First Read 08/12/2019

August 12, 2019
Latest News
Cuomo has signed more than a handful of bills into law over the past week, including increasing the number of crimes that can be categorized as domestic violence and banning workplace discrimination based on religious attire or facial hair.
A stalled provision of the SAFE Act that would create a database of ammunition purchases – on hold since 2015 through a deal between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Senate Republicans – is a “complicated issue,” according to the governor.
The allegation that Melissa Mark-Viverito used her political clout in a bid to force NYCHA to practice ethnic-specific hiring remains alive as she begins her recently announced run for a South Bronx congressional seat.
Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey are jumping on the impeach President Donald Trump bandwagon while being pushed to the left by challengers aligning themselves with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pitched his presidential dreams to a crowd of about 15 likely Democratic voters at an event Sunday morning at the Parlor City Pub & Eatery in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein has brought new scrutiny to the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal jail in Manhattan that, despite chronic understaffing, houses some of the highest-security inmates in the country.
Roughly 350 people convicted of misdemeanor marijuana crimes in Manhattan will have their offenses hidden from public criminal records under a new class-action settlement with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr..
New York City Housing Authority developments suffered heat and hot-water outages more than 3,500 times this past winter, leaving 339,000 public housing residents – or four out of five – in the cold at some point.
The New York City Council approved a bill last month that rolls back transparency requirements for nonprofits tied to elected officials, and a good-government group said the move could make it harder to root out conflicts of interest.
2021 mayoral contender and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is skirting campaign rules by raising tens of thousands of dollars from donors with business before the city for his nonprofit, the One Brooklyn Fund.
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New York courts, law firms, Roman Catholic dioceses, Boy Scout troops and schools are bracing for an onslaught of civil lawsuits to be filed by people seeking justice for long-ago sexual abuse when a special one-year look back period begins Wednesday.
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New York state has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit by a female aide against former Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak for $125,000, agreeing to pay $100,000 in damages and $25,000 for lost wages.
Layleen Polanco, a transgender woman who died on Rikers Island, would still be alive had she not been put in solitary confinement, according to a federal lawsuit filed on Monday.
Verizon Wireless is suing Rochester over what it claims are illegal regulations enacted in anticipation of new equipment installations for 5G service, alleging that the newly adjusted fees for installing equipment are unreasonable.
Johnson took the side of his constituents in the fight over New York City’s plan to speed up buses on 14th Street by banning private cars from the road because he’s concerned about spillover traffic onto side streets.
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the council isn’t ready to pass a bill that would require most businesses to give two weeks paid personal time, despite Mayor Bill de Blasio touting the measure on the presidential campaign trail.
A man and woman who accused Jehovah’s Witnesses elders of child sexual abuse will launch lawsuits against the organization’s governing body under the landmark Child Victims Act that goes into effect on Wednesday.
After a series of incidents related to repairs at public housing complexes after Superstorm Sandy, New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera is calling on NYCHA to ramp up its oversight of contractors carrying out federally funded reconstruction work.
State Attorney General Letitia James will lead a coalition of states defending the U.S. Census Bureau’s policy of counting all individuals living in the country, following a lawsuit filed last year by Alabama that challenged that method.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr sharply criticized the management of the federal jail in Manhattan where Jeffrey Epstein was found dead on Saturday after he had apparently hanged himself, adding that he’s learned of “serious irregularities” at the facility.
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An overhaul of the state’s workplace harassment and discrimination laws was approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, lowering the threshold for filing a harassment complaint by eliminating the “severe or pervasive” standard.
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Editorial Pages
The reason Transport Workers Union members – and workers represented by other MTA unions – face treatment as if they might be criminals is that some of them clearly are defrauding the public.
Parents can be forgiven for worrying, but those that are readying their kids to enter the 938 pre-K or kindergarten classrooms that tested positive for deteriorating lead paint should not panic, since there’s no evidence of an urgent threat.
Cuomo should go ahead with restoring the authority of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to audit massive economic development projects, since they supposedly reached an agreement eight months ago.
There’s a lot for Gregory Russ to learn on his first day as chairman of NYCHA, but this short list should be easy for Russ to keep in mind: Yes to working elevators, heat and hot water, and no to lead paint, mold, vermin and garbage.
From City & State
National Politics
Mass shooters should not be able to buy bulletproof vests, according to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, and he plans to introduce legislation that would require the FBI to approve civilian purchases of military-grade body armor.
Only a few major labor unions have come out against the single-payer “Medicare for All” system that would all but eliminate private insurance, while many others remain undecided and some of the biggest labor groups in the country have embraced the plan.
The Trump administration rolled out some of the broadest changes in decades to the enforcement of the landmark Endangered Species Act, allowing the government to put an economic cost on saving a species.
Former short-lived White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci said Trump is “giving people a license to hate” and called on Republicans to consider replacing him on the top of the ticket next year.
The Trump administration will make it harder for legal immigrants who rely on government benefits to obtain permanent legal status as part of a new policy aimed at altering the flow of legal immigration and reducing the number of poor immigrants.
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In Depth
An analysis of the financial base of the three most prominent democratic socialists in New York politics – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, state Sen. Julia Salazar and Tiffany Cabán – reveals that all three drew substantial support from finance, technology and nonprofit leaders.
State Republican Party Chairman Nicholas Langworthy faces a herculean task in returning the party to the days when Gov. George Pataki, U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato and Chairman William Powers ruled over the state’s Republican regime.