April 2015

April 23, 2015                          ___                                                       ___


            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today commented on the actions of Assembly Majority Codes Committee members, who killed two bills that would have repealed the unconstitutional SAFE Act. Despite an impressive showing from pro-Second Amendment sportsmen, members of the Assembly Majority killed two bills sponsored by Hawley, A.2651 and A.3350, that would have repealed the NY SAFE Act, which was passed controversially in 2013. Hawley said the SAFE Act continues to violate New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights and was irresponsibly jammed though the Legislature in the middle of the night as a political stunt by Gov. Cuomo. 

            “I have, and always will be, a supporter of the Second Amendment,” Hawley said. “Any legislation that takes away a law-abiding citizen’s ability to possess firearms is an unconstitutional act of government tyranny. I am from a rural district in Western New York and my experience with gun owners has been exemplary. Most gun owners are responsible hunters or firearm enthusiasts, and to prohibit them from adequately protecting themselves or their families is indefensible and governmentally oppressive. New Yorkers, in no way wanted this bill to become law, that is why it was rushed through the process in the middle of the night using a message of necessity. A truly fair and transparent government would allow this bill to come to the floor for a vote, but apparently that is not how New York functions.”





            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today criticized Assembly Majority members of the Governmental Operations Committee for voting to kill Assembly Bill 520 rather than sending it to the floor for a vote. This legislation, championed by Assembly Minority Leader Brain M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua), would establish lifetime mandatory supervision requirements and prohibit good behavior sentence reductions for those convicted of certain violent crimes. Hawley said this law is necessary to protect New York’s women from violent predators who have a high propensity to commit serious crimes even after completing their prison sentences. 

            “It is a mistake for this legislation to be held in committee,” Hawley said. “Unfortunately, there have been numerous tragic cases where women have been victimized because their assailants were released from prison unsupervised. Each day that this legislation sits dormant we run the risk of another sister, mother, wife or daughter becoming a victim of a violent crime.  That is a risk we should not be willing to take. It is disgraceful that members of the Assembly Majority do not have the same regard for the safety of women as I do.”  

April 21, 2015                          ___                                                       ___


            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today called on legislative leaders and Gov. Cuomo to bring a bill to the Assembly floor for a vote that would strip pension and retirement benefits from corrupt lawmakers. Hawley said this is an issue he and the Assembly Minority Conference have been fighting for the past several years and it is finally time to get tough on ethics reform. 

            “As a taxpayer of this state, I am appalled at the amount of money our pension system has given over the past couple of decades to lawmakers and officials convicted of crimes,” Hawley said. “In my view, this has nothing to do with party or position in government; it is common sense legislation that we need to put the people’s faith back into our government. I have been a sponsor of this legislation for years, because each day we sit idly by is another day we have failed the taxpayers of New York State. I am calling on legislative leaders and members of the Assembly Governmental Operations Committee, where this bill is currently being held, to bring this bill to the Assembly floor for a vote.”

            Hawley’s comments come after it was reported by The Journal News that 14 former lawmakers and officials convicted of crimes are being paid a total of about $531,000 per year by the state’s pension system. Over the past 15 years, about $4 million has been paid out in pension benefits to ex-lawmakers and officials convicted of various crimes. 




            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today blasted Assembly Majority members for holding legislation he sponsored in the Committee on Higher Education rather than bringing it to the floor for a vote. In 2009, Hawley introduced Assembly Bill 3093, which seeks to provide free college tuition and expenses for dependent family members of military personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty. The Assembly Majority has never allowed this bill to leave committee and come before the entire house for a vote. 

            “I am discouraged by today’s committee vote,” Hawley said. “As a veteran, I know the personal and financial struggles of children who lose their parents in the line of duty. This legislation would lift some of the financial burden that comes with attending college and allow military families more freedom in pursuing their educational aspirations. We owe it to those who have paid the ultimate price to assist their loved ones in any way we can. It is disappointing that Assembly Majority members do not feel the same urgency to support those who sacrificed their lives for us.”

            Hawley is a veteran of the Ohio Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves. He has consistently and thoroughly advocated for veterans during his time in the Assembly and currently serves as Ranking Minority Member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. 

April 13, 2015                          ___                                                       ___


            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today called on the New York State Education Department (SED) to provide guidance to parents and school districts about the consequences of opting out of Common Core tests and what it could mean for future funding.  Hawley said school districts are operating in the dark about what will happen as a result of a large number of students opting out of the upcoming Common Core tests, and that State Ed should provide more information so parents can make informed decisions. 

            “I realize that Common Core is an increasingly controversial issue and thousands of students have already opted out of the tests,” Hawley said. “While I respect parents’ rights to opt their children out of the Common Core tests, I do not want them to make a decision that will negatively impact the funding received by their school districts. This is why I am calling on SED to clarify how opting out will impact schools’ funding. At this point, SED has created a complex situation where many factors are still undetermined. It is their obligation to provide direction to schools. SED has an equal responsibility to provide us with accurate information as to how funding will be impacted if a large number of students chose to forgo the state assessments this year.”

            Common Core tests for English Language Arts begin tomorrow and Math Assessments begin later this month. In 2014, over 100,000 students opted out of both the English and Math tests. Schools are required to maintain adequate yearly progress and show 95 percent participation in state assessments for grades three through eight to remain eligible for full Federal funding.   



          Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced that 12 areas will qualify for the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. Among them is the Batavia Opportunity Area in Genesee County, which consists of 366 acres with 75 potential Brownfield Cleanup sites within the Batavia Central Corridor. The main focus will be to clean up underutilized and vacant Brownfield sites, stabilize existing neighborhoods, and continue to revitalize the downtown business district. Hawley was proud to announce that these improvements will take place in his hometown and pledged to push for further environmental clean ups throughout his district. 

            “I am proud that communities in my district will now be able to reap the benefits of my work in the Legislature over the past few years and during this year’s budget negotiations,” Hawley said. “The Brownfield Cleanup Program allows properties to be reborn with the help of state grant money. These areas would have otherwise remained dormant due to their hazardous contaminants, and they would be viewed as a danger and an eyesore to local residents. I trust that local leaders will craft a plan for the Batavia site that attracts new businesses, creates jobs and improves the overall environmental quality of our area.”

            Through the Brownfield Cleanup Program, the Department of State works with local leaders to develop a community vision for revitalization. Industrial/manufacturing sites, commercial corridors, residential areas, downtowns and waterfronts are among the main areas in which clean ups are common. For more information on applications and the Brownfield Cleanup Program itself, please click here

April 10, 2015                          ___                                                       ___


            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) commented today on a report that was recently released by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) which ranks New York last among states in economic competitiveness and having the worst domestic migration in the nation. Hawley said the report was deeply troubling but speaks to the lack of fiscal responsibility and suffocating business environment that has been reinforced and defended by Gov. Cuomo and the Assembly Majority. 

            “The findings of the ALEC report are disturbing but, unfortunately, are not new information,” Hawley said.  “We have known about New York’s lackluster business climate and oppressive tax structure for years no matter how the governor’s office tries to spin it. The way to spur economic growth is to ease the burden of government and allow small businesses to keep more of their profits so that they may grow their company and hire more employees.”

            The 2015-16 enacted budget provides very few measures that cut taxes or reduce regulations on businesses.  Several members of the Assembly Minority Conference proposed amendments to the budget to help small businesses and the middle-class but all were voted down by the Assembly Majority.    

            “Once again, this year’s enacted budget provides little to no tax relief or aid for individuals or small businesses,” Hawley said.  “As the former owner of our family-owned farm and the current owner of a small insurance agency, I can attest that legislation such as the Small Business Full Employment Act and establishing the Division of Regulatory Review & Economic Growth would catapult New York’s business climate into the upper echelon nationwide.  In order to compete with states like Florida and preserve our tax base, we must stop this mentality of tax, fine and harass.”

April 9, 2015                          ___                                                       ___


            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today reminded his constituents of their ability to opt out of the Common Core tests. Hawley said the Common Core Standards have been irresponsibly implemented and parents have a right to know that they can refuse to have their children take the tests. 

            “As we look forward to the warm weather that April brings, let us not forget that it also brings another round of dreaded Common Core testing,” Hawley said. “With all the conversation surrounding how teacher evaluations will be altered in the 2015-16 State Budget, we are overlooking the bigger issue of Common Core tests. Teachers are still struggling to learn new curriculum requirements, and students fear this time of year as immense pressure is placed on them to succeed on the fairly new methods of testing and learning. I sponsor the Common Core Parental Refusal Act, which mandates that school districts notify parents of their ability to have their children refuse to participate in Common Core tests without penalty to themselves or the school. To learn how you can opt out of Common Core testing, please visit www.childrenbeforepolitics.com/refuse.”

            Hawley also commented on how the Assembly Minority Conference’s Achieving Pupil Preparedness & Launching Excellence (APPLE) Plan would address many salient education concerns such as Common Core and teacher evaluations. Assembly Bill 3656 is a bi-partisan measure that was reintroduced earlier this year.

            “Fortunately, the Assembly Minority Conference’s APPLE plan would address many of these concerns,” Hawley said. “Our plan would suspend Common Core tests for two years and create a commission, consisting of experts from the front lines of education, to evaluate all aspects of Common Core and determine a more suitable way to implement the standards. This legislation has been active since last year but was blocked by members of the Assembly Majority during last year’s session.”

            Hawley’s comments come on the eve of Common Core testing which is scheduled to begin later this month. More information can be found about the Assembly Minority APPLE plan at www.childrenbeforepolitics.com/refuse



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