As the number of coronavirus cases in New York continues to climb, including among New Yorkers who have not been abroad, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency on Saturday in order to allow health officials to obtain necessary resources more quickly. Cuomo has also criticized the federal government’s handling of the crisis, pointing to “mixed messages” from the CDC and other agencies.
The New York State Legislature has passed an emergency bill allocating $40 million to combat the novel coronavirus. While the bill passed with significant majorities in both chambers, some legislators expressed concern that the bill significantly expands the governor’s power by granting the position unlimited authority to rule by executive order during any declared state emergency.
After at least one teacher reported symptoms of the virus after being in a class with students, the City announced a new protocol to test all teachers who’ve been to coronavirus hot zones.
The MTA announced a new plan to increase the frequency of subway car cleanings in order to limit the spread of the virus.
The New York Department of State scheduled a public hearing on cease-and-desist protections, after a push from small homeowners and State Senator Julia Salazar’s office (SD-18, Williamsburg, Bushwick, Cypress Hills). Such protections would fine and punish predatory house-flippers from contacting homeowners within cease-and-desist zones.
The New York City Council has begun its review of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed $95.3 billion budget. The Council is asking the administration to find more agency efficiencies and savings and to fund the Council’s own priorities. Budget negotiations may be especially tricky this year as the City faces $1.4 billion in cuts and cost-shifts from the State, mostly stemming from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed Medicaid overhaul.
In his first interview since leaving the MTA, Andy Byford says that interference from Andrew Cuomo made the job “somewhat intolerable.”
The NYPD is manipulating data to make it look like last year’s bail reform caused a spike in crime, according to a group of public defenders who point out that while arrests are up, their caseloads are actually down.
The Working Families Party announced a slate of endorsements for progressive challengers in this year’s races for New York State legislature, including NYC-DSA endorsed Marcela Mitaynes in Sunset Park. Also endorsed were Jessica González-Rojas in Jackson Heights and Amanda Septimo in the Bronx. They also endorsed incumbent Joe Lentol in Williamsburg.
With the Democratic presidential primary down to essentially two candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders and ex-Vice President Joe Biden, New York pols who endorsed other candidates are considering shifting their support. Council Member Brad Lander, who had supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren, endorsed Sanders.
Former State Senator and IDC-member Jesse Hamilton, who lost his seat to Zellnor Myrie in 2018, will challenge State Assembly Member Diana Richardson in this year’s primary.
Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg won a decisive victory in the American Samoa caucuses on Super Tuesday, and then promptly dropped out of the race. In total, he won approximately 61 delegates, or roughly one for every $9 million he spent on political ads during his campaign.