government

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins’ response to the Union-Sun & Journal's recent editorial (Aug. 11):

My bill would restore New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights and doesn’t supersede states’ rights.

I do believe in States' rights, the need for local control and the 10th Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing state rights. However, I want your readers to know my steadfast belief that states like New York should not have the ability to take away the Constitutional rights of their citizens. Under no circumstances should these basic rights be denied, and federal action is warranted in a situation where a state is infringing on the rights of any American.

The Constitution is the law of the land, and the Founding Fathers produced a document with a clear vision regarding Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment can only be interpreted one way, and that is it guarantees that Americans have the right to own a firearm.

My proposed legislation, the Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA), has sparked a needed conversation about the Second Amendment rights granted to Americans in the Constitution. In 2013, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act infringed upon the rights of law-abiding New Yorkers by instituting strict rifle and shotgun regulations. As you pointed out, these regulations were put in place purely for political purposes.

SAGA focuses specifically on protecting Second Amendment rights, and in no way is taking away the rights of states. When a state crosses the line and starts to implement regulations that are in stark contrast to the basic rights given to Americans, action needs to be taken. That is exactly why I am proposing my law to rein in the unconstitutional policies that Cuomo forced into law.

Cuomo overstepped with the SAFE Act, and my proposal to repeal much of the law has had a great deal of support. SAGA isn’t hypocritical; it is a sincere effort to bring back the freedoms given to New Yorkers by our Constitution when it comes to owning a firearm. Law abiding citizens should not be punished because of onerous and unconstitutional state regulations.

It is my duty as an elected representative to make sure my constituents are protected, and that includes protecting the basic rights granted to them in the Constitution. The SAFE Act only curbed the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding New Yorkers, instead of providing them with a safer place to live as promised by the governor.

The SAFE Act has done nothing to help our communities and has only taken away our freedoms. It is time we end this disastrous law for all New Yorkers and revert back to what the Founding Fathers intended for our nation.

See related: Collins proposes new measures for protecting Second Amendment rights

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 4:49 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, government, education.

Press release:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today signed legislation putting into place additional protections for students and expanding anti-tampering laws. The legislation prohibits unlawful alteration of any official student record in any primary, intermediate, high school or college in the state.

"These records can set the course for a student's entire future and New York must make every effort to protect their integrity and privacy," Cuomo said. "With this law, we are ensuring protections under the law keep pace with our evolving education system and authorities have the tools they need to protect New Yorkers."

The prior law prohibited the unlawful altering of grades, credits and awards on a student's record. However, other records that are now commonplace – including test results, disciplinary proceedings, and disability determinations – are not covered. This bill, (S.5273-A/A. 2093-B), makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly alter any official student record. Additionally, those certified or licensed by the State Education Department who are found to be in violation of this new law would be subject to further disciplinary action.

"This new law will help preserve the private nature of a student's official record, allowing young New Yorkers and their families to rest assured that their information and records are protected,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan. “I’m proud to have sponsored this bill, and I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important piece of legislation into law."

Monday, August 14, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Press release:

In the aftermath of the violent and deadly events in Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation allowing prosecutors to increase penalties against those who make bomb threats against community centers.

This legislation was in direct response to the significant number of bomb threats called into Jewish Community Centers in New York and across the country.

"These despicable acts spread fear and terror across entire communities, and by signing this measure, we will give law enforcement more tools to prosecute hate-mongers and treat these crimes with the seriousness they deserve," Cuomo said. "The horrific events in Charlottesville this weekend demonstrate that now, more than ever, we must stand united against bias and hate in all of its forms and this new law is one more step toward a more just and more equal New York for all."

Although, according to Sheriff Greg Rudolph, there have not been any threats made against community centers in Wyoming County, this legislation will make it clear that individuals that falsely make bomb threats to a community center can be charged with a public order offense which is, at a minimum, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

Previously, this charge pertained to offenses that took place on highways, transportation facilities, schools, places of amusement, parks, playgrounds, and hallways, lobbies and other portions of, apartment houses and hotels not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence. This bill (A.7198A/S.5512) expands that list to include community centers.

"We should not tolerate acts of racism or hatred or those cowards who make unfounded threats on community spaces,” said Sen. Patrick Gallivan. “This legislation clarifies and extends the penalties for these appalling actions. Cracking down on threats to public spaces will create a greater sense of security and safety for our children and our families. I am pleased that Gov. Cuomo took swift action in signing this bill into law."

Friday, August 11, 2017 at 4:54 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, agriculture, 4-H, announcements.

Press release:

Legislation is currently being debated in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce that would lower the tax burden for students involved in 4-H programs and provide them with an opportunity to invest their earnings in future projects, college funds, or savings accounts. Congressman Chris Collins released the following statement, in which he highlighted his support for the bipartisan legislation titled the Student Agriculture Protection Act of 2017.

“4-H programs offer constructive ways for students to expand their knowledge of agriculture and animal sciences,” Collins said. “With agriculture being the largest industry in New York’s 27th Congressional District, those who participate in local 4-H programs will soon be amongst the primary contributors to Western New York’s economy. For this reason alone, it’s critically important that incentives are set in place that will drive up participation and spread awareness of 4-H programs.”

If signed into law, the Act would create a tax exemption for the first $5,000 of revenue earned by students 18 years old or younger from either the sale of livestock or agriculture projects completed through 4-H or Future Farmers of America programs. In effect, it will eliminate the tax-filing burden for eligible students and allow them to invest their earnings in future projects or college funds.

“Plain and simple, the Student Agriculture Protection Act is an investment in the next generation of American farmers. This bill will have a direct and positive impact on New York’s 27th Congressional District and will ensure the U.S. remains the world leader in agriculture. As a proud cosponsor, I will continue my advocacy in support of this legislation to ensure it is put up for a vote on the House Floor.”

For more information on H.R. 1626, the Student Agriculture Protection Act of 2017, click here.

Friday, August 11, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) supports President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will declare a national emergency on opioid abuse:

“I stand with President Trump in recognizing the extreme severity of the opioid crisis in America and applaud the steps being taken to find solutions to this devastating problem. Far too many lives have been lost and we have seen firsthand the tragedy that so many families in Western New York and across America face.”

Collins is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee that crafted the 21st Century Cures Act, which provided $1 billion in grants to address the crisis. Of those funds, $25.3 million was awarded to New York State. In May 2016, Collins voted in favor of 18 bills that address addiction among our veterans, to babies infected with this disease, to current pain management best practices.

“I applaud (New Jersey) Gov. (Chris) Christie and his team for their diligent work in finding solutions for treatment and prevention. Opioid addiction can impact anyone, and we will continue to combat this crisis as a team because more needs to be done."

As a member of the Health and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees, Collins has participated in six subcommittee hearings discussing the government and states responses to the crisis, fentanyl, and professional and academic perspectives.

For more information on the work of the Energy and Commerce Committee on opioids, click here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 4:37 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, government, David DiPietro.

Press release:

A Legislative column by Assemblyman David DiPietro (R,C-East Aurora)

The safety of all New Yorkers was put in jeopardy in 2013 with the passage of the SAFE Act. I remember the dysfunction as if it were yesterday.

It was my first day as a New York State Assemblyman, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I got a call saying I needed to return to the chamber in the late hours, really early morning. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders called both houses of the Legislature back to vote on the SAFE Act in the early morning. This was a piece of legislation that was written in the dead of night and set up an entire system that stripped away our constitutional right to bear arms as law-abiding citizens.

Since that day I’ve fought day in and day out to fully repeal the SAFE Act. I’ve introduced legislation every session since that day to repeal the SAFE Act. I’ve held numerous public forums, collected hundreds of thousands of signatures in opposition to the SAFE Act, and remain vigilant to this day in making sure our Second Amendment rights are restored. Every session in the Assembly I sponsor a bill that would fully repeal the SAFE Act.

On July 31 Congressman Chris Collins announced the Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA), which will unilaterally grant Second Amendment rights back to law–abiding citizens like us across the United States and make it illegal for any state to enforce or impose any further regulations or taxes relating to firearms. I was able to stand next to Collins when he announced this legislation. I urge all Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to support it.

The Constitution was written to protect all citizens from the government. Our forefathers wrote the Second Amendment so law-abiding citizens like you and I can protect ourselves like they did against oppressive governments, both foreign and domestic, at the time. Government was never meant to be a large and restrictive “Big Brother.” It was implied throughout the Constitution that limited government of the people, by the people and for the people was the best strategy for the United States. That still stands true today. We can’t allow big-government bureaucrats to take our rights away from us. That’s a basic principle of the foundation that this great nation was built on.

The Second Amendment is one of the most important fundamental amendments of our Constitution. I’m glad that Congressman Collins is taking a stand against big government. I hope his colleagues in Congress will stand firm to pass this legislation. It’s time to make America and New York safe again, and this legislation does just that.

Assemblyman David DiPietro represents the 147th Assembly District, which covers all of Wyoming County and the southern portion of Erie County.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 4:29 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, Chris Collins, government.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) has proposed new measures for protecting Second Amendment rights by introducing legislation to limit states authority when it comes to regulating rifles and shotguns, commonly used by sportsmen and sportswomen.

The Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA) would prevent states from implementing any regulations on these weapons that are more restrictive than what is required by federal law. Upon passage of this bill, most of the language included in New York State’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013 signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo would be void.

“This legislation would protect the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers that were unjustly taken away by Andrew Cuomo,” Collins said. “I am a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and have fought against all efforts to condemn these rights. I stand with the law-abiding citizens of this state that have been outraged by the SAFE Act and voice my commitment to roll back these regulations.”

Governor Cuomo’s SAFE Act violates federal regulation and the following provisions would be void under the proposed legislation:

-          Cuomo’s SAFE Act expanded rifle and shotgun bans to include semi-automatic guns with detachable magazines that possess certain features.

-          The Cuomo SAFE Act banned the capacity of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. It further limited magazines to seven rounds at any time.

In the Collins’ bill, States or local governments would not be able to regulate, prohibit, or require registration and licensing (that are any more restrictive under Federal law) for the sale, manufacturing, importation, transfer, possession, or marketing of a rifle or shotgun. Additionally, “rifle or shotgun” includes any part of the weapon including any detachable magazine or ammunition feeding devise and any type of pistol grip or stock design.

Under this legislation, any current or future laws enacted by a state or political subdivision that exceeds federal law for rifles and shotguns would be void. Should a state violate this law, and a plaintiff goes to court, the court will award the prevailing plaintiff a reasonable attorney’s fee in addition to any other damages.

Congressman Collins was joined today by local, county, and state elected officials and citizen supporters of the Second Amendment during events to unveil his bill in Erie and Monroe counties.

Hamburg Rod and Gun Club:

Assemblyman David DiPietro

Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw

Erie County Legislator Ted Morton

Representatives from SCOPE

Rochester Brooks Gun Club:

Senator Rich Funke

Senator Rob Ortt

Assemblyman Peter Lawrence

Monroe County Legislator Karla Boyce

Representatives from SCOPE

To read the text of H.R. 3576, the Second Amendment Guarantee Act, click here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 4:27 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, government, Chris Collins.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) cosponsored legislation that enhances  law enforcement at our borders and provides resources to improve security at ports of entry.

The Border Security for America Act authorizes $5 billion over four years to carry out staffing increases and infrastructure improvements. Additionally, the bill directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement biometric exit-entry systems at all points of entry, exempting U.S. and Canadian citizens from screening.

“Our northern border is an economic asset to Western New York and we need to make sure we move people and products across safely and effectively,” Collins said.

“I am fully supportive of increased national security measures, like those included in this bill, but worked with my colleagues to make sure we avoid disruptions to both American and Canadian citizens that might result from new protocols.”

In February, Collins corresponded with former DHS Secretary John Kelly and CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan expressing a deep concern regarding the department’s proposed expedited implementation of the biometric exit-entry system.

Collins cited impacts to Western New York related to trade and tourism and pointed out the differences between the northern and southern borders when it comes to security. As a result, DHS exempted American and Canadian citizens from their initiative.

Now, this new House legislation proposed by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (TX-10) carries the same exemption while providing expanded resources for border security.

“Our northern and southern borders face different needs when it comes to security,” Collins said. “Chairman McCaul took the needs of Western New York into careful consideration when drafting this language and I thank him for his efforts.”

The Border Security for America Act:

·         Authorizes a Border Wall — Requires the deployment and construction of tactical infrastructure and technology to achieve full operational control and situational awareness. This deployment includes wall, fencing, technology, and other barriers.

·         Secure and Fast Ports of Entry — Authorizes necessary resource investments to improve and enhance our ports of entry. Targets illegal immigration and drug trafficking at our ports of entry, while increasing lawful trade and travel.

·         More Boots on the Ground — Adds 5,000 Border Patrol Agents and 5,000 CBP Officers and streamlines the way that veterans and existing local law enforcement officers can be hired.

·         More Air and Marine Flight Hours – Increases the number of annual flight hours of CBP’s Air and Marine Operations and prioritizes requests for support from the Chief of the Border Patrol to secure the border.

·         Forward Operating Bases – Directs DHS to upgrade existing forward operating bases to a minimum standard.

·         Use of the National Guard – Authorizes use of the National Guard along the Southern Border to help with aviation and intelligence support and allows the reimbursement for states that call out the National Guard to help secure the border.

·         Targets Visa Overstays — Identify visa overstays through full deployment of the Biometric Entry-Exit System at all ports of entry while exempting American and Canadian citizens 

·         Border Patrol Access to Federal Lands — Prohibits Federal agencies from impeding, prohibiting, or restricting CBP activities on federal land located within 100 miles of the Southern Border to execute search and rescue operations, and to prevent all unlawful entries into the United States.

·         Support Local Law Enforcement — Authorizes the Stonegarden grant program at $110 million for state and local law enforcement to aggressively fight drug trafficking, smuggling, and other crimes on the Southern Border.

To read the text of H.R. 3548, Border Security for America Act, click here.

Friday, July 28, 2017 at 6:44 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, government, Sen. Gallivan, announcements.

Press release

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has recently signed two bills related to health care services for county jail inmates and the housing of out of state inmates. 

The first bill (S.5409A) allows county jails to contract with medical professional corporations to provide inmate health care services. It amends the existing correction law, which dates back to 1929, and gives counties flexibility when it comes to medical care for inmates of a county jail.       

“Currently, counties must appoint a reputable physician to provide health care services to inmates, but many rural counties have found it difficult to identify and recruit a single person to serve as a jail doctor,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma).  “By updating this law, we reduce the burden on counties and allow them to contract with authorized medical partnerships and corporations.”  

The new law recognizes that the health care delivery system has evolved over the years and allows individual counties to contract with a professional partnership, a professional service corporation, a professional service limited liability company or a registered limited liability company to provide health services to county inmates.   

The second bill (S.5894) extends a current law, which is set to expire Sept. 1 and allows local correctional facilities to board inmates from neighboring states. The new law will extend until Sept. 1, 2020. 

Many county jail facilities are partially vacant because of an overall decrease in inmate population.  In an effort to offset the cost of operating these facilities, some counties house state or federal inmates or inmates from other counties. This new law gives counties the added option of entering into contracts to house certain inmates from other states’ local correctional facilities.

“As the former Sheriff of Erie County, I understand the enormous cost of operating a jail,” Gallivan said.  “Local counties should have the opportunity to bring inmates from other states to fill their vacant cells and generate additional revenue to help maintain their facilities.” 

The new law could benefit every county in New York that has the capacity to accept out of state inmates and allow them to offset a portion of their overhead costs for operating their jail facilities.

Gallivan sponsored both pieces of legislation, which were passed by the Senate and Assembly in June.

Friday, July 28, 2017 at 5:23 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, weather, government, flooding, tornado.

flooding_on_39_at_hardys_road-3.jpg

Press release, file photo.

A bipartisan group of senators and assemblymen are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to issue a disaster declaration and provide emergency funding to assist communities impacted by recent tornadoes and flash floods.

Senators Patrick Gallivan and Christopher Jacobs, and Assemblymen Sean Ryan, Michael Kearns and David DiPietro represent communities in Erie and Wyoming counties hit hard by severe weather earlier this month. Areas impacted by tornadoes and flooding include Hamburg, Holland, Orchard Park, Attica and Bennington.

In a letter to the governor, the legislators cited extensive damage to homes, businesses, trees, power lines and roads. They are seeking financial assistance for residents and local governments to help pay for the extensive cleanup and recovery efforts.

The letter states in part:

“The National Weather Service has confirmed three tornadoes struck the region, including two in communities that we represent. An EF2 tornado with winds of 110-135 mph hit the Town of Hamburg and an EF1 tornado with winds of 95 mph was recorded in the Town of Holland.

“In addition to the tornadoes, Western New York was also hit with heavy rains on July 13 and July 20 that caused flash flooding throughout Wyoming County, especially in the towns of Attica and Bennington.”

Wyoming County Fire and Emergency Management Director Tony Santoro estimates $2.3 million in damage to public infrastructure. Officials say in many cases, repair costs will exceed municipal budgets for road repair. Additionally, dozens of homes and businesses were also flooded, with some reporting 2 to 6 feet of water inside their buildings.

Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 4:55 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, health, government, announcements.

Press release:

Congressmen Chris Collins (NY-27) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) authored a bill which would require the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters. Today, the bill advanced through the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. The legislation would take the first step toward addressing the detrimental health effects firefighters may experience due to smoke inhalation and other harmful substances.

“This is an important piece of legislation that truly can save lives,” Collins said. “This database will assist the CDC with research, and the more information they have the better when it comes to developing new protocols and safeguards for these brave men and women.”

There was a 2015 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that found that in the U.S. firefighters had a greater number of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths. Unfortunately, this study was limited in scope by a small sample size, yet the proposed legislation would establish and improve collection infrastructure and activities to collect a greater abundance of data.

The legislation will advance to the full Energy and Commerce Committee, and if reported favorably can advance to the House floor.

For more information on H.R. 931, Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, click here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 6:32 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Business, government.

Beginning on or about July 1, New York State will be implementing Paid Family Leave (PFL) coverage under the disability policy all employers must carry. According to the New York State website, the premium will be fully funded by employees through payroll deductions. 

The key difference between Disability Leave (DBL) and PFL is DBL can only be taken for the employee’s own injury or illness, while PFL can be taken to care for someone else, for example, a child or parent or after the birth of a child.

“The employer may choose to pay the insurance on the employee’s behalf, but that is a choice,” said Wyoming County Chamber President Scott Gardner. “It will affect all businesses who have employees and anyone who is an employee.”

Employers will be required to purchase a PFL insurance policy or self-insure. While both benefits premiums are paid by the employer, the employer has the option to recoup the cost through employee contributions. However, contributions are capped at the state-set maximum level – $.60 per week under DBL and .126 percent capped at the current average weekly wage of $1,305.92 under PFL. The wage under PFL is determined each year by Sept. 30 by the Department of Financial Services.

“Businesses must comply with the new regulations or be subject to penalties, claim costs, and fines. While the employee will be contributing to the policy, it is up to the employer to contact their disability insurance provider and put a policy in place. Additionally, the employer will have to establish a protocol for deducting the calculated contributions from the employees.”

Key differences between DBL and PFL include:

    • Full-time employees: Under DBL – a person working the specific employer’s normal work week and worked at lease four consecutive weeks for any covered employer(s). Under PFL – persons working 20 or more hours a week and employed at least 26 consecutive weeks at their current employer. 

    • Part-time employees: DBL – completed at least 25 work days at any covered employer(s). PFL – completed at least 175 work days at their current employer.

    • DBL will pay 50 percent of the average weekly wage (maximum $170 per week). PFL provides 50 percent of the average weekly wage capped at 50 percent in 2018 and gradually increased to up to 67 percent (capped at 67 percent once fully implemented in 2021).

    • While there is a seven-day waiting period before DBL benefits kick in, PFL benefits kick in on the first day of the qualified leave. Also, DBL will cover 26 weeks in a consecutive 52-week period, while PFL will cover eight weeks beginning in 2018, increasing to a maximum of 12 weeks in 2021. 

DBL and PFL benefits cannot be received concurrently, they have to be taken consecutively. However, if an employee qualifies for both benefits, the combined duration may not exceed 26 weeks in a consecutive 52-week period. 

    • There is no job protection when an employee is out on DBL leave. When an employee returns from PFL, an employer must provide the same, or comparable, position in wages and benefits.

“It is another regulatory burden on businesses large and small. The other issue for businesses with Paid Family Leave is when an employee takes the time for up to 12 weeks, the employer must hold the job for the employee. This leaves the employer in a very difficult position with regard to business performance. While they could hire temporary employees, not all employees can be easily replaced temporarily. In the end it could cost the business in productivity and other costs.”

State officials say employers should contact their current New York Disability Benefits carrier to learn more about adding Paid Family Leave coverage. If you renew or start New York State Disability Benefits in 2017, benefits won't start any earlier than Jan. 1.

Friday, June 23, 2017 at 12:46 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, government, Arcade.

Maj. Gen. Anthony P. German, the Adjutant General, announced the recent reenlistment and promotion of members of the State National Guard in recognition of their continuing commitment to serve community, state and nation as part of the Army National Guard.

Spc. Darren Haudricourt has reenlisted to continue service with the 105th Military Police Company and Spc. Dylan Haynes has reenlisted to continue service with the 152nd Engineer Support Company. Both men are from Arcade.

Ian George, of Varysburg, and assigned to the 105th Military Police Company received a promotion to the rank of Specialist.

Calley Leitten, of Warsaw, and assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 27th Brigade Special Troops Battalion received a promotion to the rank of Sergeant.

Army National Guard promotions are based on overall performance, attitude, leadership ability, and development potential.

"New Yorkers count on our Citizen Soldiers to be ready and be there when disaster strikes," German said. "And our nation counts on our Soldiers when duty calls for overseas service. I congratulate our members for choosing to stay in service and striking that balance between military duties, education or employment commitments and family obligations.

"Every one of the men and women serving in our 16,000 strong Army and Air National Guard plays an important role and these Soldiers who continue to reenlist provide experience and continuity for whatever challenges lay ahead for our New York National Guard family."

For more information about the New York Army National Guard, visit www.dmna.ny.gov orwww.1800goguard.com.

The New York National Guard (New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs) is the state's executive agency responsible to the governor for managing New York's Military Forces, which consists of nearly 20,000 members of the New York Army National Guard, the New York Air National Guard, the New York Naval Militia and the New York Guard.

Friday, June 23, 2017 at 12:08 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, education, government.

Press release

The Senate recently passed legislation (S.2466A and S.2482C) that would amend state education law in relation to two scholarship programs offered to top graduating seniors pursuing college degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) or Education. Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma), co-sponsor of both bills, says the changes will allow scholarship recipients to apply their award to not only public institutions, but also private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in New York. 

"Students who earn these scholarships should be allowed to attend the college or university of their choice,” Gallivan said. “By expanding these programs to include private, not-for-profit institutions, we ensure students have greater access to programs that best meet their academic needs and support the important economic impact both public and private colleges and universities have on communities across New York.” 

Bill S.2466A will align the STEM Incentive program with other state scholarship programs, allowing students to choose the college or university that benefits them the most. The program offers the state top 10-percent of high school graduates full-time tuition scholarships if they study in STEM-related fields and they commit to staying in New York State for five years following graduation. The initiative is needed to help fill the half-million STEM jobs anticipated in the state by 2018.

The bill is critical to private, not-for-profit colleges and universities across New York, including Rochester Institute of Technology, which is located in the 59th Senate District, says Gallivan.

Both the Senate and Assembly have passed the bill.

Bill S.2482C will align the Masters-in-Education Teacher Incentive Scholarship Program with other state scholarship programs. The program offers awards for 500 New York State residents seeking a Master’s degree in education and dedicated to teaching in a public elementary or secondary school in New York. Currently, 70 private colleges and universities confer 61 percent of the state’s bachelor and graduate education degrees.

The bill has been passed by the Senate and sent to the Assembly.    

Friday, June 23, 2017 at 11:47 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, government, Warsaw.

The State Senate recently passed a bill that would allow county jails to contract with medical professional corporations to provide inmate health care services. The legislation (S.5409A), sponsored by Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma), would amend the correction law and give counties flexibility when it comes to medical care for inmates of a county jail.       

“Current law requires each county to appoint a reputable physician to provide health care services to the county jail, but many counties, especially those in rural areas, have found it difficult to identify and recruit a single person to serve as a jail doctor,” Gallivan said. “We can reduce the burden on counties by updating the law and allowing them to contract with medical partnerships and corporations which are authorized to practice in New York State.”

In Wyoming County however, the Sheriff’s Department contracts through the Wyoming County Health Department for medical services in the jail, says Sheriff Gregory Rudolph. A registered nurse is on site 40 hours a week. Additionally, Wyoming County Public Health Commissioner and Medical Director Dr. Gregory Collins oversees the health care in the jail. 

“We have been fortunate with the quality of services Dr. Collins and the Health Department provides,” Rudolph said. “Any services that can’t be provided in-house, for example radiology or inpatient services, inmates are primarily taken to Wyoming County Community Hospital. However, if an inmate needs more specialized services, the jail uses Strong (Memorial Hospital, Rochester) or ECMC (Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo).”

The existing law dates back to 1929 and has not been updated since. Gallivan’s bill recognizes that the health care delivery system has evolved and expanded greatly over the years and state law must be amended to account for the changes. The legislation would allow individual counties to contract with a professional partnership, a professional service corporation, a professional service limited liability company or a registered limited liability company to provide health services to county inmates.   

The bill passed both the Senate and the Assembly and will be sent to the governor for consideration.

Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 3:49 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, government, education.

Press release

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) recently announced the Senate has passed a bill to prohibit the altering of a student’s official records, files and data. The legislation (S.5273A) would amend state education law to reflect changes in the type of student information maintained by schools, colleges and other educational institutions.     

“A lot has changed over the years in how student records are stored and the type of information maintained,” Gallivan said. “It’s time to update the law to ensure that all educational records are protected from unlawful alteration or tampering. This includes grades, attendance, disciplinary actions, special education records, medical and health history, athletic information and other material.”

The existing state law was implemented in 1980 and bars tampering with a grade, credit honor, award, permanent record or transcript. However, the statute does not take into account changes made to educational records over the past four decades to develop a more holistic and comprehensive student profile. As information on each student grows, so does the need to preserve and safeguard records. The legislation would recognize that all educational records are protected from unlawful alteration or tampering.

The bill, sponsored by Gallivan, passed both the Senate and the Assembly on Monday. It will go to the governor for consideration.

Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 3:38 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, legal, government.

Press release

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) and Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes recently announced state funding for the Center for Elder Law and Justice is available to provide legal help to seniors and to help combat elder abuse throughout Western New York. 

A total of $250,000 is included in the 2017-2018 budget approved by the Legislature in April.  

“We have a responsibility to protect our seniors from abuse and exploitation,” Gallivan said.  “People 65 years old and older make up the fastest growing segment of our population and unfortunately, cases of elder abuse are on the rise. We need to ensure that services are in place to assist victims of all forms of elder abuse, be it financial, psychological or physical.”  

Gallivan secured $150,000 in funding through the State Senate. The rest came through the State Assembly. 

The Center for Elder Law and Justice provides elder abuse prevention training, as well as direct legal and social services to elder abuse victims in Erie, Wyoming, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Niagara and Orleans counties.

Monday, May 8, 2017 at 10:00 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, government, health, announcements.

Press release:

The Senate recently passed a package of bipartisan bills aimed at encouraging more New Yorkers to become organ and tissue donors and protecting the rights of those who do. The bills enhance public awareness, remove bureaucratic obstacles and will increase the number of residents who sign up to help save lives through organ, tissue, bone marrow, and blood donation.

“Organ and tissue transplants save lives, but too few New Yorkers are enrolled in the Donate Life program,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “New York can and must do better. This legislation will help raise awareness of the importance of organ and tissue donation, provide support for those who participate and make it easier for residents to get involved in this lifesaving effort.”

Currently, only 27 percent of potential New Yorkers are enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry – the lowest rate in the country. Additionally, nearly 10,000 people are waiting for organ transplants in New York – the third highest rate in the country.

The Senate continues to advocate for increasing resources and public awareness on the importance of organ and tissue donation through legislation and funding, officials say. This year’s enacted state budget included $1.3 million as part of the Senate’s ongoing commitment to help New Yorkers’ need of lifesaving transplants.

The two bills, cosponsored by Gallivan, provide a wide variety of protections and support for prospective organ donors. The measures would bolster the amount of lifesaving organ and tissue and donations and shield donors in New York by: 

    • Enacting the “Living Donor Protection Act of 2017” to prevent discrimination against living organ or tissue donors who have or are applying for life, accident, health, or long-term care insurance; designating transplantation preparation and recovery related to donation as “serious health conditions” covered by paid family leave; and directing the Commissioner of Health, in cooperation with the transplant council and other interested parties to develop and distribute information on live organ donation (S2496); and

    • Establishing a one-time personal income tax credit for up to $10,000 for expenses related to a taxpayer donating his or her organs for transplantation. The bill also repeals the personal income tax modification, reducing federal adjusted income, for such expanses (S2497).

To further increase public awareness of organ and tissue donation, especially among youth, a bill (S5283B) cosponsored by Gallivan would allow SUNY, CUNY, and library card applicants to register as an organ donor. The bill would expand Lauren’s Law, which changed DMV forms to require applicants to choose “yes” or “skip” the question about becoming a donor.

The Senate also passed legislation (S2162A) to help medical transport teams quickly operate within their necessary and sensitive periods. The bill would add human organ delivery vehicles to the list of authorized emergency vehicles in the state.

Additionally, the Senate passed a bill (S474B) that would give the option to applicants for the practice of a profession or occupation, state income tax filers, and applicants registering motor vehicles to register in the Donate Life Registry for organ, eye, and tissue donation.

The Senate also passed a measure (S1475) that would allow a taxpayer or the spouse of a taxpayer to deduct costs related to the taxpayer’s organ donation, and include childcare costs within such allowable costs.

The bills will be sent to the Assembly.

Additionally, another bill (S2495) cosponsored by Gallivan passed both houses this year. The legislation allows the state's Transplant Council to expand its scope. It aims to help New York organ donation efforts by making annual recommendations to the Commissioner of Health on organ donation, procurement organizations, and organ banks and storage.

Monday, May 8, 2017 at 9:58 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, government, health care, announcements.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) voted recently to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the American Health Care Act.

"This puts us even closer to ending the Obamacare nightmare that has plagued Americans for the last seven years," Collins said. "The legislation passed increases competition and gives people the power to make their own choices with their own health care. The American Health Care Act is a drastic improvement over the failing health care system Obamacare has left us with."

For Western New Yorkers, the bill also includes the largest property tax reduction ever to be enacted, officials say. The legislation includes an amendment Collins introduced that would bar federal reimbursements for New York State Medicaid funds raised from local governments.

"My commonsense proposal will fix the finances of counties across New York for decades to come and most importantly keep money in the pockets of hardworking Western New Yorkers. This puts a stop to this massive unfunded mandate coming out of Albany once and for all."

For residents in the 27th Congressional District, it would result in more than $470 million in property tax savings. The proposal would only apply to the $2.3 billion being raised from counties outside of New York City to pay for the state's Medicaid share. The state currently raises $7 billion from its local governments to fund its $27 billion Medicaid liability, which is the largest such mandate in the nation.

Beyond the property tax savings, the legislation improves access and affordability, and removes more than $800 billion in onerous taxes and fees that have been stifling the economy and eliminating job growth, Collins says.

In 2017, 33 percent of counties nationwide only have one insurer on their exchange, and many counties are being left without any insurance providers. He also noted that Obamacare has unsustainably raised insurance premiums by nearly 40 percent in the last three years. Recently, thousands of New Yorkers were kicked off their insurance plans because their provider, Health Republic, collapsed.

The American Health Care Act:

    • Eliminates the individual and employer mandate, which forced millions of workers, families, and job creators into government mandated plans that did not work for their needs.

    • Guarantees protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions by prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, banning insurers from rescinding coverage based on a pre-existing condition, and preventing insurers from raising premiums on individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage. Additionally, New York state law fully protects individuals with pre-existing conditions.

    • Modernizes and strengthens Medicaid by implementing a "per capita allotment" which provides more flexibility for states and results in the largest entitlement reform in decades.

    • Provides Americans access to affordable care that works for their needs by delivering monthly tax credits of $2,000-$14,000 a year, which individuals and families can use to purchase private insurance of their choice.

The American Health Care Act now heads to the Senate where it will need to be approved before heading to President Trump's desk to be signed into law.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 12:13 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, Sen. Gallivan, government, crime.

Press release:

The New York State Senate has approved eight bills aimed at tackling the heroin, opioid and synthetic drug crisis. The measures address the evolving challenges presented by fentanyl, synthetic and designer drugs, and help increase coordination among health care personnel to prevent future opioid overdoses and abuse.

“One of our priorities this legislative session is to tackle the state’s heroin crisis,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “No community and no family is immune from the devastating impact caused by heroin and opioid abuse.

"These bills, combined with the $214 million secured in this year’s budget, will support law enforcement efforts to combat the spread of these drugs and enhance programs designed to keep New Yorkers healthy and safe.”

Six bills target the increased use of synthetic and designer drug combinations that escape criminality through loopholes in existing laws. Gallivan cosponsored the first five of the six bills, which include: 

    • Bill S933 adds new derivatives of fentanyl to the controlled substance schedule and increases criminal penalties for the sale of an opiate containing a fentanyl derivative. Fentanyl is a strong pain medication that is often combined with anesthesia to prevent surgery-related pain. However, it is increasingly being mixed with heroin and other drugs to produce a cheaper and more lethal product.

    • Bill S816 designates Alpha-PVP, also known as “Flakka” or “Gravel” as a controlled substance. Similar to bath salts and methamphetamine, use of this designer drug has been known to cause violent behavior, with side effects including nausea, vomiting, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, suicidal thoughts, seizures, chest pains, and increased blood pressure and heart rate.

    • Bill S3518 classifies synthetic marijuana like "K2," "Spike 99," "Spice," "Yucatan Fire," "Genie," "Zohai" and many others, as Schedule I controlled substances. These legal herb-like products are laced with a synthetic cannabinoid to produce a high similar to existing controlled substances, but with more dangerous side effects. Not only does the bill provide for the imposition of criminal sanctions on synthetic pot, but also makes it a felony to sell such products to a minor or on school grounds.

    • Bill S2722 bans the analog substances of scheduled controlled substances. By expanding the state’s ability to ban analog substances, state drug and law enforcement agencies are given another tool to combat the quickly moving world of designer drugs that simply “tweak” an existing scheduled substance in order to avoid criminal prohibitions.

    • Bill S658 adds a new synthetic opiate, U-47700 and commonly referred to as "Pink" to the schedule I opiate list. This inexpensive drug has spread in popularity across the United States and is reportedly eight times more powerful than heroin.

    • Bill S300 would designate Xylazine as a controlled substance due to recent instances of this veterinary drug being used to lace heroin. It has emerged as a new threat in the state's battle against the heroin epidemic because the heroin-Xylazine combination is so potent that it can take multiple doses of naloxone to revive an overdose victim, and even this regime is not guaranteed to be effective. Dealers are using this dangerous drug to enhance their products, but risks include a dangerous depression of the central nervous system, causing individuals to drift in and out of consciousness, as well as negatively affecting heart function.

Two other measures passed by the Senate will help promote information sharing to prevent the abuse of prescription and other drugs, among other benefits of health care coordination. 

They include:

    • Bill S2639 requires hospital and emergency room physicians to notify a patient's prescriber when a patient is being treated for a controlled substance overdose. The measure enhances the effectiveness of the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) Registry when prescribing controlled substances by ensuring that vital medical information is shared among health care practitioners. The bill requires an emergency room or hospital practitioner treating a patient with an opioid overdose to consult the PMP registry and notify the patient's prescriber of the overdose. Without such notification of the overdose, it is very possible that the prescriber/practitioner would not know that the patient had suffered an overdose of the opioid.
    • Bill S2248 helps facilitate the exchange of health care information with hospitals, office-based surgery practices, and health care providers who accept walk-in patients not regularly seen by the provider. These practitioners would use and maintain an electronic health records system that connects to the local regional health information organization, aiding in the prevention of drug abuse by giving these clinics and urgent care centers the ability to see patient records and whether there is a history of drug use or prescriptions. Additionally, these clinics would add details of the visit to the patient’s records for any future medical treatment, thereby ensuring the patient receives appropriate care.

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