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Raise the Age may lower the chances of an on-time budget
A deal on New York State’s budget needs to be locked down by Wednesday night to meet the April 1 deadline, and there are just a few major items standing in the way, including the governor’s plan for free public college tuition and “raise the age,” which seeks to return jurisdiction for most offenses committed by 16- and 17 year-olds to Family Court.
“Raise the age” is bogged down in the State Senate, which will discuss it during its conference Monday afternoon. There appears to be agreement on the extremes — jurisdiction for violations, misdemeanors and most nonviolent crimes would revert to Family Court, while a 16- or 17-year-old who commits a violent felony with a deadly weapon would continue to be prosecuted in adult courts. However, some GOP senators are concerned the state is being too lenient on some sex offenders and those who commit crimes such as robbery.
One solution is that in those instances, the new law could include a presumption that the accused would be treated as an adult, but the defendant would have the right to a hearing to argue that his or her case should go to Family Court. The Senate GOP doesn’t have much maneuvering room here because the Independent Democratic Conference is more in tune with the Assembly, which has made “raise the age” a top priority.
She's got de Blasio’s back
The investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising ended two weeks ago, but apparently he had supporters ready for his re-election fight — indictment or not.
The inquiries against de Blasio were “frivolous,” Brooklyn Assemb. Rodneyse Bichotte told The Point. She said she told de Blasio months ago, “I’m here, I got your back.”
Bichotte and de Blasio each had supported the other’s earlier campaigns, and on Sunday she announced her endorsement of his re-election bid.
The re-election effort has gained steam since federal and state prosecutors decided not to file charges, which seems to have shooed some would-be challengers into the shadows. The mayor has been endorsed by the Working Families Party, the United Federation of Teachers and SEIU 32BJ, and several City Council members.
De Blasio’s campaign promises more endorsements to come — much better news than relying only on the truly faithful who weren’t put off by the investigations.
This and that
— When Nassau Coliseum reopens, eight seats will remain vacant to honor the military, first responders and 9/11 victims. That’s a good move. The other empty seats will evoke Islanders fans who used to go to the Coliseum.
— Bao Bao, the giant panda born in the National Zoo in Washington and recently sent to China, just emerged there from quarantine. Perhaps we could quarantine the rest of the national zoo that is Washington.
— Notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has apologized for promoting the Pizzagate hoax, in which top Democrats supposedly were part of a satanic child pornography ring being run out of a Washington pizzeria. One down, 187 to go.
— Remember all of Donald Trump’s campaign talk that the country is going to win so much under him that we’ll all be sick and tired of winning and won’t be able to take it anymore? So far, he’s half right.
— After the vote on his health care plan was canceled Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains.” No, his bill didn’t provide coverage for that, either.
— House GOP leadership couldn’t handle the Freedom Caucus in the health care debacle. President Donald Trump said he’ll just deal with the Democrats. Who’s supposed to be the neophyte in this equation?
— Alexei Navalny, the charismatic opposition leader in Russia, was arrested Sunday in connection with nationwide protests against Vladimir Putin’s government, and jailed by a Moscow court for 15 days on Monday. Now there’s an efficient, streamlined government.