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Michael Gianaris

It's A Free Country ®

Online Voter Registration Creeps Into New York

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New York just became the 11th state to allow online voter registration.

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It's A Free Country ®

Explainer: What Good Is It to be the Toughest State on Gun Control?

Monday, August 06, 2012

A New York State Senator plans to introduce six new pieces of gun control legislation this week, which if passed would make New York the state with the toughest gun laws in the nation. But gun control advocates caution that lax laws in other states would still pose a threat.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Friday, March 09, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

Senator Michael Gianaris on why any deal on redistricting that doesn’t include a veto isn’t enough.

Colleen Taggarty, the Superintendent of the Olean City Schools says the question is no longer “where do we cut” it’s become “how do we become insolvent”?

And data driven policing is in the news again today and not in a good way: Why do we continue to measure the wrong things? That’s what Eli Silverman and John Eterno ask in their new book “The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation” published by CRC Press, one installment in a series of texts exploring advances in Police Theory & Practice. Both Silverman and Eterno have unique experience with CompState, NYPD’s computerized crime tracking system. They will join me on today’s show.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Monday, March 05, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

According to State Senator Mike Gianaris, he's been consistently outspoken on government reform whether serving in the Senate or Assembly. On today’s Capitol Pressroom, the Queens Democrat discusses Cuomo's comments, today’s New York Times editorial, and the defensive stance taken on Friday by Assemblyman Jack McEneny, a fellow Democrat and the Assembly co-chair of LATFOR, upon learning of Gianaris’ criticism of a constitutional amendment in-the-making.

Siena Pollster Steve Greenberg returns, wielding data.

We hear what former Republican gubernatorial candidate John Faso has to say about relationships, specifically the one between Republicans and women in light of Rush Limbaugh’s latest comments.

Adam Lisberg, editor of City & State New York shares highlights from the latest issue of the paper, including a story about increasing highway & bridge tolls in order to pay for transportation infrastructure.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Empire

State Assembly: Our redistricting amendment is better than Gianaris'

Friday, March 02, 2012

This article has been updated.

From left, Assemb. Jack McEneny, Sen. Michael Nozzolio and Sen. Martin Malavé Dilan (Colby Hamilton / WNYC)

Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver’s press office just released a statement on behalf of Assemblyman Jack McEneny, the Albany-based Democrat representing the Assembly’s Democratic majority in the state’s redistricting process. The statement, according to McEneny, is in response to the criticism being levied against the reported language of a constitutional amendment that appeared this morning in the Albany Times-Union. The amendment would be part of a compromise that would allow the Governor to sign a second, supposedly improved set of district lines for the state senate and assembly.

The statement appears to put daylight between what Assemblyman McEneny described in the TU article, and some of the push back coming from Senate Democrats, in particular Senator Michael Gianaris, who was the co-sponsor of a bill last year to establish an independent redistricting process in 2012:

While we share a common goal of permanently reforming New York’s redistricting process, the constitutional amendment currently being discussed by the Assembly is stronger than the Senate Minority’s proposal in several key respects. Future redistricting plans will be subjected to tough standards not contained in the plan put forth by the Senate Minority and, as well, the amendment would be accompanied by a statute implementing those changes.

According to the statement, in the event the plan drawn by the future “independent commission” was rejected by the legislature, lawmakers would “be limited to those that affect no more than two percent of the population of the district being altered, making it much harder to modify the commission’s proposals.”

The statement goes on to say the Assembly proposal would “provide crucial protections for language and for racial minorities,” as well as require a justification for district population deviations, and give greater restriction to political activities for the commission members.

The statement comes after a day of push back from lawmakers and good government activists incensed over the details of a possible constitutional amendment on redistricting.

Common Cause held a conference call earlier to discuss the status of both congressional and state redistricting efforts. The group’s executive director Susan Lerner addressed the constitutional amendment issue.

“We would just like to say we have consistently been calling for an open discussion about what should be in any constitutional amendment,” she said, according to City and State’s Laura Nahmias. “We think quite frankly it would be a scandal if massive changes to the redistricting process were introduced under cover of darkness.”

Democratic state Senator Liz Krueger issued her own statement on the state of the process saying, “The reports I have heard of a deal on a constitutional amendment make two things clear: the proposed amendment is too weak to work, and New York's voters would have to accept ten more years of hyperpartisan, racially discriminatory maps to get this too-little, too-late reform.”

And earlier today, Democratic state Senator Michael Gianaris told the Empire, “The entire point about the constitutional amendment is that we could change [the ability of the legislature to have the final say over the lines]. So to actually enshrine in the constitution that the legislature would have the final say would be regress.”

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The Empire

Cuomo takes a swipe at lawmakers over redistricting

Friday, March 02, 2012

This article's been updated.

Courtesy of the Governor's office.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, appearing on Fred Dicker's TALK 1300-WGDJ show this morning, took a swipe at state legislators--in particular Democratic Senator Michael Gianaris--who have been vocally critical during this year's redistricting process. Dicker and the Governor were talking about news reports of a possible constitutional amendment deal when the subject turned to the language of the amendment.

Dicker mentioned the amendment details reported today in the Times-Union appear to be similar to those in a bill sponsored last year by Gianaris. It would have replaced the current legislative-controlled redistricting process with one where the minority parties had more of a say, among other things. The language of the constitutional amendment, as described by T-U and pointed out on this blog, is somewhat similar. Gianaris says he's opposed to a constitutional amendment that would keep the legislature involved in the redistricting process.

"There's been a lot of debate on a constitutional amendment, a lot of drafts," the Governor said. "I think Gianaris had something to do with the draft when he had a different position on the issue."

The comment elicited a chuckle from Dicker.

The Governor and others have been critical of legislators, and specifically Senate Democrats, for not being more proactive on the issue of redistricting when they had the chance.

"It's the convenient politics of the time, let's be honest," Cuomo said about the contentious debate over the process this year. "When the Democrats were in the majority, I didn't see them pass redistricting reform, right? They had the opportunity to do this. They're now all talking about how it should work--well why didn't you pass the bill when you were in the majority?"

Reached by phone for a comment, Gianaris said, "My legislative proposal was required by the constitution to have the legislature have the final say. The entire point about the constitutional amendment is that we could change that. So to actually enshrine in the constitution that the legislature would have the final say would be regress.

Cuomo also gave an update on the overall redistricting process, and the talks happening to reach a consensus: "Basically, we're nowhere."

He went on to further discuss his position in the process, which other blogs have picked up on:

"If there were acceptable lines—not the current lines, which are unacceptable—if there were acceptable lines, and if there was a real constitutional amendment, and if there was statutory language that could protect the people if the legislature changes their mind and doesn't want to pass a constitutional amendment, then that would be a possible resolution," the Governor said.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

President Obama has tapped Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to head up its official task force investigating misconduct in the banking industry that lead to the financial collapse on Wall Street. The AG joins us today to talk about the pros and cons of his new role, and we might throw a question his way about Danny Hakim’s article in the Times about Ben Lawsky.

Speaker Sheldon Silver has thrown his considerable political weight behind an increase in the minimum wage. The Speaker will be my guest to discuss the dueling political narratives which inevitably surround raising the minimum wage, and New York’s history of combating poverty.

And then we’ll be joined by a few people who are P.O.’d about redistricting: The first you've heard from before -- Senator Mike Gianaris D – Astoria is now warning that any deal the Senate is pushing for a constitutional amendment would create a lose-lose situation for the State of the New York.

And here’s one of the stories to come out of the Assembly’s redistricting efforts: Assemblyman Pete Lopez R - Schoharie just spent five months rebuilding the entire Village of Schoharie which was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene. If the new maps are adopted, the Village, where Lopez & his family live, will fall under Assemblymember Claudia Tenney’s jurisdiction. Tenney, R – Sylvan Beach, currently represents parts of Oswego and Oneida Counties. She testified at Monday’s LATFOR hearing in Albany that if the new maps are approved, her district would extend from Oneida County to the border of Connecticut – it would include parts of the following districts: Oneida, Otsego, Herkimer, Schoharie, Albany, Greene & Columbia.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Friday, January 27, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

Senator Mike Nozzolio on the maps.

Senator Mike Gianaris on the maps.

Reporters Kyle Hughes of NYSNYS.com and Rick Karlin of the Albany Times Union on the maps.

And political strategist & University of Albany adjunct professor Bruce Gyory on anything other than the maps.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

If you have something to say about hydrofracking, you need to tell the DEC today. Why? Tomorrow is the deadline for public comment on the issue. Advocates on all sides are expected to rally in Albany today. We will speak to members of a pro-drilling land owners coalition, as well as to a contingent of anti-frackers from Tompkins County including Jannette Barthe and Martha Robertson.

One analysis of the State Senate majority’s plans for an additional seat suggests that the extra representation would negate the effects of the GOP’s loss in the prison gerrymandering lawsuit. Whew. That’s a mouthful. With analysis from the Democrat’s perspective, we speak with Senators Michael Gianaris, D – Astoria and Liz Krueger, D – Manhattan.

We also hear analysis from the Republican’s perspective.

Lara Kassel of Medicaid Matters updates us on the progress of the Medicaid Redesign Committee.

Yesterday SUNY’s Chancellor Nancy Zimpher presented her State of SUNY address. Today she joins us with details. We will also ask her to weigh in on the explosive teacher evaluation issue stemming from New York City’s failure to come to an agreement on the issue, prompting State Ed Commissioner Dr. John King put the brakes on some funding.

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The Empire

LATFOR site subtly announces 63rd Senate seat

Friday, January 06, 2012

Below is the letter that LATFOR has posted on their website justifying the increase of the State Senate from 62 to 63 seats. The move had been anticipated after Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos indicated last week that there was "a good chance" the Senate would add a 63rd seat.

Senate Republicans, according to an official, are saying the methodology used in 2002 to create 62 seats is the same being used now, and that the increase is mandated by the formula set by the New York Constitution.

In a phone interview, Democratic State Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens said Senate Republicans have reached "a new low in old Albany partisan politics."

"Just when we thought we'd turned the corner, with Governor Cuomo leading the way, to a new way of doing business in Albany, the Senate Republicans remind us that they're nothing but everything that's wrong with state government," Gianaris said. He said this gives the Governor even more of a reason to make good on his promise of vetoing the maps LATFOR produces.

One person close to LATFOR noted that Senate Republicans could have, instead of posting a memo at 5 pm on a Friday, made the announcement at the LATFOR public hearing scheduled for this coming Tuesday.

One of the big questions outstanding is whether or not Assembly Democrats cooperated with or were made aware of the Senate Republican's plans to announce the 63rd seat. As the message was posted to the LATFOR site, and one person close to LATFOR said Assembly Democrats were often the ones posting new documentation to the website, there seems to be a very high likelihood.

Senate Size

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The Empire

Elected officials react to Cuomo's State of the State address

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo delivering the 2012 State of the State address (Marie Cusick / New York Public Radio)

Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out his vision for New York State in 2012 and beyond on Wednesday. In a three-point outline that was led off by a set of economic plans and anchored by a proposal for a new convention center in Queens, Cuomo framed his sophomore effort in Albany.

“We've only just begun to do the work this state needs done,” Cuomo said during a review of this past year’s achievements. In 2012, the Governor said, education, jobs development, gambling legalization, energy, and pension reform as some of his top areas for improvement.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver gave his comments before Cuomo spoke, arguing for a minimum wage increase and a tax cut for low-income New Yorkers. Afterwards the Speaker praised the Governor for a “great speech.”

“I think he framed his agenda for this year and perhaps for a few years to come,” Silver said.

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Azi Paybarah

Senator Huntley's Challenger Picks Up Supoprt

Thursday, August 05, 2010

WNYC

An openly gay Democratic City Councilman in Queens just endorsed a challenger to Democratic State Senator Shirley Huntley, one of the people who voted against-same sex marriage.

The Councilman, Jimmy Van Bramer of Sunnyside, said he’s support Lynn Nunes because “his commitment to reform and equality for all make Lynn the right choice for Southeast Queens and the right choice for New York.”

Lynn is challenging Huntley -- herself once favored by progressives and the Democratic establishment because she ousted the controversial Ada Smith. But now, Huntley is drawing fire from progressives for voting against same-sex marriage.

The endorsement announcement comes one day after same-sex marriage advocates cheered the overturn of a gay marriage ban in California (it’s likely to wind up, at some point, in the Supreme Court).

Since being voted down last year, the landscape for passing same-sex marriage in New York has improved, slightly.

A couple of Democratic State Senators who voted against same-sex marriage last year have been replaced by supporters.

In Queens, for example, Democratic State Senators who voted against the bill include Joe Addabbo, Hiram Monserrate and George Onorato. Monserrate was removed and replaced by Assemblyman Jose Peralta. Onorato announced he’s retiring, and is expected to be replaced by Assemblyman Michael Gianaris. Both Peralta and Gianaris voted for same-sex marriage while in the Assembly.

But, as Liz Benjamin noted, the issue may not be coming up for a vote in the State Senate any time soon.

Huntley has $45,927 on hand for her campaign. Challenger Nunes has $115,114.

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