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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Carlina Rivera collects petition signatures to get on the ballot as she runs for City Council. (Photo via Twitter).

It’s time for petitioning!

It’s an exciting time of year: petitioning time!

Huh, what’s that?

As New Yorkers, we’re used to people approaching us on the street asking for something. But if you’ve been confronted recently by clipboard-carriers asking you to sign a petition to get someone on the ballot, that’s because it’s petition time, the semi-official beginning of campaign season in New York.

So what’s the deal with the petitions?

In order to run in a New York election, candidates need to collect signatures from people who can vote in that election. That means if someone is running as a Democrat for Mayor of New York City, they need to collect signatures from Democrats in New York City. If a candidate is running as an independent, they can collect signatures from anyone who is registered to vote in the general election.

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Andrew Cuomo at the New York Fights Back rally. Is he using it to lay the groundwork to run for President?

Cuomo Takes on Republicans (or at least some of them)

Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a campaign to go after Republicans. Standing beside House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Cuomo declared that New York would fight back to take back Congress district-by-district.

Yet this “New York Fights Back” is an interesting campaign.

Why now?

For one, Cuomo has not previously expressed much interest in Congress. In 2011, his first year as Governor, he promised to veto gerrymandered districts; instead he settled for a half-measure that won’t take effect until 2022. When the State Senate and Assembly deadlocked over how to gerrymander the districts, he allowed a court to draw the Congressional lines for New York without offering any input. In 2014, former Rep. Steve Israel (Long Island), then-chair of the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, panned Cuomo’s efforts in an interview with the New York Times: “We had conversations several months ago with the governor’s staff about helping to organize and coordinate a campaign and I didn’t see the fruition to those conversations.”

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New York's Constitutional Convention won't look quite like this.

Will New York have a Constitutional Convention?

In November, New Yorkers will vote on whether to hold a constitutional convention (or Con Con, as its been called). For many parts of the state, it’ll be the most consequential and contentious election of the year. But what’s it all about?

A Constitutional Convention? What’s that?

Remember your old high school history textbook with Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, and Madison coming together in Philadelphia to write the Constitution? Well so New York’s Constitutional Convention will be a little like that, but for New York and without the Founding Fathers.

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Will New York Be a Sanctuary for Immigrants?

UPDATE: As of May 2017, Congress chose not to pass legislation that would have allowed Trump to defund sanctuary cities.

Original story

This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to take back $4 billion in federal aid to sanctuary cities, including New York City, Syracuse, Ithaca, and Rochester. Those cities have said they will not help Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforce federal immigration laws.

What’s the big deal?

Over 5 million immigrants were deported under Obama but his administration focused on criminals and people caught crossing the border. While campaigning, President Donald Trump criticized this focus and promised to create a “deportation force” to remove undocumented immigrants. In February, he issued rules to make it easier for ICE to deport immigrants (both documented and undocumented), including people who hadn’t committed a serious crime. This even included people who had filed for DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, under Obama. Also called Dreamers, these are people who were born abroad but arrived in the US as children and grew up here. Trump’s so-called “Muslim bans” on travelers from several majority-Muslim Middle Eastern countries have also fueled this alarm, though court orders have stopped those for the moment.

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