon be coming to Hudson Yards, compliments of former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Related Companies.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s campaign announced an Iowa family would be receiving $1,000 per month for a year as part of his effort to show the benefits of his proposed “Freedom Dividend” universal basic income plan.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is selling a two-bedroom condo in Palm Beach, Florida, which he has owned for almost a decade with his estranged third wife, Judith Nathan, for $3.3 million.

Sasha Obama is officially a high school graduate, and her parents (the former president and first lady) attended her Sunday, June 9, ceremony.

Here And Now

Good morning and happy Wednesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany and has nothing public planned so far.

At 10:30 a.m., Assembly Republicans will call for changes in the state’s cash bail changes. Back of the Assembly chamber, State Capitol, Albany.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver remarks, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West & 79 Street, New York City.

At 11 a.m., New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will join a group of elected officials and advocacy leaders to stand in solidarity with the nurses at NYC public hospitals in support of the healthcare justice campaign. City Hall Steps, New York City.

At 11:30 a.m., more than 300 farmers and farmworkers will join state officials and industry leaders to discuss common ground on the proposed farm labor bill. West Capitol Park, Albany.

At 1 p.m., Queens district attorney candidate Tiffany Caban will rally with sex workers, Corona Plaza, 40-04 National Street, Queens.

Also at 1 p.m., the state Senate will hold its session, state Capitol, Albany.

At 1:30 p.m., de Blasio will make an announcement, Grace Plaza, 42 W 43rd St., New York City.

At 3 p.m., Thousands of 32BJ SEIU commercial office cleaners in New York and across the country will rally to commemorate Justice for Janitors, a union campaign that transformed the janitorial industry by raising wages and benefits for hundreds of thousands of cleaners across the country. Bryant Park, 42nd and 6th Avenue.

At 3:30 p.m., New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will join thousands of 32BJ members to advocate for fair pay for commercial cleaners as part of the 32BJ Week of Power. Intersection of Broadway and Bowling Green, New York City.

At 6 p.m., Williams will join EBC/Metro IAF and a coalition of advocates in a protest at Gracie Mansion to call for the Mayor to expand investment in affordable senior housing. E 88th St & East End Ave, New York City.


From whether to decriminalize sex work to their commitment to the popular demand to end cash bail, seven Democrats in the primary for Queens district attorney debated on NY1 on Tuesday night, jostling to give the office a new progressive shine and potentially elect the borough’s top prosecutor for the first time in about three decades.

The New York State Senate and Assembly have reached a deal to greatly expand tenant protections. The omnibus rent bill will be introduced and voted on before rent regulations expire on Saturday.

New York City’s Correction Department is investigating after a second person in under a week dies while in its custody.

The inmate’s death was preceded by the death of a transgender inmate at Riker’s, and some officials are now calling for answers over what happened.

The Strand boasts that it has 18 miles of new, used and rare books, a landmark for any book lover. But now its building is an actual city landmark, much to the horror of its owner.

The Democratic-controlled state Senate approved a bill legalizing gestational surrogacy on Tuesday, but the measure faces a steeper climb in the Assembly.

Among Assemblywoman Deborah Glick’s reasons for opposing the surrogacy bill: “Personally, as an environmentalist I understand we have too many people in the world and as someone who has chaired the Social Services Committee in the past, I know that we have hundreds of thousands of youngsters looking for families.”

The Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Treasury have finalized regulations regarding charitable contributions and state and local tax credits initially proposed last August. The new rules are aimed at stopping taxpayers from federally deducting donations made to charitable funds run by state or local governments.

A bill with new requirements to drive recreational motorboats in New York state is now in the hands of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

New York state would legalize the buying and selling of sex under a proposal introduced in the state legislature Monday that would lift criminal penalties for sex work.

Greece’s town supervisor said he was told by a local representative that the International Joint Commission will propose the suspension of the controversial Plan 2014.

A coalition of parents, educators, clergy and business leaders delivered a message to state lawmakers Tuesday to move the Buffalo school board elections from May to the same day as the general election in November.

The stretch limousine involved in October’s deadly crash that killed 20 people had been suspended just before the incident occurred.

Attorney General Letitia James is leading a nine-state lawsuit meant to block the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint.

Democrats in the state Assembly are using taxpayer money to defend their pay raise in state court.

Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart ripped into Congress for failing to re-approve the Victims Compensation Fund for Sept. 11 first responders.

Gov. Cuomo at a press conference on Tuesday said state lawmakers should face primary challenges next year if they fail to approve progressive legislation.

President Trump continued to battle with Democrats amid threats of an impeachment inquiry, something he considers an attack on his legitimacy in office.

Attorney General Bill Barr is expected to ask the president to exert executive privilege in shielding documents surrounding a census question for U.S. citizenship.

Amid the crowded battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, grumbling is beginning from some candidates about the ability to be heard — with some comparing it to “The Hunger Games.”

The president’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., is expected to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee today.


New York, along with several other states, has filed suit to block the merger of mobile phone providers Sprint and T-Mobile.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump exchanged heated barbs on the campaign trail.

House Democrats moved to receive court enforcement for subpoenas of Attorney General Bill Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in an escalation of their legal battle with President Trump’s administration.

The pilot killed Monday when his helicopter slammed into the roof of a New York City skyscraper was not authorized to fly in limited visibility, according to his pilot certification, raising questions about why he took off in fog and steady rain.

New York City will start banning cars from most of 14th Street in Manhattan on July 1st. This is being done to speed up bus service.

Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello and a fellow council member will soon introduce legislation about the future of Troy as a sanctuary city.

Albany’s Common Council is looking for public input on the current fireworks laws.

The former DeWitt doctor whose murder conviction of his wife was overturned last summer will have his case heard by the state’s highest court in the fall.

Lake Ontario’s high waters continue to cause flooding problems for those along the shoreline.

A wet and rainy spring has businesses away from the floodwaters of Lake Ontario feeling the pinch.

Another lawsuit alleging sexual abuse has been filed against the Diocese of Rochester and several other local Catholic organizations.

A Rochester City Council seat up for grabs in this month’s primary lies in the south district. The seat was previously held by Adam McFadden, who last month pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

A Western New Yorker is receiving the nation’s highest military honor, and he said he’s representing every soldier who fought in Iraq.