WASHINGTON – The Families of Continental Flight 3407 spent 90 minutes Wednesday with the nation's transportation secretary and its top aviation official. The marathon meeting left the Buffalo-based group confident that there's no Trump administration effort to water down the aviation safety law Congress passed in the wake of the crash that killed 50 in Clarence a decade ago. About a dozen members of the group met with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Acting Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Daniel Elwell. The family members said afterward that Chao and Elwell seemed receptive to speeding up the last remaining task under that law: creating a pilot records database aimed at preventing airlines from hiring bad pilots. Most notably, though, Chao alleviated the families' fears that the Trump administration would try to change the most controversial part of the law, which mandates that pilots and copilots have 1,500 hours of experience before joining a passenger … [Read more...] about Safety law won’t be weakened, Trump officials tell Flight 3407 families
ALBANY – The belief that Albany was going to be politically transformed when the state government became all Democratic-run was quickly established when the takeover became official in January. New abortion protections, tougher gun control laws, college aid for undocumented immigrants, expanded rights for transgender New Yorkers and new legal avenues for victims of child sexual abuse were among the long-stalled items to pass. The first and most important fiscal test of this new Democratic hegemony has been met with the recent passage of a new, $175.5 billion state budget. A key question lingers, however, in the budget deliberations' aftermath: Is upstate a loser or a winner? Democrats say they carved new priorities into the budget – “advancing New York values” is how they termed it – with an emphasis on transportation infrastructure improvements, a ban on plastic bags, big environmental spending, new protections for criminal defendants and codifying the … [Read more...] about Upstate’s political influence has declined. But does it show in the budget?
WASHINGTON – Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand has drawn some harsh media coverage since launching her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in January – but in that, it seems she's part of a sisterhood. Women candidates for the Democratic nomination are consistently receiving tougher coverage than their male counterparts, according to a recent study of 130 stories from the nation's top news websites. The study – Storybench 2020 Election Coverage Tracker by the Northeastern University School of Journalism – examined the positive and negative terms used in campaign stories from The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, CNN and Fox News. Only about 40 percent of the terms in the stories about Gillibrand could be considered positive. That's a lesser percentage than for any other candidate. "The New York senator is getting less coverage than her counterparts, and when she does get it, it’s mostly negative," researchers concluded. … [Read more...] about Study: Women presidential candidates endure tougher coverage
WASHINGTON – Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand has never portrayed herself as the presidential candidate of the 1 percent, but in a sense, so far, she is. The New York Democrat stood at 1.1 percent in Friday's RealClearPolitics average of polls in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Eight candidates – including a former vice president, five of her Senate colleagues, a former House member and the mayor of South Bend, Ind. – have more support than Gillibrand does. She's in the low single digits in the key early caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, too. All of this follows three months on the campaign trail in which Gillibrand held dozens of events and encountered some disappointments along the way. But her aides – who say that slow and steady wins the race – aren't worried. And several political observers said they shouldn't be. "It's so early in the process," noted New York Democratic consultant Hank Scheinkopf, a Gillibrand critic who now … [Read more...] about Stalled in the polls, Gillibrand waits – and works – for breakout moment
WASHINGTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to transfer at least 300 officers next month from the nation's airports and northern border to southern border outposts overwhelmed with incoming asylum-seekers, a prospective move that's already raising concerns that it could leave U.S-Canada border crossings short-staffed at the start of the heavy summer travel season. Customs officials revealed their plans Thursday in a conference call with institutions that would be affected by the move. Two sources familiar with the agency's plans told The Buffalo News after the call that the agency said it plans to temporarily shift at least 300 officers southward in May to deal with the crush of newcomers entering the U.S. from Mexico. The Customs officials did not specify which border crossings or airports would lose personnel because of the move, the sources said. But Rep. Brian Higgins, the head of the Peace Bridge Authority and the president of the union that represents Buffalo-area … [Read more...] about Will bridge backups here result from plan to shift 300 Customs officers south?