The nine-term assemblyman from the upstate village of Pulaski was crowned the new minority leader this week, following Assemblyman Brian Kolb’s humiliating fall from grace and resignation from his leadership post. It’s a big win for Barclay, but there’s little cause for celebration for his fellow Republicans, since the post is arguably the least powerful legislative leadership position in Albany.
This week's biggest Winners & Losers
This week's biggest Winners & Losers
Nearly a decade into his governorship, Andrew Cuomo has reverted back to being a Fordham English major, quoting a Leonard Cohen song at length in his State of the State, and sharing elaborate posters of ancient sailing ships with his friends – which Cuomo reportedly designed himself! May we all stay united this week on the Ship of State, protected from the Reefs of Greed and Squalls of Hate.
You gotta play the cards that you’re dealt, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo hinted at his 2020 State of the State address that he has a few aces up his sleeve. High on his legislative agenda are proposals like high-speed rail, expanding Penn Station and environmental conservation investments, despite a $6 billion budget deficit. His upcoming budget address will reveal just how good of a hand he’s holding behind his poker face – and whether he really will throw in all his chips on blocking tax hikes.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That’s what happened this week with legislation allowing automatic voter registration. State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris had his bill pulled last year after a drafting error that would have let ineligible people get on the voter rolls. This time around, he’s got the votes to finally push it through the Senate along with a package of new voting reforms. Republicans, however, are not giving up on the idea of a vast Democratic conspiracy to commit voter fraud by making voting easier.
You’d think health care providers would sympathize when their staffers get sick during working hours, but that’s not always the case. Lorelei Salas’ New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection just won a $572,000 settlement with several nursing homes and home care companies who failed to give workers paid sick time off. Unscrupulous employers, beware!
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s support for a Central New York STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) school and workforce center in his State of the State address this week may not have come as a surprise to Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, but it’s nonetheless reason to celebrate. Skeptics may roll their eyes at the notion of Syracuse becoming a real tech hub, but Cuomo’s support shows that Walsh isn’t the only true believer in Syracuse Surge.
These three executives – of New York City, Erie County and Westchester County respectively – didn’t create the state’s $6 billion budget gap, but Cuomo is looking to them to close it. Their constituents have the audacity to be on Medicaid, so the Guv called them big spenders, comparing them to his shopaholic daughters. When Cuomo’s budget finally comes out, these three should brace for a fiscal hit to follow the rhetorical one.
When New York came for their plastic bags, restaurants managed to carve out an exception to the state’s plastic bag ban. But now, the governor is fee-fi-fo-fumming his way to taking away foam containers, and both restaurants that use the containers and chemical companies that produce them are trembling. The potential ban on foam containers spells an expensive fight – if not certain trouble – for New York State Restaurant Association Director of Government Affairs Kevin Dugan and American Chemical Council President Chris Jahn.
It looks like Pat Foye found a way to recoup all of that money the MTA lost to fare evasion: overcharging riders! It was discovered that the new OMNY system is charging Apple Pay users a subway fare every time they’re near an OMNY fare reader. But that’s not all the MTA has had to contend with this week. The transit authority was also forced to pull 300 new subway cars out of service for safety reasons and was slapped with a lawsuit over facial recognition concerns, while a new report from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that the LIRR used misleading performance metrics to exaggerate ridership and reliability stats.
It’s bad enough to find out your husband has been arrested for drunk driving after crashing into a ditch. But then to get blamed for it? Ouch. Assemblyman Brian Kolb allegedly claimed that his wife Lauren was driving on New Year’s Eve when he crashed, adding, “You know how women drive.” She wasn’t even in the car and was actually in their home nearby. Brian later said in court that he had just been joking when he blamed his wife. Only we’re not laughing, and probably, neither is Lauren Kolb.
Edmond Pryor had already earned the ire of Bronxites when he helped the Hells Angels move into town. And as a legal adviser to New York City Councilman Mark Gjonaj, Pryor's involvement was all the sketchier given that the notorious biker gang set up shop in the councilman's own district. But Pryor didn't call it quits until The City reported on a defamation suit he filed against an outspoken Gjonaj critic. It certainly was honorable of him to resign so his boss could stop catching heat, but it's hardly Gjonaj's first scandal or anything.