- Monday Morning Memo
- Hear Us Out
Hear Us Out
NY Budget Hearings, Cuomo Woes, Presidential Race
Good morning from Albany, New York. The Department of Justice announced on Friday it has reached a settlement with the State of New York, concluding that former Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed 13 women and created a “sexually hostile work environment.” The finding of the investigation corroborated a separate report from State Attorney General Tish James in 2021, but turned up four more victims (all of the DOJ victims worked for New York State and only 9 of the women identified by the AG report did) after federal investigators conducted additional interviews.
As part of the settlement, current Governor Kathy Hochul has agreed to scale up the Executive Chamber Human Resources Department, implement new policies for reporting, and increase training. In a statement, Hochul said, “The moment I took office, I knew I needed to root out the culture of harassment that had previously plagued the Executive Chamber and implement strong policies to promote a safe workplace for all employees, and took immediate action to do so.”
“The moment I took office, I knew I needed to root out the culture of harassment that had previously plagued the Executive Chamber and implement strong policies to promote a safe workplace for all employees, and took immediate action to do so.”
Joint legislative budget hearings kicked off last week as the Legislature prepares to respond to the Executive Budget proposal. Lawmakers held hearings on health, transportation, and public protection with economic development, labor, and human services slated for next week.
The disconnect between the Legislature and Executive Chamber on Medicaid spending was evident at the health hearing, with Department of Health Commissioner James McDonald echoing Hochul’s call for a one billion dollar reduction in Medicaid spending.
Senate Health Committee Chair Gustavo Rivera has argued that increasing revenue and restructuring managed long term, rather than enacting cuts, is the more responsible way forward saying, “We should be talking about how to stabilize that system, not how to cut it further. We're leaving that on the table, whether it's raising money on that, raising taxes on the wealthy, which has potentially billions of dollars.” Leaders in the Legislature are also pushing for changes to the midwifery licensing system to address maternal healthcare and infant mortality. A bill cosponsored by Assembly Health Chair Amy Paulin would expand access to maternal healthcare by permitting Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) to practice in New York State. An Executive Order by former Governor Cuomo allowed CPM’s to temporarily practice in New York during the pandemic, but that provision has since expired.
Today I introduced a bill to require insurance companies in New York State to fully cover the cost of lifesaving covid medications, like Paxlovid. I also asked about my bill in today’s Health budget hearing and was glad to hear the NYS Heath Commissioner say that he agrees that… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
— Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal (@bradhoylman)
Jan 23, 2024
At the transportation hearing, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) CEO Janno Lieber used the platform to air his grievances with New Jersey and their lack of cooperation on public transit initiatives. Lieber has said New Jersey’s pending lawsuit on congestion pricing has led to legal uncertainty and their unwillingness to cooperate will only increase the region’s transportation problems. At the hearing, Lieber said, “For reasons none of us understand they’ve got a $2 billion turnpike widening project that will just pump more cars in the Holland Tunnel which has no more capacity. So they’re creating a big old parking lot on their side of the river. This is a mystery. The substance of the lawsuit is kind of frivolous.” Many suburban lawmakers share the Garden State’s disdain for the congestion pricing policy, including Senator Bill Weber who feels the inconsistency in service to outer boroughs makes the policy unfair, adding “Rockland County residents have always felt like the redheaded stepchild of the MTA.”
The public protection hearing largely centered on gun reduction initiates and the effectiveness of the State’s tweaks to bail reform. Assistant Deputy State Police Superintendent Christopher West testified that 1,316 illegal firearms were seized in 2023, which represents a 159% increase compared to 2018. On bail reform, lawmakers noted that the policy has not led to an increase in crime as some predicted.
Yesterday, I testified before legislators about @GovKathyHochul’s FY25 Budget for @NYSDCJS. It will allow us to build upon proven strategies and partnerships with law enforcement and community-based organizations 🧵
— Rossana Rosado (@rorosado)
Jan 26, 2024
Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado agreed offering, “there isn't a big difference in terms of people returning to court or being rearrested. We have been able to do both things, to implement bail reform and to see historic declines in crime.”
In campaign news, Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, who has served the Rockland County based 96th Assembly District for nine terms, announced he will not be seeking reelection, and longtime fixture in Harlem politics, Inez Dickens is set to retire, setting off a surge in candidates looking to replace her.
Farewell to Charles Osgood. We will see you on the radio.
Meet the travel agent who plans “The Odyssey” themed cruises and can source a mermaid on short notice… for the small price of $10 million.
Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki
Governor Hochul Names UB Home for Empire AI Consortium
Governor Hochul made it official last week: OD&A client, University at Buffalo will be the site of her proposed statewide AI consortium, Empire AI, which will include construction of a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence computing center. [Read more.]
Public Safety Partnerships
OD&A was proud to partner with our client, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV) and Buffalo Councilmember Zeneta Everhart for a panel discussion last week on addressing gun violence and its impact in WNY. The conversation included national, state and local crime prevention experts as well as concerned members of the community. We thank everyone who participated and the local media for amplifying this important issue.
Thank you Congressman Morelle for your support of our client, Trillium Health!
Community-based health centers like @TrilliumNY are an important piece of our efforts to expand high-quality healthcare to more people in our community.
Grateful for the opportunity to tour their facility and reaffirm my commitment to continuing our important work together.
— Joe Morelle (@RepJoeMorelle)
Jan 23, 2024
Do you think Nikki Haley should continue her campaign for the GOP presidential nomination?
Results of the Last Poll
Do you think the NYS Budget will be approved on-time (April 1) this year?
Background: Jim came to OD&A in 2019 after working with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer both in Western New York and the Southern Tier, ultimately serving as Deputy Regional Director for the Southern Tier. While working in the Senate, Jim worked on a wide range of issues from fighting regulations that would hurt NY businesses to ensuring municipalities throughout Upstate New York received adequate federal funding to meet their needs.
Specialty: Jim is a policy expert, adept in the development of comprehensive strategies for a broad range of clients, including financial services, healthcare, gaming, energy, and emerging technologies. He has worked on a vast array of legislation and regulation, ranging from bills impacting safety net healthcare providers throughout the State to measures that help drive the growth of fintech, blockchain, and cryptocurrency industries in New York. Jim is also proficient in developing national and state policies around data privacy and has a key role in The Data Privacy Alliance.
Successes: Jim is a results-driven government relations professional who has helped clients across the State secure millions in integral investment through the State budget process and federal appropriations.
Extras: Jim is a graduate of Canisius High School in Buffalo and the University of Vermont where he studied Political Science and Business Administration. He currently resides in the Capital region with his wife, Annie and their two sons.
This Day in History
Benz Patent Motor Car
January 29, 1886: German engineer Carl Benz patents the first modern automobile.
Worth a Read
Company Offering $10K to Stay Off Your Phone for a Month
One New York-based company has started what they’re calling a digital detox program, and they’re turning it into a contest. [Read more.]