While You Were Out: Jan. 20, 2020

Just in time for MLK Day…New York is ramping up efforts to ensure a complete count in the 2020 census, starting with a new celebrity-led Census Council and an additional $10 million in state funding, the governor announced.

…The Census Council, which will host conferences across the state and help direct community outreach about the census, will be co-chaired by actress Lucy Liu, playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda and human rights activist Martin Luther King III.

President Trump’s legal team called on the U.S. Senate to “swiftly reject” the impeachment charges and acquit him, arguing that Democrats would “permanently weaken the presidency” if they succeeded in removing him from office over what the team characterized as policy and political differences.

About half of Americans say the Senate should vote to convict Trump and remove him from office in the upcoming impeachment trial (51 percent), according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, while 45 percent say the Senate should vote against conviction and removal.

Thousands of pro-gun advocates, many of them armed, converged on the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond today, flooding a secure area around the building and packing the surrounding streets with firearms, flags and political posters in a pointed message to state lawmakers who are weighing new gun control proposals.

…apparently a New Yorker who owns a shooting range in Bergen made a big splash at the rally with a very large gun.

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren put their differences aside for a morning of campaigning in South Carolina today, as the two work to narrow former Vice President Joe Biden’s 17-point lead in the state.

Uber and Postmates have mounted a legal challenge seeking to block AB5, California’s landmark gig-work law scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, that could turn the companies’ drivers and couriers into employees rather than independent contractors. (This is an issue that’s coming down the pike here in New York).

Over the past year and a half, Harvey Weinstein has been holed up on his own in a rented apartment in Manhattan, reading books, watching streamed TV shows, Googling himself and nervously obsessing about the outcome of his trial, which begins in earnest this week.

The latest GOP retirement from the state Senate: Jim Seward, who is being treated for bladder cancer.

Shifting some costs of the Medicaid program from local governments to the state has had “consequences,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters.

Ahead of Cuomo’s release of the 2020-21 fiscal year state budget, a private insurance organization is sounding the alarm on what it fears may be a tax hike on those who purchase private health insurance.

A bi-partisan group of Assembly lawmakers is urging Cuomo to restore funding to combat Lyme and tick-borne diseases in his state budget plan.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams accused new New Yorkers of “hijacking” apartments from longtime residents and demanded they return home — “go back to Iowa,” and “go back to Ohio” — in an incendiary display of municipal xenophobia.

Roughly three-quarters of New York voters believe racial and religious minorities in the state experience discrimination, according to a Siena College Research Institute poll released today. (Read the whole poll here).

Fiscal watchdogs believe Cuomo should have acted sooner, and more boldly, in addressing the state’s massive deficit that appeared last year.

The French-born chef Dominique Brialy, who was the head chef of The Century House in Latham and for nine years before that ran the kitchen of the former Epicurean when it was in Latham and in its original Raymertown location, is opening his first restaurant of his own – in Hoosick Falls.

Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is getting slammed to the turf on Twitter for supporting Republican Beth Parlato in her bid to replace former Rep. Chris Collins for New York’s 27th Congressional District seat in Congress.

Chris Churchill wants to know why the stairs outside the state Capitol, known as the Eastern Approach, haven’t been fixed. (They’ve been closed since 2016).

Thousands of dams across New York, many abandoned, are blocking fish migrations. A movement to remove them is growing.

The 17-year-old behind the wheel of an Audi sedan that crashed and killed a passenger on Central Avenue on Christmas Day was traveling at over 100 miles per hour when he lost control of the car, police said

With Capital Region unemployment at 3.2 percent, among the lowest in the state, recruiters are getting creative as they try to fill positions.

A $9.99 million bond measure will go before Watervliet City School District voters in February when they will be asked to consider investing in improvements for health and safety, and updating aging infrastructure at the district’s schools.

The city of Troy’s Business Improvement District is hosting its 8th annual Sammy Awards Feb. 3, celebrating the growing downtown.

Your CBD Store, a nationwide retailer of cannabidiol products, will hold a grand opening for its store at 279 New Scotland Ave., Albany, at 11 a.m. Jan. 28. Store owner is Connie Medina.

After leading the British Broadcasting Corporation for seven years, Tony Hall said that he would resign this summer to become chairman of the National Gallery, an unexpected announcement that made no mention of the gender pay-gap scandal that has dogged the BBC in recent years.

Prince Harry reportedly had a private heart-to-heart with brother Prince William to end their two-year feud — realizing it was “now or never” before he moves to Canada.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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