First Read 05/14/2019

May 14, 2019
Latest News
Nobel laureate James Heckman found the positive effects of free pre-K on low-income kids stretched to the children of disadvantaged students enrolled in a much-studied preschool program more than 50 years ago.
The New York City Health Department shut down a school in Queens for failing to comply with orders to keep unvaccinated children out of the school as the local measles outbreak grows to nearly 500 cases.
The Long Island Rail Road’s top union official is blaming LIRR President Philip Eng for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s rising overtime costs, accusing him of knowingly driving up overtime in order to advance major service improvement initiatives.
De Blasio and federal authorities will miss their self-imposed deadline to select the next top boss for the city’s embattled Housing Authority for the second time, extending the deadline now to July 1.
State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi is proposing a law to close a loophole that prevented New York’s disgraced ex-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman from being prosecuted for allegedly harassing and physically abusing four women.
Lawmakers in the state capital are preparing to pass a bill barring so-called “ghost guns” – homemade, untraceable weapons often made with parts manufactured by a 3-D printer.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is not officially declaring dead a new legislative effort at the Capitol to legalize mobile sports betting in New York, as officials are still examining new amendments to a sports betting bill.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to expand the city’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities by adding to the list of crimes that could trigger the deportation of convicted felons.
Legislation enabling congressional oversight committees to get their hands on President Donald Trump's state tax returns appears to have the tacit approval of Assembly Democrats, although its specific path forward remains unclear.
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A police supervisor testified that internal affairs investigators at the New York Police Department who reviewed Eric Garner’s death determined that Officer Daniel Pantaleo used a forbidden chokehold on him in 2014.
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The New York Police Department’s top counterterrorism official testified that New York City needs federal law changed to empower specially trained police to neutralize weaponized drones that pose a threat to the civilian population.
Attorney Michael Weinstock will challenge two-term incumbent Rep. Thomas Suozzi in the 2020 Democratic primary for New York’s 3rd Congressional District, describing himself as “not a socialist,” but more progressive than Suozzi.
New York City’s three library systems have a total estimated $896 million in unfunded but much-needed fixes, covering everything from leaky roofs to defective air conditioning units and boilers to decrepit bathrooms.
The Business Council of New York State sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo urging him to back the proposed Williams pipeline project, which has been opposed by environmental groups, dovetailing with letters written by the New York AFL-CIO.
Voters across New York will head to the polls next week to decide whether to approve school budgets that on average would increase how much is collected by property taxes by 2.5%.
Legislation advanced Monday by a state committee would prevent law enforcement agencies from automatically rejecting freedom of information requests for records involved in a judicial proceeding or compiled as part of a criminal investigation.
The state Legislature has voted to remove gravity knives from the list of weapons a person can be charged for carrying, coming less than two months after a federal judge banned the knives in New York City.
Former Rep. Anthony Weiner has been released from the Bronx halfway house where he has been staying following his 15-month prison sentence for sexting with a teenager, officially making him a free man.
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The commanding officer of the New York Police Department’s recruit training section said he believes Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s actions met “the definition of a chokehold,” on the second day of the departmental trial against the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner.
New York City Councilman Barry Grodenchik admitted to to sexually harassing a female City Council staffer for over a year and has given up his chairmanship of the Parks and Recreation Committee.
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Editorial Pages
When de Blasio is president, his official vehicle will be able to use lights and sirens to blow through speed limits and even, on rare occasions, go the wrong way, but until then, he must immediately direct his police drivers to obey the rules of the road.
The political climate in New York may finally be right for a law that would help terminally ill patients who want to end their lives, but a push to tinker with thoughtful, time-tested legislation threatens to unravel the growing consensus.
If the residents of the suffering 27th Congressional District are looking for some good news – and they could use some – they can find it in reports that state Sen. Chris Jacobs is considering a run for that House seat.
Cuomo is blasting the fraud that’s fueling MTA overtime costs, especially at the Long Island Rail Road, but he’s left us worrying that he’s only going after the tip of the iceberg.
From City & State
National Politics
Senate Republicans acknowledge that Trump’s latest tariff increase on Chinese imports is harming farm state economies, their own constituents and some of Trump’s most reliable voters, but there’s no plan to stop, or even threaten, the tariff regime.
In the weeks before they were ousted, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and top immigration enforcement official Ronald Vitiello challenged a secret White House plan to arrest thousands of parents and children in a blitz operation in 10 major U.S. cities.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said that she would not participate in a Fox News town hall as some other Democratic presidential candidates have, calling the media outlet “a hate-for-profit racket” that seeks to turn Americans against one another.
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A federal judge raised pointed doubts about arguments made by President Donald Trump’s legal team that a Democratic effort to subpoena Trump’s financial records was an invalid exercise of congressional power.
In Depth
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s push to ban the sale of fur illustrates a difference with Christine Quinn, his predecessor representing the Garment District – she resolutely defended garment jobs, while Johnson does not.
One subset of drivers pushing for a congestion pricing carve-out argues their exemption would actually help the city achieve several its congestion pricing goals: the owners of electric cars and other fuel-efficient vehicles like motorcycles.
Reforming the current rent laws, advocates argue, will stanch the loss of rent-stabilized apartments and ultimately keep more New Yorkers in their homes, but the real estate industry has pushed back against the proposed reforms.
While it is a relatively quiet year for elections in New York City, there are several significant races underway that will be decided in the June primary and November general elections, including 17 civil court judgeships.
There are seven candidates competing in the June 25 Democratic primary for Queens district attorney, and most are promising a new, and at least somewhat more progressive, approach compared to legacy of former Queens DA Richard Brown.