First Read Tonight – March 23, 2017

WEATHER: A chance of rain after midnight in Buffalo and partly cloudy in New York City and Albany. New York City, low 32; Albany, low 19; Buffalo, low 32.



* Lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly have failed to reach an agreement on statewide ride-hailing services, but proponents now see real hope of passage, leading us to ask: Is this finally the year for ride-hailing in upstate New York?

* In an interview set to air tonight on “MetroFocus,” Rep. John Faso accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of “fake news” and using “fake numbers” in his opposition to the Faso-Collins amendment to the American Health Care Act.



* A judge ruled New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will have to release emails he exchanged with BerlinRosen co-founder Jonathan Rosen, one of his closest private advisers and a so-called “agent of the city”, the New York Post reports.

* New York state is considering suing the federal government if the provision requiring New York – and New York alone – to absorb Medicaid costs currently covered by each of its counties is passed as part of the Republicans’ Obamacare replacement, the Times Union reports.

* After ThinkProgress published what it said were disciplinary records of the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in the chokehold that lead to his death, both supporters and critics of the officer have found fodder in the records, The New York Times reports.

* The state teachers union released a report suggesting that charter schools had $395 million in cash on hand, which should go toward academic programs, as charter advocates argued they should get more aid from the state, The Wall Street Journal reports.

* New York City is taking an average of 536 days to resolve discrimination complaints, Human Rights Commission Chairwoman Carmelyn Malalis testified, in part because there was a 46 percent jump in complaints, the Daily News reports.

* More news below …



Homeownership rates remain at historic lows, and New Yorkers are finding it difficult to save for their first home.  A proposal to help first-time home buyers, NY First Home (A.5616-Ramos/S.4058-Little), passed the State Senate unanimously in 2016 and has broad public support (84% of New Yorkers – Siena Research poll).  Tell state lawmakers in Albany to pass NY First Home to incentivize homeownership and provide another reason to call New York home.



* The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have formed a partnership with the navigation app Waze that allows the agency to monitor traffic in real-time and push out notifications to drivers, the Journal reports.

* Key Assembly Democrats are pushing a measure to block a multibillion dollar bailout for three upstate nuclear power plants as part of a bid to force state regulators to testify at a hearing on the program, Gannett Albany reports.

* Following up on news from December that the state population had dipped for the first time in a decade, new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate population growth in New York City wasn’t enough to compensate for upstate declines, the Post writes.

* Major upstate and Long Island transportation system leaders implored state lawmakers and Cuomo to boost their operating aid for the coming fiscal year by $10 million, or about 2 percent, the Times Union reports.



Too many innocent New Yorkers have lost their freedom because of wrongful convictions. Eyewitness misidentification and false confessions are the leading factors that put innocent New Yorkers behind bars. New York State legislators can make sure it never happens again by mandating recorded interrogations & eyewitness ID procedures. Tell Albany to join Governor Cuomo and support wrongful conviction reforms. Click here




* President Donald Trump agreed to the demands of conservative House Republicans on their Obamacare replacement bill, but today’s planned vote was still postponed as Trump and his allies struggled to round up votes, the Times reports.

* U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer vowed to lead an attempt to filibuster the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch, as supporters and critics traded dueling views on the final day of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings, the Times writes.



The Professional Staff Congress/CUNY welcomes Albany’s focus on free tuition. But affordability won’t be meaningful without new investment in quality education. Students like Fatime Uruci of John Jay College are making the most of their CUNY opportunity. But CUNY needs 4,000 more full-time faculty and funding to support its 12,000-adjunct faculty. This is the year to invest more in CUNY classrooms so students like Fatime can realize their dreams.




* Voters in November will decide whether New York holds a constitutional convention, a rare referendum held only once every 20 years that offers the opportunity to update the state’s retrograde constitution, but hasn’t occurred since 1967, The Village Voice reports.

* Bioswales, or rain gardens, are being installed in New York City neighborhoods to help clean water and ease pressure of the city’s aging sewer system have met the type of grass-roots pushback usually reserved for power plants and waste transfer stations, the Times writes.



The Parkside Group is excited to announce that it has recently won multiple national awards for its creative work. Campaigns & Elections Magazine presented Parkside with a Reed Award for “Best Direct Mail Piece for a Congressional Candidate”. Last week, the American Association of Political Consultants awarded Parkside with a Pollie Award in the category of “Best Use of Contrast Mail”. To find out how the Parkside Group can help you achieve your goals, visit



5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – “MetroFocus” features U.S. Rep. John Faso on the American Health Care Act and how it will impact New Yorkers., WLIW21 (5 p.m.) and WNET Thirteen (6 p.m.).

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – “Road to City Hall” features New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, NY1.

8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. – “Capital Tonight” features the latest on the American Health Care Act vote, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo on this weekend’s Somos conference and transit funding for upstate with Capital District Transportation Authority’s Carm Basile, Spectrum News.



New York City’s charter schools are committed to helping all public schools improve. In fact, one charter network is training new teachers from over 40 district schools throughout Brooklyn as part of the Department of Education’s district-charter partnership program. New York needs more quality public schools – charters are part of the solution. Support Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget and lift the cap on charters in NYC!  Learn More




7:30 p.m. – The Nets host the Phoenix Suns, YES.

10 p.m. – The Knicks visit the Portland Trailblazers, MSG.



As New York aims to become the first Age-Friendly State, AARP New York is showcasing innovative solutions to livability issues, like walkability, transportation, social participation and health care. Join us in Albany for our Leading on Livability Summit on April 12-13, featuring experts from the New York Academy of Medicine, AARP’s Network of Age Friendly Communities, The Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, academia and New York state government. Learn more.




8 a.m. – New York Nonprofit Media hosts FundCon bringing together fundraising and development executives from nonprofits across New York to discuss how to create a campaign and raise money, The Convene, 32 Old Slip, Manhattan.

8:30 a.m. – The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce hosts a Women’s History Month Celebration with state Sen. Roxanne Persaud, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Ingrid Lewis-Martin, senior adviser to the Brooklyn borough president, Brooklyn Law School, 205 State Street Building, Brooklyn.

10 a.m. – U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, state Sen. Liz Krueger, Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Councilman Ben Kallos, Win CEO Christine Quinn announce their welcoming of supportive housing for women and children, 316 E. 91st St., Manhattan.

11 a.m. – “The Capitol Pressroom” features City & State Albany reporter Ashley Hupfl on this week’s Winners & Losers, Ken Lovett of the Daily News and Michael Gormley of Newsday, U.S. Rep. John Faso on the AHCA and state Sen. Brad Hoylman, WCNY.

11:30 a.m. – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and others attend ceremony commemorating the 106th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Washington Place and Greene Street, Manhattan.

12 p.m. – Advocates for people with developmental disabilities and the #bFair2DirectCare campaign urge Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to provide funds so direct care workers can be paid a living wage, Duffy Square, 47th Street and Seventh Avenue, Manhattan.

2 p.m. – State Sen. David Carlucci and Meals on Wheels Rockland rally against the president's planned budget cuts and raise awareness of the impacts they would have throughout the Hudson Valley, 121 W. Nyack Road, Nanuet.

3 p.m. – Assemblyman Richard Gottfried hosts a presentation by the Medicare Rights Center to discuss benefits and programs that help pay Medicare costs and how they may be of benefit to seniors and caregivers, Hudson Guild, 441 W. 26th St., Manhattan.

7 p.m. – New York City Councilwoman Debi Rose celebrates women in history, P.S. 78, 100 Tompkins Ave., Staten Island.



The Black Car Fund protects for-hire drivers and their passengers in New York by providing workers’ compensation for drivers, driver background checks, defensive driving courses and CPR training--making hundreds-of-thousands of rides a month safer for New Yorkers. The Black Car Fund: Anywhere from everywhere. Safely. #RideRightNY Learn More



TOP TWEET:  If Ortt’s case goes to trial, and if he is found guilty (two ifs), then the GOP loses a member. That will take months – beyond June session.

- Jimmy Vielkind @JimmyVielkind