Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. John Flanagan are at odds over opioids.

Opioids Create a Strange Alignment: Cuomo Agreeing with Democrats

In the closing days of the legislative session, the opioid crisis is turning into the latest flashpoint. State Senate Republicans passed a bill to make it easier for law enforcement to arrest drug dealers and impose longer sentences. Meanwhile, Gov. Cuomo has lined up with the Assembly Democrats in advocating for more treatment, including more insurance coverage for substance abuse counseling and rehabilitation.

The state legislative session ends next week, meaning that the “three men in a room” will need to agree to something over the next week in order to enact it into law.

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NYC Schools are currently run by the Mayor. Mayoral control could expire if the state legislature doesn't act.

Republicans Toy with de Blasio Over Mayoral Control

Mayoral control of New York City schools is set to expire, threatening to plunge the school system into chaos, unless the state legislature passes a law extending the program.

However, the Senate GOP threatens to continue mayoral control only if NYC allows more charter schools. They are also pushing to include a tax cut for rich New York City residents and a tax credit for private schools, too. Meanwhile their IDC allies offered another bill tinkering around the edges by letting neighborhood education councils choose superintendents.

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Elections Coming Up

*|FNAME|*, did you know that Jim Comey was born in Yonkers? His testimony yesterday set the stage for the 2018 midterm elections and Gov. Cuomo is going to be involved, in his own way. But first: New York City has elections this year and one of them saw a sudden twist.

Read on for all of that and more in this week’s ShakingNewsletter!

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Quote of the Week: “It’s like a Mafia turf war,”  Darrin Giglio, a private investigator for Mister Softee, about the competition between ice cream trucks. Mister Softee still holds more than half of the street-vendor permits in NYC but rival New York Ice Cream is catching up.

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Does Adriano Espaillat still stand with Marisol Alcantara?

Congressional Democrats to IDC: Rejoin the Party

The ongoing feud about control of the state Senate took another turn last week.

Remind me: what’s going on?

Even though there are 32 Democrats and 31 Republicans in the Senate, Republicans control the body because nine of the Democrats support the Republican leadership. Eight of the nine are members of the Independent Democratic Conference and they’ve been under pressure recently because of the Senate lulu payroll scandal–three of them were paid for leadership positions they didn’t hold. Brooklyn Senator Simcha Felder, the ninth defector, said that he’d rejoin the Democratic Party if they did, too.

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IDC Leader Jeff Klein and Republican Leader John Flanagan could be in trouble because of the Senate lulu scandal.

Why the Senate Lulu Scandal Might Be Trouble for Everyone

Right now, the top news in the New York politics is the story of the State Senate’s lulu payments, the extra money that legislators in leadership positions earn. A New York Times investigation discovered that seven Senators (three Independent Democrats and four Republicans) earned lulus for positions they did not hold. While the legal fallout is unclear, the consequences will reverberate throughout New York politics.

Thanks to his coalition with the eight-member Independent Democratic Conference, Republican Leader John Flanagan (Long Island) leads the Senate even though there are 32 Democrats and only 31 Republicans. To maintain support, he arranged for seven Republican and Independent Democratic Conference members to earn larger lulus by paying committee vice-chairs as if they chaired the committees. This continued a practice of his predecessor, Dean Skelos (since convicted for corruption). Flanagan must have figured no one would notice.

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Senate lulu payments are stoking controversy. Are they legal?

Who in the Senate Broke the Law?

Last week, we mentioned that the Independent Democrats in the State Senate are earning more money thanks to their alliance giving Republicans control. Turns out, there’s a lot more to the story of the Senate lulu payments.

Catch me up:

Even though there is a 32-31 majority of Democrats in the State Senate, nine of those Democrats support the Republican leadership, giving them control of the chamber. Those nine Democrats (eight members of the Independent Democratic Conference or the IDC and Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder) got leadership positions as the chairs or vice-chairs of committees.

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Senate Intrigue: The IDC Gets Paid

The State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference is reaping the rewards of their alliance with Republicans. Eight of the nine Democratic Senators who have given Republicans control of the Senate earned extra stipends meant for committee chairs, even though some of them don’t actually chair a committee. For Brooklyn Sen. Jesse Hamilton, that meant an extra $5,500 after he joined the IDC. It pays to have friends in high places.

Andrew Cuomo wants to be President. He's going for that promotion.

Going for That Promotion

A couple weeks ago, we observed that Gov. Cuomo is laying the groundwork to run for President. Now, the NYTimes reports that he’s been reaching out to Florida donors.

But maybe he shouldn’t run for re-election? The Daily News‘ Ken Lovett suggests  Gov. Cuomo should focus on his Presidential campaign rather than run for re-election next year. A governor running for President will face criticism and run the risk of problems at home dragging him down, so maybe Cuomo should just give up the Governor’s Mansion? Fat chance he’ll take that advice.

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Democratic State Senator George Latimer is running for Westchester County Executive.

Battle Royale for Westchester County Executive

The most important election of 2017 for New York is likely going to be the race for Westchester County Executive. Democratic State Senator George Latimer announced last week that he’ll face off against the incumbent, Republican Rob Astorino, in November.

Campaign Issues

Latimer launched his campaign criticizing Astorino for borrowing to pay for pensions rather than raising property taxes. Since few people like paying taxes, that’s going to be an argument Astorino is likely eager to fight. It’ll be a tough race.

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