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.

Cuomo Outlines Lobbying Reforms

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to strengthen regulations for lobbyists in New York, including new reporting requirements for minimum disclosure set at $500, a code of conduct for those who seek to influence public policy and a ban on political consultants from lobbying officials they helped elect.

“We can do more to ensure the public trust and that’s why we want to enact a public Code of Conduct for lobbyists that stops self-dealing and conflicts of interest so everybody knows who they’re working for,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“With this proposal, we will ban political consultants from lobbying the politicians they helped elect, expand the lobbying ban to crack down on the proverbial revolving door and increase penalties for lobbyists who fail to follow the law.”

The proposals were outlined in Cuomo’s 2019-20 budget proposal, due at the end of March.

The provisions would also require lobbyists to further disclose campaign donations in order to identify them as bundling contributions. Lobbyists would also be blocked from giving candidates loans.

Penalties for failing for lobbyists who fail to follow disclosure requirements would also be increased, including possible debarment.

Cuomo Calls For Lower Contribution Limits

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, one of the state’s most prodigious political fundraisers, is calling for lower caps on the amount of money candidates for office can raise.

Statewide candidates would have donations to their campaigns capped at $10,000 for a primary and $15,000 for the generally election, a decline from the $44,000 limit in a general election contest.

Candidates for the state Senate would have their contributions capped at $5,000 each for the primary and general election, down from the $11,000 general election limit and $7,000 ceiling in a primary.

In the Assembly, candidates there would be limited to $3,000 in both the general and primary election.

Cuomo has also called for the public financing of political campaigns with a small donor matching system.

“For far too long, rich corporations and the wealthiest one percent have influenced our elections and drowned out the voices of ordinary New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “Now is the time to implement real campaign finance reform in New York. Let’s overhaul our campaign financing system by incentivizing candidates to focus on small donors, not large corporations, and lowering campaign contribution limits and give the power back to New Yorkers once and for all.”

Cuomo is known for being an aggressive fundraiser. He spent $35.5 million on his re-election campaign. The entire four-year cycle, Cuomo spent $43.1 million. He has $5 million left in his campaign account.

Former IDC Senator Hired by Ag & Markets

Former IDC Sen. David Valesky has been added to the payroll of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Valesky will act as a liaison to local governments, focusing on education and outreach, according to an Ag & Markets spokeswoman.

He is replacing Raquel Gonzalez, the now Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Civil Service.

In a statement, Ag & Markets Commissioner Richard Ball said:

“We are thrilled to welcome Dave, who as a former longtime member of the senate agriculture committee is a great addition to our team and will help advance the agency’s priorities throughout New York State especially given the national pressures on farms and producers. We always look for ways to connect New Yorkers with the great foods we grow and produce here in New York, and Dave brings valuable statewide experience and knowledge to the Department.”

Valesky served the 53rd Senate district until defeated in a Sept. 13th primary challenge by Sen. Rachel May.

He numbers one of the six unlucky former IDCers to lose their seat thanks to intense discontent with the breakaway Democratic conference.

The Senate Democratic Conference had no comment on Valeksy’s hiring.

As Deputy Commissioner, Valesky will rake in a salary numbering $127,000, a step up from $79,500, the former base pay for lawmakers–although according to SeeThroughNY, a fiscal tracking data site aligned with the Empire Center for Public Policy, the ex-Senator expensed reports since at least 2008 ranging from $9,000 to $34,000.

SeeThroughNY listed Department of Agriculture & Markets Commissioner Ball’s salary as $120,468 in 2017.

Valesky served as ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and as a member of the Rural Resources Commission.

He was first elected to the state Senate in 2004, representing the 49th district from 2005 to 2014 before its consolidation.

Gillibrand Launches Presidential Bid Asking Voters To ‘Look At My Heart’

As she launched her bid for the White House on Wednesday outside of a diner in Brunswick, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand acknowledged her positions on issues like gun control have changed over the last decade.

“I would tell them, ‘look at my heart,'” she said.

And she urged Democratic primary voters to look at her Senate record representing a heavily Democratic state, a juxtaposition from her time as a relatively moderate member of the House of Representatives from a Republican-leaning upstate district who was opposed to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants and gun control legislation.

Before entering the Senate, Gillibrand had went as far as to say she kept guns in her home under the bed at night.

Gillibrand pointed to the time she spent meeting with victims of gun violence as having an impact on her.

“The pain and the suffering that families are facing every day, I was convicted and I said I have to fight for them too,” she said. “I have to make sure that we fight to end gun violence. What I learned 10 years ago is what American families are learning with these kids from Florida who are part of a movement to end gun violence.””

She added, “I think it’s important to know when you are wrong and to do what’s right.”

Gillibrand announced Tuesday evening on The Late Show she would form an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign. Less than 24 hours later, she was back home in the Capital District flanked by her family, her sons, husband Jonathan and mother Polly, as she entered the race for the Democratic nomination.

“We have to take on President Trump and what he is doing,” she said. “I believe he is literally ripping apart the fabric of this country, the moral fabric. We’ve got to restore that decency and our leadership in the world and so that’s why I feel so called right now to take on that battle.”

Gillibrand, a prodigious fundraiser who has received backing from the financial services industry in New York, pledged to not accept corporate PAC contributions and would not take money from federal lobbyists. She also rejected support from individual super PACs.

“I think it’s important for people to know my values are never for sale,” she said.

Gillibrand’s family has a long history in Albany-area politics. Her grandmother was a trailblazer, having served as a top aide to longtime Albany Mayor Erastus Corning. She spoke also of her mom being one of only a handful of women attending law school.

“I know that I have the compassion and the courage and the fearless determination that is necessary to get this done,” she said. “I know this because of all the people on whose shoulders I stand.”

Gillibrand won a House district represented by Rep. John Sweeney, a Republican who was a favorite of President George W. Bush, in an election victory that helped sweep Democrats back to power in the chamber.

She was a member of the centrist Blue Dog caucus in the House, focusing on issues key to the district, like agriculture. In 2009, then-Gov. David Paterson appointed her to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton over better-known figures like Andrew Cuomo and Caroline Kennedy.

Gillibrand quickly built her profile statewide in a political landscape dominated by men like Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer. Threatened primaries never materialized and Gillibrand has easily won re-election by record margins against little-known Republicans.

In the Senate, she’s focused on issues like sexual assault in the military and on college campuses while also aiding Democratic women running for office.

Her campaign launch today did not come alongside establishment Democrats offering support. Cuomo, who has said he is not interested in running, has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a bid.

Gillibrand served as a top counsel at the Department of Housing and Urban Development while Cuomo was secretary.

Asked about Cuomo’s support for Biden, Gillibrand smiled and said, “I intend to try to change everybody’s mind.”

Cuomo Calls Current School Funding ‘A Scam’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview on Wednesday called the current funding formula for education “a scam” as he pushes for targeted funding increases for poorer schools.

“It was in many ways a scam. You gave money to the poorer district, but they didn’t give it to the poorer schools,” Cuomo said on WAMC.

Cuomo on Tuesday proposed a $956 million education aid increase, including a $338 million foundation aid hike.

That’s far short of the billions of dollars in increased aid education advocates are pushing for in the budget. But Cuomo is seeking a different method altogether of individually poor schools.

“In this law you say you’re not just giving it to the school district, I want it to go to the poorer school,” he said.

Lawmakers have not dismissed the proposal out of hand, but are reviewing the specifics of how the funding formula would change.

“Let’s be clear we’re always going to fight for more funding for these schools,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told The Capitol Pressroom.

Democrats have a full majority in the state Senate for the first time in a decade, and several new members have pledged to boost education by at least $2 billion.

Nevertheless, the push and pull over education spending is a perennial part of the budget negotiations.

“Again, I said I think there’s a lot of things going on for the first time my conference will have for the first time to get this on track,” Stewart-Cousins said. “This is the beginning. Yesterday was the beginning where the governor believes we should go.”

Democratic Lawmakers To Cuomo: Thanks, We Got This

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $178 billion budget proposal will have a lot for lawmakers to haggle over: Education spending, health care, a revamp of how the MTA is run, along with congestion pricing to shore up mass transit.

But many of the proposals Cuomo included in his joint budget and State of the State address — including campaign finance reforms, gun control and strengthening abortion rights and protections for transgender New Yorkers — lawmakers will either take up in the coming weeks or have done already.

“A lot of it’s already happening and will continue to happen,” said Sen. Mike Gianaris, the deputy majority leader. “The governor supports what we’re doing and intends to sign the bills we’re passing, it’s good news.”

Lawmakers next week are expected to take up a package of measures to bolster reproductive and contraceptive rights in New York. It’s another example of long-stalled legislation in the state Senate that Republicans did not hold a vote on, but is now dislodge under Democratic control.

And to be sure, there was plenty Cuomo proposed on Tuesday that lawmakers have not gotten to yet, such as making Election Day a state holiday, as well as an even larger women’s agenda. Cuomo also wants to expand the bottle deposit law as well as ban plastic bags — both of which will likely be a final product of the budget talks.

At the same time, Cuomo appears to have cut the Legislature out of the procurement reform discussion all together, cutting a side deal with Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to restore pre-audit power for contracts.

It’s a strategic retreat for the governor as lawmakers this year increasingly signaled they would take up procurement and contracting reforms that had been initially called for in the wake of the arrest of former close Cuomo aide Joe Percoco.

Nevertheless, the budget is a different dynamic this year given the Democratic control of both chambers of the Legislature. For now, both the governor and Democratic lawmakers are emphasizing what they have in common.

“I think there was an enormous amount of encouragement and support in that room,” said Sen. Liz Krueger. “Many of the things that he laid out are the priorities of the Senate Democrats.”

Krueger added: “We’re going to be moving both in the budget to get things done and free standing legislation.”

Peoples-Stokes Pleased Governor Focusing On Disenfranchised Communities In Cannabis Bill

From the Morning Memo:

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes for years now has sponsored legislation to legalize the adult-use of marijuana.

Now with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s full weight behind the issue, Peoples-Stokes expected an executive proposal in the budget. She hoped it would include many of the same ideas she has championed though.

Specifically, the assemblywoman wanted to make sure revenue from the new industry is earmarked for largely impoverished minority communities who have been disenfranchised by a disproportionate level of enforcement of the current law. She said she did have some expectation the governor would include that as part of his bill based on the conversations she’d had leading up to the budget address, but was still happy to hear it in his speech.

“I did smile a little bit about that,” she said. “That was pleasing.”

But as Cuomo has often said, it’s the details that are important and Peoples-Stokes says she doesn’t know exactly how the bill aims to help these communities but she has her own ideas. For instance she said the state should provide resources to incentivize the kinds of businesses that make for stronger communities.

“We incentivize Tesla to come and bring some jobs that they haven’t even quite completed yet. Why don’t we incentivize a market to come and bring fresh food to communities that are clearly food deserts,” she said.

Peoples-Stokes called for investment in general for disenfranchised communities, as well as resources for people who want to get involved in the legal cannabis business.

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.


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.”

Gillibrand Says She’s Running For President

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday in an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert announced she is forming a committee to run for president of the United States..

“I’m filing an exploratory committee for president of the United States tonight,” she said, according to a video clip released by the show.

Gillibrand, who had flipped a Republican-held upstate House district in 2006, was appointed to the Senate in 2009, filling a seat vacated by Hillary Clinton following her nomination for U.S. secretary of state.

As a member of the House, Gillibrand held moderate fiscal views. Reflecting a more liberal base of support, she began to emphasize concerns closer to the broader Democratic party in New York, including support for gun control and family issues.

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

Gillibrand pledged to fight “institutional racism, the corruption and greed of Washington, taking on the special interests that right legislation in the dead of night.”

“I know I have the compassion, the courage and the fearless determination to get that done,” she added.

Gillibrand joins a growing field of candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has the standing endorsement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is also considering a run as is California Sen. Kamala Harris and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.