While You Were Out: Jan . 21, 2020

It’s been a day. And it’s not over yet. Not even close.

At last check, the impeachment debate was still underway on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Day One of the trail of President Donald Trump.

Senators were warned that they had to remain quiet, a skill that they rarely exercise in the Senate chamber, or face imprisonment.

Trump (73) and the Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg (17) took unmistakable aim at each other at Davos – a conference of business and government figures – reprising their roles as antagonists on the global stage.

Meanwhile, here in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a $178.6 billion executive budget today, outlining a plan to reduce the growth of government programs and restructure the state’s Medicaid program to combat a looming $6.1 billion deficit.

Cuomo said new revenue streams — for example, a controversial high-end real estate tax — are not how he will the deficit.

Cuomo included marijuana legalization in his budget proposal, setting the stage for another reform push in the legislature as the 2020 session gets underway.

…That move comes as a new Siena poll showed that voter support for ending cannabis prohibition is at its highest level ever in the state.

That sane poll showed that New Yorkers no longer support the recent change in bail reform laws that they were optimistic about just a few months ago.

Changing the state’s bail laws is an “ongoing process” that needs to be addressed in the coming weeks, Cuomo said.

Cuomo said he wants to create a new Office of Cannabis Management to oversee “medical, adult-use and hemp programs,” and the state will establish a Global Cannabis and Hemp Center for Science, Research and Education within the State University of New York system.

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s federal corruption conviction was partially upheld by an appeals court in a ruling handed down today.

…The federal court allowed much of Silver’s conviction to stand — most likely ending his hopes of remaining out of prison.

The Hollywood Reporter published an interview with Hillary Clinton promoting a new documentary about her that will premiere on Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival.

…In the documentary, she rips into Sen. Bernie Sanders and declines to say if she would endorse him and campaign on his behalf if he were to win the Democratic nomination. “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician,” she said

Rep. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, endorsed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for president, Bloomberg’s campaign announced, becoming the fourth House lawmaker to endorse him.

A day before opening arguments in the Harvey Weinstein trial, the disgraced former Hollywood mogul’s lawyers gave a first glimpse of their strategy, saying they would use a trove of emails to demonstrate that some of the women allegedly assaulted by their client later bragged about having an affair with him.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a 2021 NYC mayoral hopeful, sought to explain – but did not fully walk back – his comments that new arrivals to New York are “hijacking” apartments from longtime residents and should “go back to Iowa.”

The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy needs approximately $500,000 to meet the $1.2 million purchase price for a historic farm as part of an effort to preserve one of the town’s last large open spaces.

A city of Albany man was sentenced to 7 years in state prison after he pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing a loaded .357 revolver that was stolen from New York State Police, Albany County District Attorney David Soares said.

A Mexican citizen admitted last week to selling more than 400 grams of crystal meth while working at the Saratoga Race Course last summer, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Convicted double-murderer Edward “Ted” Mero will get a hearing next month to try to show that his 2017 trial was tainted by a secret business relationship between defense attorney Cheryl Coleman and an Albany County prosecutor.

Martin Reid, a former Rensselaer County Legislature chairman who resigned and later pleaded guilty to a felony for stealing unemployment benefits, has quietly landed a job in the administration of County Executive Steve McLaughlin.

Comptroller Paul Sebesta, the man charged with overseeing the town of Niskayuna’s finances, was the highest paid town employee in 2019, while seven of the top 10 earners were police department members.

A man who sent electronic messages threatening to kill employees and residents of a Massachusetts veterans facility was sentenced to time served (10.5 months) and 3 years of supervised release in U.S. District Court, U.S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith said.

Facing growing pressure to contain a deadly viral outbreak that has spread halfway around the world, China’s ruling Communist Party raced to confront the disease, slapping restrictions on the city where it started and warning that anyone who hides infections will be “forever nailed to history’s pillar of shame.”

Photo credit: George Fazio.



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