First Read 01/14/2020

January 14, 2020
Latest News
Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone has taken a $35,000 pay increase after freezing his pay for eight years, saying the county’s finances have improved even as it struggles with $2 billion in debt.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has rejected a community-driven rezoning proposal for Bushwick, Brooklyn, dealing a significant blow to local residents who spent years drafting a blueprint aimed at addressing gentrification and displacement.
There have been least 139 reports of New York City subway train doors opening while a train was in motion between 2017 and 2019, and some 64 of those incidents were recorded last year, a jump over the 37 reported in 2018 and 38 in 2017.
Rep. Elise Stefanik has joined the chorus of New York Republicans who are calling for changes to the state’s newly enacted criminal justice reforms, which even some state Democratic leaders acknowledge needs to be tweaked.
A group of state lawmakers called on their colleagues to swiftly pass measures that would ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products in the state, days after a state Supreme Court justice struck down New York’s flavored e-cigarette ban.
On Tuesday, Cuomo will return to Puerto Rico to provide relief efforts to the earthquake-ravaged island and is expected to travel with his budget director, Robert Mujica.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated his support for changing New York’s controversial new bail law, but balked when asked what specific changes he would like to see, saying that he plans to talk with the state Legislature in the coming weeks.
Deep-pocketed charter school supporters are breathing “a sigh of relief” after state Senate Democrats opened their door to donors and lobbyists – a move that could sow division among liberal lawmakers in the state Capitol.
State Attorney General Letitia James waded into the debate over policing in New York City’s transit system, saying she was investigating whether the police were discriminating against people of color in enforcing fare evasion on subways and buses.
Nearly three dozen New York City Council members are backing a bill that would significantly increase cash assistance in the form of rental vouchers people get when they leave homeless shelters.
A coalition of advocates and lawmakers is calling on the state Board of Elections to reject controversial new touch screen voting machines they say aren’t compatible with New York City’s soon-to-take-effect ranked-choice voting system.
An association of trucking and delivery firms is suing New York City after officials demanded payment for inaccurate parking tickets previously unenforced under a program for commercial vehicles.
A new state law requiring political parties to offer a presidential candidate and garner nearly three times as many votes than previously needed to maintain their statewide ballot line is facing a legal challenge from the Serve America Movement Party.
State officials have blocked 78 police agencies from access to computerized motor vehicle data because they have yet to certify they will refrain from sharing the information with federal immigration enforcers.
Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign has brought on more than 700 staffers spread across 33 states, with a growing number of organizers joining his ranks in states that vote on Super Tuesday.
Ray McGuire, a longtime Citigroup executive, has been asked by other Wall Street and corporate executives to aim for the mayor’s office in 2021, as de Blasio’s second term heads toward its end.
Billionaire grocer and developer John Catsimatidis might throw his hat into another New York City mayoral race, saying that people are urging him to consider a run because “we need a lot of common sense in our city."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the city’s $40 million “get out the count” effort to ensure New Yorkers participate in the 2020 census during a campaign-style rally.
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A package of 10 bills designed to improve limousine safety was agreed to by state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo that will make New York among the nation’s strictest for the limousine industry.
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Editorial Pages
New York voters didn’t elect Cuomo to be a first responder, they sent him to Albany to perform far less photogenic tasks, including enacting sound fiscal policy – but unfortunately he is struggling with that aspect of the job.
Under New York’s criminal justice “reforms,” judges are freeing clearly dangerous criminal suspects practically every day, who then quickly become suspects in new crimes.
Democrats in the state Legislature should grow a spine, stand up for the bail reform law and reassure the public that they are at no increased danger – to do that, they must ensure that jail is not the only answer to public safety.
From City & State
National Politics
Trump is preparing to divert an additional $7.2 billion in Pentagon funding for border wall construction this year, five times what Congress authorized him to spend on the project in the 2020 budget.
U.S. Senate Republicans indicated that they would not seek to summarily dismiss the impeachment charges against President Donald Trump, proceeding instead to a trial with arguments and the possibility of calling witnesses.
A resolution to curb Trump’s military authority in Iran has enough votes to pass the U.S. Senate, as Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins will join three other members of the GOP who had previously announced their support for the measure.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her chamber will vote on Wednesday to send its impeachment charges against President Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate, allowing a long-awaited trial to begin in the coming days.
In Depth
Cuomo is proposing to tweak the state coat of arms, asking lawmakers to support adding “E pluribus unum” to the official seal, but that would also require Cuomo and lawmakers to do what no one has done in New York in 138 years.
Immigration advocacy groups said more than a dozen of their members have been denied college financial aid after applying via the state DREAM Act – a program designed to give undocumented students a shot at public financial aid.
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