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Tidbits on Cuomo protest, Skelos-Libous, other stuff

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Just got back from the governor's driving-while-texting bill signing at Watertown International Airport.

A few things I learned there:

1.

Protestor Matt Rogers, a corrections officer at Oneida Correctional Facility, tells me that two men in suits informed him that he "wasn't invited" to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's event. He was wearing a cut-off T-shirt with "OCF" written on the back and front. He was told to stand out by the front gate of the airport.

After I sent out a cheeky tweet about the incident, Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto told me that it was the local police who informed him that he had to go elsewhere, and not hang out in the airplane hangar where he was.

That doesn't jibe with Mr. Rogers' account. He says that two men in suits, including one guy with a business card that said "State of New York" and "Andrew Cuomo" on it, asked him who he was with, and told him he wasn't invited. They also asked him whether there were more of him coming, but he was alone.

He was there to ask Mr. Cuomo why he chose to close Oneida Correctional Facility, but obviously didn't get an opportunity to do so.

So I did. Mr. Cuomo basically said it was a prison management decision. Where the beds were needed, that sort of thing.

I asked his reaction to the guy being told he wasn't invited — Mr. Cuomo said he wasn't aware of the incident.

An aide to the governor also informed me that my question was a low blow because it was a local issue, but Mr. Rogers has a business card that says it wasn't.

2.

This will be (stupidly) a cause for tea-leaf-reading: Sens. Dean Skelos and Tom Libous, the Nos. 1 and 2 in the Senate GOP hierarchy, were set to come to the region for a Patty Ritchie fundraiser.

But it's just Mr. Libous that's coming now. I look forward to chatting with him later.

3.

Mr. Cuomo's bill that toughens rules on texting while driving has been effective on at least one dangerous driver: me. On my way back from the bill-signing event, my iPhone buzzed a few times in my pocket. Where it stayed until I got back to the office. You're welcome, pedestrians of Watertown.

4.

Mr. Cuomo also continued his "I <3 NY Legislators" bit. He walked in with smiling Sen. Patty Ritchie and Assemblymembers Addie Russell and Ken Blankenbush. Good photo op that I'm sure will end up on Mrs. Ritchie's Facebook page. He's also written thank-you notes to legislators.

"We really did a lot of good work," Mr. Cuomo said.

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