Gotham Gazette http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/481 Sat, 16 Dec 2017 13:03:32 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Webmaster) Amid Health Care Funding Fights, Cuomo Explores Special Session http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7244:amid-health-care-funding-feud-cuomo-explores-special-session http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7244:amid-health-care-funding-feud-cuomo-explores-special-session andrew cuomo

Gov. Cuomo with top health and budget aides (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


Governor Andrew Cuomo has been floating the idea of a special legislative session to address federal cuts to the state’s health care programs, as well as other concerns that have developed, since the state budget was agreed to in April.

In that budget, Cuomo pushed to include and won a provision granting him nearly unilateral power to adjust the state’s financial plan mid-year in the event of at least $800 million in federal cuts to the state. In April, the governor said the provision would ensure that “we do not overcommit ourselves financially” and indicated it allowed him to sign off on a budget that did not otherwise account for likely federal cuts. But, it appears as if Cuomo may call lawmakers back to Albany -- likely with agreement from the legislative majorities to an agenda -- regardless of whether the threshold has been met.

When the state Legislature finished its legislative year in June with a brief special session to pass mayoral control of schools as well as several smaller measures, such as $55 million in state aid for businesses and homeowners impacted by flooding around Lake Ontario, unknowns surrounding President Donald Trump’s promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare” loomed large.

As chatter of a special session to address two lapsed federally subsidized health care programs escalated this week, so did a feud between Cuomo’s administration and that of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over $380 million that was earmarked to reimburse New York City Health + Hospitals, the city’s public hospital network, for expenses incurred treating uninsured and indigent patients over the last two years.

In recent weeks, Cuomo has sounded the alarm over four essential funding streams to New York health care systems that are being threatened by Trump and a Republican-led Congress. While the federal Graham-Cassidy bill -- a replacement to the Affordable Care Act that would have cost New York $16.9 billion by 2025, according to projections -- was defeated, and parts of Trump’s sweeping tax plan that target blue states are on shaky ground, the federal government failed to renew the Disproportionate Share Hospitals funds, known as D.S.H., by October 1, creating a potential $2.6 billion shortfall that is expected to disproportionately hit New York City’s public hospital system over the next year and a half.

If they remain in effect, the cuts will place a $330,000 burden on Health + Hospitals for federal fiscal year 2018, but the city says the state is also unlawfully holding $380 million in federal funds owed to city hospitals for federal fiscal year 2017, which just ended, for services already provided.

This federal funding, which passes through the state, is allocated for municipal and state-run hospitals that treat high volumes of uninsured and indigent patients.

While it is unclear whether the cut would justify a budget adjustment by the executive branch given the April budget provision, Cuomo appears to be courting lawmakers to return for a special session that could address D.S.H. and other looming health care deficits.

Also lapsing earlier this month is the federal Child Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), which subsidizes New York’s Child Health Plus plan, putting New York in a $1.1 billion hole and potentially jeopardizing the health coverage of 330,000 lower-income New York children, according to Cuomo’s office, though it seems likely a federal deal over the children’s health program may soon be reached. Still, the state has been placed in a precarious position.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Eric Hargan, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker warned that New York will not be able to continue the current Child Health Plus program if Congress fails to renew $1 billion in federal funding, and he said that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo will “have no choice but to call a special session of the Legislature.”

On Tuesday, Cuomo had dangled the special session idea before 13 upstate lawmakers, and in reality a much wider audience, suggesting in a letter that an extraordinary legislative session could also be used to amplify and speed up relief funding for Lake Ontario flood victims.

“I would support a special session of the legislature to return and appropriate an additional $35 million for this program to fund all eligible applicants in a time frame that recognizes the urgency of the situation,” Cuomo wrote. “There are other pending issues that could also be addressed at a special session, including the financial hardship the State will face from potential federal cutbacks.”

In addition to the 11 public hospitals in New York City’s Health + Hospitals system, the D.S.H. cuts directly impact the state-run SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse and SUNY Downstate hospitals in Brooklyn, Westchester County Medical Center, Nassau University Medical Center and Erie County Medical Center.

None of these facilities will receive payments until adjustments are made, according to Cuomo’s office.

The state has retained an outside consultant, KPMG, to figure out how to help health care facilities manage the cuts and Cuomo has repeatedly suggested that the Legislature may be forced to reconvene Congress signals that the money will not be restored by December 31. In a press conference on the topic last Tuesday, the governor suggested that local governments step up to offset some of the cuts.

“Nassau needs to help their public hospitals, New York City -- with a $4 billion surplus -- needs to help H+H, and SUNY will need to help Downstate and Upstate hospitals,” he said.

The cuts and Cuomo’s approach to dealing with them have ignited another episode in the feud between the governor and de Blasio and on Friday, the de Blasio administration announced its intention to sue New York State for D.S.H funds which administration officials say were expected by the city’s cash-strapped public hospital system for the federal fiscal year that ended on September 30.

City officials say they had budgeted with the expectation that $380 million would come through and Health + Hospitals Interim President and CEO Stan Brezenoff revealed that that the hospital system had begun to cut back on hiring to account for the deficit and was prepared to take other undesirable and risky measures.

“Our ability to deliver on our mission also relies on all levels of government. Unfortunately, the State is showing a shocking disregard for our mission and appears to have confirmed in public statements that they will not be releasing the $380 million Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) funds that we need and deserve for serving more than one million Medicaid, uninsured and immigrant New Yorkers who relied on our care last fiscal year,” Brezenoff wrote in a letter to staff members last week.

As of Tuesday night, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said the lawsuit would be filed “in state court,” but could say when it would be filed, or who would be named in the suit. De Blasio himself has said that the state’s withholding of past D.S.H payments designated for H+H, "is not normal and there is no excuse for it.”

Cuomo’s administration maintains that it is withholding its final payment to New York City’s public hospitals for the 2017 cycle in September because it is still unclear whether the federal government will renew the D.S.H. program.

“There’s no way to fund the public hospitals with a $1.1 billion cut unless it is rolled back,” the governor said during a press briefing last week. “In the meantime, we have made no D.S.H. payments to any public hospitals since October 1, which is when the law went into effect. You can’t distribute funding until you know how much you have to distribute.”

Cuomo officials say city hospitals should have anticipated the cut, noting that the program, which is associated with the Affordable Care Act, was always intended to be phased out as more New Yorkers became insured.

“The federal cuts to DSH have been pending for seven years and we are sure that all responsible CEOs of the state’s public hospitals have been accounting for these potential shortfalls in that time,” said Jason Helgerson, New York State Medicaid Director, in a statement. “The suggestion that the state is somehow in a position to reverse federal cuts is willful political ignorance and a distortion of reality -- only the federal government can possibly restore cuts they’ve enacted. Save for the federal government restoring these funds, there is no way the remaining DSH dollars can reimburse all hospitals at 100 percent.”

Cuomo’s office says that it has been in contact with city hospital officials and shared a letter Helgerson sent Brezenoff on September 29, referencing a meeting of healthcare providers to discuss the potentially imminent demise of D.S.H.

“While we implored Congress to act, as the October 1 deadline approaches, it is clear they are failing to do so,” the state Medicaid director wrote. “The Governor convened health care providers on September 19 to discuss the possibility of these cuts and held a press conference with the group outlining how harmful they will be.”

City officials claim that they have been singled out, and that all the state-run public hospitals have received their payments for the past fiscal year.

Regarding the potential lawsuit from New York City, Cuomo spokesperson Dani Lever called the threat “political theatre.”

“A more productive action would be to sue the federal government since they are making these devastating cuts, or if it actually cared about patient care, to use its funds to improve the hospital network that it owns,” said Lever.

One strategy -- requiring a legislative fix enacted through a special session -- would be to disperse the initial $380 million burden across hospitals throughout the state, most of which do not treat a large number of uninsured patients, state budget director Robert Mujica said in an interview with NY1 last week.

“The way the federal law interacts with the state law presently, is the first year of the cuts really impacts H+H first, under the law,” said Mujica. “So does that mean trying spreading the pain across all of the hospitals? That’s something we really have to look at. But always, redistributing is going to be very challenging. We hope it doesn’t come to that. We hope that the feds restore restore the cuts.”

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who told State of Politics he’s been leading the charge to restore the hospital funding, described the battle in Congress as “neck-and-neck.”

The expiration of CHIP appears less dire; while the funding ended on September 30, states will not run out of the money for several months, and protecting children’s health is an issue that has bipartisan appeal. Schumer, who has been pushing to attach the renewal of CHIP funding to an Obamacare fix intended to stabilize markets and lower premiums, said he is working with his Republican colleagues to find a way to pay for the program.

About one-third of patients at the city’s public hospitals are uninsured and the network currently receives the largest D.S.H share. However, divvied up across state health care institutions, the $380 million burden would only account for less 1 percent of all hospital revenue, according to Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the Empire Center for Public Policy, a think tank.

"The lost money, if you look at just the federal losses, it’s about $330 million and that grows to $500 million in the second year, so it grows more and more every year. Spread across all the hospitals it would not be such a big deal, but right now it’s concentrated among 11 H+H hospitals, which is a problem,” Hammond said.

The ongoing federal health care crisis has also breathed new life into the debate over whether New York State would be well-served by a single-payer healthcare system, which Cuomo recently signalled tepid support for in an interview with WNYC radio’s Brian Lehrer.

A state-level universal health care bill, which guarantees health coverage to all New Yorkers regardless of ability to pay or immigration status, has repeatedly passed the Democratically-controlled Assembly, but has been defeated in the Republican-led state Senate by a sliver of a margin.

Assemblymember Dick Gottfried of Manhattan, who sponsors the bill, acknowledged that even if a version of his legislation was enacted tomorrow, it would take several years to fully implement, but said it warranted a second look given the uncertainty coming from Washington.

"It would not provide immediate relief, but the cuts that are likely to come from Washington will not come all at once, they will like snowball over the next couple of years," said Gottfried. “If we recognize health care as a right and provide health care coverage to every single New Yorker…Under a single-payer system, safety net hospitals and public hospitals would make out much better than they do today.”

Hospitals would save millions of dollars in administrative costs and the state would be in a much better position to bargain with drug companies, as it would represent 20 million patients, Gottfried added.

“Those savings are about the only way, realistically, that we can fill the gaps from whatever federal cuts are coming, without significantly damaging other programs or raising taxes,” he said. Critics, including Hammond, have said that Gottfried’s single-payer plan would be far costlier to the state that the Assembly member suggests.

When reached for comment on the health care cuts and whether the Assembly is prepared to return to Albany to deal with the situation, Mike Whyland, spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, said, “We care deeply about these hospitals and are closely monitoring it.”

A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan did not respond to a request for comment. 

***
by Rachel Silberstein, State government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

]]>
Amid Health Care Funding Fights, Cuomo Explores Special Session Wed, 11 Oct 2017 04:00:00 +0000
Powerful Assembly Post May Be Vacant Sooner Than Expected http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7046:powerful-assembly-chair-position-may-be-vacant-sooner-than-expected http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7046:powerful-assembly-chair-position-may-be-vacant-sooner-than-expected farrell assembly floor

Assemblymember Herman Farrell (photo: The Assembly)


When Assemblymember Herman “Denny” Farrell, who heads the chamber’s Ways and Means Committee, announced he would not seek reelection next year, it set off a murmur about who might succeed him in the powerful -- and lucrative -- committee post.

Farrell, a Democrat elected to the Assembly in 1974 and the third longest serving member of the body, is known for his diplomacy and good natured bantering with Republicans and Democrats alike during budget hearings and on the Assembly floor.

Well-liked among his peers and beloved in his community, Farrell -- who represents Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood -- was recognized by the Legislature last week, when it voted to rename Upper Manhattan’s Riverbank State Park after him as part of a special legislative session dealing with mayoral control over schools.

Governor Andrew Cuomo also honored the Assembly member at a breakfast at the Executive Mansion on June 20, speaking in eulogistic terms of Farrell’s time in the Assembly and as former chair to both the Manhattan and State Democratic Parties.

“Denny also taught me politics was the means to the end, and that was getting into government to achieve power…not power you would use personally, not power to take care of some donors, to take care of some unions, to take care of the political complex — power to do good things for your people and for your community,” Cuomo said, according to a recording of his remarks obtained by Politico New York. “Government is about accomplishing things for people and making their life better. Everything else is bull----.”

While Farrell’s current two-year term is set to officially end at the end of 2018, the grand farewell he received in Albany and other indicators have signalled to many in Harlem that he plans to resign before January, when the Legislature is next due back in the capital. The move would virtually ensure the party nomination of his chief of staff, Rev. Al Taylor, in a special election, according one Harlem insider who spoke to Gotham Gazette on the condition of anonymity. For special elections to the state Legislature, the borough party committees name the party representative on the ballot.

“His departure is something that a lot of people Uptown are talking about. Farrell is putting a lot of his energy and political assets into his chief of staff, Al Taylor. Wherever Denny is, Al is nearby,” the insider said, noting that the Assembly office’s most recent quarterly newsletter featured Taylor more than Farrell. “All the signs point to Farrell's resignation being imminent.”

In addition to Taylor, Juan Rosa, a former City Council staffer and community activist, is considering a run for the seat, according to multiple people familiar with the district.

Farrell, who did not return a request for comment, has not confirmed any plan to vacate his Assembly seat before January 2019, when his term would officially end.

If Farrell does indeed leave before the end of the year, not only would Taylor have the inside track to the Assembly, but Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie would name a new Ways and Means chair, the top Assembly budget post below the Speaker, before the next budget season in Albany -- a move that would likely prompt a series of new committee chair appointments throughout the Assembly for the 2018 session.

“When you make one change, you make 30 changes. That is always the part that outsiders don’t understand,” said former Assemblymember Richard Brodsky. “Part of the calculus that any Speaker makes is not just how to fill that position, but how it will affect the entire food chain.”

As capital watchers have noted Farrell’s imminent departure, it has also become apparent that several female legislators are in line for the committee leadership job -- a post no woman has ever held before.

While new leadership appointments are made every year by the Speaker, the Ways and Means chairship is arguably the most powerful and well-paid committee position in the Assembly. It is also arguably the most challenging, as the committee is tasked with budget hearing leadership and examining any legislation considered by the body that has a fiscal component.

The position comes with a significant stipend. On top of the standard $79,500 legislative salary, the Ways and Means chair earns $34,000, on par only with the $34,500 stipend received by the Assembly Majority Leader, currently Joseph Morelle, of Monroe County. Other committees, such as Codes and Education, may deliberate over a comparably high volume of bills, but come with a stipend of $18,000 each. The Ways and Means chair also has access to a significantly larger staff than any other chair in the Assembly.

Geography and seniority have long played a role in who is selected for both leading Ways and Means and other top committees. For Ways and Means, other factors typically considered include knowledge of the budget process, diplomacy, ability to get along with Republicans in both legislative houses, and the stamina to sit through many hours of annual budget hearings.

The longest serving member of the Assembly is Richard Gottfried, of Manhattan, who is followed by Assemblymember Joseph Lentol, of Brooklyn. Gottfried, who has headed the Assembly Health Committee for more than 30 years, told Gotham Gazette he has expressed to Heastie and previous speakers that he is not interested in leading Ways and Means.

“I almost can't imagine how lucky I am to have had this job; it is just about a dream position for me,” Gottfried said of leading the Health Committee. “I love being able to focus on health policy and consider myself enormously happy to have this job.”

He noted that the Speaker must ultimately assess the person’s ability to speak on behalf of the Assembly majority's view of the budget and be someone who can represent the diverse views of the Democratic Conference.

“The speaker has to be concerned with, among other things, maintaining the solidarity and cohesion of the Democratic Majority because there are always a lot of forces eager to pick us apart,” said Gottfried, who is currently focussed on trying to see single-payer health care passed in New York.

An obvious choice for Heastie might be Lentol, the second most senior member of the Assembly, who has held his seat since 1972 and has served as chair of the critical Committee on Codes since 1992. Lentol competed against Heastie in the race to replace former Speaker Sheldon Silver in 2015, as did Assemblymember Catherine Nolan, of Queens, the sixth longest serving Assembly member. Lentol did not return a request for comment on whether he was interested in the Ways and Means position.

Assemblymember Robin Schimminger, who represents a swing district encompassing Niagara and Erie Counties, follows Lentol and Farrell in seniority, but his district geography and more moderate place on the political spectrum could rule him out for such an influential position in the New York City-focussed conference.

While women have historically been underrepresented in the Legislature, including in leadership positions, for the first time in history, several are in the mix for the Ways and Means post, including Nolan, who was first elected in 1984, Assemblymember Helene Weinstein, of Brooklyn, who is the fifth longest serving member of the Assembly, having been elected in 1980, and others.

Weinstein chairs the highly technical Judiciary Committee and Nolan heads the Education Committee.

Between Weinstein and Nolan on the seniority list are Brooklyn Assemblymember Dov Hikind and Assemblymember David Gantt, of Rochester.

Female Assemblymembers Vivian Cook, of Queens; Earlene Hooper, of Nassau County; and Deborah Glick, of Manhattan, also rank among the 15 longest serving lawmakers in the 150-seat chamber. Glick has the distinction of being New York's first openly gay person elected to the state Legislature. She has been outspoken on a range of progressive issues and chairs the important Higher Education Committee.

Seniority withstanding, Heastie has made an effort to provide leadership opportunities to newer members in a way his predecessors did not, according to members of the Assembly who spoke to Gotham Gazette.

“I think we have noticed that under this leadership [Speaker Heastie] has managed to bring a few new members, who have only been here a few months, to be chairmen of committees and subcommittees. It has never happened before. You know, it took me 20 years to get a chairmanship myself,” said Brooklyn Assemblymember Félix W. Ortiz, who chairs the Cities Committee and serves as Assistant Speaker.

He may also consider factors like gender, race, political beliefs, and other elements of diversity in making his decision.

“Geography used to matter, but once you open up that door of identity, lots of people walk in. The Assembly is blessed with about 15 people whose seniority and talent and experience is considerable, it’s going to be hard for [Speaker Heastie] to make a bad choice,” said former Assemblymember Brodsky, who chaired both the Committee on Environmental Conservation and the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions during his nearly three decades in Albany.

A spokesperson for Heastie did not return a request for comment, nor did the offices of Assembly Members Nolan, Weinstein, Lentol, and Schimminger.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the location of Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle's district.

***
by Rachel Silberstein, State government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

]]>
Powerful Assembly Post May Be Vacant Sooner Than Expected Tue, 04 Jul 2017 04:00:00 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 13 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5680:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-april-13 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5680:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-april-13 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Hillary Clinton is running for President. You probably heard. The former New York Senator has her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn and will be looking for a strong boost from her New York base of supporters, including her 2000 senate campaign manager New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio was on Meet the Press Sunday morning and said that he is eagerly waiting to see a progressive vision from Clinton. Since Clinton had not officially declared her candidacy (she did so in the afternoon), de Blasio remained especially cautious in his remarks, but repeated his general mantra that all 2016 candidates  - for President and other offices - should be directly talking about economic inequality and offering solutions for how to reduce it. He faced some criticism for not quickly endorsing his former boss. Clinton is on her way to campaign in Iowa, and de Blasio is set to head there soon himself to talk fighting inequality. New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are all-in behind Clinton, as is Governor Andrew Cuomo.

As the week begins, there's a whole lot of Hillary buzz, of course, and other presidential candidates, mostly on the Republican side of things, continue to jump into the race, with new announcements expected at the start of the week. Meanwhile, New York State and City politics kicks back into gear after a slow week last week, brought on by post-budget recess in Albany and school vacation in the city. Advocates, activists, and legislators will be gearing up this week for the Albany legislative session set to begin next week, on April 21. The lobbying will be fierce and furious through mid-June, when the session will likely end in a "big ugly" agreement on several policies among Gov. Cuomo, Senate Republicans, and Assembly Democrats. One key issue to watch is criminal justice reform, which was among the several major issues pushed from the budget to session and may very well see increased urgency given new examples of police killing unarmed black men.

In the city, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and colleagues are moving forward with efforts to reform both the criminal and civil justice systems. A large contingent of activists will depart on their eight-day "March to Justice" on Monday, leaving from New York City and heading to Washington, D.C. The march will start with a rally and departure from Staten Island.

The City Council gets going again with a very busy week of hearings, including one on a bill to create an Office of Civil Justice Coordinator. These sessions come as the Council prepares to release its response to de Blasio's preliminary budget, due out Tuesday and to include a renewed call for adding 1,000 new officers to the NYPD force. See below for full details of the Council schedule. While the Council is between a March full of preliminary budget hearings and a May full of executive budget hearings, for the rest of this month it mostly returns to looking at bills on the docket. De Blasio will receive the Council preliminary budget response, then release his executive budget toward the end of the month (or in early May as he did last year).

The mayor begins his week with one public event: "Mayor de Blasio will attend opening ceremonies for the New York Mets' home opener at Citi Field. The Mayor will join members of the NYPD and family members of Detective Wenjian Liu and Detective Rafael Ramos for the ceremonial first pitch." The ceremony is slated for about 12:45 p.m., just before game time a little after 1.

This week is also the big one for participatory budgeting voting in the 24 city council districts where council members have opted to implement the program. Voting kicked off this weekend.

The increasingly controversial New York State tests for third-through-eigth graders in math and English language arts are this week. The still-new common core-aligned tests have become more and more political, watch for further push by many to discredit the tests and for students to opt out of taking them. There will also continue to be efforts to defend the tests and the common core standards, and to convince parents of the importance of their children taking the exams.

And we're just a few weeks from the May 5 special elections in New York's 11th Congressional District and 43rd Assembly District, so keep an eye on those races - there will  be an Errol Louis-moderated NY1-televised debate in NY11 on Tuesday evening. Details below.

As always, there's a great deal happening all over the city, with many events to be aware of; see our day-by-day rundown below...(oh, and make sure you file your taxes by the end of the day on Wednesday)

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
Monday morning, ABNY will host a breakfast event with “His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop, New York” at Mandarin Oriental. Cardinal Dolan will present "The Archdiocese of New York:  Not a Business, But Still Having a Vision and Projects."

Also Monday morning, Assembly Members Jeffrey Dinowitz and Richard Gottfried will hold a public hearing on a bill "which would require warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in New York State"; 10:30 a.m. at 250 Broadway..."Rates of obesity have increased dramatically in New York State and across the country over the past 30 years, adding an estimated $147 billion to our country's annual health care costs...Extensive research links rising rates of obesity, as well as diabetes, tooth decay, and other ailments, with the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, and sports drinks. Evidence suggests that warning labels can increase consumer awareness of health risks of harmful products such as sugar-sweetened beverages."

On Monday at 11 a.m. at City Hall, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members Brad Lander, Ben Kallos, James Vacca, and Vanessa Gibson will unveil the "New York City Council Public Technology Plan."

At 3 p.m. Monday, Mark-Viverito will participate in "Public Service is Worth It" Google Hangout moderated by Political Parity.

Monday’s City Council schedule will include a meeting of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises to review the land use calendar; a meeting of the Committee on Finance to review land use applications; and an off-site meeting of the Committee on Juvenile Justice for a tour of Horizon Juvenile Center.

As mentioned, Mayor de Blasio begins his week at Citi Field for ceremonial first pitch duties just before the Mets home opener around 1 p.m. There will be a press conference on Monday at 11 a.m. at Harlem hospital with several de Blasio administration officals outlining guidelines around "infant safe sleep," so that parents and caregivers do not accidentally suffocate young children while sleeping. The mayor penned a Sunday Daily News op-ed on the subject, but he is not scheduled to attend the press conference: "Deputy Mayor Barrios Paoli, ACS Commissioner Carrion, DOHMH Commissioner Bassett, DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor, and HHC CEO and President Dr. Raju will launch tomorrow a comprehensive infant Safe Sleep campaign to increase awareness among parents and other caregivers about the potentially fatal risks of sharing a bed with an infant, and how to prevent injuries and deaths associated with other unsafe sleep practices, such as excessive bedding, bumpers and toys in cribs. There are nearly 50 preventable safe sleep deaths every year."

Monday afternoon, Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Queens Borough Board Meeting.

Monday evening, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Norman Siegel, former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, will host a town hall to discuss improving community-police relations: “We only survive and prosper as Brooklynites if we engage with one another in a calm and civil conversation. I invite you to come let your voice be heard at our upcoming town hall about improving police-community relations.”

Also Monday evening, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth in collaboration with El Puente, UPROSE, Riders Alliance, and StreetsPAC, will host a Move NY North Brooklyn Town Hall: “Learn and talk about reducing congestion in North Brooklyn, modernizing and expanding the transit system, and fixing our roads and bridges."

And, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will attend a "town Hall meeting of District 31's Community Education Council" on Staten Island.

Tuesday
Tuesday morning, Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Queens Borough Cabinet Meeting.

Also Tuesday morning, City Council Members Elizabeth Crowley, Darlene Mealy, and Laurie Cumbo, and others will hold a Rally For Stronger Equal Pay Laws on the steps of City Hall.

Tuesday’s City Council schedule includes a meeting of the Subcommittee on Non-Public Schools, jointly with the Committee on Public Safety, and the Committee on Education, discussing school discipline codes and the assignment of safety agents to schools; a meeting of the Committee on Governmental Operations jointly with the Committee on Consumer Affairs and the Committee on Small Business concerning various items; and a meeting of the Committee on Economic Development jointly with the Committee on Community Development for an oversight hearing regarding the economic impact of the city’s foreclosure crisis.

The Council is set to unveil its preliminary budget response to Mayor de Blasio's FY16 spending plan on Tuesday.

Tuesday evening at 6 p.m., Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte and the Shirley Chisholm Democratic Club will present Honoring Women in Politics: A Mix & Mingle Fundraiser. Honorees will include State Senator Valmanette Montgomery and Council Member Laurie Cumbo. Public Advocate Letitia James - the first woman of color elected to city-wide office in New York - will make a guest appearance.

Also Tuesday evening, the Staten Island Advance and NY1 will co-host the only live televised debate between Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan (R) and City Council Member Vincent Gentile (D) in their race for Congress: “The Republican Donovan and the Democratic Gentile will face off at the hour-long live event. NY1 political anchor Errol Louis will moderate the debate, with questions coming from three panelists: Staten Island Advance senior opinion writer Tom Wrobleski, political reporter Rachel Shapiro and NY1 political reporter Courtney Gross.”

Tuesday evening, Pratt Area Community Council, CAMBA and other organizations will host Brooklyn Town Hall on the right to counsel in eviction proceedings at Brooklyn Borough Hall: “Did you know that approximately 300,000 New Yorkers are taken to housing court to fight eviction every year? Did you know that while 90 percent of landlords have attorneys representing them about 90 percent of tenants do not? Join the Right to Counsel Campaign and learn about legislation that will give New Yorkers the right to legal representation in NYC’s Housing Courts!” [Read our in-depth look at the proposed right to counsel legislation]

Wednesday
Wednesday, April 15, is tax day.

On Wednesday activists will be moving around the minimum wage. This will include students from 170 colleges, including University of Albany, taking part in a fast-food worker strike: “The Fight for $15 labor movement is planning an ambitious expansion on April 15, coordinating a series of global labor strikes with protests on college campuses. The tax-day strike will include rallies and marches on 170 university campuses, including Columbia University and University of Southern California, the organizers said.”

Wednesday morning, Crain's  will host its 'Business of' Series at John Jay College of Criminal Justice: “Join Crain’s as we examine one of New York’s fastest growing industries. Our expert panelists will discuss how life sciences is creating economic diversification, stimulating job growth and tapping into the vibrant young talent from top universities and leveraging New York’s access to capital.”

Wednesday’s City Council schedule includes a meeting of the Committee on Transportation to discuss various bicycle safety topics as well as establishing civil penalties for theft of a bicycle or motor vehicle; a meeting of the Committee on Aging concerning development of a guide for building owners regarding aging in place and the elimination of the sunset provisions related to income threshold increases for the SCRIE and DRIE programs; a meeting of the Committee on Land Use to discuss items reported out of the subcommittees; a meeting of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency to discuss the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s re-examination of National Flood Insurance Program insurance claim payouts related to Hurricane Sandy for possible underpayment; a meeting of the Committee on Courts and Legal Services around a law to amend the New York City Charter in relation to creating an Office of Civil Justice Coordinator. [Read our look at reforms being pushed by Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and others to reform the city's criminal and civil justice systems]

Wednesday evening at 7 p.m., State Senator Jesse Hamilton, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, and City Council Member Brad Lander will host a School-to-School Dialogue on High Stakes Testing at Old First Reformed Church, in Brooklyn.

Also Wednesday evening, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz will hold a town hall meeting at the Kingsbridge Public Library “to discuss and hear feedback on New York’s tenant protection laws, which are due to expire in June. Joining Assemblyman Dinowitz to speak will be Delsenia Glover, Campaign Manager for the Alliance for Tenant Power, and Judith Goldiner, Attorney-in-Charge at the Legal Aid Society.”

On Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, NYCVotes, the voter engagement arm of the City Campaign Finance Board, "is having a #VoteBetterNYC Advocacy Day training session for partners...acquainting them with the policy agenda...social media strategy and general day of logistics, ahead of the event" set to take place on April 22. The trainings will take place Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at 100 Church Street.

[Read the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette]

Thursday
On Thursday morning, Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a land use hearing at the Queens Borough Hall.

On Thursday morning, at 11 a.m. at Brooklyn Borough Hall, it's a "Rally for Family Friendly Brooklyn" hosted by BP Adams: "We want Brooklyn to be THE place to raise healthy children and families! Join me Thursday, April 16th at 11:00 AM on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall as we rally for Family Friendly Brooklyn, a new initiative where I am calling for: Statewide Paid Family Leave; Breast Feeding Empowerment Zone Expansion; Support for Post-Partum Depression Screening...We will be making some exciting announcements about my administration's plans to advance Brooklyn's families, so please come out and add your support!" [Read our recent story on the push behind passing paid family leave legislation in New York]

Thursday’s City Council schedule includes a meeting of the Committee on Finance discussing the senior citizen rent increase exemption program and the disability rent increase exemption program; and a City Council full-body stated meeting at 1 p.m.

On Thursday evening in Queens, the borough's Republican Party head Bob Turner and City Council Member Eric Ulrich are hosting a fundraiser for Staten Island District Attorney and NY11 congressional candidate Dan Donovan; 6:30 p.m. at Russo's on the Bay.

Friday and the weekend
On Saturday, de Blasio administration members and their allies will participate in a Pre-K Day of Action, working to spread the word about the availability of universal pre-K, for which enrollment is open: “New York City is about to take a historic step: This fall, the City will provide free, full-day, high-quality pre-K to all 4-year-olds in the five boroughs."

[Read the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette]

***
Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

]]>
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 13 Sun, 12 Apr 2015 16:41:16 +0000