government

Monday, September 18, 2017 at 2:01 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, taxes, Sen. Gallivan, announcements.

Press release

Legislation to provide for the continuation of the real property tax exemption for Cold War Veterans has been signed into law Sept. 12. The bill (S5659A), sponsored by Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma), was approved by the Senate and Assembly in June. 

The law gives local governments and school districts the option to continue to provide a real tax exemption beyond the original 10-year limitation.

“This legislation recognizes the commitment and sacrifice made by the men and women who served in the United States military during the Cold War,” Gallivan said. “By continuing this program, we express our deep appreciation for their brave service to our country.” 

Cold War Veterans served in the Armed Forces from Sept. 2, 1945, to Dec. 26, 1991. Many of them served during times of peace.

The legislation amends the state’s real property tax law.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, government, news, Warsaw.

In a decision held from its July meeting, the Board of Supervisors voted 15 to 1 in favor of Local Law No. 4 (Introductory D. Year 2017) – 2017 at the supervisors meeting Tuesday in Warsaw.

Local Law No. 4 – A local law amending Local Law No. 11 of the year 1994, entitled “A local law banning possession of weapons in Wyoming County Buildings” as amended by Local Law No. 3 of the year 2013 amends Local Law No. 3 – A local law banning possession of weapons in Wyoming County buildings. 

As the law read, no persons may carry a concealed weapon into a county government building with the exception of a police officer or peace officer as defined in the New York State Criminal Procedure Law.

The amendment now includes: A person licensed by New York State Penal law 400(2)(f) to have and carry a concealed weapon may carry a concealed weapon in a building where such carry is not prohibited by Federal or New York State law, rule or regulation – in Section 3: Exclusions, of the 2013 amended law.

However, the vote was cast with one lone dissenter, Town of Warsaw Supervisor Becky Ryan, and the Town of Warsaw houses many of the county’s buildings.

Ryan’s “no” vote comes with concerns of the law’s ambiguity. She says there doesn’t seem to be a source which would allow a legally licensed concealed-carry permit holder to know which county buildings are included or excluded in the amendment.

While Ryan says she wholeheartedly supports the Constitution, especially the Second Amendment, she believes clarification is needed on which county buildings the new law affects.

“I do not want to create a situation that could jeopardize that right that any person legally licensed to have and carry a concealed weapon has,” Ryan said.

According to New York State regulations, the following places are off-limits to concealed-carry permit holders:

    • Any facility of the New York Department of Mental Hygiene (hospitals) or any residential facility that has an operating certificate issued by the Department;

    • At any facility operated or licensed by the Office of Mental Health of the Department of Mental Hygiene;

    • Courthouses (NYS Office of Court Administration) Federal law bans firearms in federal courthouses and U.S. attorney offices except for law enforcement personnel on official business;

    • Certain cities and all counties may, under home rule options, ban firearms from their governmental buildings;

    • (265.01a) On school grounds which include colleges and universities (exceptions: the forestry lands, wherever located, owned and maintained by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and forestry or on a school bus as defined in section 142 of the V&T law without the written authorization of such education institution)

According to the Department of Environmental Control and NY Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, firearms are banned on the properties they control except for hunting in season.

Firearms may be possessed on public campgrounds only during the spring and fall hunting seasons.

The federal government’s rules governing conceal carry holders has an even longer off-limits list:

    • Federal courthouses;

    • Federal buildings;

    • Any building owned, leased or rented by the federal government;

    • Federal prisons;

    • Army Corps of Engineers;

    • National cemeteries;

    • Military bases;

    • Rented offices;

    • Amtrack;

    • Post Office;

    • Bureau of Land Management;

    • Indian reservations

Additionally, the State controls the carrying of firearms in the National Forests in their state.

Ryan wasn’t the only supervisor who had reservations about the amendment.

While she ultimately voted in favor of the new law, Town of Bennington Supervisor Ellen Grant spoke with county employees before making her decision.

“Many residents can go years without stepping into a county building,” Grant said. “But, the employees are the ones who are most affected by the amendment.”

Town of Java Supervisor Vanessa McCormick voted yes as the voice for her constituents and Town of Wethersfield Supervisor John Copeland says it gives employees an opportunity to protect themselves.

However, Warsaw resident and Village Trustee Cindy Appleton, who lost a relative to gun violence, is opposed to the change.

“There hasn’t been enough due diligence to allow for the change in the law. Becky had concerns as to how we know where guns can be carried,” Appleton said. “It should be stated clearly. There was no need to change the law, the law in place had it covered…There has been no gun violence in the county since 2012, what was the need to amend the law? There was no reason.”

To read the entirety of Local Law 11 1994, the amendment to Local Law 11 of 1994 2013, or a copy of the new law, click here.

See related: Amendment may allow guns in county government buildings

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 10:53 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, events, announcements, Castile, Pike, government.

Information sourced from a press release:

Town of Castile Supervisor Keith Granger is being honored by the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) tonight for graduating from the NYSAC County Government Institute. The ceremony will be held at the NYSAC Fall Seminar in Syracuse.

Granger is not only the supervisor for the Town of Castile but also serves as a member of the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors.

The County Government Institute is a collaboration between NYSAC and Cornell University to provide training to county leaders. Curriculum includes required courses on building consensus, financial management, ethics, management, and the foundations of county government.

Granger says that he learned a lot from the Institute, particularly in areas of county finance and the many aspects of the budgeting process.

“I appreciated the learning experience to acquire personal skills and understanding of county issues,” Granger said.

“The County Government Institute equips county officials with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to address the challenges and opportunities of leadership, and to engage in civil dialogue with constituents as well as fellow leaders,” said NYSAC President and Schoharie County Treasurer William E. Cherry.

Born and raised in the town of Pike, Granger served for a combined 13 years as mayor for the villages of Pike and Castile and as trustee for a combined 14 years. Additionally, he retired at the rank of Sargent in 2014 after 25 years as a corrections officer at the Livingston Correctional Facility.

“The Institute’s vigorous curriculum prepares county leaders with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the increasing demands of local government leadership in now and in the future,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario.

The courses are offered at NYSAC’s upcoming Fall Seminar in addition to an annual Legislative Conference in February, and Finance School in May. Courses are also offered regionally throughout the year, and enable county leaders to stay up-to-date on timely issues and opportunities in local government.

For more information about the County Government Institute visit www.nysac.org/cgi

The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving the counties of New York State including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public.

Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 11:39 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, news, government, Collins.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) called for Congress to immediately enact a permanent solution to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program imposed by former President Barack Obama and now rescinded by President Donald Trump. 

In order to reach a quick resolution, Collins is cosponsoring H.R. 1468, the Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act, introduced by Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL). 

The RAC Act provides five-year conditional legal status to undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as minors if they obtain a higher education, maintain continual employment, or serve in the United States military. These individuals are eligible for permanent legal status if they continue to demonstrate good moral character, including maintaining a clean criminal record and staying off government assistance for five years.

“Nearly 800,000 minors were illegally brought into this country by their parents. President Obama superseded the authority of Congress by issuing an executive order that was a temporary patch and provided no certainty to these children,” Collins said. “President Trump properly rescinded the Obama DACA program which protected illegal immigrants without Congressional approval.”

Many of the immigration problems the nation is now facing are a direct result of the porous borders under the Obama Administration when millions of immigrants illegally entered the United States, bringing their minor children with them, says Collins.

Now, Trump has referred the matter to Congress for legislative action and to send a bill to his desk to be signed into law that gives these young people, so-called Dreamers, certainty with permanent legal work status. At the same time, Congress needs to make sure our borders are secure.

“Just like President Trump and other Members of Congress, I recognize that these young men and women were brought to our county illegally, through no fault of their own. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to create long-term certainty for these individuals.”

Collins also says it was time for comprehensive immigration reform to address areas such as H-2A and H-2B visas granted to temporary farm workers. In addition, he said it was time to address the estimated 12 million illegal individuals in the country.

“I’m a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform that keeps our borders secure and allows farmers to access a willing and available labor force. We need to use this opportunity to address the larger immigration issues facing our nation but cannot award citizenship to adults that enter our country illegally. Labor from undocumented workers is critical to Western New York’s agriculture community and we need to give these individuals the ability to gain legal work status.”

For more information on H.R. 1468, Recognizing America’s Children Act, click here.

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.

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