Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo investigations move forward and one-house budgets approved

Rounding up the week’s political news.

Carl Heastie became the first Black Assembly speaker in 2015.

Carl Heastie became the first Black Assembly speaker in 2015. Hans Pennink/AP/Shutterstock

The week started with some Sunday breaking news: Larry Schwartz, an adviser to Gov. Andrew Cuomo who is leading the state’s vaccine distribution, called county executives to gauge their loyalty to the governor amid his growing scandals, while still discussing vaccinations. And it made at least some of them uncomfortable and led to backlash. The week ended with a new Quinnipiac University poll that found 49% of New Yorkers still oppose his resignation, but his approval ratings are hitting historic lows – all while Cuomo is singing “Happy Birthday” to an ally and laughing it up with retired baseball players at press conferences without reporters present. Keep reading for the rest of this week’s news.

Cuomo investigations move forward

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Lavine announced they had hired a law firm to help with the chamber’s impeachment investigation. But their choice of Davis Polk & Wardwell was met with immediate backlash because of its ties to a Cuomo ally. Dennis Glazer, who is married to Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, was a partner at the firm for over 30 years. Debra Katz, the lawyer for Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett, called it “an unacceptable conflict of interest.” The announcement came after a contentious Assembly Democratic gathering about the impeachment investigation was leaked. During the meeting, which took place shortly before the speaker announced the Assembly would launch an investigation rather than begin a formal impeachment inquiry, Heastie touted the importance of “due process” when defending the plan to move forward with an investigation. Some members said the move was just a stalling tactic to buy Cuomo time. Lindsey Boylan, the first former Cuomo staffer to accuse him of sexual harassment, said she would not cooperate with the Assembly investigation, calling it a “sham.” She is however participating with the state attorney general’s investigation and has spoken with investigators. Other accusers, including Charlotte Bennett and Ana Liss, have also spoken to the attorney general’s office. When he became aware of the leak, Heastie abruptly halted voting on the floor to gather his members into another closed-door meeting, where he told them he would not hold any more virtual meetings with the whole conference, instead only planning to hold smaller group meetings. The Executive Chamber has hired lawyers to represent its staff in the ongoing investigations being conducted by the Assembly and the attorney general. Cuomo’s office is also conducting its own investigation into the groping allegations made against the governor by a staffer who remains anonymous.

One-house budgets approved

The state Senate and the Assembly approved their one-house budget resolutions, offering competing visions for state spending. Both chambers proposed significant spending increases, bringing their proposed budgets to over $200 billion. The budgets included $8.2 billion in new taxes, far more than the $1.5 billion in temporary tax hikes that Cuomo had put forward but still falling well short of the $50 billion that progressives want. The proposals include higher income taxes for the wealthy, a pied-à-terre tax on second homes, new capital gains tax and increasing the estate tax rate – although some differences exist between the two chambers’ proposals. Both chambers have also put forward far more education funding, both in Foundation Aid and in additional money to fulfill the 2006 Campaign for Fiscal Equity ruling, which has been an ongoing battle. Notably absent from the resolutions was legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. Lawmakers, including state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, say they’re close to a deal with the governor with a few sticking points including the number of plants a person can grow for their own use and how to deal with impaired driving. They expect legislation to pass before the budget.

Solitary confinement bill passes

A bill to end the use of long-term solitary confinement in New York passed both chambers of the state Legislature after years of advocacy. Criminal justice advocates have pushed for the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act that would stop the use of segregated confinement for more than 15 days. The United Nations says that confinement for longer than that constitutes torture. The legislation has been opposed by corrections officers, who argue that doing away with long-term solitary confinement puts them in danger and they don’t have faith in the alternatives that the bill would create. The legislation now awaits action from the governor.

More COVID-19 reopenings

Each week, more and more of the state opens back up. Cuomo finally lifted the last remaining yellow zone restrictions that still existed in New York City. He announced that large outdoor stadiums – including Citi Field and Yankee Stadium – could open at 20% capacity, in time from the Mets and Yankees home openers. The governor also opened indoor fitness classes at 33% capacity – something that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was not happy about. And Cuomo dropped the 11 p.m. curfew for bowling alleys and gyms, but kept them in place for bars and restaurants.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.