Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- How LI lawmakers stack up on environment
- $500-per-person fundraiser is nothing nationally
- Social media’s effective opt-out message
Who’s keeping score?
Long Island’s state legislative delegation was all over the map in the 2016 environmental score card released this week by advocacy group EPL/Environmental Advocates.
Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket) was named legislator of the year and tied with Assemb. Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck) for the highest score, with 95 points, based on votes on a series of bills. Their Republican colleagues fared less well, including Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James), who received the lowest score of 30 points, and Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), who got an incomplete for missing too many votes.
The party trend continued in the Senate, where Democrat Todd Kaminsky led with 79 points. But Majority Leader John Flanagan (57 points) failed for the eighth year in a row, with Environmental Advocates citing his questioning of whether climate change is real. Others failing included Michael Venditto (57) and Thomas Croci (52).
The situation was reversed in the score card from the National Federation of Independent Business, where every Republican outscored every Democrat. That was especially easy in the Assembly, where every Dem who received a score was graded at 0 percent, for having voted for such measures as an increase in the minimum wage and paid family leave.
Of course, the score lawmakers care most about is the one that will come on Election Day.
Not in the top 10
Supporters in Nissequogue are preparing to host a $500-per-person dinner Tuesday for freshman Rep. Lee Zeldin, with House Speaker Paul Ryan as his high-profile guest. Yet even with Ryan’s backing — and a recent pledge of financial support from the Republican-allied Congressional Leadership Fund — Zeldin’s race is not among the most expensive in the country. Not yet, anyway.
The Hill reported Friday on the 10 House races nationwide where the biggest-spending outside groups have reserved the most airtime this fall. New York’s high-profile 1st District isn’t among them. The most expensive is Colorado's 6th District, where $11.3 million has been committed.
However, the cash flow in the local race is mounting. Zeldin and Democrat Anna Throne-Holst already have spent more than $2 million total.
Stay far away
That’s the share of opt-out movement supporters nationally who say they received information through social media that made them want to know more or participate. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that social media fueled the drive to withhold students from standardized testing, but this finding by Teachers College at Columbia University provides statistical backup.
As it did with Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring and #Ferguson, social media is playing a significant role in organizing opt-outers.