Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics

Senate: Schumer, Gillibrand to vote no on Keystone XL pipeline

New York's Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said they will vote against a bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline in a vote early this evening, despite the pleas of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

Landrieu, who faces a run-off election on Dec. 6, needs 60 votes to pass the measure, which is the bill sponsored by her opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.)....

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Silver talks, but says little about upcoming Albany action

State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) speaks at

(Credit: Craig Ruttle)

ALBANY -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was in Albany Tuesday and, true to his inscrutable image, revealed almost nothing about what, if anything, will happen in Albany in coming weeks.

Silver met with newly elected Democrats in a closed-door session. On the way into the conference room, he indicated the Assembly could come back for a special session in December, that he could support a...

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Taxpayers to pay $150G more for sex harassment cases

Assemblyman Vito Lopez sits during a session at

(Credit: AP)

ALBANY —  State taxpayers will pay another $141,000 to defend the Assembly in a federal lawsuit over sexual harassment accusations against former Brooklyn Assemb. Vito Lopez, according to an announcement.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on Tuesday announced the latest payment among three checks sent to law firms over two sexual harassment cases in the Assembly.

Lopez (D-Brooklyn)...

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Fresh off election victories, Skelos re-elected as Senate leader

State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) speaks at

(Credit: Craig Ruttle)

[UPDATED with Skelos re-election now official]

Fresh off election victories that saw them take outright control of the chamber, Senate Republicans on Monday re-elected Sen. Dean Skelos as their leader.

Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) has been the Senate helm for the last two years with Senate co-leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) under an unusual power-sharing agreement between Republicans and...

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How Democrat DiNapoli out-polled Democrat Cuomo across NYS and LI

Four years ago, in his first appearance on a statewide ballot, Democratic State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli lost both Nassau and Suffolk to neophyte Republican candidate Harry Wilson — even as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, at the top of the same ticket, swept both Long Island counties.

Only DiNapoli’s domination of the New York City vote won him a close race in 2010.

But his 2014 re-election...

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Some see mid-December as fitting for Albany special session

There have been no “formal” talks about a special session of the state Legislature before year’s end, but some State Capitol observers think the second week of December would be a good time for one.

  Among the possible subjects of a special session: a pay raise for lawmakers, who haven’t received one nearly 16 years; charter school expansions; and the minimum wage.


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Greens' Hawkins looks to party role beyond drawing protest votes

Howie Hawkins on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 in

(Credit: NEWSDAY / Audrey Tiernan)

Howie Hawkins is realistic about the Green Party’s best-ever showing in a New York gubernatorial race, and what it needs to do to grow and become a factor in state politics.

Hawkins garnered 176,269 votes (5 percent) for governor, but noted that the Green candidate for attorney general received 76,697 votes, which is closer to the party’s base level of support, he said. Hawkins acknowledged...

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Suffolk: Ex-Leg. Paul Tonna in new consulting role

Former Suffolk Legislature Presiding Officer Paul Tonna has undertaken a new consulting gig.

Since spring, Tonna has been working as executive director of the Suffolk chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, a national non-profit organization that is a coalition of building industry groups to promote healthy and environmentally sound building practices.

Tonna said he was hired to...

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Suffolk: Kennedy plans comptroller transition; Sawicki denies snub

Republican Comptroller-elect John Kennedy wanted to hold the first meeting of his transition team this week in what will become his office after Jan. 1, but aides to current term-limited GOP Comptroller Joseph Sawicki turned him down.

Instead, Kennedy’s team will meet in the conference room of the clerk of the county legislature. The meeting is set for Wednesday.

One transition team...

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New GOP election commissioner for Suffolk

Suffolk Republican chairman John Jay LaValle has made a surprise dark horse choice, naming Nick LaLota, chief of staff to State Sen. Philip Boyle (R-Bay Shore), to the plum $137,651 patronage post of GOP election commissioner, to replace current commissioner Wayne Rogers at year’s end.

Letters from party leaders were filed late Friday with the clerk of the County Legislature, naming LaLota...

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Which was the most fevered lunge for self-promotion by a power player?

Sec. of State John Kerry seeking more authority for the administration to fight ISIS. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning of “dangerous concessions” if rivals win election. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.): “Is there ever a good time to admit our country tortured people?"

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