Good Morning from New York… 

The Executive Chamber was bustling over the holiday weeks. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed several measures and vetoed a handful more. Cuomo signed the Elevator Safety Act which creates minimum  education and training standards for elevator mechanics. The new law is a hard fought win for the O’Donnell & Associates team and our client, the International Union of Elevator Constructors. New York is currently one of only twelve States in the Country without minimum standards for education and training. The Governor also signed the New York Call Center Jobs Act, meant to combat rampant outsourcing of call center jobs from the State, and the Women on Corporate Boards Study, which directs the Department of State to study the number of women on boards of companies licensed to do business in the State.

There were also vetoes on several high profile measures last week. The vetoes—which included a bill requiring licensing of Pharmacy Benefit Managers by the State Department of Financial Services, a measure legalizing e-bikes across the State, and a bill to combat wage theft by employers—could foreshadow action for the Legislature in the 2020 Legislative Session as sponsors of all three measures have resolved to drive their legislation again this year.

For a full list of the bills acted on by the Governor over the past two weeks, click here.

Cuomo also announced ten more proposals for the State of the State: including the legalization of paid gestational surrogacy; a system in the State to combat robocalls; a proposal to prevent “ghost guns” in the State by limiting the ability of individuals to import components of guns; an inclusive Equal Rights Amendment; and updates to the State’s Alcohol Beverage Control law—including the repeal of the 1933 Tied House Law preventing alcohol suppliers from having retail licenses. For a full list of Cuomo’s State of the State proposals to date click here.

In Washington, Congress is returning from the holiday recess with a jam packed agenda. The first order of business is the negotiation around the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. The impasse between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) continued over the holidays. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), also has not yet revealed when she plans to send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate. McConnell didn’t speak to either Schumer or Pelosi about the trial over the holiday recess, according to aides, underscoring the depth of the standoff.

While the standoff over the impeachment trial continues, President Trump’s war powers also came into focus over the holidays. Democrats will attempt to curb President Trump’s war powers after a U.S. drone strike killed a senior Iranian military leader in what lawmakers are calling a major escalation that could lead to war. Senate Democrats are mobilizing behind a resolution that would force Trump to withdraw American troops from hostilities against Iran unless Congress declares war or passes a resolution authorizing military force.

January will be busy both in Washington and Albany. Please let us know what you want to see covered over the next several weeks!

— Jack O’Donnell

Crowded Democratic Presidential Field Sprints Toward ‘Jump Ball’ in Crucial Iowa Caucuses

The Bernie Sanders campaign plans to knock on half a million Iowa doors in January. Elizabeth Warren’s team is asking supporters for spare couches to house out-of-state volunteers. And the national polling leader, former vice president Joe Biden, claims a sharp uptick in volunteer sign-ups as he has secured high-profile endorsements in the state. [Read more.]


12 questions for 2020

State politics was focused almost entirely on policy items in 2019, as Democrats took complete control in Albany and scrambled to enact much of the liberal agenda they had promised voters. As 2020 rolls around, the focus will likely shift back to electoral politics. Here’s a look at some of the key questions that will be answered in the coming 12 months. [Read more.]

Who’s Watching the CIA? A Hawk Named Hudson

The President’s Daily Brief is among the U.S. government’s most closely held intelligence reports, its highly classified contents intended only for President Trump and a handful of his top national security aides. Lately, an extra—and uninvited—pair of eyes has been looking in on the PDB, as it is known, even before Mr. Trump gets to peruse it. [Read more.]

The Politicos We Lost in 2019

Remembering the lawmakers, policy wonks, intellectuals and back-stage Washington players who died this year—and why they mattered. [Read more.]

The Pollster Who Figured Out Iowa’s Quirky Caucuses

Her work attracts a range of clients, including nonprofits, grocery chains, health-care companies, advocacy groups, financial institutions and marketing agencies. She conducts state and national polls beyond Iowa too and has created polls for publications including Bloomberg Politics, the Indianapolis Star and the Detroit Free Press. Yet it is the notoriously quirky caucuses that have made her Iowa’s polling queen. [Read more.]

Archaeologists unearthed the remains of a 4,000-year-old “Book of Two Ways” — a guide to the Egyptian underworld, and the earliest copy of the first illustrated book. [Read more.]

Trump, Democrats Gird for Fierce 2020 Fight in Arizona

Four years ago, the relatively humdrum scene never would have happened: A week before Christmas, more than three dozen Democrats filed into a public school cafeteria to go over their finances and organizing goals, and to hear from a local candidate. [Read more.]



odonnell and associates 2021 new york policy and politics preview

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