Good Morning from New York…
Last week, Representative Chris Collins resigned and pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and making false statements in the on-going insider trading case. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Collins’ guilty plea caps a nearly two-year descent from rising national figure and the first member of the House of Representatives to endorse Donald Trump. It has opened the door to an ‘intramural free-for-all’ in the Republican Party. Governor Cuomo said last week that he will call a special election in Western New York’s 27th Congressional District. The primary will likely take place in June, but could happen as early as April.
Three Republican candidates have declared: Senator Chris Jacobs, Senator Rob Ortt, and Fox News Contributor Beth Parlato; Batavia-area Assembly Member Steve Hawley and Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw remain interested. David Bellavia, the Purple Heart recipient who many 27th District insiders consider a formidable candidate if he declares, has not yet jumped into the race. The race could have a cascade effect, especially in Senator Chris Jacobs’ current State Senate seat, where Buffalo Democratic Assembly Member Sean Ryan announced he would run for Senate District 60 in September and City of Buffalo Common Council Member Joel Feroleto also may enter the race.
…And, Cuomo’s vaping ban is on hold one day before it was supposed to go into effect. The New York State Appellate Division granted a temporary restraining order against New York’s emergency ban on flavored nicotine products. The ruling— which emerged from a lawsuit filed by the Vapor Technology Association, Benevolent ELiquids Inc., and Perfection Vapes—hinders the state’s planned prohibition of flavored vaping products that was set to begin last Friday in the wake of more than 1,000 vaping-related illnesses popping up across the nation.
While headlines from the nation’s Capitol continue to be dominated by the impeachment proceedings, last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that House Democrats are ‘on a path to yes’ on the trilateral trade agreement and replacement for NAFTA, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Democratic Ways & Means Chair Richard Neal proposed a counter agreement to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lightizer. However, not everyone was focused on negotiating the deal, as the President tweeted accusing Pelosi of trying to “camouflage” the impeachment process with the negotiations.
— Jack O’Donnell
After Hospitals’ Donation to New York Democrats, a $140 Million Payout
With Medicaid costs soaring in New York, the Greater New York Hospital Association was pushing for the seemingly impossible: more state reimbursement money. It was a big ask, and for years, it had gone nowhere. Medicaid spending already represented an enormous and ever-growing share of the state budget, and Governor Cuomo had taken steps to keep the program in check. Then things changed. As Mr. Cuomo was locked in a bitterly fought Democratic primary last year, his campaign asked the association, one of Albany’s most influential and richest power centers, to make a major donation to the State Democratic Party.
BSJ Client UB on Track to Become Top 25 Research School, Tripathi Says in Address
The University at Buffalo will “stay the course,” its president said last Friday. “Clearly, our guiding principles steered us well,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi, noting they have guided UB for more than a decade and pushed it up the rankings among the nation’s public research universities. “So, as we look to the future, we will stay the course. We know we are on the right course,” he said during his eighth annual state of the university address. “We know it by our research and scholarship. We know it by our student outcomes. And we see it reflected in our institutional ranking.” That was the upshot of Tripathi’s upbeat message to several hundred members of the UB community, as well as local officials, including Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Tripathi – in a 45-minute speech at the North Campus in Amherst – provided a look back at the university from more than a decade ago when it chartered a course for where it wanted to be by the year 2020. That “UB 2020” strategic plan set out with a goal of turning a “very good institution” into a top public research university.
As City Rolls Out Census Funding for Outreach Efforts, State Lags Behind
New York City is moving full steam ahead with its effort to ensure that the 2020 Census counts each and every resident of the five boroughs, with millions of dollars in funding and a four-pillar strategy for outreach to hard-to-count communities. But New York State’s effort seems to have stalled and there is little indication that state authorities are moving with urgency despite the many billions of dollars in federal funding and congressional representation at stake. In the 2010 Census, New York City residents’ self-response rate to the Census was an abysmal 62%, well below the national average of 76%. The city is home to many hard-to-count populations – among which self-response rates are relatively low – including children, seniors, immigrants, predominantly black communities, and residents of public housing. An undercount of these populations can affect everything from federal funding levels for programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Section 8 housing vouchers to business investment in the city and the state’s seats in the House of Representatives.
New York Prosecutors Say DOJ Trying to Shield Trump in Tax-Returns
The Manhattan district attorney’s office pushed back Thursday against the Justice Department’s intervention in its effort to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns, saying DOJ only wants to delay the matter. Further delays in enforcing a state subpoena for the tax returns sought by D.A. Cyrus Vance threaten to trigger the statute of limitations on some of the issues a New York grand jury is investigating related to hush-money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign to two women who claimed they had sexual relations with Trump , Vance’s office said in a federal court filing.rump’s “only goal in this litigation, now supported by the Justice Department itself, is to obtain as much delay as possible, through litigation, stays and appeals,” the state prosecutors told Judge Victor Marrero. “If delays are achieved, to the frustration of the New York state inquiry, [Trump] will win.” Trump sued the D.A.’s office in federal court last month, seeking to block a subpoena for eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns. The office is seeking the records from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA.
Impeachment Talk Throws Monkey Wrench into Progressive Insurgents’ Primary Challenges
A small army of progressives made waves earlier this year when they challenged some of the most experienced members of the city’s congressional delegation, saying the incumbents weren’t doing enough to fight President Trump. That was before Democrats in Congress launched an impeachment probe of the president. Now the challengers, who range from an educator in the Bronx to a sexual harassment activist in Manhattan, have to adjust their lines of attack on longtime pols Reps. Yvette Clarke (Brooklyn), Eliot Engel (Bronx/Westschester), Carol Maloney (Brooklyn/Manhattan/Queens) and Jerry Nadler (Manhattan). When challengers including Jamaal Bowman, Adam Bunkeddeko (pictured), Erica Vladimer, and Lindsey Boylan launched their campaigns, they slammed their opponents — Engel, Clarke, Maloney and Nadler, respectively — for fiddling while Washington burned. But since mainstream Dems got fully on board with impeachment when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a probe on Sept. 25, the challengers have been accusing their rivals of showing a “lack of leadership.”