Good Morning from New York…

As of today 87 bills have been sent to Governor Cuomo and are currently awaiting action. The measures delivered last week include the long-stalled Elevator Safety Act, which would require elevator mechanics and contractors to complete minimum standards of education and training in line with 38 other states that have elevator safety standards; a bill to rein in Pharmacy Benefit Managers and control drug pricing in the State; the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, which would bring New York in line with National standards on organ and tissue donation; and a measure to increase choice around Medication Assisted Treatment for patients fighting opioid addiction. For the full list of the bills on the Governor’s desk, click here. 

In Washington D.C., the Senate and the House have completed their work for 2019. The end of the year rush included passing full Fiscal Year 2020 government funding bills—which were signed by President Donald Trump just before funding was set to expire at midnight last Friday, voting on a new North American trade agreement, and the House voting to impeach President Trump.

The President also signed the fiscal 2020 Defense Authorization Bill at an event at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland last Friday night. That measure includes Trump’s goal of establishing a new Space Force branch of the U.S. military, as well as Democrats’ priority establishing up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers. 

Trump’s signature on the fiscal 2020 spending bills ends months of back-and-forth between Republicans and Democrats over how best to divvy up this year’s discretionary funding and solve problematic issues like border wall spending—a topic many feared could lead to another shutdown. The seemingly endless stalemate over Trump’s border wall push ended just over a week ago when appropriators Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Representative Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) reached an agreement to spend $1.375 billion on border barrier construction during fiscal 2020, keeping funding level with the previous fiscal year.

The day after the historic House vote to impeach President Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi put an abrupt halt to the proceedings, holding back from sending the charges to the Republican-led Senate in a politically risky bid to exert influence over an election-year trial. However, Congressional Leaders signaled Sunday they believe a deal is close that will prompt the House of Representatives to send the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate soon, amid a standoff over the rules and additional witnesses in President Trump’s trial.

As 2019 wraps up, next week’s newsletter will include a preview of the Governor’s 2020 State of the State Address and what to expect in the upcoming State Legislative Session. In the meantime, we want to wish you and your families Happy Chanukah and Happy Christmas! As always, thanks for reading and thank you for being a part of the O’Donnell & Associates team!

 — Jack O’Donnell

Bloomberg 2020 Ramps Up in New York


New York’s presidential primary is still four months away, but while other candidates are focusing on early-voting states like Iowa

and New Hampshire, Michael Bloomberg has already begun assembling a campaign apparatus in his home state. The billionaire former mayor of New York City has tapped two men to lead the effort… [Read more.]


The Majority is in Play 

(Opinion: Jennifer Duffy)

A year into this election cycle, the overall Senate landscape generally looks much like I thought it would. The races that seemed likely to be the most competitive are, in fact, the most competitive today. And, if the race ratings don’t quite reflect it yet, Democrats appear to have expanded the playing field enough to put Republicans’ majority at risk. [Read more.]

Why Biden’s Retro Inner Circle Is Succeeding So Far

While most presidential campaigns produce strategists and operatives who become high-profile political  characters in a yearslong drama, you’ve probably never heard of the Joe Biden brain trust. In 2019, there’s a tiny group of Democrats who believe the party hasn’t lurched leftward. Oh, and their boss happens to be winning the primary. [Read more.]

Evidence of World’s Oldest Forest Unearthed in Upstate New York

The University at Buffalo has launched another new resource to help address health disparities on Buffalo’s East Side. The UB Community Health Equity Research Institute will bring together researchers from the university with community partners and faculty, as well as students from 10 UB programs. [Read more.]

Congress Showers Health Care Industry with Multibillion-Dollar Victory

Vilified by lawmakers from both parties for months, the health-care industry this year appeared to face an existential threat to its business model. But this week, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, insurance companies and medical device manufacturers practically ran the table in Congress through old-fashioned lobbying. [Read more.]


1984 in the Capitol Red Room. The story goes Gov. Mario Cuomo mused he never had a rocking horse as a child, so carpenter Bill Vincent made one for him for Christmas. @albanymuskrat

NYC Mayor’s Aides Communicate in Encrypted Messages 

As more government employees use apps like Signal, watchdog groups warn that such apps can be used to hide records and communications from the public. [Read more.]