Author Archive

Moreland Lawyers Respond to Motion to Quash Subpoena

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in News

Lawyers for the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption filed papers today against the motion to quash a subpoena of Daniel Odescalchi, the principal of a public relations firm that handled the website of Common Sense Principles. The commission has been looking into Common Sense’s dealings in 2010 and 2012 legislative races in New York. Moreland and its lawyers contend that Common Sense spent millions of dollars to affect the outcomes of those races. The crux of the state’s argument is… [More]

City & State TV: Steve McLaughlin

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Video

Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin discusses the Republican Party’s chances in 2014 elections in New York, education reform and the NY SAFE Act in an interview with Matthew Hamilton. McLaughlin’s name was part of the gubernatorial candidate talks to begin the year, but at this point he says that a run is highly unlikely. That leaves businessman Donald Trump and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino as the two big-name candidates considering a run, although Carl Paladino, who ran in 2010, has said… [More]

City & State TV: Mickey Kearns

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Video

Buffalo-area Assemblyman Mickey Kearns discusses the culture of sexual harassment in the chamber, his push to pass two foreclosure bills this session and the chances for the Buffalo Bills next year in an interview with Matthew Hamilton: Kearns left the Assembly Democratic Conference in May 2013, saying he wouldn’t return until Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was replaced. Roughly eight months later, the Assembly has again been wrapped up in scandal, including more of the sexual harassment allegations that initially prompted… [More]

Minimum Wage Increase—Home Rule or Not—Could Affect Labor Market

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in News

While New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants state lawmakers to pass a home rule message allowing him to raise taxes, another home rule measure affecting municipalities all across the state could be granted by the end of the legislative session. The state Senate Democratic Conference introduced legislation on Tuesday that would bump the minimum wage to $9 per hour at the end of 2014. It also would allow local municipalities to go above what the state sets as its… [More]

Gun Group’s Membership Has Spiked Since Passage of SAFE Act

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Features, Heard Around Town, News, Public Safety

Tom King of the State Rifle & Pistol Association (Photo by Shannon DeCelle) Gun owners joined the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association in droves last year, making the group the largest state affiliate of the National Rifle Association, according to the state-based group. NYSRPA President Tom King said membership numbers leapt from the mid-20,000s to more than 41,000 in 2013. Gun rights activists have been at odds with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and some state lawmakers since the passage of the SAFE Act in late 2012, a potential factor behind the increase in membership. King attributed… [More]

New State Caucus of Environmental Legislators Takes Root in Albany

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Environment, Features, Heard Around Town, News

Key environmental issues have a new avenue to reach the floor of the state Legislature with the recent formation of the New York State Caucus of Environmental Legislators. The 33-member group is made up of lawmakers from both parties and both houses. Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, NYSCEL’s chair, expects discussions within the caucus to help build consensus on which environmental issues are important and which ones can be accomplished. “A lot of the work in the Legislature happens within conferences or… [More]

De Blasio Joins Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Features, Heard Around Town, News, Public Safety

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a nationwide coalition co-founded by his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, and the move prompted praise from gun control advocates. The new mayor is no stranger to gun-violence initiatives, something New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Executive Director Leah Gunn Barrett cited as one of the reasons she sees de Blasio’s joining as a positive. “He, as public advocate, led the national campaign to pressure hedge funds and money managers to divest from the gun… [More]

DiNapoli Says Public Financing Can Start With Comptroller Race

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Campaigns/Elections, Features, Heard Around Town, News

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a staunch supporter of public financing of campaigns, seems pleased with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s public financing proposal. At a breakfast with reporters Tuesday morning DiNapoli reiterated his stance that if the state wants to start with public financing, it can do so with in the comptroller’s race. As for the cost, he sided with estimates made by good government groups. “The advocates’ numbers are much more realistic numbers than the critics that have greatly inflated the… [More]

Diaz Sr. Confronts De Blasio On Cuomo’s “Extreme Conservatives” Comment

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Features, Heard Around Town

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s budget testimony in Albany focused on pre-kindergarten, but he also found himself once again defending Andrew Cuomo’s recent criticism of “extreme conservatives.” State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx questioned how de Blasio’s message of unity and eliminating the “Tale of Two Cities” fits with the view that conservatives have no place in the state. De Blasio answered that people often find common ground regardless of political allegiances. “By definition it’s my… [More]

State Needs $10 Billion Medicaid Waiver Now To Save Hospitals, Says Schwartz

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Features, Health Care, Heard Around Town, News

The Cuomo administration is predicting more trouble for struggling hospitals if the federal government does not grant New York’s request for a $10 billion Medicaid waiver, which state officials submitted 18 months ago. Funding in the governor’s new 2014-2015 state budget for healthcare and hospitals, including three in Brooklyn on the verge of closure, is allocated on the assumption that the federal government will approve the waiver, which would allow some of the projected savings identified by the governor’s Medicaid… [More]