Cuomo: Trump Lost In Citizenship Question Bid

The U.S. Census is moving forward without a citizenship question — a development Gov. Andrew Cuomo said was good for the state.

President Donald Trump announced Thursday he would not seek other avenues of including the question on the census after the U.S. Supreme Court said the administration had failed to provide a good rationale for why it was being included.

Trump said the information will be taken from other sources, which will not affect federal funding and congressional reapportionment.

“The president lost his politically motivated quest to pursue his anti-immigration stance in the Census,” Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters. “And it’s good news for New Yorkers.”

The census question was challenged by New York and other states over concerns the effort would have led to immigrants not participating in the survey and leading to an undercount.

Still, those who opposed the question are worried the episode will lead to a lack of participation in the census.

“Let there be no misunderstanding: Every New Yorker, regardless of their citizenship status, can and must fill out the census form without fear,” said Jim Malatras and Rosanna Rosado, the co-chairs of New York’s census commission. “Completing the census will not compromise anyone’s safety and privacy, regardless of their immigration status.”

Influential Labor Leader Hector Figueroa Has Died

Hector Figueroa, a prominent and influential labor leader in New York and national politics died Thursday evening, 32BJ SEIU, the labor union he led, announced in a statement.

“For those of us who have worked with him to further the well-being of our members and working people everywhere, and felt his personal and principled concern for our members, our staff and others this is a devastating loss,” the union said in a statement. “In his many years of service to our union, to the labor movement, and to our communities, he consistently joined together a clear vision about the empowerment of working people with compassion and energy.”

Figueroa was a prominent voice in issue advocacy on immigrant rights as well as economic matters, like boosting the state’s minimum wage to $15.

Figueroa became 32BJ president in 2012, representing workers in service industries that include window cleaners, airport workers, doormen, security officers and maintenance workers.

“Hector also stood up for progressive values and used his position to advocate for immigrant rights, environmental protection, expanded voting rights, and racial, social and economic justice,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

“Hector Figueroa was more than a political ally, he was a dear friend, and I am deeply saddened by his untimely passing. My thoughts are with his family, especially his wife Deidre and his children, Eric and Elena, and all those who loved Hector. I hope that his memory will be a blessing and inspiration for us all to continue his work building a better state and nation.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Figueroa a champion for working class people.

“I am beyond heartbroken to learn of the sudden passing of Héctor Figueroa – a towering figure in politics and a hero of the labor community who did untold good for the working people of this state and this nation,” he said.

Assembly Lawmakers Urge Trump Administration To End Overcrowding At Detention Facilities

From the Morning Memo:

More than 50 Democrats in the state Assembly on Thursday signed onto a letter to President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr urging the federal administration improve conditions at detention facilities holding migrant families near the southern border.

Press reports and an inspector general investigation at facilities have described overcrowding and unsanitary conditions at the detention facilities.

In the letter, the lawmakers called the issues raised at the detention facilities a humanitarian crisis.

“While we recognize the need for comprehensive immigration reform, there is an immediate humanitarian crisis to address,” the letter states The Administration should reverse course without delay to end the overcrowding at detention facilities, stop the mass deportations, and stop the separation of families.”

The letter comes as federal immigration enforcement officials are planning raids around the country on Sunday, potentially deporting thousands of undocumented immigrants and their families in the process.

The letter from the state Assembly was released by Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, a Democrat from Albany.

“We’ve all seen the horrifying images and videos coming out of detention facilities located on our southern border – but the DHS Inspector General report last week prompted an immediate call to action we cannot ignore,” she said in a statement.

“The Trump Administration’s directives and policies have directly fueled the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. These practices only exacerbate an already extremely precarious situation on our southern border, and run contrary to the very fundamental values that unite us as Americans.”

Katko Launches Re-Election Bid, Raises $521K

From the Morning Memo:

Rep. John Katko’s campaign on Thursday announced he had raised $521,623 in the second quarter fundraising period of 2019 as he seeks re-election to a central New York House seat.

The campaign cash haul is a record total for him in a single fundraising period. His campaign’s fundraising announcement was also coupled with the not-unexpected announcement he would run for re-election in 2020.

Katko is running for a fourth term in what has been an unpredictable swing district, with voters turning out incumbents virtually every election year.

Katko, a Republican and former federal prosecutor, has been able to maintain a hold on the seat. Last year, he defeated Democrat Dana Balter.

Here And Now

Good morning and TGIF!

Happening today:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with nothing public planned. Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray are heading to South Carolina. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is holding multiple events across New Hampshire, including events on gun violence and health care.

At 10 a.m., Sen. David Carlucci will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil a new bike and pedestrian bypass. Near 374 Greenbush Rd., Blauvelt.

At 7 p.m., Lights for Liberty vigils will take place across the world in support of immigrants and refugees, including in New York. Foley Square, New York City.


President Donald Trump abandoned his controversial bid to inject a citizenship question into next year’s census Thursday, instead directing federal agencies to try to compile the information using existing databases.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are expected to round up thousands of undocumented immigrants for deportation starting this weekend.

New York Attorney General Letitia James in a statement on Thursday blasted the expected enforcement action by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials as “deplorable” and pledged to aid undocumented immigrant families who are arrested.

Mayor Bill de Blasio railed against trade agreements at a labor rally, but did not lay out any specific proposals that would help many of the workers who stood beside him during this rally, many of them belonging to key manufacturing sector jobs, that could technically be affected by trade.

Errol Louis and Police Commissioner James O’Neill tour through Crown Heights for a wide-ranging discussion about the department’s response to a rise in shootings in parts of Brooklyn.

A judge has given Harvey Weinstein the green light to shake up his defense team yet again.

New York City officially launches its expanded school zone speed camera program Thursday. A state law passed earlier this year allows the city to install hundreds more speed cameras and extend their hours of operation.

The state Conservative Party plans to file a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Erie County later this month.

Council members in Troy on Thursday evening approved legislation that would provide for constitutional protections for undocumented immigrants living in the city.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new initiative that aims to bring more people to the Catskills. This announcement comes after officials from all over NYS came to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for the 2019 Catskills Challenge.

Beginning the formal effort to oust President Donald Trump through impeachment, at the moment, remains a politically heavy lift, especially for some New York Democrats.

Another roadblock for Woodstock 50 as the Vernon Codes Enforcement Office denied another application just hours after it was submitted.

Wegmans is alerting shoppers to beware of a scam that’s going around Facebook.

The state’s new REDI program to help communities along the Lake Ontario shore develop new infrastructure and economic projects would seem ready-made for the battered region.

An ongoing fiery debate between Rochester city leaders and the Rochester firefighters union is over dynamic staffing for the Rochester Fire Department.

Dozens of protesters shut down a busy intersection in downtown Buffalo Thursday afternoon, calling for justice for migrant families.

Over the last 48 hours, 15 Buffalo firefighters have been hurt.

In national news:

Papers from when former Vice President Joe Biden was in the U.S. Senate could explain the decisions he made then — but they remain under seal.

The Washington Post Magazine profiled Saikat Chakrabarti, the chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

President Trump held a summit with social media pundits and supporters on Thursday, and he explained his love-hate relationship with his primary communication platform, Twitter.

The president’s push to require prescription drug companies to reveal their true costs in their TV ads is facing setbacks.

In pushing to save that proposal, Trump is borrowing from Bernie Sanders’s playbook.

Trump’s policies faced a number of hurdles on Thursday, but he also signaled to his base ahead of 2020 he’ll continue to punch forward.

Democrats in the House of Representatives approved a slate of subpoenas — a veritable who’s who from the president’s orbit and Mueller investigation — to testify before lawmakers.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has denied a request by a coalition of more than 30 groups to shut down a state database designed to track warning signs in students that might lead to another school shooting.

From the editorial pages:

The Times Union writes about the uneven playing field for women in the workforce when it comes to pay equity, saying it’s a problem that needs to be fixed.

Newsday writes that a new LIRR station at Elmont near the Belmont race track is a “good bet.”

The New York Times writes that Congress should leave the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking case to the courts, and not make a political martyr out of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.

The New York Post’s editorial boards says immigration raids like the coming roundup this weekend are supposed to be routine — for administrations of both parties.

From the sports pages:

Forward Marcus Morris is heading to the Knicks after backing out of a deal to go with the San Antonio Spurs.


When the gates open on big days at Saratoga Race Course, there’s typically a mad dash to the day’s best lawn seats and picnic tables.

Union workers at General Electric in Schenectady could be striking at any time. It comes as members rejected a nationwide tentative contract agreement between GE and IUE-CWA.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are expected to round up thousands of undocumented immigrants for deportation starting this weekend.

New York Attorney General Letitia James in a statement on Thursday blasted the expected enforcement action by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials as “deplorable” and pledged to aid undocumented immigrant families who are arrested.

Members of the Western New York Peace Center made their voices heard seeking justice for migrant families.

The state’s cap on property tax levy increases will remain at 2 percent for the 2020 fiscal year, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office said Thursday in an announcement.

New York City officially launches its expanded school zone speed camera program Thursday.

People beat up, shot and killed – all caught on video. On a daily basis the NYPD puts those violent videos on its social media and also gives them to news outlets.

Organizers of Woodstock 50 have appealed the decision by the Town of Vernon to turn down a permit needed to hold the 50th anniversary festival of the iconic music event.

After six years of pushing for clean electricity , the Town of DeWitt will start running on a new source of energy.

Lawmakers Urge Approval Of Camp Safety Bill

State lawmakers on Thursday urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to approve a bill that would require parents be notified if a camp is not regulated by the state Department of Health.

The bill’s sponsors, Sen. David Carlucci and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, said the measure was a matter of safety for kids attending camp.

“Non-regulated camps could have sex offenders on staff preying on our children,” Carlucci said. “Every parent should be notified if their child’s camp is not inspected and not following strict State guidelines. We need the Governor to take immediate action and sign this bill into law to keep our children safe.”

Camps that are regulated have to follow state guidelines, including inspections and a permit of operation from the state Department of Health. Lawmakers said Thursday are as many as 10,000 single-purpose day camps in the state that are not regulated and could pose a safety risk to kids.

“Parents need to be fully informed when state regulations are not in place so they can make informed decisions about where to send their children for camp activities,” Abinanti said.

The notification would be required to be included on a child’s application or enrollment form.

D-Trip Ties GOP To Obamacare Challenge

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Thursday sought to lash Republican members of Congress in New York to a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act’s legality.

A federal appeals court panel this week is considering the future of the law, also known as Obamacare, and whether it can stand without the requirement that Americans who do not have health insurance pay a penalty, a provision that was repealed by the Republican-led Congress.

At issue, however, are the facets of the law that are popular with voters, such as requiring patients with pre-existing conditions be covered.

New York lawmakers this year codified aspects of the ACA into state law, including the health care marketplace exchange.

But Democrats on the national level sought to press the political advantage, sending out statements knocking Reps. Peter King, Lee Zeldin and Chris Collins.

“If King’s partisan lawsuit is successful, families across New York and the country will lose their insurance and be forced to pay more for the prescriptions and health care they need,” said DCCC spokesperson Christine Bennett. “23,000 people are at risk of immediately losing their health care thanks to Congressman King. Clearly his priorities are out of whack that he would put Washington partisanship ahead of the lives of the people he was elected to represent.”

AG James Calls Weekend Immigration Raid ‘Deplorable’

New York Attorney General Letitia James in a statement on Thursday blasted the expected enforcement action by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials as “deplorable” and pledged to aid undocumented immigrant families who are arrested.

The enforcement effort has been discussed for weeks, postponed earlier in July after President Donald Trump openly discussed the plan for ICE to begin mass arrests and deportations of undocumented immigrants.

The New York Times reported this morning the arrests could also include those are not targets, but are swept up by those ICE is seeking to deport.

“The Trump Administration’s insistence on using migrant families as a political bargaining chip with Congressional leaders is as deplorable as it is unAmerican,” James said. “As New York’s chief law enforcement officer, I will do everything in my power to ensure these families’ rights are protected. I will stand up against any threatened incursions on our state’s civil rights because, in America, we value our immigrants.”

Updated: Gov. Andrew Cuomo also issued a statement pledging to fight the deportations.

“This politically motivated directive is despicable and inhumane, and New York will fight it,” he said.

“I have asked the state’s Liberty Defense Project to be on high alert to assist families in need of legal services. I encourage all New Yorkers to be familiar with their rights – especially when confronted by ICE or CBP – and anyone in need of assistance may contact the Liberty Defense Project via the New York State New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 or

Ortt Reiterates Need For Federal Government To Pitch In On Lake Ontario Mitigation

In the coming months, a new Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative commission will decide how to dole out up to $300 million state dollars to lakefront communities.

The funding was approved by the state Legislature last month in the Capital Budget. State Senator Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said the budget specifically dedicated $100 million to the initiative and he expects the remainder to come from a pot of $385 million approved for generic capital funding.

“My guess is that they’ll get the $300 (million) between the two pots and certainly it’s my job to make sure they do because that is what was said publicly,” he said.

Ortt is hopeful the state can potentially free up even more money, perhaps by funding state park needs along Lake Ontario from a different source, leaving more for municipal and private projects. Even so, he admits there will likely be more requests than there will be cash available through the REDI initiative.

“That’s one of the reasons I made a request to the attorney general and the governor to go after the federal government,” he said. “The federal government has to be a part of this because the state is not going to be able to just continue to fund this in infintum”

At Ortt’s urging, the governor did ask the state Attorney General to look into potentially suing the federal government to help mitigate extensive flooding both in 2017 and this year. The state Senator said the AG did reach out to him last week regarding the issue but they haven’t been able to connect yet.

Ortt said the governor meanwhile has asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation to have its legal department explore options, as well.

“I think they’re holding that, sort of see where we go,” he said. “Maybe the federal government comes up with funding.”

Ortt said under the International Joint Commission’s own regulatory plan for Lake Ontario, Plan 2014, it admitted there would be damages and financial impacts to New York State communities and has a responsibility to help foot the bill.