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NY 2020 primary, offshore drilling ban on the horizon

State Democrats are moving to hold their presidential primary on April 28, 2020.

State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs on Feb. 13.

State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs on Feb. 13. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

ALBANY — New York Democrats are looking to hold their 2020 presidential primary somewhat late in the schedule, figuring it will boost clout.

State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs says he’s eyeing April 28, which would put New York in the final third of the primary schedule. He said he’s spoken to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) about the legislation needed to set the date in law and expects a bill to be introduced soon.

Jacobs said he has strategic and practical reasons for picking the date.

First, Democratic National Committee rules would give New York a 10 percent increase in the number of convention delegates for holding the state primary in April. Second, bordering states that hold primaries on the same day can get another 15 percent boost. With Connecticut and Pennsylvania already earmarked for April 28, the date is ideal, Jacobs said.

The boost in delegates could nudge New York past Florida and Texas in total delegates at the party’s national convention on July 13-16 next year in Milwaukee, Wis.

Even if that does nothing to impact the convention outcome, it could be an ego boost for the state.

“The benefit of going to Milwaukee with the second most delegates puts New York back in the power seat [where] it belongs,” Jacobs said.

Also, the field of Democratic presidential contenders should be pared down by April, but the race won’t be over. That could make delegate-rich New York a huge prize.

Look for Cuomo to sign offshore-drilling ban soon.

The State Legislature in February approved a bill supporters believe will stymie plans by President Donald Trump's administration to expand oil and gas drilling off the Eastern Seaboard. The measure would prohibit state agencies from processing applications for pipelines or any other distribution and transportation services needed to facilitate offshore drilling.

Last Thursday, the Legislature formally submitted the bill to Cuomo, giving him 10 business days to sign or veto. Given that Cuomo issued a hearty endorsement of the bill when it was approved, he is expected to sign it quickly.

The bill was sponsored by State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) and Assemb. Steve Englebright (D-Setauket).

Single-payer off the table — for now.

The chairman of the Senate Health Committee says Democrats won’t hold a vote during the 2019 legislative session on implementing a “single-payer” health care system.

Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) said the Senate wants to complete hearings on the idea of state-run health care, before advancing a bill. Rivera made the statement at a health forum hosted by City and State New York, which published his comments.

That will disappoint progressive Democrats, who have been increasing their calls for single-payer since the party won control over both houses of the Legislature last fall. Cuomo has opposed the proposal, saying single-payer should be done at the national level.

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