The names of all of the lawmakers secretly recorded by disgraced ex-State Sen. Shirley Huntley will be unsealed tomorrow, a federal judge has ruled.
The decision came following a petition by members of the press eager to find out who Ms. Huntley had recorded while wearing a wire last year. Documents filed in federal court last week ahead of Ms. Huntley’s sentencing, revealed that, in an effort to reduce her sentence on embezzlement charges, she had agreed to wear a wire to tape conversations with fellow lawmakers.
Earlier today, the state Supreme Court blocked New York City’s controversial attempt to ban large cups for sugary drinks in restaurants and other food establishments. The ruling, which you can view below, blasted the ban as “arbitrary and capricious,” ultimately creating “an administrative Leviathan.” The rules were scheduled to go into effect tomorrow.
“It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the City, it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds and the loopholes inherent in the Rule, including but not limited to no limitations on re-fills, defeat and/or serve to gut the purpose of the Rule,” Judge Milton Tingling ruled.
Opponents of New York’s 2011 gay marriage law had sought to overturn the legislation under grounds that it violated New York’s Open Meetings Law, arguing the closed-door meetings held by New York State Senate Republicans with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg constituted an illegal violation. But the State Supreme Court stymied their hopes today and ruled in favor of New York State and gay marriage supporters.
“Accordingly, we conclude that the judgment should be reversed insofar as appealed from, and judgment should be entered in favor of defendants declaring that defendant New York State Senate did notviolate the OML in enacting the [Marriage Equality Act] and that marriages performed thereunder are not invalid,” Acting Justice Robert Wiggins declared.
More ballots were opened for the March 20th State Senate special election this afternoon, and Republican candidate David Storobin doubled his margin … to two votes, multiple tipsters told The Politicker.
The latest gain comes from absentee and provisional ballots where the respective campaigns withdrew their objections. 41 ballots were counted in total, with 21 going to Mr. Storobin and 20 going to his Democratic opponent, Lew Fidler.
At the end of last week, lawyers representing the two candidates in the special election to replace Carl Kruger in the State Senate agreed to a court proceeding to resolve which candidate ultimately received more votes. Republican candidate David Storobin is currently leading by a single vote, but Democrat Lew Fidler is feeling confident.
The judge has appointed two “Special Referees” to hear ballot objections made by both sides on the contested absentee votes (i.e. one campaign may believe signature similarity on certain ballots indicates the votes were fraudulent).
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries’ house and electoral base were removed from the court’s draft map for the congressional district he is seeking to represent, but he said this afternoon his plan is to continue his campaign for the 10th Congressional District held by incumbent Congressman Ed Towns.
After a rally in front of the federal courthouse urging the courts to modify their proposal, The Politicker asked if he would be willing to shift his campaign to the Congressional District he would live in under the court’s map, setting up a primary with Rep. Yvette Clarke instead of Mr. Towns.
“Well, again, that’s hypothetical,” he responded. “My plan is to move forward under the 10th congressional lines as they currently exist, or as they’re proposed.”
Earlier this afternoon, Brooklyn elected officials and activists gathered to protest the court’s draft redistricting map for Congressional lines, and Councilman Charles Barron, as usual, was the most outspoken member of the crowd.
Mr. Barron, who’s running for Congress himself, made it clear his first issue was the term “Special Master” used to describe the court’s redistricting expert assisting int he drafting.
“I think the first thing we got to do is stop calling the judge ‘Master,’” he declared. “Trying to draw us back on the plantation. So I’m going to say ‘judge,’ because we have no master.”
Earlier today, the courts dropped a small bombshell on New York’s Congressional delegation, releasing a “draft” map for the new set of districts. But what does that mean, and what happens next?
U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann has given a deadline at 9 a.m. tomorrow for any parties to submit comments. She then has until Monday to submit her plan to a three-judge panel. That panel will then hold a hearing for the parties on March 15th and subsequently order a plan into effect.
David Nir, an attorney who now heads the left-leaning Daily Kos Elections blog that closely monitors redistricting developments across the country, said he expected the three-judge panel would adopt the proposed map wholesale.
“In all likelihood, I’d expect the three-judge panel to adopt the magistrate’s final map with few if any changes,” he told The Politicker. “Given the amount of work the magistrate has put into drafting these maps, and her close familiarity with the new lines, I’d be surprised if the three-judge panel chose to second-guess her.”
The special master involved in redrawing New York’s Congressional districts released the court’s draft map this morning, and certainly not every incumbent is going to be pleased. And, unlike the proposals from the State Assembly and Senate majorities, this draft will likely contain far more legal weight as the process moves forward over the next week.
At first glance, the map appears to eliminate Congressman Bob Turner’s Queens-based seat and Upstate Congressman Maurice Hinchey’s one as well. The map additionally eliminates a Nassau County district, dismantling Rep. Gary Ackerman’s the most.
A new plurality-Asian district is created in Queens, which Mr. Ackerman may choose to run for. However, Congressman Joe Crowley, whose district was converted into a 48% Latino seat with more of the Bronx, might also prefer to run for that new seat as well, should the map hold.
Last week, the judge in the redistricting case took submissions from the public on where New York’s new congressional lines should lie, and one group, “the Orthodox Alliance for Liberty,” submitted a plan aiming to unite as many Jewish communities as possible, especially Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and upstate.
In order to justify their proposal, the group argued the lines proposed by the legislative majorities, as well as the existing congressional boundaries, are wholly unacceptable.
“The current districting of the Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in the New York City and Long Island area, as well as the maps proposed by the New York State Senate and Assembly majorities are untenable,” they wrote to the court. “The sizable, distinct and ethnic and racial group of Orthodox Jews has been systematically deprived of just representation in the U.S. Congress. This Orthodox Alliance for Liberty implores the Honorable Court to correct an egregious wrong and restore a full voice for New York’s Orthodox Jews in the U.S. Congress.”