Rise and Shine: Jan. 8, 2020

Good Wednesday morning, CivMixers. Happy State of the State day!

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will deliver his annual address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center at 1:30 p.m. As I mentioned yesterday, this is the official kickoff of the legislative session. The first item on the agenda for returning lawmakers is negotiating a state budget with the governor, though he won’t be releasing his executive spending plan until later in the month.

The constitutional budget deadline is April 1.

The state is facing a $6.1 billion budget deficit – the largest operating deficit it has faced since the Great Recession, and certainly the biggest fiscal hole the governor has had to deal with since he first took office in January 2011.

Overruns in Medicaid, the health care plan for more than 6 million mostly low-income New Yorkers, is largely to blame for this deficit.

The Cuomo administration has already announced a 1 percent reduction in the Medicaid reimbursement rate for institutions that provide services to recipients (think hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes, doctors etc.). But that’s not going to come close to closing the $6.1 billion gap. So those watching the governor’s speech today will be looking for clues as to how to plans to address the rest of it.

The State of the State is traditionally a broad brush speech, however, and the details usually don’t come until the executive budget comes out a few weeks later. Cuomo has already released details of 34 proposals he’ll be including in his SoS, which include everything from regional development initiatives to policy plans (more gun control, addressing the recent spike in hate crimes etc.)

So, we’ll also be listening for what really BIG plans the governor has held back and will be unleashing for 2020.

BTW: Some lawmakers have their noses out of joint, saying Cuomo stole their progressive policy ideas and is now trying to take credit for them – something very concerning to those seeking re-election this year, especially those who might be facing challenges from the left in the first year primaries are being held in June, not September.

The tickets for the speech are already all given out. The ones that weren’t handled by special invitation were awarded via a lottery. But don’t worry, the event will be live-streamed and covered extensively by the New York press corps.

It’s going to be windy, cold and snowy this morning, but any flurries or snow showers should be ending by noon, according to The Weather Channel. There could be wind gusts of up to 30 mph, and temperatures will be in the mid-to-high 30s.

The big news at the national level: Iran attacked two bases in Iraq that house American troops with a barrage of missiles, Iranian official news media and United States officials said, fulfilling Tehran’s promise to retaliate for the killing of a top Iranian commander.

President Donald Trump tweeted in response to the missile attacks that “all is well” and he’ll be making a statement this morning.

On this day in 1835, the U.S. national debt was $0 for the first and only time in history.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “War on Poverty” in the U.S. during his first State of the Union address.

In 1968, explorer Jacques Cousteau’s first undersea special aired on U.s. network TV.

In 1973, the trial of the Watergate burglars began in Washington, DC.

In 1983, in North Korea Kim Jong Il’s third and youngest son, Jong Un, is believed to have been born. He’s now the leader of that country, and is turning 36 today.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush collapsed during a state dinner in Tokyo; White House officials said he was suffering from stomach flu.

In 2007, a mysterious rotten egg smell wafted over NYC.

In 2008, in New Hampshire Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (39 percent) led Barack Obama (36 percent) and John McCain (37 percent) led Mitt Romney (32 percent), reviving their sagging campaigns….and we all know how that election turned out in the end, reminding us all not to put so much emphasis on the early state contests.

Elvis Presley was born on this day in 1935. He died in 1977 of a heart attack he suffered in his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tenn. Scientist Stephen Hawking was born on this day in 1942. He suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease and died in 2018. Also born on this day (in 1947) and no longer with us: Rocker David Bowie. He suffered from liver cancer and died in 2016.

Celebrating birthdays today (and still around), are: Actress Noah Cyrus (20), fashion designer Carolina Herrera (81), actor Sam Riley (40), and Zahara Jolie-Pitt (15), one of Angelina Jolie’s six kids.

In the news…

Under increasing pressure to defend the killing of a top Iranian general in Iraq, senior Trump administration officials offered new justifications but little detail, citing threats to the American Embassy in Baghdad and intelligence suggesting other imminent attacks that helped prompt the strike.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he won’t run for Senate in 2020, most likely ending Republicans’ hopes of securing a potentially dominant candidate for the open seat in his home state of Kansas, according to four people briefed on the meeting.

McConnell said he planned to move forward with Trump’s impeachment trial without committing to calling witnesses or hearing new evidence, foreshadowing a partisan vote to kick off a divisive proceeding.

The actresses Salma Hayek, Rosie Perez and Charlize Theron were among the people that a judge said might be called as witnesses or mentioned in testimony during the rape trial of the movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

A Ukrainian airplane carrying at least 170 people crashed near an airport in the capital, Tehran, state TV reported. There was no immediate word on casualties.

A Connecticut man pleaded guilty this week to a series of hoaxes, including sending a letter with white powder threatening to kill Trump.

The NY Post dedicated its “wood” (the front page) to calling for a reversal of the controversial bail reform law that took effect Jan. 1, and there’s a growing sentiment at the Capitol – even among those who voted in favor of the change – that something needs to be done.

There’s an entire industry affected by the changes to New York state’s new bail reform laws – bail bondsmen.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a three-year ban for serial sex offenders who repeatedly violate riders on the NYC subway system.

If Niskayuna can’t flush out the issue of the town’s unpaid water bills to Schenectady – which potentially could add up to over $900,000 – the dispute may end up in court.

The Rensselaer County Court murder trial of a 40-year-old man accused of killing two women and two children in late 2017 in Lansingburgh has been delayed until March 9, officials confirmed.

A Hudson Falls man was arrested on Monday for allegedly stealing vehicles and burglarizing a garage and home, Warren County Sheriff’s Office said.

This story is very worrisome.

A 10-year-old boy, a 68-year-old woman and a 51-year-old man were fatally struck by vehicles in separate crashes yesterday, bringing to five the number of pedestrians killed by vehicles in New York City in the new year, officials said.

The death of a woman found on Sunday at the Lincoln Square Homes is being investigated as a homicide, Albany police said.

Democrat Leslie Danks Burke, who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Republican Sen. Tom O’Mara in 2016, receiving about 45 percent to O’Mara’s 54 percent, is back for a re-match.

Michael Martucci,a part-time farmer and former school bus company owner from Orange County, is seeking the Republican nomination to run against Democratic Hudson Valley state Sen. Jen Metzger this fall.

Former WNY Rep. Chris Collins closed out his political career in late December by repaying himself $146,393.71 in leftover campaign funds – without reimbursing his donors for the $15,400 they gave to his campaign committee early last year when he said he was innocent of insider trading charges.

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany, who has assumed the additional role of apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Buffalo, said the painful and extensive clergy sex abuse crisis means that Chapter 11 bankruptcy appears likely.

NYC Mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio shelled out over $60,000 in taxpayer money for his NYPD detail to accompany him as he ditched the city and laid the groundwork for his dead-end presidential campaign.

FEMA has granted public funding to 18 counties affected by the Halloween storms but denied funding for individual households that experienced damage not covered by insurance. (Cuomo has less than a month to appeal this decision).

Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu will deliver the third annual Winter/Miller lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway.

Jennifer Dulos, a mother of five from an affluent Connecticut suburb, was embroiled in a bitter divorce battle at the time of her disappearance. Her husband has now been charged with her murder.

A transgender teenager is suing the state of New York over the gender listed on his birth certificate.

The first match between the superstars of the game show “Jeopardy” – Brad Rutter, Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer – is in the books. The first to win three takes the title.

RIP Elizabeth Wurtzel, whose startling 1994 memoir, “Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America,” won praise for opening a dialogue about clinical depression and helped introduce an unsparing style of confessional writing that remains influential. She died in Manhattan at the age of 52 after suffering from breast cancer.

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Commissioner Rich Ensor tweeted that tickets to the NCAA men’s March Madness Tournament at the TU Center are sold out.

Here’s a surefire way to start a war of words in Rochester: Ask publicly where to get the best garbage plate. Boom.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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