While You Were Out: Jan. 28, 2020

Long day. Lots of action. Let’s get to it…

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a closed-door meeting of Republicans that he did not currently have the votes to block Democrats from calling witnesses at President Trump’s trial. Still, he and his leadership team are optimistic they will to end up with the votes they need by the end of the week.

Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan with a flourish today, outlining a proposal that would give Israel most of what it has sought over decades of conflict while creating what he called a Palestinian state with limited sovereignty.

State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo Democrat, joined advocates and other lawmakers today at the state Capitol to call for compensation to communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by drug laws and marijuana prohibition.

Last week, Democratic state Sen. Peter Harckham announced he would support the legalization of marijuana in New York. The anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana held a news conference outside of his district office to urge him to reconsider.

The state inspector general’s office, which has drawn criticism for failing to interview key witnesses before closing an inquiry into the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, needs to be structurally overhauled or replaced, a commissioner with the panel said.

U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr appeared in Brooklyn to announce federal hate-crime charges against Tiffany Harris, a Brooklyn woman who allegedly slapped three Orthodox women in late December, promising “zero tolerance for this kind of violence.”

A group of horse racing experts is using a bill crafted to better protect horses to add stricter regulations to current doping rules. More here and here.

The League of Women Voters called on the Legislature to appoint commissioners to the state’s newly revised redistricting commission by the Feb. 1 deadline as mandated by the state constitution.

Conservative county chairs in New York’s 27th Congressional District are recommending the party not designate a candidate for an upcoming special election. The local Republicans are backing state Sen. Chris Jacobs, but three others are also in the running.

Lawmakers and advocates gathered to mark the almost one-year anniversary of passage of the Child Victims Act and call for for extending the look-back period another year.

Schenectady police have a new multi-year contract, which is retroactive to January 2018 and calls for a total 10 percent annual pay raises or 2 percent annually.

A judge declared a mistrial this afternoon when jurors in the case of a well-known radio DJ accused of child sex abuse failed to reach a unanimous verdict, the Albany County District Attorney’s Office said.

Bringing hydropower from northern Quebec to New York City would not really cut down on greenhouse gases, according to a study released this week by New York-based opponents of HydroQuebec, which is currently in talks to sell power to the city.

State Attorney General Letitia James was scheduled to deliver a $1 million check to the capital city this afternoon to assist in Albany’s housing and code enforcement.

There are few politicians in New York who strike fear in the heart of the real estate community like Queens state Sen. Michael Gianaris, AKA the “Amazon killer.”

Even if Trans World Entertainment Corp. gets approval from shareholders to sell the FYE retail chain for $10 million, the Albany-based company may not survive as a digital-only business. But if shareholders kill the deal, the company could go bankrupt.

Cuomo wants to bring $25 million to organizations that offer low-cost loans to low-income communities as well as minority- and women-owned businesses.

An Albany urgent care center is relocating to Guilderland next week, another sign of the race to claim attractive real estate as the market grows for on-demand care.

Cuomo is demanding New York City and county governments shoulder more of the rising cost of Medicaid, the main driver of a $6.1 billion state budget gap. But a closer look at the areas where the governor’s office is seeking to tackle costs show a system where localities have little control due to the growth of long-term care.

Columbia County sheriff’s officials are classifying the death of flour mill worker this morning as an industrial accident.

A man who kept officers at bay for several hours at a home in Selkirk was taken into custody without incident this morning, police said.

The Voorheesville middle school and high schools remained closed today as the district deals with the aftermath of a burst pipe and boiler that prompted closure of both schools yesterday,

Lottery sales are up at the Cumberland Farms on Bay Street in Glens Falls after a customer hit it big. Store manager Bruce McCoach said a customer bought the Make My Year ticket on Jan. 2 and won $2.5 million.

William Wood Jr., who killed two workers at a Chili’s restaurant in DeWitt in 2018, has worn out his welcome at the last Upstate jail that would take him. Warren County is done with him. The final straw: He threw his urine on a deputy.

Fotis Dulos, the man accused of murdering his estranged wife who was reported missing in Connecticut last May, was found unresponsive at his home after he apparently tried to kill himself, an official familiar with the case said.

New York ranks among the most polluted cities in the nation, according to a new air quality study.

There are glowing seesaws in Midtown Manhattan.

Trader Joe’s revealed its annual list of customers’ favorite items this week, and this year, there were a few changes.

This is one political race worth following.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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