Category: fofabvlic

Santos awarded new acreage in Northern Carnarvon Basin offshore WA

first_img Image: Santos and BP will undertake exploration activities at the new permit offshore WA. Photo: courtesy of D Thory from Pixabay. Australian energy firm Santos, in a joint venture with British oil major BP, has been awarded new acreage which lies adjacent to its existing oil discovery, Dorado, offshore Northern Carnarvon Basin in Western Australia (WA).The 50:50 joint venture will undertake exploration activities at the new permit, WA-541-P, which lies to the west of the recent Dorado, Roc and Phoenix South hydrocarbon discoveries in the Bedout Sub-basin.WA-541-P permit covers 6,964km² areaThe southern portion of Santos-operated WA-541-P is adjacent to the Dorado structural-stratigraphic play trend. The permit covers 6,964km².Santos managing director and CEO Kevin Gallagher said: “Santos is pleased to have been awarded this acreage on-trend with the Dorado discovery, a now proven world-class, liquids-rich petroleum system with high-quality reservoirs.”“We are excited at the opportunity to increase our exposure to this highly prospective region, leveraging our offshore operating expertise and building on the success of our 2019 drilling campaign to pursue further growth through our activities in Western Australia.”“We are proud to be the biggest producer of domestic gas in Western Australia, powering the industries that power Australia.”Claimed to be the premier hydrocarbon basin of Australia, the Northern Carnarvon Basin covers about 500,000km² and lies mainly offshore, extending north from the Pilbara Craton to the continental–oceanic crust boundary.In July 2019, Santos secured approval for an environmental management plan (EMP) for the Tanumbirini 2H and Inacumba 1/1H wells in Exploration Permit 161 in the McArthur Basin.The drilling EMP approval, which was given by the Northern Territory (NT) Environment and Natural Resources Minister Eva Lawler, was the first one awarded for onshore shale gas exploration in the Northern Territory since the lifting of the moratorium in early 2018.Exploration Permit 161 is located approximately 350km south-east of Katherine in the McArthur Basin, east of Daly Waters. Santos is the operator of the permit with 75% interest. The permit WA-541-P lies to the west of the Dorado, Roc and Phoenix South hydrocarbon discoveries in the Bedout Sub-basinlast_img read more

News story: Call for evidence: Administrative Reviews

first_imgLaunching the ‘call for evidence’, David Bolt said: Administrative Reviews submission ICIBI 5th Floor Globe House 89 Eccleston Square London SW1V 1PN In my 2019-20 inspection plan, I signalled my intention to carry out a further inspection of the Home Office’s Administrative Review (AR) processes, following on from my initial inspection of ARs, published in 2016 and re-inspection in 2017. My intention is to look again at the areas specified in the 2014 Immigration Act, namely: As I did for the initial inspection, I also plan to look at: Please email the Chief Inspector at: [email protected] write to: whether ARs are being concluded within Home Office service standards the consistency of approach between the different AR functions whether AR outcomes are being used to improve initial decision making whether cost savings have been achieved. Please note that submissions may be cited in the final report. I am inviting bodies with relevant knowledge and expertise, including NGOs, academics, think tanks, faith groups and representative bodies, to write to me by 17 June 2019 with their supporting evidence or case studies they are able to share. I would also like to receive evidence from individuals, including those who have first-hand experience of the Administrative Review process. Please note that my remit does not extend to investigating or making decisions about individual cases. This remains a Home Office responsibility. Please note also that in providing information to us you are acknowledging that we will process your information in accordance with the terms of the GDPR. Your information will not be processed after publication of the inspection report unless you otherwise provide consent. the effectiveness of AR in identifying case working errors the effectiveness of AR in correcting case working errors the independence of persons conducting AR (in terms of their separation from the original decision-maker)last_img read more

Primrose targets celebrations in third book

first_imgMartha Swift and Lisa Thomas of Primrose Bakery are writing a third book based on catering for a variety of occasions.The co-owners of the bakery in London’s Primrose Hill will base the book around a series of celebratory events, such as teenage birthdays, baby showers and cocktail parties, with a number of sweet and savoury recipes dedicated to each occasion.Swift told British Baker: “The book caters for the whole set-up of an event, and offers something a bit more than your traditional bakery book. We already have two books that are very comprehensive in what we do as a brand and business, so the third book will widen out the offering.”The book will be published by Square Peg, part of The Random House Group, in March 2013. Primrose Bakery has published two books, including a self-titled recipe book last September and Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery back in 2009.last_img read more

‘Why do they hate us?’

first_imgThe Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks created a sense of vulnerability in the United States that still persists, that transformed the nation’s Muslim community from unseen to a suspected enemy within, and that prompted actions that one expert predicted will be viewed by history as moral failures.That was the sense of a panel discussion on Thursday in Harvard’s Boylston Hall. Duncan Kennedy, the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School and a member of the panel, said the attacks were not just devastating because of the horrific loss of life, but also because of the difficulty Americans had in understanding them. That was captured, he said, in the question commonly repeated after the attacks: “Why do they hate us?”The attacks were viewed as a threat to the nation even though its existence was never truly threatened. Despite the horrific death toll, the number of those killed on 9/11 is dwarfed annually by those who die in auto accidents and murders, Kennedy noted.But the attacks illustrated in shocking fashion that not everyone holds the overview of America commonly held at home: that of early colonies heroically throwing off European oppression. Instead, he said, the attackers saw the United States as a global power practicing its own colonialism and oppression around the world. The attacks’ impact came from both the loss of life and the targeting of symbols of American power. The World Trade Center represented economic might; the Pentagon, military strength; and the Capitol building or White House — the presumed target of the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania —global political reach.The attacks’ impact was magnified by the fact that the two Trade Center towers were not only damaged, but collapsed, something even the terrorists couldn’t have foreseen, Kennedy said.As the nation turns inward and remembers the victims of the attacks this week, Kennedy said, it is important that Americans do not again lose sight of their impact on the broader world and perpetuate the “naive ignorance” that once left many asking, “Why do they hate us?”Kennedy was joined on the panel by Jocelyne Cesari, director of the Islam in the West Program and Islamopedia, and Charlie Clements, executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. The event, sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies’ Outreach Center, the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, was introduced by CMES Outreach Program Director Paul Beran.The 9/11 attacks deeply affected America’s Muslims, Cesari said. In an instant, they went from being an unseen, virtually ignored group to being under a harsh spotlight. They skipped right from unseen to “the enemy,” without ever entering the status of “the other,” Cesari said.The new status of Muslims was crystallized by the debate over a proposed New York City mosque near the Ground Zero site of the Trade Center towers, Cesari said. Though Muslims had been victims of discrimination in Europe for decades and had encountered some resistance there to the construction of mosques in the 1980s and ’90s, there had never been that resistance in America. That’s because the United States doesn’t have a deep history of being divided by religion, she said. Now, the visible symbols of Islam have become unwelcome, and the mere presence of a mosque in a neighborhood makes some residents feel unsafe.Race traditionally has been such a hot topic in America that critics could not openly attack Barack Obama for being black. It was all right, however, for some to attack him as being “the other” by associating him with Islam, Cesari said.Muslims, meanwhile, are working to overcome such ill will and to “re-Americanize,” Cesari said, re-integrating into the nation’s mainstream.That mainstream may come to view the nation’s actions since 9/11 with a more jaundiced eye as time passes, according to Clements. Clements traced how the nation’s understanding of the Cuban Missile Crisis has changed after that 10th anniversary. People now know that the world was even closer to nuclear war than was suspected then, Clements said.Clements said the 9/11 attacks led the United States to suspend its better judgment and commit several moral lapses whose repercussions will continue to be felt.After the attacks, there was a massive global outpouring of sympathy and good will toward the United States — including from the Muslim world — that Clements said was squandered in the subsequent military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.Congress passed the Patriot Act without lawmakers even reading what they were voting for, and other nations followed suit. Since then, Clements said, that has resulted in 120,000 people being arrested, 36,000 convicted, and an erosion of civil liberties, violations of human rights, and the legitimization of some forms of torture.“There was a moment that the world was with us, and we squandered it,” Clements said.last_img read more

Denee Benton Will Join Groban for Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre…

first_img Josh Groban Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 3, 2017 Related Shows Denée Benton Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812center_img View Comments Josh Groban has found his Natasha! Denée Benton will make her Broadway debut in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, reprising her performance from the American Repertory Theater’s 2015 production. As previously announced, the Main Stem bow is set for September at a theater to be announced and will also mark the Broadway debut for Groban, who takes on the role of Pierre.Benton’s additional stage credits include The Book of Mormon in the West End and on tour, as well as regional productions of Annie, Sunset Boulevard and Fiddler on the Roof.Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 features a book and electropop score by Dave Malloy; this will mark his Broadway debut as well. Drawing inspiration from a 70-page portion of Leo Tolstoy’s Russian masterpiece War and Peace, it follows Natasha, a young girl who forms a relationship with the attractive rebel Anatole while her betrothed Andrey is off fighting. Andrey’s best friend Pierre remains on high alert as the new romance blossoms.Rachel Chavkin, who helmed the show off-Broadway and in Massachusetts, will return to direct. Additional casting will be announced later. Star Fileslast_img read more

University of California system completes fossil fuel divestment effort

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Los Angeles Times:The University of California announced Tuesday that it has fully divested from all fossil fuels, the nation’s largest educational institution to do so as campaigns to fight climate change through investment strategies proliferate at campuses across the country.The UC milestone capped a five-year effort to move the public research university system’s $126-billion portfolio into more environmentally sustainable investments, such as wind and solar energy. UC officials say their strategy is grounded in concerns about the planet’s future and in what makes financial sense.“As long-term investors, we believe the university and its stakeholders are much better served by investing in promising opportunities in the alternative energy field rather than gambling on oil and gas,” Richard Sherman, chair of the UC Board of Regents’ investments committee, said in a statement.The UC action is groundbreaking, environmentalists said, because of the size of its investment portfolio and its massive teaching and research enterprise, which educates 285,000 students.Sherman and Jagdeep Singh Bachher, UC’s chief investment officer, announced the university’s intention to go fossil free in an L.A. Times op-ed article last September. “Our job is to make money for the University of California, and we’re betting we can do that without fossil fuels investment,” they wrote.Bachher announced Tuesday that UC has sold more than $1 billion in fossil fuel assets from its pension, endowment and working capital pools and surpassed its five-year goal of investing $1 billion in clean energy projects. He said his team is convinced that investments in fossil fuels pose an “unacceptable financial risk,” particularly with “geopolitical tensions and likely, a bumpy and slow global financial recovery in a post-pandemic world.”[Teresa Watanabe]More: UC becomes nation’s largest university to divest fully from fossil fuels University of California system completes fossil fuel divestment effortlast_img read more

Supersized South

first_imgNine of the top 10 most obese states in the country sit below the Mason-Dixon Line, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Mississippi currently stands atop the list of heavyweight states with 32 percent of adults categorized as obese. Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, and South Carolina also made the top 10, while Georgia and North Carolina were in the top 20. Reasons cited for the South’s place at the head of the obesity table include diets high in fatty, fried foods and people living in rural, often impoverished isolation, which promotes less physical activity.Last fall Huntington, W.Va., was given the dubious distinction of being the fattest city in America with the CDC reporting that nearly half of the metro area residents are obese—far more than any other city in the nation. One-third of Huntington’s 50,000-person population doesn’t exercise and one-fifth has heart disease.“In West Virginia we have problems from economic and geographic standpoints,” says Dr. Tom Dannals, a family physician in Huntington. “We don’t have big businesses providing gyms or financial incentives to join health clubs. We also don’t have shoulders, let alone bike lanes, on our windy roads.”Of course, America’s well-publicized weight problem is not limited to the South. Almost 60 million people or one-fifth of Americans are overweight and 40 million are classified as obese. One-quarter of the country lives a lifestyle that is completely sedentary, and one-third of children are now overweight or obese. Such a widespread problem certainly extends beyond infrastructure and economic woes.“There are problems everywhere,” says Dannals. “It sounds odd, but it’s almost become normal in society to be overweight. People have become complacent with their luxuries. They have their abundant food and their computers and they’re not out there running.”It’s no secret that winning the battle of the bulge generally requires two main commitments: proper diet and exercise. To reduce the risk of chronic disease the CDC recommends at least 30 minutes of a moderate physical activity every day. To take it a step further and manage body weight, people should get approximately 60 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week while not exceeding individual calorie needs. Losing weight will also require reducing calories. If you want to drop up to two pounds a week, cut back between 500-1,000 calories per day.But when individual willpower seems to be failing, is it time for intervention? Action is starting to be taken at the local, state, and national levels to change the South’s less than slim image. Last November, every state from the South sent representatives to a Southern Obesity Summit that took place in Birmingham, Ala., to plan a network strategy to promote healthier living.Dannals started a program called Healthy Huntington to help his community get active. The initiative has included helping build a downtown trail along the Ohio River, which flows through Huntington, and starting a series of races, which includes the St. Mary’s Medical Center Tri-State Triathlon, the Children’s Tri-State Triathlon, the Marshall University Marathon and Half-Marathon, and a five-mile walk. Dannals intentionally makes the races affordable community events without the usual competitive intimidating atmosphere.“I want to emphasize in these events that exercise is fun,” he says. “My goal is to change things. I want people to have good experiences and want to do these races again.”As childhood obesity continues to be a national concern, kids are also being targeted in efforts to get people active. Dannals was given a grant by the state of West Virginia to host a youth triathlon camp every year, which has become a popular sell-out event in Huntington. In North Carolina, where nearly 20 percent of children between the ages 10-17 are overweight, the Wellspring Adventure Camp was one of the first organizations to offer a mountain sports program intended to help kids lose weight. In the mountains about an hour west of Asheville, Wellspring incorporates a scientifically based weight loss program that cuts calories and fat grams with pound-shedding adventure activities like rock climbing, backpacking, and whitewater rafting.In addition to changing diet patterns and attempting to instill active lifestyles through fun adventure sports, Wellspring also follows up with campers throughout the year after their session to provide assistance with weight monitoring. Parents are also held accountable with a two-day workshop that helps provide the right support for kids.“The idea is that we’re creating something sustainable,” says Jessie Dean, the program director at Wellspring. “Making it fun is a huge part of it. The outdoors is an amazing outlet for kids to gain self-confidence and overcome obstacles. It’s not just coming to a diet camp for a short-term fix. We’re looking to provide education so campers can return home and continue to lose weight or maintain their weight loss and live a healthier lifestyle.” WEIGHT LOSS GETAWAYIn addition to weight loss camps and clubs for kids, Wellspring ( also offers adventure retreats for adults geared to produce rapid weight loss. The activity-intensive programs include eight hours of biking, hiking, sea kayaking, and yoga each day, along with proper nutritional instruction. Retreats will be offered this year on March 2-10 and April 11-19 on the South Carolina Coast near Charleston and from June 11-19 at the Lands Creek Lodge in Western North Carolina. Options are also available for retreats in Texas and California.The Canada-based Mountain Trek ( also offers FitPath Boot Camp weight loss vacations that are based around high-intensity hiking, as well as strength training and core fitness. In addition to a program based out of the Bent Creek Bed and Breakfast near Asheville, N.C., there are also programs in Costa Rica and British Columbia. Outdoor Programs Fight the Battle of the BulgeMaybe it was the invention of country-fried steak. Or possibly it’s because there’s a Cracker Barrel every third interstate exit. Whatever the reason, the South is tipping the scales more than any other region in the United States.center_img last_img read more

Lend a Hand: 4 Ways to Give Back to the Outdoors

first_imgHome to endless recreational opportunities, the outdoors provide people of all disciplines with an outlet to have fun, experience new things, and make memories. A rewarding way to pay homage to the many great experiences had outside is taking a moment to have fun while also taking care of the environment you’ve enjoyed in your time playing outside. Here’s a list of methods fun, creative ways you can give back to nature.1. Leave no trace: keep trails cleanHiking trails are essential in creating an open and inviting way for people to come and enjoy time outdoors. That time would not be nearly as enjoyable if there weren’t people dedicated to maintaining trails and cleaning up trash left by others. An important factor in the mindset to maintain and preserve the trail is the idea of ‘leave no trace’. The concept is to leave nature without a trace that you were there and to never inflict harm upon the ecosystems, plant life, and wildlife in the area. By going forward with an attitude to leave a hiking path better than you found it, it doesn’t only improve the hiking experience, but is also a responsible gesture in taking care of the solace-filled landscapes all around. Group trail cleanup days are common throughout the spring and fall for those who want to dedicate time with a large group to improving specific trails in the blue ridge mountains.2. Contribute to clean, healthy riversStudent participants at the 2016 Tuck River CleanupPhoto by WCU NewsAs you make your way downstream of any river, whether it be by kayak, SUP, or a raft- take a bag along with on the journey to collect any litter from the banks to the rocks and even the bits that float along with the current. Many big event river cleanups happen throughout the warmer summer months such as the 33 year tradition of Tuck River Cleanup that serves to cleanup the Tuckasegee River in Jackson County, North Carolina. Starting at the campus of Western Carolina University, volunteers are provided with a full day of rafting fun for free complete with PDFs, paddles, rafts, and trash bags as many locals and students come together for the event, credited with being the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort to remove trash from a waterway.3. Get planting.Get involved with the green side of the environment and get involved in your community garden, a garden of your own, or just plant a tree or two. The simple act of planting a few seeds quickly and easily can start the emission of fresh oxygen to the environment while being a new source to absorb carbon dioxide. Alternately, community garden involvement is sure to connect the planter with others passionate about gardening and the community members of the area. Besides, could there be a better feeling than growing your own fruits and veggies and being patient until you can one day eat them fresh with the sense of pride that you made it all happen while producing oxygen for the environment.4. Shopping…with a purposeWith a shopping atmosphere that is shifting to be more and more online, companies have picked up on the trend. Many companies have taken their business a step deeper than just surface level profits and choose to give back some of their proceeds to specific charities or use the funds to make differences all over the world in multiple ways. For example, there are bracelets that help keep oceans clean, t-shirts that half of the profits go to children’s education in foreign countries, and many more opportunities out there that make it possible, with the right search, to find something you need that can somehow in turn benefit the outdoors, a specific animal type, or a specific organization such as the U.S. Forest Service. The relationship between the outdoors and those who thrive in it is very much a two way street. The terrain will keep on providing wild adventures if those who are partaking in it make a conscious effort to take care of all it entails.last_img read more

Statement of Insured Client’s Rights

first_img(Below is the new subsection (j) to Rule 4-1.8, which requires that lawyers hired by insurance companies to represent policyholders give those clients a statement of rights regarding their representation.) (j) Representation of Insureds. When a lawyer undertakes the defense of an insured other than a governmental entity, at the expense of an insurance company, in regard to an action or claim for personal injury or for property damages, or for death or loss of services resulting from personal injuries based upon tortious conduct, including product liability claims, the Statement of Insured Client’s Rights shall be provided to the insured at the commencement of the representation. The lawyer shall sign the statement certifying the date on which the statement was provided to the insured. The lawyer shall keep a copy of the signed statement in the client’s file and shall retain a copy of the signed statement for 6 years after the representation is completed. The statement shall be available for inspection at reasonable times by the insured, or by the appropriate disciplinary agency. Nothing in the Statement of Insured Client’s Rights shall be deemed to augment or detract from any substantive or ethical duty of a lawyer or affect the extradisciplinary consequences of violating an existing substantive legal or ethical duty; nor shall any matter set forth in the Statement of Insured Client’s Rights give rise to an independent cause of action or create any presumption that an existing legal or ethical duty has been breached. STATEMENT OF INSURED CLIENT’S RIGHTSAn insurance company has selected a lawyer to defend a lawsuit or claim against you. This Statement of Insured Client’s Rights is being given to you to assure that you are aware of your rights regarding your legal representation. This disclosure statement highlights many, but not all, of your rights when your legal representation is being provided by the insurance company.1. Your Lawyer. If you have questions concerning the selection of the lawyer by the insurance company, you should discuss the matter with the insurance company and the lawyer. As a client, you have the right to know about the lawyer’s education, training, and experience. If you ask, the lawyer should tell you specifically about the lawyer’s actual experience dealing with cases similar to yours and give you this information in writing, if you request it. Your lawyer is responsible for keeping you reasonably informed regarding the case and promptly complying with your reasonable requests for information. You are entitled to be informed of the final disposition of your case within a reasonable time.2. Fees and Costs. Usually the insurance company pays all of the fees and costs of defending the claim. If you are responsible for directly paying the lawyer for any fees or costs, your lawyer must promptly inform you of that.3. Directing the Lawyer. If your policy, like most insurance policies, provides for the insurance company to control the defense of the lawsuit, the lawyer will be taking instructions from the insurance company. Under such policies, the lawyer cannot act solely on your instructions, and at the same time, cannot act contrary to your interests. Your preferences should be communicated to the lawyer.4. Litigation Guidelines. Many insurance companies establish guidelines governing how lawyers are to proceed in defending a claim. Sometimes those guidelines affect the range of actions the lawyer can take and may require authorization of the insurance company before certain actions are undertaken. You are entitled to know the guidelines affecting the extent and level of legal services being provided to you. Upon request, the lawyer or the insurance company should either explain the guidelines to you or provide you with a copy. If the lawyer is denied authorization to provide a service or undertake an action the lawyer believes necessary to your defense, you are entitled to be informed that the insurance company has declined authorization for the service or action.5. Confidentiality. Lawyers have a general duty to keep secret the confidential information a client provides, subject to limited exceptions. However, the lawyer chosen to represent you also may have a duty to share with the insurance company information relating to the defense or settlement of the claim. If the lawyer learns of information indicating that the insurance company is not obligated under the policy to cover the claim or provide a defense, the lawyer’s duty is to maintain that information in confidence. If the lawyer cannot do so, the lawyer may be required to withdraw from the representation without disclosing to the insurance company the nature of the conflict of interest which has arisen. Whenever a waiver of the lawyer-client confidentiality privilege is needed, your lawyer has a duty to consult with you and obtain your informed consent. Some insurance companies retain auditing companies to review the billings and files of the lawyers they hire to represent policyholders. If the lawyer believes a bill review or other action releases information in a manner that is contrary to your interests, the lawyer should advise you regarding the matter.6. Conflicts of Interest. Most insurance policies state that the insurance company will provide a lawyer to represent your interests as well as those of the insurance company. The lawyer is responsible for identifying conflicts of interest and advising you of them. If at any time you believe the lawyer provided by the insurance company cannot fairly represent you because of conflicts of interest between you and the company (such as whether there is insurance coverage for the claim against you), you should discuss this with the lawyer and explain why you believe there is a conflict. If an actual conflict of interest arises that cannot be resolved, the insurance company may be required to provide you with another lawyer.7. Settlement. Many policies state that the insurance company alone may make a final decision regarding settlement of a claim, but under some policies your agreement is required. If you want to object to or encourage a settlement within policy limits, you should discuss your concerns with your lawyer to learn your rights and possible consequences. No settlement of the case requiring you to pay money in excess of your policy limits can be reached without your agreement, following full disclosure.8. Your Risk. If you lose the case, there might be a judgment entered against you for more than the amount of your insurance, and you might have to pay it. Your lawyer has a duty to advise you about this risk and other reasonably foreseeable adverse results.9. Hiring Your Own Lawyer. The lawyer provided by the insurance company is representing you only to defend the lawsuit. If you desire to pursue a claim against the other side, or desire legal services not directly related to the defense of the lawsuit against you, you will need to make your own arrangements with this or another lawyer. You also may hire another lawyer, at your own expense, to monitor the defense being provided by the insurance company. If there is a reasonable risk that the claim made against you exceeds the amount of coverage under your policy, you should consider consulting another lawyer.10. Reporting Violations. If at any time you believe that your lawyer has acted in violation of your rights, you have the right to report the matter to The Florida Bar, the agency that oversees the practice and behavior of all lawyers in Florida. For information on how to reach The Florida Bar call (850) 561-5839 or you may access the Bar at May 15, 2002 Regular News Statement of Insured Client’s Rightscenter_img Statement of Insured Client’s Rightslast_img read more

NY Senate Power Shift Shakes Up Albany

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The political landscape in Albany felt a shockwave Wednesday when the breakaway group of Democrats in the New York State Senate known as the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) announced that it has agreed to end its historic, bipartisan alliance with Republicans and form a new majority with Democrats after this November’s election.The shift in power comes after intense pressure by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, organized labor and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who reportedly met with the leader of the IDC, state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Westchester), behind closed doors on Monday. The apparent winner is the Working Families Party, which endorsed Cuomo at its convention last month after the governor pledged that he would push for the move so the Democrats could regain control of the state Senate—and said that he’d support primary candidates challenging the IDC’s six members if they didn’t come along. The biggest loser is Long Island’s own state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who has been the co-leader of the Senate body with Klein for the last four years. Republicans currently hold 29 of the 63 seats.“It’s unfortunate that Mayor de Blasio, the radical Working Families Party and their co-conspirators in the Senate Democratic Conference are attempting to take control of the New York State Senate,” Skelos said in a statement, criticizing the agreement as “nothing more than a short-term political deal designed to make threatened primaries go away.”Taking direct aim at the forces now arrayed against him, Skelos added: “It’s unfortunate that the Governor would cave to the Working Families Party and what they stand for—higher taxes and spending… ”A spokesman for the Working Families Party took objection to Skelos’ description.“If Senate Republicans think raising the minimum wage and protecting a women’s right to choose is radical, that just shows how extremist their conference has become,” Austin Shafran, the WFP’s New York legislative director, told the Press.Klein took the high road in his statement.“The Independent Democratic Conference has served as a strong, stabilizing, sensible force for governing in New York State for four years,” he said, ticking off legislative accomplishments such as passing four consecutive on-time budgets, new gun control laws, marriage equality, universal pre-k and medical marijuana.“It is also clear that core Democratic policy initiatives that the IDC championed remain unfinished,” Klein continued. “As Democrats, the IDC remains committed to the fight for an equal education for all New York students, which the DREAM Act would provide, protecting a woman’s right to choose, increasing workers’ wages, and enacting meaningful campaign finance reform. I agree with Governor Cuomo that these are progressive priorities we must pass.”The governor was most appreciative in his response.“I applaud the IDC’s decision,” Cuomo said in a statement. “There is also no doubt there are progressive goals that we have yet to achieve and that we must accomplish next January.”Bill Lipton, the ‎Working Families Party state director, said the announcement that IDC will be joining with Senate Democrats “to form a new progressive majority” was “great news” for all New Yorkers.“We now have a tidal wave of momentum to finally pass these critical pieces of legislation,” Lipton said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Jeff Klein and a new progressive majority next year, and to growing that majority this November.”Not so fast, countered Skelos, the state Senate’s Republican leader.“Make no mistake that once the dust settles from this election, Republicans will have a full majority,” he predicted. “Even then, we will continue to work with Democrats to cut taxes, create jobs and move this state forward.”last_img read more