Uncategorized

Extras

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich dismissed BuzzFeed’s bombshell report that said federal investigators have evidence Trump ordered his former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump property in Moscow.

“BuzzFeed is the equivalent of those tabloids you buy at the grocery store on the way out that introduce you to Martians and tell you the story of three stars who had anguished lives that you never knew about,” Gingrich said before later adding, “To take BuzzFeed seriously is a sign of how desperate we are for news.”

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani officially denied the Cohen-Trump bombshell report and attacked the credibility of thepPresident’s former lawyer, despite the fact that the BuzzFeed News report cites two federal investigators – not Cohen – as the sources.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump revealed that she and other lawmakers would be making a trip to Afghanistan on a commercial flight, a revelation that made it too dangerous to go forward with the trip.

Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez applauded Cardi B for her expletive-filled rant against the partial government shutdown, joking that “Bronx girls are gonna reopen the government.”

Academy Award-winning actor James Woods is warning fellow conservatives to ignore Ocasio-Cortez “at your peril,” calling her “the most dangerous person in America right now.”

Ocasio-Cortez has been a member of Congress for only 15 days, but she already has some of the most veteran House Democrats chasing her heels and taking notes.

Union membership has fallen to a record low, according to numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Three of the Americans who lost their lives in a blast set off by a suicide bomber in Northern Syria have been identified, including Shannon M. Kent, a Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician from Pine Plains, Dutchess County.

Six weeks after Bustle Digital Group bought the digital website Mic and fired all of its staff, many of the former employees are seething and ready to wage a publicity battle on the site’s new ownership.

Days after U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand declared her intention to run for president, a Siena poll shows she is just the third most popular Democratic official in her home state of New York.

The state Education Building on Washington Avenue was evacuated this morning after a fire alarm malfunctioned.

Under fire for skirting government bidding requirements, the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority is going to begin using Erie County’s purchasing office to save money and avoid trouble.

Gearing up to seek a third term as Erie County executive, Democrat Mark Poloncarz has no idea who will run against him in November. But it’s a sure bet his eventual opponent will launch an all-out assault on his self-acknowledged liberal politics, according to early hints dropped by leaders of the Republican and Conservative opposition.

State officials are alerting backcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders and others who venture into northern New York’s mountainous areas to be aware of the risk of avalanches.

The coming winter storm expected to blanket parts of New York with up to two feet of snow will be problematic to deal with because of its sheer size, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Disgraced former state Sen. Carl Kruger, 69, is rumored to be eyeing a NYC Council seat. According to political sources, the convicted felon Kruger is looking to make a comeback in local politics.

Cuomo Proposes Reorganization Of Marijuana Bureaucracy

From the Morning Memo:

The proposed $175 billion state spending plan includes a sweeping re-organization of the state’s marijuana bureaucracy, consolidating regulation and oversight of the marijuana growing and retail industry under a new state offfice.

The budget would create an Office of Cannabis Management, overseeing commercial adult-use marijuana as well as medical marijuana and hemp.

Medical marijuana is currently overseen by the state Department of Health; Agriculture and Markets regulates hemp production in New York.

The new office would be under the umbrella of the State Liquor Authority and overseen by an executive director.

The office would be led by an executive director with wide authority over new regulations for the potential commercial retail industry for marijuana, including the number of licenses issued and oversight of pricing, including ceilings on retail markup.

At the same time, the budget includes provisions meant to spur minority, women-owned businesses and those in community impacted by drug laws in order to promote diversity in licensing.

That includes those from a “community group that has been disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition” as well as someone who was convicted of a marijuana-related offense in the past.

In his budget address on Tuesday, Cuomo said the program would “create an industry that empowers the poor communities that pay the price and not the rich corporations who come in to make a profit.”

And the new agency would be tasked with how marijuana at the retail level is marketed, including restrictions on advertisements similar to alcohol sales. Marijuana ads would not be allowed on TV, radio or digital programming that has an audience predominantly under the wage of 21.

The state projects the retail marijuana industry will result in $300 million in revenue from a three-tiered tax structure.

Here and Now

It’s comingprepare yourself.

The federal government is still shut down.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events or interviews yet announced.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, fresh off announcing her 2020 presidential run, is in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa. She’ll take a walking tour of businesses in Sioux City, and then attend a Truman Club house party.

Vice President Mike Pence this evening delivers remarks at the 37th Annual March for Life Rose Dinner, Renaissance Hotel, Washington, D.C.

At 7:45 a.m., former NYC Council President Melissa Mark-Viverito, now a candidate for public advocate, greets commuters at the Junction Boulevard 7 train, Jackson Heights, Queens.

At 8:15 a.m., former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman speaks on “the closing of Rikers Island as a catalyst for criminal justice reform,” New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez, commissioner of the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, delivers a presentation on the governor’s State of the State and budget address, Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 South Ave., Staten Island.

At 10 a.m., Rep. Anthony Brindisi announces his committee assignments and legislative priorities, Henry P. Smith Post 24, American Legion, 325 Erie Boulevard West, Rome.

Also at 10 a.m., OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito will deliver a presentation on the governor’s State of the State and budget address, Herkimer College Amphitheater, 100 Reservoir Rd., Herkimer.

Also 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., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is a panelist at the New York State Bar Association’s environmental justice event, New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 Sixth Ave., Grand Ballroom West, third floor, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., former Rep. Mike McNulty, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy and other regional economic development leaders attend a press event to celebrate the grand opening of the Bull Moose Club, 150 State St., fourth floor, Albany.

At 11 a.m., NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer holds a press conference on transportation in eastern Queens, 93-02 Sutphin Blvd., Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks on the NYC Ferry expansion, Staten Island Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island.

At 11:15 a.m., state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, state Sen. John Liu, Assemblyman David Weprin, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein and New York City Councilman Barry Grodenchik attend the ribbon-cutting for a new technology center at Cardozo High School, 57-00 223rd St., Queens.

At 11:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul sends off students as part of SUNY’s Puerto Rico recovery assistance legal clinic, University at Buffalo, O’Brian Hall, 211 Putnam Way, Buffalo.

Also at 11:30 a.m., Guillermo Linares, acting president of HESC, delivers a presentation on the governor’s State of the State and budget address, RAIN Eastchester Neighborhood Senior Center, 1246 Burke Ave., the Bronx.

At noon, Rep. Carolyn Maloney joins with elected officials and advocates to call on the Trump administration to follow a court ruling and remove the citizenship question from the 2020 census, 32BJ SEIU headquarters, 25 W. 18th St., Manhattan.

At 1:30 p.m., former US Attorney Preet Bharara discusses pressing legal topics of the day and current events with Fordham University School of Law Dean Matthew Diller, NYSBA Annual Meeting, New York Hilton Midtown, Manhattan.

At 2:30 p.m., Hochul delivers a presentation on Cuomo’s 2019 State of the State and budget address, Rochester City Hall, Atrium, 30 Church St., Rochester.

At 3 p.m., Rep. Adriano Espaillat hosts his annual open house event, honoring the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Harlem district office, 163 W. 125th St., Manhattan. (Mark-Viverito will attend).

Also at 3 p.m., Cuomo’s chief diversity officer Lourdes Zapata delivers a presentation on his State of the State and budget address, The Paramount Theater, 17 South St., Middletown.

At 5:30 p.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Assemblyman Charles Lavine attend a Martin Luther King Jr. service, Temple Beth-El, 5 Old Mill Road, Great Neck.

De Blasio travels this evening to Bangor, Maine, to visit his aged aunt.

Headlines…

An end to the government shutdown looked more distant than ever after President Donald Trump abruptly canceled Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned visit to Afghanistan.

“The purpose of the trip was to express appreciation & thanks to our men & women in uniform for their service & dedication, & to obtain critical national security & intelligence briefings from those on the front lines,” Pelosi’s chief of staff explained on Twitter.

Hours after Trump grounded Pelosi’s planned trip to visit the troops, first lady Melania Trump was winging her way to Mar-a-Lago — on a government jet.

Trump also has canceled his administration’s trip to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum next week.

Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.

Cohen acknowledged that he had paid the owner of a technology services company to help doctor results of an online poll to help Trump as he considered a run for president.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that if the government shutdown continues, it could cost New Yorkers — especially the most vulnerable — hundreds of millions of dollars in needed benefits.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed state agencies to provide support for federal workers affected by the federal government shutdown.

Electric and gas utilities in New York announced that customers affected by the partial federal government shutdown can take part in special collection practices.

Fresh off her 2020 announcement, U.S. Kirsten Gillibrand said she plans to attend a Women’s March in Iowa this weekend — even though the event has been shrouded in controversy since one of its organizers refused to condemn anti-Semitic religious leader Louis Farrakhan.

A global New York-based law firm has agreed to pay $4.6 million to settle a Justice Department investigation into whether its work for a Russia-aligned Ukrainian government violated lobbying laws.

A series of depositions that a federal judge authorized this week to explore Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account as secretary of State have been put on ice due to the partial government shutdown.

De Blasio defended his administration’s decision to allow a senior aide to resign after he was accused of sexually harassing two women, saying firing him would have exposed the identity of his alleged victims.

After winning a commanding re-election in 2017, de Blasio was effusive in praising a key member of his core City Hall team: Kevin O’Brien, his acting chief of staff. Three months later, O’Brien was gone, quietly forced to resign after complaints of sexual harassment filed by two female city employees were substantiated.

A hearing on sexual harassment will take place in Albany next month, giving survivors and advocates a long-sought platform to weigh in on the issue as lawmakers seek to bolster the state’s sexual harassment laws.

The annual two-and-a-half-month do-si-do over how much money the governor and State Legislature should put toward public education has begun. Not only are school districts disappointed by the funding levels proposed by Cuomo, but they’re wary about his proposal to force districts to shift more money to their poorest schools.

Contrary to Cuomo’s recent assertions, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority he effectively controls does not expect to seek the approval of its board to proceed with the governor’s L-train plan.

This occurred just two days after the agency’s board bashed the plan during a heated “emergency” meeting Tuesday.

The NYPD gained information from undercover sources embedded in the Black Lives Matter protests that swept through the city in 2015, according to hundreds department emails made public yesterday.

While NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill defended the practice laid bare in a series of department emails, de Blasio said he found it concerning because the activists “are not a security risk in any way shape or form.”

The Legal Aid Society is filing a federal class-action lawsuit accusing de Blasio’s housing agency of maintaining an “unlawful and devastating policy” that imperils domestic violence survivors.

More >

Extras

After she told him to delay his State of the Union address in her chamber, the president announced that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s scheduled trip to Egypt, Brussels and Afghanistan “has been postponed” due to the shutdown, telling her: “If you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.”

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani now says he “never said there was no collusion” between Russia and members of Trump’s 2016 White House campaign, contradicting public positions that he and his client have taken.

Amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, Trump’s job approval rating has declined since last month, and cracks in the president’s base are part of the reason, according to a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Trump slammed “radical Democrats” in Congress for not agreeing to his demand that lawmakers cough up $5.7 million for his long-promised wall on the Mexican border.

All State Department employees furloughed because of the ongoing government shutdown are being ordered to report back to work next week — but they won’t see a paycheck until mid-February at the earliest.

The NYPD infiltrated the Black Lives Matter movement by using undercover agents and other “sources” to track the activists’ movements while calling them “idiots,” according to the department emails newly released following a Freedom of Information Law request.

Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s first speech on the House floor quickly made C-SPAN history, becoming its most viewed twitter video of any remarks by a House member of either party, seen 1.16 million times.

Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, a junior New York U.S. senator and newly minted 2020 presidential contender, apologized for holding “callous” views on immigration amidst a broader mea culpa over her formerly conservative views on “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

New health care regulations outlined by Cuomo would give New Yorkers more options when it comes to having children — and could require insurers to cover the cost of condoms.

The LIRR hired an outside agency to help with the homeless problem in and around railroad stations. Eleven months into its five-year, $860,000 contract, an audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found Services for the Underserved is not doing its job – even lying about its outreach.

A group of state lawmakers plans to hold hearings regarding the LIRR’s recent performance, which they described as “subpar and in desperate need of thorough review.”

The de Blasio administration says it’s opposing a controversial NYC Council bill that would allow employees to blow off their bosses’ after-hour emails and texts without penalty, saying it’s just too tough to monitor.

Advocates say the governor’s promise to invest $200 million in fighting the opioid epidemic is specious, advocates say, if not outright misleading.

One hundred and ninety one pages of the governor’s budget bill are devoted to the topic of legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use.

Kevin O’Brien, who had served as NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s acting chief of staff in 2017 and was then a senior adviser, departed City Hall last year because of a substantiated allegation of sexual harassment from two people, according to city documents.

The number of Buffalo Public Schools in academic good standing with New York State has more than doubled in the past three years, while at the same time the number under threat of an outside takeover has gone from 25 down to just three – two that were on that original list and one new one.

Days after former “Today” host Megyn Kelly’s exit deal was finalized with NBC, she was summoned for jury duty.

New York public university faculty members and graduate assistants are choosing not to pay union dues at a higher rate than any other major group of state government employees since getting the right to choose in last year’s landmark ruling in Janus v. AFSCME.

A Good Samaritan found $8,000 on the side of the road and delivered it to a woman whose husband died in the Schoharie limousine crash – getting her the money just before a cruise they’d planned as a honeymoon.

Here and Now

Day 27 of the partial federal government shutdown.

Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump make a Missile Defense Review announcement in Arlington, VA at 11 a.m.

Pence in the afternoon – 4 p.m. – participates in a pro-life advocates roundtable in his ceremonial office at the White House.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public events or interviews yet scheduled.

At 7:45 a.m., former NYC Council Speaker and public advocate candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito greets commuters at the Brook Avenue 6 train station, the Bronx.

At 9 a.m., NYC Councilman Robert E. Cornegy Jr., fellow elected officials and community members unveil a scale model of a statue of Shirley Chisholm in honor of the 50th Anniversary of her election to U.S. Congress in 1968, becoming the first black woman to hold that post, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave., Brooklyn.

At 9:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray host an Interfaith Breakfast, The New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Celeste Bartos Forum, 476 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Campaign Finance Board meets, Joseph A. O’Hare S.J. boardroom, 100 Church St., 12th floor, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Higher Education meets, 250 Broadway, 14th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing meets, 250 Broadway, 16th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. holds a press conference against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement about the Reproductive Health Act, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, and Albany area survivors of child sexual abuse, will join together to explain why the Child Victims Act is essential for local law enforcement, outside state Senate chambers, 3rd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features state Sen. Brad Hoylman and others, WCNY.

At 11:30 a.m., de Blasio holds a media availability to provide an update on the federal government shutdown, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 11:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul outlines the governor’s 2019 “Justice Agenda” laid out in his budget proposal, Onondaga Community College, Coulter Hall Community Room (Library), 4585 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse.

At noon, leading women’s and immigrants’ rights advocates hold a Pre-Women’s Unity Rally press conference with advocates telling their stories, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:15 p.m., Mark-Viverito visits the ARC Central Harlem Senior Center, 120 W. 140th St., Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., Guillermo Linares, acting president, NYS Higher Education Services Corp, delivers a State of the State address/budget presentation, Alpha Phi Alpha Senior Center, 220-01 Linden Blvd., Cambria Heights.

At 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Governmental Operations meets jointly with the Committee on Technology, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh presents the 2019 State of the City address, Redhouse at City Center, 400 S. Salina St., Syracuse.

Also at 2 p.m., Hochul announces the completion of upgrades at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source, 161 Wilson Laboratory, Synchrotron Drive, Ithaca.

At 3 p.m., McCray will meet with women at the Queens Family Justice Center to commemorate the anniversary of its mental health program, 126-02 82nd Ave., Queens.

At 3:15 p.m., Hochul gives another overview of the governor’s executive budget, Cornell University, Stocking Hall, PepsiCo Auditorium, 411 Tower Rd., Ithaca.

At 7 p.m., Karim Camara, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services, gives a State of the State/budget presentation, Red Oak Apartments, Community Room, 135 W. 106th St., Manhattan.

At 8 p.m., state Sen. Julia Salazar, Assembly members Maritza Davila and Joseph Lentol, New York City Council members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso rally for a Better Loft Law, San Damiano Mission, 85 N. 15th St., Brooklyn.

Headlines…

After launching her presidential campaign, the first question U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand fielded was one about likability.

Gillibrand was described by one writer as a “younger, more relatable” version of another onetime Democratic presidential candidate from New York: Hillary Clinton.

She’s now headed to Iowa – the first-in-the-nation caucus state – for a three-day tour.

Gillibrand’s response to the fact that during her re-election campaign last year, she pledged to serve out an entire six-year term in the Senate: “I believe the urgency of this moment now is we have to take on President Trump and what he is doing.”

Reporters asked Gillibrand again and again about her shifting stances – which, Republicans said, could be her undoing. Once a relatively conservative House member from the Hudson Valley, she’s now among the Senate’s leading liberals.

After once opposing it, for example, Gillibrand said she now supports granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

“Look at my heart,” Gillibrand said when asked about her evolving stances on issues like immigration and gun control. “I think it’s important to know when you’re wrong, and to do what’s right.”

Gillibrand also said for the first time that she was uninterested in having a political action committee devoted to her bid. “I don’t think we should have individual super PACs, and I don’t want one,” she said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Trump to scrap or delay his Jan. 29 State of the Union address amid the partial government shutdown, an extraordinary request that escalated the partisan battle over his border wall even as bipartisan groups of lawmakers pressed him to reopen the government and make room for compromise.

In a letter, Pelosi noted that both the Secret Service and the Homeland Security Department are stretched thin thanks to the shutdown and requested the commander-in-chief consider postponing the event — or just deliver it in writing. He did not immediately respond.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg backed out of a scheduled appearance next month at the 92nd Street Y while she continues to recover from a recent early-stage lung cancer surgery, the organization said.

Doctors say they expect the justice to be back on the bench in February, and until then she will review transcripts from her home and participate in the court’s decision-making remotely. Critics say the 85-year-old Ginsburg should retire.

A federal judge has breathed new life into questions surrounding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and the 2012 attack that killed U.S. officials in Benghazi, Libya.

U.S. Attorney General nominee William Barr’s claim that more should be done to investigate the Clinton Foundation, and his related correspondence with a reporter on that issue, has caught the attention of his critics and raises fresh questions on how he’d handle the issue if confirmed.

Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired a warning shot at the big banks after securing a seat on the House Financial Services Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had four freshman congresswomen chasing him all around the Capitol yesterday – including Ocasio-Cortez – seeking action on the government shutdown.

Trump signed a law that will guarantee that government workers who aren’t getting paid during the partial shutdown will get back pay when it’s over.

The White House joined the growing chorus of Republicans in condemning recent comments by Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King about white supremacy, labeling his language “abhorrent.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to hold up to $7.3 billion earmarked for the MTA in order to press lawmakers into passing congestion pricing and other policy in his executive budget.

New York’s sky-high campaign contribution limits would be dramatically lowered under a plan put forward this week by Cuomo.

More >

Extras

Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Trump to reschedule his State of the Union address — or deliver it in writing — as long as the government remains shut down.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, later confirmed that the 2019 State of the Union will not proceed as planned. “The State of the Union is off,” he said.

The record-setting partial government shutdown, which began Dec. 22, continues to drag on, meaning hundreds of thousands of federal employees are being asked to work without pay or to stay home. But members of Congress are still collecting paychecks.

Pelosi got the last laugh on Long Island Rep. Kathleen Rice, who opposed the California Democrat for speaker, denying the former Nassau prosecutor a coveted seat on the lower chamber’s high-profile Judiciary Committee.

The school where Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen Pence, has accepted a part-time job teaching art requires potential employees to affirm certain religious beliefs that seek to exclude homosexual and transgender applicants, including that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

A group of women, led by former Long Island Democratic House candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley, are launching “Vote Mama” this week, with the aim of recruiting, funding and training mothers with young kids to run for political office.

State-owned Olympic winter sports venues and ski resorts could see major investments for the third year in a row if the state Legislature approves the governor’s $82.5 million proposal.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is putting her presidential campaign HQ in Troy because, in her words, the Collar City is “awesome,” adding: “Troy’s a lot like the rest of America.”

“Kirsten Gillibrand’s brand relies on morphing her views to fit the job,” said Samantha Cotten, spokesperson for America Rising, a leading Republican super PAC. “However, with dozens of presidential hopefuls competing for the title of ‘most progressive candidate,’ her incessant flip-flopping will not go unrecognized by voters.”

After once opposing it when she was a congresswoman, Gillibrand, on her first day as a Democratic presidential candidate, said she now supports granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

The House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee is hosting a session tomorrow morning with Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC – 2.42 million followers) and Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut (@jahimes – 76,500 followers) “on the most effective ways to engage constituents on Twitter and the importance of digital storytelling.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio went on “The View” to tout his healthcare policy plans for a national audience, and wound up getting shouted at by Whoopi Goldberg over bike lanes.

Hours after Cuomo announced that he would double New York City’s speed camera system, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson said, um, is that all?

Cuomo is so serious about wanting to “blow up” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that he plans to hold $7.3 billion in already-promised MTA funding hostage until the state Legislature helps him achieve vague reforms.

A month before announcing he’ll run again, embattled Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse — facing allegations of physical abuse and under FBI investigation — paid $10,000 to a firm that says it specializes in repairing reputations. Today, perhaps on the firm’s advice, he apologized, vaguely.

EJ McMahon: “Disentangled from the politically turbocharged, high-volume rhetoric of his State of the State message, the first Executive Budget of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s third term is largely a stay-the-course affair – for better and worse.”

Homeowners earning between $250,000 to $500,000 a year would get a check back for their STAR rebates to help pay for school taxes rather than receiving the savings directly in their tax bill, Cuomo proposed in his budget.

NYC has added the drug store chains CVS, Walmart, Walgreens and Rite Aid as defendants in the lawsuit it had previously filed against opioid manufacturers and distributors, alleging fraudulent business practices.

Legislation making its way through the Capitol could potentially give federal workers affected by the partial federal government shutdown extra time to pay their local property taxes.

Suffolk’s Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone has more than $2 million in his coffers entering the race for a third term, 20 times more than his closest potential rival, according to new campaign filings.

Sterling Jewelers Inc, whose brands include Kay Jewelers and Jared, agreed to pay $11 million in fines to settle charges by U.S. and New York regulators that it signed up consumers for store credit cards and credit insurance without permission.

The Niagara Falls Water Board has decided to conduct a nationwide search for a new executive director for the city’s water and sewer operations. Rolfe Porter informed the board Friday that he doesn’t want to stick around after his contract expires March 31.

North Hempstead has banned the sale of recreational marijuana within its boundaries, becoming the first Nassau County town to do so.

RIP Joseph Sullivan, an Albany neighborhood activist and frequent candidate for elected office, who died after a battle with cancer.

Here and Now

The federal government is still shut down.

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

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will be in the Bronx today.

At 8 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will join elected officials, advocates and commuters for a rally and press conference opposing the proposed MTA fare hikes that are slated to be voted on later this month, entrance to 149th Street and Grand Concourse subway station, the Bronx.

At 9 a.m., Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation general secretary and Christy Hoffman, UNI Global Union general secretary will discuss the impacts of Amazon around the globe, including working conditions, economic impacts and on the future world of work, RWDSU, 7 Penn Plaza, 370 7th Ave., 5th Fl., Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., the SUNY board of trustees and its committees meet, State University Plaza, 353 Broadway, Albany.

Also at 9 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will outline the governor’s 2019 agenda, Albany Capital Center, 55 Eagle Street, Albany.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Juvenile Justice meets, 250 Broadway, 16th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Sen. James Skoufis holds a press conference to discuss passage of GENA and the gay conversation therapy ban, the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center, 102 South Williams St., Newburgh.

At 11 a.m., Assemblyman David Weprin tours the Queensboro Correctional Facility with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry, 47-04 Van Dam St., Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen calls for an outside operational audit of the town’s Building Department, Town Hall, 1 Washington St., Hempstead.

Also at 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, WCNY.

Also at 11 a.m., the Liberal Party makes an endorsement announcement in the race for New York City public advocate, 1 Centre St., Manhattan.

At noon, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and NYC Councilman Mark Treyger advocate for the passage of Intro. 1283, which would require the city Department of Education to collect data and report on school-based food, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:15 p.m., Mayor de Blasio will deliver remarks, Tres Puentes – Borinquen Court, 285 East 138th Street, the Bronx.

At 1 p.m., Rep. Elise Stefanik will officially launch E-PAC, a PAC dedicated to electing more Republican women to Congress, Samsung Solutions Center, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 6th Fl., Washington, DC.

Also at 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Civil and Human Rights, 250 Broadway, 16th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., the NYC Committee on Hospitals meets, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Educations meets, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., Hochul will deliver remarks at Northland Workforce Training Center Reception, 683 Northland Avenue, Buffalo.

At 6 p.m., Hochul will deliver remarks at the swearing-in ceremony of Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. True Bethel Baptist Church, 907 E Ferry Street, Buffalo.

At 6:30 p.m., NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez holds a budget forum, Isabella Nursing Home, 515 Audubon Ave., Manhattan.

Headlines…

The record-long federal government shutdown is beginning to take its toll on the economy, threatening to strangle growth.

President Trump’s administration is calling federal workers back, but they will not be paid, an indication that the shutdown’s end is nowhere in sight.

In the U.S. Senate, Republicans there are standing by their leader, Mitch McConnell, as he has largely been on the sidelines during the negotiations.

A new court filing indicated prosecutors have more details on the activities of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort that are not yet public.

The president’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, told lawmakers on Tuesday he would not interfere with Robert Mueller’s investigation and be able to act independently.

The U.K. parliament shot down a plan to exit from the European Union, dealing a devastating blow to Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for the Brexit, while the opposition calls for a no-confidence vote.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday unveiled a $178 billion spending plan that he says is in many ways a rebuke to President Donald Trump’s administration.

Cuomo says the government can do more to safeguard against fraud and theft as the state addresses how it procures contracts moving forward. Under his initiative, state agencies would have to certify there is no collusion, no political interference, disclose any payments and prior relationships when entering contracts.

The governor laid out a series of reforms for the MTA and its budget, but gave no specifics in his address.

Cuomo says he wants to make it a felony charge for assaulting a working journalist — a move that comes amid heightened tensions for the press.

Cuomo also called for congestion pricing tolls in Manhattan in order to shore up funding for mass transit.

More than a decade after Mayor Michael Bloomberg fought unsuccessfully for Albany to enact congestion pricing, the plan has new momentum in the state capital.

Cuomo also called for an increase in public education spending, but it’s unlikely to be enough to satisfy education advocates.

Cuomo plans to include safety reforms for stretch limousines, like the one involved in October’s deadly crash in Schoharie, in the 2019 budget, his office announced Tuesday.

The budget also calls for fighting upstate poverty, with Rochester in line to receive $25 million.

Speech reaction: “From the social justice front to rebuilding infrastructure to investing in clean water resources and investing in our upstate communities, I think we’re really well aligned and we’re excited for what’s to come,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.

State lawmakers approved the codification of protections for transgender people and gender identity as well as a ban on gay conversion therapy, long-sought measures for LGBTQ advocates.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand entered the growing field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders Tuesday, telling television host Stephen Colbert that she’s launching an exploratory committee.

“I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom I am going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own,” she told Colbert.

Since the 2016 election, Gillibrand has sought to position herself as a key lawmaker opposing the Trump administration.

The two federal jails in New York City are feeling the effects of the partial government shutdown. For nearly two weeks so-called social visits—relatives meeting prisoners—have been canceled because of staff shortages.

Two weeks after Gov. Cuomo announced he averted the dreaded L train shutdown, it’s not clear he has. The MTA held an emergency meeting on his surprise plan to repair the line’s East River tunnel without suspending service for 15 months.

A federal judge blocked the Trump administration Tuesday from asking about citizenship status on the 2020 census, the first major ruling in cases contending officials ramrodded the question through for Republican political purposes to intentionally undercount immigrants.

Hundreds found front-row seats on Tuesday for the demolition of the Tappan Zee Bridge on Piermont Pier, and recalled memories that made them feel the need to see the 64-year-old structure fall into the Hudson River.

Benjamin Brafman, the lawyer representing Harvey Weinstein in his rape, is reportedly withdrawing.

The Troy Record newspaper is closing its last remaining office in the city.

New York continues to draw a record number of tourists — 65 million — despite the ongoing trade war and immigration rhetoric.

Former FBI Director James Comey was spotted attending a stage production of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

Extras

Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, urged Congress to include border security funds in a bill to reopen the government, but stopped short of fully endorsing the president’s proposed border wall.

A federal judge in New York blocked the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a win for critics who say the question is unnecessary and would cause fewer immigrants and minorities to respond to the decennial survey.

No Democrats attended a lunch with Trump designed to reach an agreement to end the government shutdown and fund a border wall, the White House said.

The U.S. economy is taking a larger-than-expected hit from the partial government shutdown, White House estimates showed.

Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is taking Washington by storm, but some Senate Democrats see her exploding appeal as more of a sideshow than meaningful statement about the future of their party.

Ocasio-Cortez and her Republican critics have both called her proposal to dramatically increase America’s highest tax rate “radical” but a new poll indicates that a majority of Americans agrees with the idea.

Assaulting on-the-job journalists would become a felony in New York state under a proposal put forth by Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his State of the State/budget address.

Sports gambling should be permitted at four upstate casinos, Cuomo said, though the Gaming Commission has yet to issue regulations as to how that would work.

Funding to the state’s public schools would go up nearly $1 billion under Cuomo’s proposed budget, but education advocates were hoping for about twice as much.

Also in Cuomo’s budget: An investment of $150 billion in critical infrastructure improvements, most of it on transportation and environmental projects.

Cuomo proposed extending mayoral control of New York City schools for an additional three years, which would be the longest extension for Mayor Bill de Blasio and could signal some newfound comity between the governor and mayor.

Former NJ Gov. Chris Christie, in his new tell-all about working on Trump’s campaign, paints a scathing portrait of first son-in-law Jared Kushner — depicting him as a vengeful, underhanded dullard ill equipped to work in the White House.

The Federal Aviation Administration is bringing thousands of furloughed inspectors and engineers back to work as the partial government shutdown drags on, the agency said.

The MTA considered an idea similar to the L train tunnel fix Cuomo has decided on five years ago, and dismissed it due to serious safety concerns – including the potential for the spread of cancer-causing dust that could harm commuters and workers.

De Blasio is going to Eastport, Maine to visit his 92-year-old aunt, and while there, will help raise money for the Eastport Arts Center, which provides year-round programming in a former Baptist church that was built soon after Maine became a state.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is going to Canada for outpatient surgery for treatment of a hernia related to an attack by a neighbor outside his home in 2017 — but don’t accuse the staunch opponent of all things socialist of seeking public health care. He’ll be paying for his care in full.

After spanning the Hudson River for more than six decades, a big chunk of the old Tappan Zee Bridge was toppled in a controlled blast today to the delight of hundreds of onlookers.

The field of candidates running for New York City public advocate in the Feb. 26 special election remains massive after 23 candidates submitted ballot petition signatures to the city Board of Elections to get on the ballot,

Queens state Sen. Jose Peralta, who was rushed to a hospital and died unexpectedly at the age of 47 the day before Thanksgiving, was killed by complications of leukemia, the city medical examiner revealed. He was the first Dominican American elected to the chamber, and the governor has proposed naming the DREAM Act in his memory.

Lawmakers Approved Protections For Gender Expression, Transgender New Yorkers

A bill that would create legal protections for transgender New Yorkers and gender expression was approved by the Democratic-controlled state Legislature on Tuesday, the most significant piece of LGBTQ rights legislation to be approved in the last seven years.

Cheers erupted in the state Senate, now under Democratic control, shortly after the 42-19 vote was announced.

“When we’re able to pass marriage equality, none of us thought it would take eight years to get to today,” Stewart-Cousins said. “But we are here.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the measure into law.

Aspects of the bill were first approved in the state’s civil rights regulation by Cuomo in 2015 after Republicans, who controlled the Senate at the time, declined to take up the bill.

“The passage of GENDA – 16 years in the making – will codify our progressive reputation and ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation are treated equally and with respect,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman.

“As the Trump administration continues to roll back protections for LGBTQ Americans, today’s victory sends a strong message to LGBTQ people across New York: you are loved, understood, and protected by your state government. We will not let you down.”

Lawmakers had previously in 2002 approved the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, but advocates have argued the legislation fell short of protections for transgender and gender expression when it comes housing, the workplace and other facets of life.

“Today is an historic day,” said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried.

“The Assembly has passed the bill 11 times, but the Senate’s Republican Majority refused to let the bill have a floor vote. Today, the new Democratic Majority has joined us in protecting the rights of New Yorkers regardless of gender identity or expression. I look forward to Governor Cuomo signing GENDA into law.”

Here and Now

The partial federal government shutdown continues, heading toward the one-month mark with no end in sight.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be delivering his combined State of the State/2019-20 budget address this afternoon in Albany.

The Senate and Assembly are continuing to steam through long-stalled legislation now that the Legislature is under complete Democrat control, planning to pass GENDA and a ban on gay conversion therapy.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence join members of Congress for lunch at the White House.

At 9:30 a.m., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz hears a presentation from the New York City Department of Transportation about its ongoing sidewalk pedestrian ramp upgrade program, Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Queens.

At 10:15 a.m., the state Board of Regents meets, 89 Washington Ave, Albany.

At 10:30 a.m., the NYC Council members Jumaane Williams, Vanessa Gibson, I. Daneek Miller and several other officials honor Martin Luther King Jr. and decry senseless gun violence, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the Senate Republican Conference will be unveiling its “Real Solutions” budget plan, Room 315, state Capitol, Albany.

At 11 a.m., the state Senate is in session, Senate chamber, state Capitol, Albany. LG Kathy Hochul will be presiding.

Also at 11 a.m., SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson delivers her State of the University System address, Albany Capital Center, 55 Eagle St., Albany. UPDATE: Johnson will deliver her address on Thursday, Jan. 31. This event has been changed to accommodate the governor’s budget.

At noon, the MTA holds a special board meeting, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., climate activists host a press conference in support of a real “Green New Deal,” Empire State Plaza, Concourse, Albany.

At 1 p.m., Sen. Brad Hoylman, Assembly members Richard Gottfried and Deborah Glick, legislative colleagues and advocates will host a press conference following the Legislature’s historic vote on the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and legislation to ban conversion therapy, outside the Senate chambers, 3rd Fl., state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Youth Services meets, 250 Broadway, 14th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., the True Blue NY grassroots coalition hosts a press conference announcing the People’s First 100 Days Agenda, Million Dollar Staircase, state Capitol, Albany.

At 2 p.m., Cuomo delivers the State of the State Address, Kitty Carlisle Hart Theatre, The Egg, Center for Performing Arts, Empire State Plaza, Albany. Hochul will also attend, as will NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials from around the state.

At 4 p.m., the SUNY board of trustees and its committees meet, State University Plaza, 353 Broadway, Albany.

5:30 p.m., the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and other partners host a candidates forum for New York City’s public advocate special election, Brooklyn Law School, 250 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

Also at 5:30 p.m., Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar, joined by local elected officials from around Albany County, will make a major announcement, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, 375 Ontario St., Albany.

At 6:30 p.m., City & State hosts the Health Power 50 networking reception, which celebrates the 50 most influential people in New York’s health care sector, The Mezzanine, 55 Broadway, Manhattan.

Headlines…

Hillary Clinton reminded her Twitter followers that she predicted President Donald Trump would be a “puppet” to Russian President Vladimir Putin if elected following the president’s denial of a New York Times report that Trump’s deferential treatment toward Putin caused the FBI to consider he might have been working for Russia.

While polls show that a majority of Americans blame Trump and Republicans and do not support a border wall, Republicans are reading a different line in the polling: Support for the wall is growing and hardening among Republican voters.

Trump bought piles of burgers – 1,000 he said – and slices of pizza from fast food joints to feed the Clemson University football team, as members of the White House staff are furloughed and couldn’t make a meal for the event last night.

Piles of burgers and fish sandwiches from McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King, still in their boxes and wrappers, were served on trays in the candlelit dining room. Tubs of dipping sauces were stacked in silver gravy boats. On another table, heat lamps kept French fries and Domino’s pizzas warm. Salads were available, too.

Trump’s inaugural committee spent millions of dollars on lavish payments to friends and political allies, including $1.5 million to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.

Embattled Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King was stripped of all his committee assignments in a stunning intra-party retaliatory move — and the full House is separately expected to reprimand him – after his questioning why phrases such as “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” are considered “offensive.”

Trump’s attorney general nominee, William Barr, will tell senators at his confirmation hearing that “it is vitally important” for special counsel Robert Mueller to be allowed to conclude the investigation into Russian tampering during the 2016 election.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will appear on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” tonight, where she is expected to reveal a major move toward running for the 2020 presidential nomination.

If she announces her exploratory committee, as expected, the New York Democrat would become the second U.S. senator — and second female senator — to announce plans to begin the legal process of running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

A new Siena College poll showed overwhelming support among New York voters on issues like legalizing pot, enacting congestion pricing to raise money for the cash-strapped MTA, strengthening the state’s abortion laws, and passing the Child Victims Act to make it easier for child sex abuse survivors to seek justice as adults.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio rejected the idea floated by Cuomo and others in Albany that the city needs to cough up more taxpayer green to fix the subways, saying: “If anyone thinks that money can be found in the city budget, they may be smoking marijuana. The fact is, it just isn’t there.”

In a nod to de Blasio, New York City’s speed camera program would be extended and expanded under a proposal Cuomo is set to unveil as part of his 2019-20 state budget plan.

Here’s more on the plastic bag ban the governor says he’ll be including in his budget, though he hasn’t yet revealed many details.

Cuomo’s demand to reorganize the MTA to give him a clear majority of appointees was first broached more than 35 years ago by his father, Mario. It went nowhere, in part because Ed Koch, then mayor of New York City, didn’t like it.

The new Democrat-controlled state Legislature took its first actions, passing a package of legislation they say will make voting easier and close a major loophole that has allowed corporations to skirt campaign finance limits.

Making it far easier to register and vote has been hailed by some government watchdogs as a key way to improve New York’s longtime reputation as among the nation’s worst when it comes to voter turnout. But some critics have said the measures will make it too easy to both register and vote – situations that could make voter fraud also simpler.

“We should not fear making it easier for those who are eligible to vote, to vote,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “We should not fear restricting the flow of money into our electoral system.”

The Legislature did not act on two voting-related proposals floated by the governor: Making Election Day a holiday, and opening polling places upstate before noon for primaries.

A measure approved to consolidate New York’s state and federal primaries could affect next year’s legislative calendar.

Cities and towns in New York would still be able to ban marijuana sales under Cuomo’s plan to legalize the drug statewide, and people under the age of 21 would be prohibited from buying it.

Regardless of changes to state law, college students 21 or older may need to consult a different set of guidelines regarding pot, as institutions of higher education in New York may continue to ban marijuana use on campus and punish students who smoke on school grounds.

Advocates seeking passage of the Child Victims Act are calling on state legislators and the governor to swiftly pass the legislation, which for years was blocked by Senate Republicans who lost control of the chamber in November’s elections. Cuomo says he’ll put it in the budget; they want it quicker than that.

Cuomo’s executive budget will include a ban on “stretched” or remanufactured limousines in New York, as well as sweeping measures to expand regulation of the limousine industry in response to October’s fatal crash in Schoharie County that killed 20 people.

Here’s some more things to watch for as Cuomo takes the wraps off his budget proposal today.

More >