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John Flanagan lobbied 130 times in 2018

Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport)

Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Daily Point

Jockeying for attention

Just another sign that the times in Albany are changing.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics recently released its 2018 annual report that includes lots of data about which lobbyists reached out to which legislators.

Then-GOP Majority Leader John Flanagan’s office was lobbied more than 130 times in 2018, according to a Point analysis of the JCOPE data. Yet in the last two months of the year for the November-December reporting period, the data show only six lobbying contacts. The election, when Republicans lost State Senate control meaning Flanagan would no longer wield the gavel, was Nov. 6.

Compare that to Democratic State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, who is seen as a dean of the newly influential Long Island Six. Lobbyists logged contacts with Kaminsky’s office just over 50 times in 2018. Sixteen of those contacts came in the November-December period, more than fellow Long Islander Flanagan during that time, and more than any other two-month period for Kaminsky.

The JCOPE data doesn’t include the exact way in which lobbyists lobbied the senators or their staffers, such as calls or office visits, and the data set is sloppy, especially when it comes to misspellings: the Point tried various variants on Flanagan and Kaminsky which turned up lobbying contacts with Sens. “Kaminski” and “Flangagn.”

Lobbyists were quick to adjust to the new Long Island State Senate reality. Maybe more will know how to spell “Kaminsky” by the end of 2019.

- Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

The greening of the Empire State

Earth Day, which arrives Monday, is a time for taking stock of one’s actions on behalf of the environment.

And New York can feel pretty good, at least according to one group analyzing the state’s environmental health.

New York is the second-greenest state in the nation — behind, yes, Vermont — according to WalletHub, a personal-finance website that used 27 metrics to compare the 50 states.

New York ranked first in least gasoline consumption per capita (thanks largely to mass transit in New York City), second in least energy consumption per capita, third in smallest per-capita emissions that contribute to climate change, 7th in soil quality, 15th in air quality and 19th in water quality. Other measures included LEED-certified buildings per capita (16th) and percentage of energy consumption from renewable sources (19th). WalletHub also looked at recycling, household solar systems, organic farms, and alternative-fuel vehicles and charging stations.

Most of the top states are reliably blue — Oregon, Connecticut, Minnesota, Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island follow New York — while South Dakota and New Hampshire fill out the top 10. The bottom 10 are largely red — Indiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, North Dakota, Wyoming, Kentucky, West Virginia and Louisiana.

The color that really matters, though, is green, and all 50 states, including New York, can always get greener.

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

Pencil Point

Fiery fury

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/opinion

Data Point

Fitness factoids

Nassau County is the second healthiest county in the state, according to a recent study. Want to see where Suffolk ranks? Read more here.

nextLI is a platform for participating in civic life on Long Island. It features data analysis and independent research. It is a project of the Newsday Opinion department funded by a charitable grant from The Rauch Foundation.

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