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Assembly members vote on Bills in the Assembly

Assembly members vote on Bills in the Assembly chamber at the state Capitol during the last scheduled day of the legislative session on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink) Photo Credit: AP / Hans Pennink

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Daily Point

New York GOP in a bind

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sought to ride the Supreme Court nomination uproar by coming to New Hyde Park Tuesday (and back in Farmingdale on Wednesday) to demand that Republican state senators return to Albany to enact new protections for abortion in case Roe v. Wade is overturned. The governor also said he would target GOP senators especially vulnerable on abortion issues, such as Elaine Phillips in the 7th District in northwest Nassau County.

Democrats fighting to take control of the State Senate in November expect some extra energy on their side because of the battle that will play out in Washington over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the high court. So would it be better for New York Republicans, as some have suggested, to defuse the abortion fight by having some of their members give Democrats the votes to pass a bill that explicitly states women have the right to abortions in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy?

Not if they want the Conservative Party line on November’s ballot, a slot that has often given them the winning edge. State party chairman Mike Long told The Point Tuesday that any senator who did so “need not apply for the Conservative endorsement.”

His message to Republicans worried that abortion could bring new single-issue voters to the polls: “Just because everyone is dropping off the George Washington Bridge doesn’t mean conservative Republicans have to follow.” If Republicans did support Cuomo on abortion, he said, “then there would be no need for an opposition party in New York.”

Long said Republicans need to point out that even if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe, abortion would still be legal in New York. “There is no issue here, no one will be denied an abortion,” said Long, who added that the governor was acting like a “hysterical child.”

Even if Republicans remain united in refusing a vote on an abortion-rights bill, will they still return this fall to finish up local district issues that remained on the table when the session ended last month?

“It is not being discussed right now,” said Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Republicans.

Rita Ciolli

Talking Point

New police academy smaller and costlier

The dream of a new Nassau County Police Academy is 10 years old, but it was revitalized when County Executive Laura Curran announced it would be included in Nassau’s capital plan, which the county legislature began reviewing Monday.

In the decade since it was first announced, the vision for the academy and for the contribution of a private foundation set up to fund it have gotten smaller, and the total price tag and contribution of the taxpayer keep getting bigger.

  • In 2008, then-Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey founded the Nassau County Police Foundation, which had a goal to raise $24 million for the construction of a 150,000-square-foot academy. Mulvey retired in 2011, and now lives in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, but the foundation and the dream have lived on.
  • In 2015, when then-County Executive Edward Mangano announced construction would soon begin, the planned facility had shrunk to 120,000 square feet, with a price of $40 million. The foundation would have kicked in $5 million, the county’s capital budget $10 million, and the police department’s asset forfeiture fund $25 million.
  • In the plan Curran announced Monday, the footprint is down to 90,000 square feet. The price, up to $54 million, would be funded by taxpayers, or at least that’s the dream of this capital plan.

County officials say the foundation already has contributed at least $3.4 million for environmental studies and architectural work.

Whether Nassau and Suffolk need separate academies is worth debating, but the trend makes it clear that if Nassau is going to build, it had better hurry. Wait another decade and there’s no telling how much smaller and more expensive this thing might become.

Lane Filler

Pencil Point

Rebranding

Quick Points

A prime-time production

  • Critics of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attack him for a law review article in which he argued that the U.S. president should be exempt from criminal prosecution and investigation while in office. Given that he wrote that in 2009, during the tenure of Democrat Barack Obama, critics might want to focus more on Donald Trump’s motivation in picking him.
  • While President Donald Trump turned his Supreme Court announcement into a TV production, he interrupted competition running on similar tracks. “The Bachelorette” was giving out actual roses on ABC, contestants on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” were overcoming more daunting obstacles than the Senate, and the first responders on Fox’s “9-1-1” were dealing with real emergencies under a full moon in L.A.
  • Late Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency set in motion a process that would significantly increase the manufacturing of diesel freight trucks that emit as much as 55 times the air pollution produced by trucks with modern emissions controls. How nice of the departing Scott Pruitt. Instead of taking something with him, he left a parting gift.
  • President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is setting more difficult terms for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller, making chances of a voluntary sit-down more unlikely. Hey, Rudy, just for the record, a lot of us never thought Trump was going to agree to talk to Mueller.
  • After holding more denuclearization negotiations with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, North Korea’s foreign ministry called the talks “regrettable,” criticized Pompeo’s “gangster-like demands” and said, “Our expectations and hopes were so naive it could be called foolish.” Anyone else come to mind who ought to be saying that?
  • The infamous Trump Tower meeting with an attorney from Russia who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton was only about adoptions, according to President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Proving that Rudy is now a full-time resident of the fact-free zone.
  • Personal-finance website WalletHub, using data like gasoline prices and hours spent commuting, determined that New York is 94th among America’s 100 biggest cities in its rating of best cities to drive in. Boston was 95. Which means whether it’s baseball or traffic, New York and Boston are always neck-and-neck and hot under the collar.
  • Three poachers entered a South African game preserve looking to kill some rhinoceros and cut off their horns, and instead were themselves killed and eaten by lions. You know what they say about karma.

Michael Dobie

Columns