Rise and Shine: June 18, 2019

Up and at ’em, CivMixers! And don’t forget your umbrellas today – actually all the way through Friday, as there’s rain in the forecast. Again.

It will be cloudy with occasional showers in most of the Capital Region today, according to The Weather Channel, with temperatures reaching into the high 70s. It looks like Saratoga Springs might escape the rain, but everyone should see clearer skies by the later afternoon/early evening.

It was pretty darn busy on the news from yesterday, with a lot of drama down at the state Capitol over the Green Light bill, which gives undocumented immigrants the ability to get driver’s licenses.

After weeks of speculation and hours of debate, the state Senate ended up passing the bill, which had already been approved by the Assembly, by 33 votes – just one vote more than necessary for approval in the chamber.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been a support of this idea all the way back to his state attorney general days, through an eleventh-hour wrench into the works by suggesting he might veto the measure.

Cuomo’s concern, he said, was that federal immigration officials could access information on undocumented New Yorkers maintained by the DMV and use that data to deport people. He asked Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, who served briefly as state AG when Eric Schneiderman was forced from office by a sex scandal, to opine on the matter.

But state AG Tish James, for whom Underwood works, wasn’t interested in playing this political game. She issued a statement in support of the Green Light bill, and pledged to defend it in court, if necessary.

So after all that, Cuomo relented and signed the bill shortly after the Senate passed it.

Attention at the state Capitol will now turn to other outstanding issues – like the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use – as the clock ticks down to the session’s scheduled end Thursday.

In other news…

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced that President Donald Trump’s administration will send a thousand troops to the Middle East amid increased tensions with Iran.

A newly minted graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and a survivor of the deadly shooting there last year, said that Harvard University had rescinded its admission offer over racist and offensive remarks he made as a 16-year-old that were recently posted on Twitter.

A Clifton Park housing development where members of the cultlike group NXIVM had homes functioned as the set of a “horror movie,” and the group’s leader, Keith Raniere, played the role of the central villain, a federal prosecutor told jurors in closing arguments.

Consumer Reports is joining a growing list of consumer advocacy groups pushing for new restrictions on robocalls. The publication wrote to the state Assembly Monday urging members to follow the state Senate in passing legislation that its sponsor says would give New York the nation’s toughest robocall rules.

The former employees of St. Clares Hospital continue to fight for their pensions, rallying with their supporters – including state Sen. Jim Tedisco – at the Capitol.

What if you could decide how local government spends your tax dollars? Niskayuna residents learned about how that could happen in the town’s first workshop on participatory budgeting. The goal is for residents to vote on a specific amount of spending in an effort to empower the community.

The Valley Cats won their home opener, which has been rescheduled due to rain.

Grant Cottage, a state historic site that has been eking out an existence on memberships and admissions, could now have a chance to win federal grant money, thanks to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who announced his push to designate the site as a National Historic Landmark.

Police are trying to determine if a suspicious letter found at the state Lottery building in Schenectady yesterday is connected to a similar package found there in April.

Rensselaer Police Chief James Frankoski is inviting residents on a community walk every Monday through July 29, in hopes of helping improve community-police relations.

The Thruway Authority hopes to have cashless tolling in place statewide by the end of December 2020.

A New Jersey woman was killed Saturday evening in a rollover at a “Mountain Madness” outdoor motorsports event in Charleston, Montgomery County Sheriff’s officials said.

The 19-year-old victim who fell 400 feet down a cliff at Thacher Park had been posting on the social media app Snapchat before he slipped off the ledge.

Have you always dreamed of getting married during halftime at a Buffalo Bills game? Now’s your chance.

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates falafel, the deep-fried balls described as the best thing that ever happened to chickpeas albeit with the “possible exception of hummus.”

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