Spin Cycle

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

Cuomo allies launch 'Women's Equality' ballot line; critics dub it cynical ploy

Democrats said Thursday they will create a new ballot line to support Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other candidates, dubbed the “Women’s Equality Party.”

Cuomo’s liberal and conservative rivals immediately denounced it as a cynical ploy and questioned the incumbent’s record on women’s issues.

Cuomo allies would have to gather at least 15,000 petition signatures by mid-August to create a...

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New York becomes 23rd state to allow medical marijuana

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, seated,

(Credit: Charles Eckert)

Once an opponent of medical marijuana, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ceremonially signed a new law Monday that makes New York the 23rd state to approve the drug for medicinal purposes.

Cuomo actually signed the law Saturday and held a news conference Monday to highlight the program.

"There is no doubt medical marijuana can help people," said the Democrat, who is facing Republican Rob Astorino...

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Assembly speaker's outside salary at private law firm soars

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver attends

(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

ALBANY -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's earnings at a private law firm rose significantly in 2013, according to newly filed financial disclosures.

Silver (D-Manhattan) was paid between $650,000 and $750,000 as an attorney at Weitz and Luxenberg, a large personal injury firm in Manhattan. In 2012, Silver reported getting between $350,000 to $450,000 from the law firm.

Combined with...

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Sweeney bill to crack down on ivory trade set to be approved

Assemb. Robert Sweeney, chairman of the Assembly Environmental

(Credit: Philip Kamrass)

Amid the last-minute flurry of legislative activity, New York lawmakers have agreed to a new law to crack down on the illegal trade of ivory and rhinoceros horns -- a bill championed by retiring Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst).

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said action was needed because “New York is a leading market in the world for illegal ivory sales.”

In 2012,...

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Judge denies Silver request to toss sexual-harassment lawsuit

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s request to dismiss a sexual-harassment lawsuit filed against him and ex-Assemb. Vito Lopez filed by former Lopez staffers.

Silver “is not qualified for immunity,” Judge Analisa Torres wrote.

Former Lopez staffers Victoria Burhans and Chloe Rivera filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging the once-influential...

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