First Read 01/17/2020

January 17, 2020
Latest News
Cameron Koffman, who is mounting a primary challenge to Assemblyman Dan Quart, has raised $449,323 since he began his efforts in late October, shattering nonincumbent fundraising records in the Assembly.
The state Department of Financial Services and the Division of Human Rights sent a warning to insurance companies instructing them to treat immigrants granted access to licenses under the Green Light law like any other driver.
The state Public Service Commission also approved rate hikes for all Con Edison customers across New York City and in Westchester County, meaning customer bills will increase by a total of $1.2 billion over the next three years.
New Yorkers can expect a new round of incentives, rebates and other deals intended to boost energy efficiency as part of a $2 billion, five-year energy efficiency incentive plan that the state Public Service Commission approved.
New York City officials are searching for the best way to keep track of people facing domestic violence or sex-related cases, which are eligible for electronic monitoring under the state’s new bail law.
A group of state lawmakers introduced legislation that would outlaw cigarette filters, known colloquially as “butts,” along with single-use electronic cigarettes, citing the ubiquity with which they litter streets and sidewalks.
New York City and state joined forces on a lawsuit to stop the Trump administration from enacting a rule change that could kick nearly 700,000 people off of food stamps by tightening work requirements.
De Blasio took swipes at Metropolitan Transportation Authority leadership, calling a recent audit of the new capital plan “superficial,” after announcing a proposed budget that excluded funding requested by transit officials.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing his wife as the next Brooklyn borough president, and he’s even dangling support for the current Borough President Eric Adams’ mayoral run in exchange for his endorsement of first lady Chirlane McCray.
Niagara County Legislature Democrats want to ban sex offenders and anyone who has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with public funds from obtaining a county job.
Between July 2018 and June of last year, 404 people considered homeless in New York City died, representing a 39% increase over the prior year, the largest year over year increase in a decade.
As of Dec. 31, all relevant parties have agreed to comply with an August agreement between Cuomo and DiNapoli restoring the comptroller’s oversight of some large contracts entered into by SUNY and CUNY, and by the Office of General Services.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said that her office is not yet ready to fulfill her campaign pledge of ending cash bail because there are too few local resources and pretrial programs available to execute the policy change.
Assemblyman Steve Hawley will not seek the GOP nod for the 27th Congressional District seat vacated by the resignation of former Rep. Chris Collins, but did not offer his support for any other potential candidates.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office released a package of audits of aspects of the Medicaid program, finding $790 million in potential savings as New York faces a $6.1 billion budget gap in the coming fiscal year, which begins April 1.
Cuomo is expected to unveil a proposal to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters in New York state at his budget address next Tuesday that will require helmets for riders of e-bikes that go 25 miles per hour or faster.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that vaping proved deadly for two more New Yorkers who suffered from vaping-related ailments, adding that so far a total of four people in the state have died from these illnesses.
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Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence renewed aim at New York City’s so-called sanctuary policies, after the recent arrest of an undocumented man on charges that he raped and murdered a 92-year-old woman in Queens.
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Editorial Pages
The fact that the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many other museums are asking not to be used as polling sites is huge – it’s not that tough for most of them to dedicate one area to voting, but if it is such a heavy burden, you’re free to give up your tax break.
Newly filed campaign finance disclosures show the fatal flaws of the new campaign finance reforms as big checks are still rolling in to state legislators’ accounts from lobbyists, labor unions, trade groups and corporations eager to influence legislation.
From City & State
National Politics
Federal prosecutors have taken steps in recent months to explore a years-old disclosure of classified information to the media, raising fears that the Justice Department is resurrecting dated instances of possible wrongdoing to support Trump’s crackdown on leaks.
A nonpartisan federal watchdog agency determined the White House’s Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine this past summer for “a policy reason.”
U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary Brandon Lipps proposed new rules that would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfasts while giving them the ability to sell more pizza, burgers and fries to students.
President Donald Trump plans on adding former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, whose investigation into President Bill Clinton’s sexual relationships led to impeachment, and the defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz to his legal team for his trial by the Senate.
In Depth
Last week during his state of the state address, Cuomo triumphantly announced that the L train rehabilitation would cost roughly $75 million less than the initial $926 million budget, but the MTA has yet to release any public accounting for these cost savings.
A recent New York City ban on foie gras protects animals and slaps wealthy gourmands, but upstate, at two Sullivan county duck farms that produce the majority of the country’s foie gras, hundreds of low-wage immigrant laborers are bracing for the impact.
A six-mile-long, $119 billion sea wall, the largest of five storm resiliency projects the Army Corps of Engineers is studying, would help protect New York City from floodwaters during fierce storms like Sandy, but critics say rising seas make the option inadequate.
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