‘The View’ greets Hochul

With help from Shawn Ness

Daytime TV, meet Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The governor made her first appearance on “The View” this morning, a brief respite from the ongoing scut work of the state budget negotiations in Albany.

It was a chance for her to demonstrate on the midday political gabfest her personal side to a national audience as she is also becoming an increasingly relied-upon surrogate for President Joe Biden’s reelection.

Hochul spoke about being thrust into the governor’s office following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo in 2021 and the pressure she has felt being the first woman to serve in the role.

“I knew I had to get it right. People are going to have me under a microscope,” she told the panel. “I had to be perfect in every sense of the word. I’m human, and I make mistakes.”

She revealed that she speaks with her granddaughter on FaceTime each morning while putting on makeup.

“She thinks her grandmother is a makeup artist,” Hochul joked.

But the appearance on “The View” coincides with the broader duties the governor is taking on over the last several months.

Hochul has sought to claim a bigger role in the nation’s political story: helping Biden on national TV talk shows and working to build up the infrastructure of the Democratic Party in New York in order to aid down-ballot House candidates running in key swing seats this year.

But it doesn’t mean “The View” panelists skip over the metro section.

Hochul was pressed (as much as one can be pressed in the show’s largely friendly confines) about the migrant crisis and the escalating costs for the state and city. She once again blamed House Republicans for rejecting a Senate border security plan.

“We’re doing the best we can to manage the influx, get people housing,” she said. “It’s very expensive.”

Rep. Mike Lawler, who briefly spoke with Hochul when she attended State of the Union last week, challenged Hochul to support his immigration legislation.

“She refused to support my bill, which would actually secure the border,” he told Playbook.

And questions over the state’s bail laws have remained stubbornly persistent no matter how many times Hochul points to measures in which she has expanded circumstances that cash bail is required in criminal cases. “The View” was no different, and the governor said she won changes by holding up the budget last year.

“I held the budget up one-month late,” she said. “Last year, I held up the budget; I got the changes I needed. Judges have discretion.”

And the governor defended her decision to deploy National Guard and State Police personnel to New York City subway stations as necessary psychological reinforcement to get people back on mass transit.

“My job is to keep people safe,” she said. “People are saying thank you for taking such strong actions.”

But panelist Whoopi Goldberg, who had stayed largely silent during the two blocks Hochul was on the show, ended the conversation by railing against the coming congestion pricing tolls for Manhattan.

“You can’t get to Broadway unless you leave the day before,” Goldberg said. “This is a huge deal. I can afford it. But a lot of my friends who left because they can’t afford to live here, can’t.”

The show ended before Hochul could respond, but she told Goldberg she’s willing to talk more with her about it. — Nick Reisman

INSULIN COPAYS: After the Senate and Assembly released their one-house budgets, some lawmakers are celebrating the inclusion of the elimination of insulin copays. They are urging that the measure makes it into the final budget deal.

“If we have money to pay for a new Buffalo Bills stadium and an expansion of Madison Square Garden, we have the money for this,” Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes, a Brooklyn Democrat, said.

Insulin can cost on average $1,000 a month for those living with diabetes who do not have insurance. For those with insurance, it can cost anywhere between $20 and $50 a month.

An estimated 1.5 million New Yorkers live with diabetes and 34 million nationally. Twenty-five states and D.C. have put a cap on insulin copays.

“In New York, we’re at a crossroads in healthcare. Amidst our skyscrapers and million dollar homes, there are individuals, neighbors, friends, coworkers, people who are forced to make unthinkable choices between life-sustaining medication and financial stability,” Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest, a Brooklyn Democrat and nurse, said at a news conference today.

“Nowhere is this more visible than in the ongoing crisis surrounding the cost of insulin.” — Shawn Ness

SPEAKER SPEAKS ON THE BUDGET: Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said today that “hope springs eternal” for the possibility of getting a budget passed by the March 31 deadline. This year’s timing is complicated by the fact that Easter falls on the due date, meaning members are aiming to wrap everything up by Thursday, March 28.

“We have 15 days,” Heastie said. “You can look at it both ways: As Yogi Berra used to say, ‘It’s getting late early.’ Or you could say, ‘15 days in Albany time is a lifetime.’”

The Assembly and Senate released their one-house budget plans this week, jumpstarting final negotiations. Heastie reminded reporters at the Capitol today that his house’s long-standing policy is to “shy away from things that are more policy-related in the budget.”

But he’s hopeful the budget can include a deal to improve the state’s housing laws.

“REBNY and the unions have to come to a wage deal,” Heastie said. “If they can come to a wage deal, then I think the other elements can be discussed.”

He’s not concerned that the Assembly’s plan to raise taxes on high earners might drive people out of New York.

“Since we’re so worried about people living in New Jersey and working in New York … let’s hurry up and get to a deal on housing affordability,” the speaker said. — Bill Mahoney

MIGRANT PLANNING: Council Speaker Adrienne Adams announced this afternoon that the city’s legislative body would pitch into the massive effort to support migrants by helping with coordination.

The so-called New Arrivals Strategy Team will be spearheaded by government and nonprofit leaders and “recommend policies to stabilize new arrivals and identify lasting structural solutions that facilitate their path to self-sufficiency,” Adams said as part of her State of the City speech, delivered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

“This new migration can benefit our city, but more intentional planning is needed,” Adams said.

Other council members, including Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, have criticized Mayor Eric Adams’ administration for continuing to manage the migrant crisis in a sort of “emergency mode,” even nearly two years after the first buses from the southern border began arriving.

Tonight, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso will make a separate migrant-related announcement in his State of the Borough address, launching a work authorization application help center in conjunction with the mayor’s office, Playbook reported.Emily Ngo

EARLY CHILDHOOD PUSH: Speaker Adams also signaled her plans to make 3K and early childhood education programs a priority in budget negotiations amid the mayor’s proposed cuts.

Citing a lack of affordable child care options and a “weakened 3K system,” she lamented the growing number of working and middle-class families who feel they can no longer afford the Big Apple. She called on the city and state to increase investments in programs financed by sunsetting Covid-19 federal stimulus funding.

“Now is the time to renew our promise to New Yorkers and deepen our commitment to the city’s 3K and early childhood education programs,” Adams said during her State of the City address. “Our children need us.”

Adams is also partnering with District Council 37, the city’s largest municipal union, to announce an initiative that will create pathways to careers and jobs in city government.

Other education proposals from the council speaker: 

  • Examine sexual health education and whether recommendations from a 2018 task force have been implemented. 
  • Consider legislation requiring the city conduct an education and outreach campaign in collaboration with young people.
  • Introduce new laws obliging the city to offer peer-to-peer mental health training for students.Madina Touré

TENANT PROTECTIONS: Senate and Assembly Democrats are advocating for right to counsel legislation to provide tenants facing eviction with an attorney to fight for them.

The Right to Council coalition members are asking for $260 million to fund the program and expand it to include tenants who are above the income threshold for qualification.

“If they’ve got an attorney, they’re far more likely to win and to be able to stay in their homes. We also know if they have access to an attorney, they’re more likely to challenge an eviction rather than just self evict,” Syracuse Sen. Rachel May, the bill’s sponsor, said at a news conference this afternoon.

“And for all of these reasons, we’ve got to get this done this year in the budget and get the money to make sure that we can have the attorneys and the support that tenants need to stay in their homes.”

Syracuse has the second highest child poverty rates in the country, and it is harder to find an apartment in Syracuse than it is in New York City, she said.

The coalition estimated it would provide legal representation to 46,000 families across the state facing eviction, decrease eviction filings by 19 percent, and default evictions to decrease by 32 percent.

“When we talk about housing, it’s not just about shelter, it’s about stability. It’s about dignity. It’s about having the essence of a home. It’s about making sure that individuals and families facing eviction and other housing related legal issues have a path to address it,” Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, a Long Island Democrat, said. — Shawn Ness

GAS BATTLE REDO: The need to reduce emissions from the state’s natural gas system — which heats 60 percent of homes — is set to divide Senate and Assembly Democrats once again.

Last year, lawmakers and Hochul ultimately cut a deal to enact nation-leading limits on fossil fuel combustion in new buildings that begin to take effect in 2026. This year, Senate Democrats and Hochul want to take another sweeping step to enable the state’s utility regulator to limit expansions of the gas system further and even, in future years, begin dismantling sections of it.

While a majority of Assembly Democrats support the legislative measure dubbed “NY HEAT,” those more expansive provisions were excluded from the one-house budget proposal.

But Assembly Democratic leadership did officially signal openness to a smaller step: ending subsidies for new gas hookups.

The conference is “exploring” that idea, a summary of the Assembly’s budget position posted before sunrise states. “Any resulting proposal would include strong labor standards and protections and workforce development programs to train, retrain, and transition the fossil-fuel workforce.”

The Assembly also proposed $200 million aimed at keeping utility bills below 6 percent of income for low-income ratepayers. “We want to deal with the heating costs, the cost is an issue for low wage earners,” he said.

Heastie said the other components of the NY HEAT Act weren’t included because they’re considered policy.

That’s not enough to satisfy environmental advocates, who see a need to end the “obligation to serve” new gas customers and more flexibility for the Public Service Commission to regulate gas utility expansion and mandate additional steps as essential. The state’s climate plan also backs such changes.

“The real driver of the gas rates is the maintenance and replacement of old gas mains,” said Jessica Azulay, executive director Alliance for a Green Energy Economy. Addressing the obligation to serve is “also the key to allowing gas utilities to plan their system.”

The broader proposal to potentially enable the PSC to downsize the gas system and block existing buildings using propane or other fuels from hooking up faces opposition from some gas utilities, labor unions and business groups.

Sen. Liz Krueger, who sponsors the measure, after a rally at which advocates chanted “HEAT Act now, Heastie,” said she’d like to get the whole measure in the budget, but that passing it afterward was also an option given growing support in the Assembly. — Marie J. French

SENATE AIMS TO BLOCK LEGAL REIMBURSEMENTS: The Senate included a proposal in its one-house budget to block the state from reimbursing campaign committees for some legal defense fees.

Current law says taxpayers will reimburse office holders for their legal defenses after an acquittal on criminal charges — even if that defense was paid for with a campaign account. That law gained prominence when former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno was reimbursed $2.4 million following a 2014 not guilty verdict. More recently, ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign account received $565,000 after prosecutors dropped a forcible touching charge against him.

Cuomo’s account is expected to receive several million more from the state.

Senate Deputy Leader Mike Gianaris, who has sponsored legislation to ban this sort of reimbursement since the Bruno case, said that it might not impact the ex-governor if the language stays in the budget.

“It takes effect immediately,” he said. But “it would apply when the claim was made, so any claims that have already been made would not be subject at all.” — Bill Mahoney

The Assembly passed a ban on CO2 fracking. They have instead recommended a new practice. (State of Politics)

GOP Rep. Marc Molinaro is the first Republican to support Democrats’ bill to create federal protections for in vitro fertilization services. (Axios)

Adams defended the NYPD officers who beat up and tasered a migrant man holding his infant son at a migrant shelter in Queens. (Daily News)


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