Put a Spell on You
Governor Andrew Cuomo and one of the state’s top legislative leaders don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on corruption metaphors.
Dean Skelos, the head of the State Senate’s Republican caucus expressed concerns yesterday that Mr. Cuomo’s recently-launched Moreland Commission, which will go after corruption in Albany, would amount to a “witch hunt” against sitting lawmakers. But asked about Mr. Skelos’s phrasing today, Mr. Cuomo questioned its applicability.
Law & Order
After a series of New York officials were arrested and charged with corruption last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo says he has the solution–or at least the first step. Accordingly, at press conference earlier this afternoon, Mr. Cuomo unveiled a legislative package aimed at curbing the problem.
“Over the past few days, there have been several charges brought against public officials; they span city and state government,” he began. “And they paint a truly ugly picture of our political landscape. I’d like to say that this is an unprecedented situation, that public corruption is a new problem. But it isn’t and, in many ways, that’s what makes it worse.”
Up in Smoke
While a growing number of states have been legalizing medical and even recreational use of marijuana, the popular plant remains illegal in New York. However, an upcoming pair of new medical marijuana bills in the Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug may signal the Empire State is on its way to looser marijuana regulations.
As liberals rejoiced over the parts of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address that promised tougher gun laws and campaign finance reform, the State Senate’s Republican Leader Dean Skelos released a video hinting at a legislative battle to come when he said he would not support the public financing of campaigns.
“I do not support taxpayer dollars to fund political campaigns,” Mr. Skelos said after explaining that Republicans did back increasing “transparency” and “accountability” in the campaign process. “If the public campaign finance system in New York City was applied statewide and to legislative campaigns, it would cost taxpayers more than 200 million dollars. That’s money that would be much better spent on property tax relief or investing more money in rural upstate school districts and underperforming school districts around the state.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo threw down the gauntlet on the new State Senate leadership coalition between the Republicans and the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference with a stern warning for them to support all of his agenda items that he has declared his “litmus test” for the group on Fred Dicker’s radio show this morning. Mr. Cuomo drew his line in the sand when the host asked about indications the new coalition might be hesitant to back all of the agenda items on the governor’s list. Mr. Cuomo, who has taken some heat from progressives for not doing more to oppose the coalition and back Democratic control of the Senate chamber, made it clear his tolerance for the group will cease if they don’t pass his test.
“If that’s true, then we’re going to have a problem Fred and we’re going to have a problem sooner rather than later,” said the governor.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has made enacting campaign finance reform part of his “litmus test” for judging the new coalition in the New York State Senate. Based on their recent statements, it seems he may only get half of the reforms he wanted from the new merger the Independent Democratic Conference and the State Senate Republicans.
It’s a particularly wild week in Albany, and in a surprise announcement, five members of of the “Independent Democratic Conference” have joined their Republican counterparts to form a “historic bipartisan partnership,” even as the Democrats protest the situation by pointing to their on-paper majority in the chamber. The IDC, whose numbers expanded today with Democratic Senator Malcolm Smith joining their ranks, had hinted at a bipartisan coalition of some kind, but only now have the details of this arrangement emerged.
Although much of the attention has been focused on New York City, millions of Long Islanders were also caught in Hurricane Sandy’s path, with tens of thousands of them still without electricity or a regular supply of gasoline. In a statement sent out this afternoon by Nassau and Suffolk counties’ entire delegation in the State Senate, the local officials cried out for additional federal assistance. In doing so, they repeatedly raised the specter of Hurricane Katrina, the disaster that infamously marred former President George W. Bush’s administration.
“We are facing a massive, Katrina-style disaster here on Long Island that will only get worse unless all of the resources of the federal government are at our disposal. Incredibly, that hasn’t happened yet,” Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos declared in the release, the title of which warned of “More Death and Destruction.”
In an interview with the Jewish Press that just went online last night, newly minted Republican State Senator David Storobin presented an elaborate case against his likely Democratic opponent, former City Councilman Simcha Felder. As they are competing for the same socially conservative, heavily Orthodox Jewish district, Mr. Storobin made repeated efforts to link Mr. Felder to Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is both socially liberal ideologically and an open lesbian.
“If you look at previous races, my opponent was a supporter of Barack Obama, my opponent was a supporter of Christine Quinn, my opponent was a reliable Democratic voter of the Christine Quinn Agenda,” he argued, repeating the “Christine Quinn agenda” line again afterwards.
The American Cancer Society and a group of 150 health professionals sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos with a simple message: Don’t let our kids grow up to be the Tanorexic Mom.
A bill, which would ban the children under the age of 18 from frequenting tanning salons, is now before the full Senate, having passed the Assembly and the Senate health committee.
Speaking of a study by researchers at the Yale School of Public, the letter states:
The authors stated that indoor tanning was strikingly common in the study of young skin cancer patients, especially women, which they concluded may be the reason why 70% of early-onset BCCs occur in females. Also, the authors concluded that reducing indoor tanning could translate to a meaningful reduction in the incidence of both melanoma (which accounts for the majority of death from skin cancer) and BCC. Another study published this month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology followed 70,000 women for 20 years and found increased risk for all three types of skin cancer associated with tanning bed use before age 35.