While You Were Out: Feb. 12, 2020

Leading the headlines today: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will meet with President Donald Trump at the White House tomorrow to urge the president to roll back the federal government’s recent decision to ban New Yorkers from participating in several popular secure-traveler programs.

Cuomo is expected to concede during his meeting with Trump that the state will give federal authorities access to the DMV database specifically for those applying for the Trusted Traveler Program – but the New York governor said it’s a ploy to call the President’s bluff.

“I’m calling their bluff by saying, ‘You said you want access to the DMV database for TTP, I’ll give it to you,'” Cuomo said. “I don’t believe that’s what they want, they don’t need it, there’s no connection. I believe they just want political noise because they really want to make their argument about immigration.”

…Cuomo administration officials stressed that the potential change would only apply to applicants to Trusted Traveler programs, such as Global Entry, and not result in carte-blanche access to State Department of Motor Vehicle records.

A floated compromise by state Senate Democrats that would change New York’s new bail law landed with a thud with Democrats in the state Assembly.

…the governor, however, reacted positively to the Senate Democrats’ idea of ending cash bail entirely while expanding the range of charges that would allow judges to determine if a person is too dangerous to go free pending trial.

Republican House Intelligence Committee members today boycotted a rare public hearing of the panel, citing objections to the committee’s impeachment investigation and apparent lack of response to a report detailing abuses in the government’s secret surveillance processes.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would “run our economy” and would be just as polarizing as President Donald Trump, according to former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the last remaining African American candidate in a Democratic presidential field once defined by its diversity, ended his 2020 campaign today after his late bid failed to catch fire or resonate with voters.

Trump congratulated his attorney general for intervening to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for the president’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr., broadening concerns that the department is ceding its independence to the White House.

In the search for the animal source or sources of the coronavirus epidemic in China, the latest candidate is the pangolin, an endangered, scaly, ant-eating mammal that is imported in huge numbers to Chinese markets for food and medicine.

Some of the coronavirus testing kits sent to states and to at least 30 other countries have flaws and do not work properly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Albany County’s tax on paper grocery bags is on hold, but local retailers are moving ahead with plans to start charging customers 5 cents for every one they use.

The town’s planning board tonight is set to vote on accepting the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Crossgates Rapp Road development, potentially bringing the Capital Region’s first Costco Wholesale Warehouse to the site.

A substitute teacher allegedly tried to take video and still photos of a Shaker High School student in a school bathroom yesterday, police said.

The suspicious package found near the University at Albany last night was a container of soup, Albany police said.

A 34-year-old Watervliet man tried to hide from authorities in a local strip club – Nite Moves in Colonie – after robbing taco shop last night, police said.

About 1,000 current and former employees of Mazzone Hospitality who accused the company of illegally withholding tips and deducting money from their paychecks for meals they didn’t eat would share $1.6 million to $1.7 million under a proposed class action lawsuit settlement.

The publisher of Chilled Magazine is taking office space at Mohawk Harbor, the $550 million waterfront development in Schenectady that includes Rivers Casino & Resort.

A damaged underground fuel line befouled drinking water in the Hudson Valley village of New Paltz, prompting the state university campus there to shut down for several days, officials said.

Tech jobs are coming to New York City, but local workers could miss out because they are not receiving the training they need for well-paid careers in tech, according to a new study by the Center for an Urban Future, a nonprofit research group.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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