Like a Terminator with transit experience, Joe Lhota is back. In a surprise move Wednesday night, Gov. Andrew Cuomo named the former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman to the post he left nearly five years ago, although this time Lhota won’t serve as CEO. Lhota, who was quickly confirmed, will be charged with solving the subway crisis – and working with de Blasio, his former 2013 mayoral opponent.
School’s out – and so is the state Legislature
It may be summertime, but the livin’ isn’t easy for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The state legislative session concluded Wednesday without an agreement to extend mayoral control of city schools. State Senate Republicans tied the issue to raising the city’s charter school cap, a non-starter for Assembly Democrats. Unless a special session is convened to resolve the matter, the city will revert to the old board of education system when mayoral control expires on June 30. When the state Legislature failed to extend mayoral control in 2009, a special session over the summer quickly re-established it. But de Blasio doesn’t have a lot of leverage, and state lawmakers seem as unwilling to go back to work as the kids are enjoying their summer vacations.
A fine man for the state’s highest court
New Yorkers can take pride in the state’s newest judicial appointment. The state Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Paul Feinman to the New York State Court of Appeals, making him the first openly gay person to serve on the state’s highest court. Feinman is a respected jurist, and, according to friends, a “mensch,” both of which bode well for his time on the court.
Vote your Ossoff – or not
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After Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff lost a high-profile race against Republican Karen Handel in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District on Tuesday, national Democrats looked for someone to blame – namely, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. New York Rep. Kathleen Rice hosted a meeting of anti-Pelosi Democrats this week. Other New Yorkers still support Pelosi. Earlier this month, Cuomo joined her at a rally. Nonetheless, the Georgia election proves that Pelosi and anti-Trump sentiment can’t ensure political success – something Cuomo and other Democrats should keep in mind as they try to knock out House Republicans in New York next year.
Senate’s Obamacare repeal revealed
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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday unveiled a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, including severe cuts to Medicaid. It also contains a New York-specific provision written by Reps. Chris Collins and John Faso that would shift county Medicaid costs to the state, costing up to $2.3 billion. McConnell has been criticized by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York for writing this bill behind closed doors, and he may not have the votes among Republicans to see this legislation passed. Nevertheless, he hopes to hold a vote before the Fourth of July recess, so that lawmakers can celebrate upending the American healthcare system with fireworks and cookouts.