First Read Tonight – April 20, 2017

WEATHER: Scattered showers in New York City, a chance of rain in Albany and heavy rain in Buffalo. New York City, low 49; Albany, low 51; Buffalo, low 47.



* Gov. Andrew Cuomo convened the state’s first industrial hemp summit this week, and although he remains opposed to legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, we want to know what our readers would propose for the state’s cannabis policy?

* Last summer, state regulators finalized around $500 million in annual subsidies to prop up struggling upstate nuclear power plants, which Cuomo championed, but two pending lawsuits seek to halt the subsidy program.

* Bill O’Reilly lost his Fox News job after several allegations of sexual harassment, but unfortunately, his alleged transgressions aren’t uncommon, especially in the political world. We took a look back at the state lawmakers who have been accused of sexual harassment – and how their cases played out.



* New York City landlords called for rent hikes at the city’s 1 million rent-stabilized apartments of 4 percent for new one-year leases and 8 percent increases on two-year leases, the New York Post reports.

* A paragraph tucked into the Raise the Age bill could force counties to give up millions of dollars in state funding if they exceed the state's property tax cap, Gannett Albany reports.

* Ending months of turmoil, the Buffalo Train Station Selection Committee announced the city’s new train station should be located downtown, reaching its decision in time to meet the six-month timetable imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, The Buffalo News reports.

* The New York Public Interest Research Group and the research firm Toxics Targeting found thousands of petroleum spills from oil storage facilities, pipelines and gasoline stations have not been adequately cleaned up, State of Politics writes.

* In a statement posted online, Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam’s widower, the Rev. Gregory Jacobs, insisted she did not commit suicide, blaming “media outlets and others” that “have conjectured that Sheila was the victim of a ‘probable suicide,’” the Post reports.

* More news below …



AMSNY:  Thank you New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, and particularly Assembly Members Blake, People-Stokes, and Chair Perry for funding the creation of a new Medical School Scholarship program for students who are underrepresented in medicine.  Together, we will help close the diversity gap! Learn more here.



* Speaking to an audience of Stony Brook University alumni in Manhattan, former Vice President Joe Biden said President Donald Trump’s proposal to cut billions of dollars in federal funding for medical and environmental research would put the nation “a generation behind” in developing lifesaving drugs and technology, Newsday writes.

* The New York City Department of Finance is trying to make it easier for drivers to pay – or fight – parking tickets with a new smartphone app that allows drivers to look up their tickets by violation or license plate number, The Wall Street Journal reports.

* Janno Lieber, the Silverstein Properties real estate executive who played a prominent role in rebuilding the World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan will join the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to oversee its large infrastructure projects, The New York Times reports.

* A committee of New York City Council members blamed Mayor Bill de Blasio for the failure to fill eight empty judge seats, creating a backlog in the city’s criminal courts, the Journal reports.

* A fake architect, Paul Newman, was charged by the state Attorney General’s office with nearly 60 counts of larceny and fraud in a Seinfeldian sting Attorney General Eric Schneiderman dubbed “Operation Vandelay Industries,” the Daily News writes.



Bill de Blasio is failing our city's students and their families:

30% of New York high school students don’t graduate. Of those who do, half aren’t taught the skills to go to college or get a job.

Paul Massey will make sure families have the choices they deserve. New York needs innovation with education grants, tax credits, scholarships and savings accounts. Families deserve to choose among the public, charter, private and parochial schools that work in their neighborhoods. Learn more.




* President Donald Trump’s administration announced that it had launched a broad investigation into whether steel imports posed a national security threat, a probe that could lead to new tariffs against China and other manufacturers, the Journal reports.

* North Korea threatened the U.S. with a "super-mighty preemptive strike" that would blast American and South Korean military forces "to ashes," in the latest escalation of tensions and rhetoric between the reclusive regime and the Trump administration, the Daily News writes.



After surviving three tours in a war zone, Laurie’s son Christian was killed working on a New York City construction site. Over the past two years thirty-three construction workers have died in New York City. Laurie believes if construction workers received appropriate training, the rate of injuries and deaths would be much less. She is pleading with New York City legislators to pass Intro. 1447 because these deaths are preventable. Learn more here.




* Five families of Syrian refugees blended seamlessly into New York City’s spring tourist crowd as part of a week of free walking tours for 150 Syrian refugees who were recently resettled in New Jersey, the Times writes.

* Melissa DeRosa, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new top deputy, and her father have become two of Albany’s most influential figures, leading to questions about how they keep their jobs at a distance, the Journal writes.



What drives family homelessness in NYC? The Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness has released “On the Map: The Dynamics of Family Homelessness,” an in-depth data analysis of factors that impact family homelessness in NYC to inform policy makers, elected officials, educators, health care professionals, service providers, grant makers, community members. Data is presented by City Council district, community board. To obtain a free copy, go to or



5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – “MetroFocus” features U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, WLIW21 (5 p.m.) and WNET Thirteen (6 p.m.).

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – “Road to City Hall” features author and journalist Chris Hayes, NY1.

8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. – “Capital Tonight” features U.S. Rep. John Katko, High Achievement New York’s Steve Sigmund and Kristin Wieneke of the American Lung Association, Spectrum News.

10:30 p.m. – New York City Public Advocate James appears on MSNBC's “The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell,” MSNBC.



City & State’s upcoming 4/24 Issue Spotlight: Transportation Infrastructure

Educate and influence NY’s Public Officials on your organization’s infrastructure objectives and benefits in this strategic legislative ad/messaging venue.  The Special Section’s Public Officials Q&A Features: Matthew Driscoll | Polly Trottenberg | Veronique Hakim | Ydanis Rodriguez | Stephanie Miner.  Featuring Coverage of: Design-Build | Trump’s Infrastructure Pledge | LaGuardia Airport.  Ad deadline: April 21. For further information, please contact




7 p.m. – The Rangers visit the Montreal Canadiens, MSG, USA.

7:05 p.m. – The Yankees host the Chicago White Sox, YES.

7:10 p.m. – The Mets host the Philadelphia Phillies, SNY.



8:15 a.m. – John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, speaks at a CityLaw Breakfast, New York Law School, Events Center, 185 W. Broadway, Manhattan.

9 a.m. – State Senate interns take part in a model legislative session, state Senate chambers, state Capitol, Albany.

11 a.m. – Assemblyman David Weprin and fellow elected officials stand with Harkirat Singh, a 25-year-old Sikh taxi driver who was assaulted while on duty, Sikh Cultural Society, 9530 118th St., Queens.

11 a.m. – “The Capitol Pressroom” features David Borton of Sustainable Energy Systems Inc., Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting, Blair Horner of New York Public Interest Research Group, AARP’s Laura Ehrich, the Times Union’s Rick Karlin, City & State’s Ashley Hupfl and others, WCNY.


TOP TWEET: In case you were curious: How New York City defines "sexual activity," per the City Record.

Laura Nahmais @Nahmias