Here And Now

Good morning and happy Tuesday!

Happening today:

At 9:15 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will meet with UJA-Federation to discuss its partnership with the state. 130 E 59th St., 7th Floor, New York City.

At 10 a.m., the New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission will meet for a public hearing. Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), 199 Chambers Street (between Greenwich and West Streets), Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., the Joint Commission on Public Ethics will meet. 540 Broadway, Albany.

At noon, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Carl Heastie will hold a news conference. Community Board 12 District Office, 4101 White Plains Road, the Bronx.

At 3:30 p.m., New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will join elected officials and advocates outside of a hearing by the Public Campaign Financing Commission to discuss the need for statewide public financing of elections and the preservation of fusion voting.

At 4 p.m., Williams will make recommendations to the commission on campaign finance reforms and creating a statewide system for public matching funds.

At 6 p.m., Hochul will highlight the importance of women in government at the women’s justice agenda at the Northeast Women in Public Finance Event. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, 51 W 52nd St., 23rd Floor, New York City.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state health officials are urging people to stop vaping as 41 people in New York have gotten sick and eight people nationwide have died.

Vape business owners in New York insisted the product is safe.

The Cuomo administration also announced an investigation into vaping products and their safety.

And the Department of Health will subpoena vape manufacturers.

A Long Island school in the course of a single week received three threats, alarming law enforcement.

Local prosecutors say the implementation of discovery reform as set by the Legislature is an “overwhelming” task.

Anti-vaccination protesters disrupted a meeting of the state Board of Regents, urging them to block a law that ends the religious exemption for vaccinated students.

A new law set to take effect will ave key fobs covered in car service contracts.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has tapped the political director of the politically influential 32BJ SEIU to become his director of strategic planning.

The school year is underway in New York, but the state’s teachers union already looking ahead to January and a push to boost funding for schools.

Lights used to commemorate the Sept. 11 attacks in lower Manhattan are endangering nearly 200,000 birds a year.

A law establishing a remembrance day in New York schools in commemoration of the Sept. 11 attacks was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Elected leaders in Fulton County have taken a stand against Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to require New York drivers to a pay a $25 fee to upgrade their license plates.

Rep. Brian Higgins is pushing for an experimental program to fight algae in the Great Lakes.

Western New York is escaping federal cuts to projects as President Trump diverts money to help pay for the wall on the southern border.

Another group has filed legal documentation in support of the state’s Green Light law. The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a brief supporting the law as part of an ongoing lawsuit.

The Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr., a socially conservative Democrat on the New York City Council, urged leniency for a gay student who killed a classmate.

Democrats in Manhattan are trying to find a way to push party chairman Keith Wright out of the job.

The fallout continues after a Clifton Park payroll company suddenly shut down, affecting thousands of small businesses and their employees in the Capital Region and across the nation.

Cash bail is ending in 2020. Here’s how that would affect jails and those accused of crimes.

They look like something you might come across at an airport, but they are actually on Rikers Island: scanners.

Albany County is considering an unexpected place to help the homeless: the county jail. Sheriff Craig Apple announced the new program, and a new name for the jail, Monday.

For the people inside the medical examiner’s office in Kips Bay, September 11th is something they think about every single day. They’re forensic scientists who are still trying to identify victims’ remains, now 18 years after the attack.

The forthcoming capital plan from the MTA remains shrouded in secrecy.

Gov. Cuomo says the Long Island Rail Road should receive its equitable share of funding in the capital plan.

An environmental coalition on Monday rolled out a “tool kit” for local governments to transition to electric fleet vehicles.

Lawmakers in Albany County voted down a bill that would have set term limits for themselves.

He didn’t make the requirements to debate this Thursday, but Mayor Bill de Blasio wants his rivals in the race for the Democratic nomination for president to talk about one place in particular.

Mayor de Blasio joined Errol Louis from San Juan to discuss his campaign trip to Puerto Rico and his proposed “Robot Tax” to address job loss from automation.

The mayor also discussed the future of the Gifted and Talented programs in city schools, and on efforts to expand the ferry system.

The mayor defended spending an additional $43 million on a ferry system that’s under scrutiny from the city comptroller.

The Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner has been accused to have abused county time by working as an Uber/Lyft driver while on the clock.

The City of Rochester Planning Commission received the final draft of ‘Rochester 2034’ Monday evening.

This weekend, the late Congresswoman Louise Slaughter will be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan continues to keep a watchful eye on the Diocese of Buffalo and the repeated calls for Bishop Richard Malone to resign.

It could soon be easier to get wine delivered to your home in New York due to a recent Supreme Court ruling.

In national news:

President Trump had initially invited Taliban leaders to Camp David for peace talks, but declared those plans “dead” on Monday.

Crews in the Bahamas continued to find bodies as the Hurricane Dorian recovery effort continues to move along at a slow pace.

Congress has a three-week deadline to resolve what could be another brutal fight over federal spending.

Before he entered office, President Trump had a deal with a struggling Scottish Airport that would send flight crews to his resort.

The latest examples of alleged self-dealing by the president are giving Democrats another look at impeachment.

In his first campaign rally in almost a month, President Donald Trump on Monday night urged supporters in North Carolina to vote for the Republican candidate in a special election for the District 9 race.

The president defended states for doing away with Republican primaries for president, and called his declared GOP opponents “a laughingstock.”

For the first time ever, most working-age people entering the workforce are people of color, many of them women.

The ride hailing firms Uber and Lyft are expected to lose a fight in California over how workers are classified as “independent contractors.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered another defeat, this time with Parliament rejecting his call for an early election.

From the editorial pages:

The Daily News says any “green new deal” efforts to fight climate change should also address nuclear energy.

Newsday calls negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan “a bitter pill to swallow.”

The Buffalo News says the long-awaited property revolution for the city is fair, but also long overdue.

Chris Churchill at the Times Union has some fun with the notion of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Gov. Chris Christie holding a forum on civility in politics.

From the sports pages:

The Yankees blanked the Red Sox and knocked them out of postseason contention.

The Mets topped the surging Diamondbacks, 3-1.

Monday Night Football: The Saints narrowly beat the Texans. The Raiders beat the Broncos.

Legal Groups Sues Public Financing Commission For Records Access

An Albany-based legal group on Monday announced it had filed a lawsuit seeking access to records generated by the commission deciding the details of the creation of a system of publicly financed campaigns.

The Government Justice Center, a group with ties to the fiscal watchdog organization The Empire Center, filed the lawsuit after the campaign finance commission failed to act on its Freedom of Information Law request.

The records request sought documents related to the group’s first meeting. The commission is holding a public hearing on Tuesday in New York City.

The group says it filed the request with Jay Jacobs, the state Democratic Party chairman who was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the panel. The commission is composed of appointees of the governor and the legislative leaders.

“The Public Campaign Finance Commission is not taking any of its obligations under Freedom of Information Law seriously,” said the group’s executive director, Cam Macdonald. “This was made abundantly clear when the meeting was streamed using a cellphone camera and the video was sideways and blurry for most of the recording. The public has a right to know what the Commission is up to, especially since the members are not accountable to voters like our elected officials are.”

The commission is tasked with recommending the details of a system of publicly financed campaigns, due by December.

The Government Justice Center earlier this year sued to challenge the recommendations of a similar commission, which backed a pay raise for the Legislature and statewide elected officials as well as a cap on private-sector pay.

States Investigate Google Over Anti-Trust Concerns

Fifty state attorneys general are investigating Google for potential anti-trust violations, New York Attorney General Letitia James confirmed on Monday in a statement.

“Google’s control over nearly every aspect of our lives has placed the company at the center of our digital economy. But it doesn’t take a search engine to understand that unchecked corporate power shouldn’t eclipse consumers’ rights,” James said.

“That is why New York has joined this bipartisan investigation of Google to determine whether the company has achieved or maintained its dominance through anticompetitive conduct. As with the Facebook investigation we are leading, we will use every investigative tool at our disposal in the Google investigation to ensure the truth is exposed.”

The investigation comes as a separate probe has been launched by attorneys general, led by James’s office, reviewing the business practices of Facebook.

Cuomo Says More Workers Should Be Classified As Employees

Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a news conference on Monday said more workers should be classified as employees, not independent contractors, in order for them to receive benefits like health care and retirement.

The classification question is coming to a head in California, where a bill aimed at addressing the so-called “gig economy” of independent contractors could classify many workers as full-time employees. The move would affect companies like Uber and Lyft that classify drivers as independent contractors.

“I think we have to look at how we define employee versus independent contractor going forward,” Cuomo said. “I think, in my opinion, forget the specifics, more people should be considered employees because what has been happening is companies have been going out of their way to hire independent contractors to get out of those obligations.”

Cuomo noted there is a “legal question” surrounding the definition of workers set by the Internal Revenue Service, calling it “a federal determination by a federal definition.”

Cuomo said he’ll likely push again for expanded worker protections.

“Part of that is redefining a worker as an employee as opposed to an independent contractor,” he said.

Cuomo Wants To Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes

New York officials on Monday announced plans to strengthen regulations of vaping and e-cigarette products amid heightened public health concerns surrounding the use of the products.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a news conference in New York City announced the state Department of Health would investigate companies that produce vaping substances and the materials used in making them.

Health officials will also require shops that sell vaping products to post warnings about their use. State officials late last week moved to warn people about using e-cigarettes amid the growing number of reported illnesses believed to be related to vaping.

And Cuomo once again indicated he will push for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. He had initially proposed a measure allowing the Department of Health to ban the products earlier this year in his State of the State address in January.

The proposal did not pass by the end of the legislative session in June, where the measure has been sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal for the last two years. Lawmakers earlier this year boosted the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21.

“It’s attracting thousands of young people to an activity, and again, we don’t know exactly what they are smoking or what the consequences are,” Cuomo said.

“We don’t know what a lot of these substances. If you don’t know what it is that you are smoking, don’t smoke it.”

The proposed ban amid reports of vaping use causing illnesses among some, potentially due to a chemical contained in the devices or by mixing the device with THC.

“I don’t think you will get a public health official who will say to you vaping is safe,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo Signs Law Establishing 9/11 Remembrance In Schools

A law establishing a remembrance day in New York schools in commemoration of the Sept. 11 attacks was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The measure allows for a brief moment of silence in public schools on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Wednesday marks 18 years since the attacks in New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The new law takes effect immediately.

“9/11 was one of the single darkest periods in this state’s and this nation’s history, and we owe it to those we lost and to the countless heroes who ran toward danger that day and the days that followed to do everything we can to keep their memory alive,” Cuomo said.

“By establishing this annual day of remembrance and a brief moment of silence in public schools, we will help ensure we never forget — not just the pain of that moment but of the courage, sacrifice and outpouring of love that defined our response.”

The measure was sponsored by Sen. Joe Addabbo and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato.

Local Governments Pushed To Switch Fossil Fuel Cars To Electric

A coalition of environmental groups on Monday released a plan meant to aid local governments in switching out fossil fuel fleet vehicles to electric cars in the coming years.

The push began on Long Island, with county and town governments embracing the effort, which supporters say helps fight climate change by making the transition to an electric vehicle fleet.

“Throughout Suffolk County, towns and villages, from Smithtown to Greenport, have been installing electric vehicle charging stations,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “The Town of East Hampton will be adding five EVs to their fleet over the winter. Suffolk County Shared Services plan will be evaluating opportunities to facilitate these efforts.”

The coalition, which includes Environmental Advocates of New York and Long Island Progressive Coalition, released a toolkit designed to usher in the transition.

“I am proud to embrace environmentally friendly initiatives that benefit Nassau County and its residents,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “I thank ElectrifyNY for releasing this electric vehicle municipal toolkit which will help Nassau County as well as towns, villages and cities throughout the county transition away from fossil fuels.”

Assembly Mobilizes Support For Storm-Ravaged Bahamas

From the Morning Memo:

Lawmakers in the state Assembly this week are making a push to provide support and aid to areas in the Bahamas and the Caribbean that were devastated last week by Hurricane Dorian.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, along with the Assembly Haitian Caucus, will announce plans today to work with the Consulate General of the Bahamas and the Bahamian American Association to help the areas affected by the storm.

Lawmakers’ offices will also host relief drive events to help Bahamians.

“The people of the Bahamas will undoubtedly face many challenges ahead, but New Yorkers are always ready to lend a helping hand,” Heastie said in a statement.

“I am grateful and proud that the Assembly Majority never hesitates to help those in need, and we are confident in the resiliency of our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean.”

The islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, home to Haitian immigrants, were heavily damaged by the storms.

The relief effort includes Assembly lawmakers Michaelle Solages, Rodneyse Bichotte, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Clyde Vanel and Mathylde Frontus.

“This disaster hit close to home for us all,” Bichotte said.

“A community known as The ‘Mudd’ located on the island of Abaco was built over decades by thousands of Haitian immigrants in search of a better life. The residential environment has now been completely reduced to rubble by the storm, where many of its residents remain unaccounted for. We play a vital role for this group of people – our voices strongly resonate for those who have been silenced.”

Collins Joins MTA As Chief Comms Officer

From the Morning Memo:

Abbey Collins, a veteran press official in New York, is joining the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as is chief communications officer.

She starts Oct. 1.

“Abbey Collins is a world-class communications strategist and we are thrilled she is joining our team,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. “Abbey’s experience, both in the public and private sector, is second to none and she will be a tremendous asset to the organization as we continue the MTA’s historic transformation.”

It’s a return to government for Collins, who has worked as a director at the public affairs communications firm Kivvit. She previously worked as a spokeswoman in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration as well as his 2018 re-election campaign and for the state Legislature.

“I’m excited to join the talented, passionate team at the MTA as the agency undergoes a total transformation,” Collins said.

“The MTA is working every day to improve service and reliability for New Yorkers and telling that story at this critical moment couldn’t be more important. I look forward to getting to work.”

Here And Now

Good morning and happy Monday to all!

Happening today:

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

At 10 a.m., New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will speak a New York City Council meeting on reducing gun violence. Council Chambers, City Hall, New York City.

Also at 10 a.m., Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente will announce a new economic development initiative. theINCubator, 326 Broad St., Utica.

At 11 a.m., Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan will unveil the renaming of New Scotland Avenue between Holland and Madison avenues in recognition of James Barba’s contributions to the city.

At 12:30 p.m., Williams will speak at a rally in support of paid personal time legislation, City Hall Park, New York City.

At 1 p.m., New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks, City Hall Steps, New York City.

Also at 1 p.m., Sen. Jim Tedisco will speak at the Fulton County Board of Supervisors meeting as it votes on a resolution opposing the license plate replacement program.

At 5:15 p.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will deliver remarks at an event honoring Stan Lundine, Robert H. Jackson Center, 305 E 4th St., Jamestown.

At 6 p.m., Williams will appear on the Housing Justice For All radio show, WHCR.

At 7 p.m., Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear on NY1’s Inside City Hall.


New York City Mayor de Blasio traveled to Puerto Rico this weekend as part of his presidential campaign.

Hofstra University will not apply to host a 2020 presidential debate after being used to host three consecutive events.

Despite the objections of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, the de Blasio administration is getting ready to spend $43 million on a new ferries.

Winning nearly half of the overall vote total, New Yorkers have picked a license plate depicting Niagara Falls, the Adirondack mountain range, and the New York City skyline. The plate was one of five potential designs put to New Yorkers for a replacement program mired in controversy over the last several weeks.

Jimmy Vielkind: What started as a light-hearted story about picking the next plate design morphed into a political headache for the governor’s administration.

Councilman Ruben Diaz, Sr. is considered a frontrunner for the seat held by retiring Rep. Jose Serrano, potentially making the socially conservative Democrat a neighbor to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

A Bronx judge refused to hire an aide to Bronx Democratic Chairman Marcos Crespo. He was later demoted.

A vandal using a makeshift banjo repeatedly bashed the Wall Street bull statue while cursing President Trump, leaving a gash in one of the horns.

The developer of an Amazon distribution center in Rensselaer County says too much is at stake to not go forward with the project.

The Cuomo administration is urging New Yorkers to stop vaping as people around the country have become sick.

An anti-smoking group is spending $1 million to sway New York City Council members on e-cigarettes amid growing public health concerns.

How the trade war has negatively affected the business of a lumber mill in central New York.

State lawmakers are starting to tackle concerns that have been raised surrounding facial recognition technology.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he wants to make things simpler for New York primary voters and consolidate the state’s two primaries.

The governor says the state will oppose efforts surrounding the Constitution Pipeline: “Any we can challenge it, we will.”

Regulators are considering cuts to stripped bass fishing in areas that are considered over fished.

The plane that crashed into a home in Union Vale last month, killing two people, had engine problems moments after takeoff, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

This Wednesday marks 18 years since the deadly terror attacks on September 11, in 2001. To commemorate the day, there are many events planned not only around the country.

Nearly 18 years after the horrific attacks on September 11 killed thousands, first responders gathered in Utica on Saturday to climb in their honor.

The Albany Water Department (AWD) says there is a possibility for residents to see a pinkish tint in their water Saturday, depending on their location in the distribution system.

Saturday, Spectrum News visited thoroughbred racehorses who are trading in the track to make new acquaintances with Old friends at Cabin Creek.

The sudden shutdown of a Clifton Park payroll company is impacting employees of businesses in the Capital Region and nationwide. Gov. Cuomo’s administration is investigating.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing for an expansion of the federal flood insurance program.

Monroe County Clerk and Democratic candidate for County Executive Adam Bello called for a moratorium and commission to develop ideas for zoning requirements and limit e-cigarette use.

On an overcast Saturday, thousands of Western New Yorkers flooded Canalside to raise awareness about preventing suicide during the 13th annual Out of the Darkness walk in Buffalo.

Hundreds of protesters were stationed outside the Troy Rensselaer County Correctional facility on Sunday, calling for an end to the 287G program.

Rivers Casino in Schenectady was packed on Sunday with NFL fans ready to legally bet on games in New York state for the first time.

In national news:

President Donald Trump will be hosting a Keep America Great rally in North Carolina on Monday.

The president revealed he secretly planned to meet with the president of Afghanistan and Taliban leaders, only to have the summit called off.

The decision to not hold the meeting with Taliban leaders revealed fissures within the administration.

Former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford will challenge President Trump in a Republican primary.

Congress is back in Washington, with issues ranging from spending to calls for new gun control on the table.

The top brass at the Air Force is investigating reports of personnel staying at resorts owned by the president.

Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, is urging the president to set clear guidelines for gun control legislation.

Three Democrats — former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — continue to hold the top three spots in a poll of the party’s presidential field.

Biden and Warren this week will finally meet on the debate stage.

Democrats in Congress are broadening an inquiry into the possible impeachment of the president to include corruption allegations.

From the editorial pages:

Newsday urged state education officials to not “dumb down” the high school regents diploma in New York by de-emphasizing the tests.

The Daily News faulted President Trump for taking a risky bet on holding a meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David.

The New York Post faults de Blasio and public education officials for placing restrictions around a charter school’s expansion in Queens.

From the sports pages:

The Jets, in classic Jets fashion, blew a 16-0 lead in the fourth quarter to the Buffalo Bills.

The Dallas Cowboys steamrolled the non-existent Giants defense.

The Yankees tied a franchise record for most team homers in season, belting three against the Red Sox at Fenway.

The Mets dropped a home game to the Phillies, 10-7.