New York City

Dysfunction in Albany, de Blasio faces blowback and Maloney enters AG race

Dysfunction in Albany, de Blasio faces blowback and Maloney enters AG race in this week's top political news.

An empty New York State Senate

An empty New York State Senate Photo by Mike Groll

In a reminder that even so-called “sanctuary cities” remain dangerous for immigrants who are in the country illegally, one such man got detained by immigration agents when he tried to deliver a pizza to a Brooklyn military base. Security asked Pablo Villavicencio for identification when he arrived. When an IDNYC card was not enough, security performed a background check and discovered Immigration and Customs Enforcement had a warrant for his deportation. Villavicencio is now awaiting deportation in detention and his story has sparked outrage among politicians and activists. Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered legal support to the delivery man. More of the week’s political news in this week’s headlines.

Dysfunction in Albany

The state Senate appeared to be back in business, passing bills Monday after the previous week’s standstill. But the truce didn’t last. On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul presided over the state Senate in an attempt by Democrats to pass hostile amendments that would protect women’s reproductive rights. Republicans, none too pleased, debated the finer points of Senate rules and brought to the floor an unannounced motion to override a veto from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The largely symbolic override passed unanimously. Nothing else got done. Finally, on Wednesday, Republicans held a procedural vote on the hostile amendments and they failed to pass.

A test by any other name

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a new plan to diversify the city’s elite public high schools by eliminating the entrance exam, currently the only factor for admittance. Despite widespread agreement that the lack of diversity should be discussed, the plan was not well received by parents and students. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it won’t pass the state Legislature this year. And a bill to scrap the test barely made it out of the Assembly Education Committee.

Running for two seats

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney entered the race for state attorney general. He is the fourth Democrat to jump into the race, but his announcement raised legal questions, since he’s also still running for another term in Congress. It also is unclear how Democrats might replace him should he win the attorney general primary. Maloney’s seat is in a swing district that went for President Donald Trump in 2016, so if he bows out, the seat could become competitive.

All’s fare in love and budgets

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council are inching closer to a budget agreement. Part of the deal: the Fair Fares initiative to provide half-price MetroCards to low-income New Yorkers. It is a top priority of the council and Speaker Corey Johnson, but de Blasio had been hesitant to endorse the plan. Evidently, he has come around, agreeing to set aside $100 million to get the program off the ground, a little less than half what the council originally requested.