Politics

Biden brings Hochul to DC, and Adams is left behind


With help from Shawn Ness

Mayor Eric Adams did not receive an invite to President Joe Biden's border announcement, but Gov. Kathy Hochul was among the politicians at the White House for it.

BIDEN EMBRACES HOCHUL ON BORDER ANNOUNCEMENT: President Joe Biden took action on the border today — and New York’s Gov. Kathy Hochul was right there with him at the White House.

But over 200 miles away, another Democrat was left behind.

Mayor Eric Adams was absent from the event, even as his city remains ground zero for the ongoing national migrant crisis. It was the latest example of Adams’ once-blossoming relationship with the president deteriorating over this very issue.

“People should be asking, ‘Did Eric invite you to his events?’ I have too much to do to worry about what guest lists I’m not on,” Adams said at an off-topic briefing with reporters. “My day is non-stop, I enjoy going to events in New York, and I do not need to raise my hand to ask, ‘Please invite me somewhere.’”

The incident served to contrast the mayor and Hochul, who is enjoying the embrace of POTUS as she fundraises and stumps for him ahead of his November election.

“Her standing next to the president as he unveils this new executive action is exactly what we want to see from our governor,” Lupe Todd-Medina, a political consultant who worked with Hochul on her 2022 reelection campaign, told Playbook. “I think that’s smart.”

Biden’s new policy will shut down major portions of the southern border and bar migrants who cross illegally from receiving asylum. The measure is expected to provide relief to the strained state and city services, as New York City passes the threshold of 200,000 migrant arrivals since spring 2022.

But when the bright lights came on, Hochul’s subtle role in the announcement — amid the hectic final days of the Legislative session in Albany — became clear. She stood in one of two amorphous packs of congressmen and border-area politicians Biden had brought to stand at a distance as he delivered the announcement. Also on hand was Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Long Island Democrat.

Hochul later went on MSNBC to champion the president’s move.

“We can’t ignore the fact that while we are a kind and generous people in New York State, and we’re proud of the Statue of Liberty, we are at capacity right now,” Hochul said. “This will give us a place now to have a little bit of a pause on this. Let people apply for asylum legally before they get to the borders.”

But House Republicans, facing reelection of their own, said the move was too little too late.

“Almost 41 months after President Biden rolled back border security executive orders, he’s suddenly discovered he has the ability to take action, and Kathy Hochul is at the White House praising him for it?” Hudson Valley Republican Rep. Mike Lawler, who faces a contested reelection and has joked about running for governor himself, said in a statement to Playbook. “Give me a break. This is election year politics, plain and simple.” Jason Beeferman

Ninety different organizations signed onto a letter sent to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins urging them to create a “Youth Justice Innovation Fund.”

RAISE THE AGE: The Legal Aid Society, the Westchester Library System and the Coalition for Homeless Youth sent a letter today calling on Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to pass a bill that would unlock $50 million in Raise the Age funding.

The money, to come out of $250 million in Raise the Age appropriations, would fund community-based organizations for programs intended to keep children out of the criminal justice system. The state enacted a law in 2018 to reduce the number of minors from being tried as adults.

“New York State has failed to fully deliver on its promise to fund community-based services and programs that provide alternatives to incarceration and reentry programs for young people under Raise the Age,” reads the letter, signed by 90 organizations.

But the last minute push may be moot.

“The Senate from what I heard had reservations about the legislation that we proposed,” Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, a Nassau County Democrat and bill sponsor, told Playbook Monday. “As you know in Albany, it takes two Houses to do something. We’ve had some of our issues with the language and how to actually facilitate the actual program, but there’s right now too many issues and concerns for us to move forward.”

But she’s still hopeful, adding: “Let me say this, it’s not over ‘til it’s over.” — Jason Beeferman

GOP RALLIES ON CRIME: Republicans in the state Legislature are ending the 2024 session on a familiar theme attacking Democrats for what the GOP characterizes as a soft-on-crime agenda.

“I don’t believe that New Yorkers by and large support this kind of thinking,” Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt said at an event outside the Capitol. “I don’t think they wake up every day and think ‘you know what the biggest pressing issue is we need to do more for those who have raped, robbed, stolen, assaulted, defrauded.’ And yet that continues to be the fixation for many of my colleagues across the aisle.”

There’s not much in the realm of criminal justice that appears to be a live ball heading into the final days of session. Republicans made their event timely by highlighting a looming parole hearing for an individual who killed an NYPD officer in 1982.

Legislators were joined by Mike Sapraicone, the presumptive GOP nominee mounting a longshot challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. He attacked Rep. Jamaal Bowman for placing state trooper murderer Assata Shakur on the wall of fame for a school where he was once the principal.

“What an embarrassment, a cop killer on a wall of fame in a classroom with young students,” Sapraicone said. — Bill Mahoney

‘WEIRD POLITICS’ OF SOCIAL MEDIA REGS: Both bills regulating social media for kids are expected to draw an unusually significant level of bipartisan support in the Democratic-dominated Legislature.

Headline-grabbing bills in Albany especially those Hochul, a Democrat, has made a priority rarely achieve backing from GOP lawmakers.

But Republicans have been skeptical of tech companies and social media platforms, sharing concerns voiced by Democrats that prolonged exposure to social media has hurt kids’ mental health.

“There are weird politics around this,” state Sen. Andrew Gounardes said. “I think a lot of folks right and left are concerned about Big Tech’s overreach.”

Lawmakers have reached a deal with Hochul to block algorithm-fueled feeds on social media platforms for minors, as well as a measure to safeguard the data of child users.

Tech companies have sharply opposed the measures and are expected to sue over First Amendment claims.

“Algorithms actually make online platforms better for teens, by boosting healthy content over hate, harm, and misinformation,” said Adam Kovacevich, the CEO of the tech industry group Chamber of Progress. “Those kinds of unconstitutional limits are going to have a hard time surviving a court challenge.”

But tech firms are running afoul of lawmakers in Albany who are increasingly skeptical of social media’s benefits.

The 38-year-old bill sponsors — Gounardes and Assemblymember Nily Rozic — would have been in college when social media was in its infancy.

Since then, it’s become a multibillion dollar industry, upending media, entertainment and politics in the process.

“Growing up in the social media era, it’s obviously part of my experience,” Rozic said. “I know future generations are going to be impacted by social media; that’s why we have to stop it before it really gets bad.” Nick Reisman

GOLDMAN WANTS EYES ON SUPREME COURT: Rep. Dan Goldman is looking to advance legislation that would create an independent investigative body to review Supreme Court justices’ ethical missteps. The Supreme Court has been plagued with controversy, most recently after The New York Times reported that Justice Samuel Alito had a “Stop the Steal” flag raised outside of his home. (State of Politics)

IN OPINION: Civil society organizations want the state Legislature to improve outcomes when it comes to the state’s handling of foreign countries’ debts, which has been a key concern for many since the pandemic. (Financial Times)

INVESTIGATING THE INVESTIGATORS: The NYPD and New York City’s parks department are launching an investigation into a parks department cop caught on video grabbing onto a young girl in a botched arrest. And Mayor Eric Adams is blaming delayed work authorizations for migrants. (Daily News)

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE: Lawmakers have finally come to an agreement to reduce the amount of plastic going to landfills by 30 percent of the next 12 years. state Sen. Pete Harckham, chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee said he expects a vote on the floor later this week. (POLITICO Pro)

Missed this morning’s New York Playbook? Read it here.



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