February 2015

February 26, 2015                                                                             ___  

SCHOOL DISTRICTS STILL IN THE DARK ON FUNDING

          Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today called on Gov. Cuomo to release school aid runs across the state. Hawley said that school districts are up against the clock to present a workable budget plan to their faculty and residents, and the governor’s budget tactics rob school districts of their budgeting abilities. 

            “The release of school aid runs is supposed to be a routine part of the budget process each year,” Hawley said. “The governor’s tactics rob students, faculty and parents of the ability to plan things such as availability of classes, extracurricular programs, faculty size and school tax burden. Without this information, school districts are forced to build contingency budgets that could likely include many layoffs and program eliminations. I am calling on Gov. Cuomo to do what is right for our school districts and release the required funding information.”

            Hawley’s comments come after a press conference was held this morning by Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) urging Gov. Cuomo to release school aid runs. Superintendent Christopher J. Dailey of the Batavia City School District also commented on the lack of information.

            “The governor holding back state aid runs has hindered the process of formulating our budget for the 2015-16 school year,” said Dailey. “To plan for flat state aid is the only choice we currently have. Playing games with the school system helps no one. If the governor truly wants to help the students of New York, he needs to end the GEA immediately, stay out of the APPR process completely and recognize that our students are blessed with outstanding teachers, administrators and staff. He needs to treat the outstanding teachers and administrators of Batavia and New York State like the professionals that they are. Education is not broken in Batavia. Education is flourishing in Batavia.”


 

PASSAGE OF DREAM ACT SHOULD NOT BE A PRIORITY         

            “The Assembly’s passage of the DREAM Act today demonstrates that we are still not putting the needs of New York citizens first. At a time when school districts are still struggling with the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) cuts and cannot properly formulate budgets because school aid runs have not been released, we chose to focus on funding for illegal aliens.  The Assembly leadership and the governor are sending the message that legal New York taxpayers are less important than illegal aliens. Our priorities should be to fully fund and protect New York parents, teachers and students who are here legally before we give money to those who are not.”


 

HAWLEY ENCOURAGES PARTICIPATION IN NEW YORK BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today encouraged college students to participate in New York’s annual business plan competition. Hawley praised the competition for allowing bright students across the state to present new ideas consistent with New York’s focus on nanotechnology, entrepreneurship and advanced technology. More than 600 students are expected to participate and compete for a top cash prize of $100,000.

            “As the owner and operator of a small business, I know the hard work and ingenuity it takes to succeed as a business owner in New York,” Hawley said. “This competition highlights principles that make our state great – determined and visionary entrepreneurs and businesspeople.  I am thrilled that we are allowing the next generation of business- and technology-minded students to fulfill their passions right here in New York State and generate ideas that will allow our economy to grow and thrive. I encourage all college students interested in this competition to participate.”

            The competition’s regional semifinals, held at St. John Fisher College in Rochester for students from Hawley’s district, will be held in March and early April with the finals being held on April 24 at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Since the first competition in 2010, more than 1,130 students have competed with cash prizes being awarded in excess of $1,300,000. More information about the competition can be found at http://www.sunycnse.com/NewYorkBusinessPlanCompetition/2015Program.aspx.  

February 25, 2015                                                                             ___  

CUOMO PLAYING POLITICS WITH TAP FUNDING

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today criticized Gov. Cuomo’s budget negotiation tactic of tying funding for New York’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to passage of the DREAM Act. Hawley said we shouldn’t play politics with college students’ education and it is wrong to link such a vital higher education program to the passage of a politically- tumultuous initiative. 

            “It would be wrong to jeopardize TAP funding, which hundreds of thousands of college students rely on every year because the governor wants to pass a politically controversial initiative,” Hawley said. “With the cost of college and university tuition continuing to rise and student loan debt at an all time high, it is insulting to hold this funding hostage in exchange for providing illegal aliens access to taxpayer-funded tuition assistance.  The average TAP award per student is upwards of $2,500 which, if not available next year, could lead to hundreds of thousands of students being unable to attend a New York college or university.”

            Hawley’s comments come after Gov. Cuomo released his 30-day amendments, which link passage of TAP funding to several education initiatives, including the DREAM Act. The 2015-16 Executive Budget proposal includes an additional $27 million in TAP funding for the DREAM Act. 

February 18, 2015                                                                             ___  

LICENSING LAWS PUNISH MILITARY SPOUSES

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) said today that he intends to push for legislation to allow military spouses’ professional licenses to be held valid in New York if they were obtained in other states. Hawley said New York State should not punish those who wish to continue their career in a state of which their original license was not obtained and the legislature should make this a priority as 47 other states have passed measures to correct this issue. 

            “The current laws do a disservice to families with a member in the armed forces,” Hawley said. “In many cases, spouses of armed service members cannot afford to remain unemployed when they relocate, due to the military obligations of a family member, to an area where their license is not held valid. Those with professional licenses often bring a valuable set of skills to the area where they live, and it would serve our state’s best interests to allow them to practice here. Members on both sides of the aisle have sponsored legislation for several years that would correct this issue, and I will push to see that it gets passed this session.”

            Hawley, a veteran of the Ohio Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves, currently sponsors two separate bills to address this issue. He has been a champion of veterans’ issues during his time in the Assembly as shown by his work as Ranking Minority Member of the Assembly’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee. 

February 14, 2015                                                                             ___  

HAWLEY RESPONDS TO DAILY NEWS REPORT ON OUTSIDE INCOME  

            “I have and always will be an unwavering proponent of stringent ethics reform.  I sponsor legislation that would strip corrupt politicians of their pensions and retirement benefits. I also support the Public Officers Accountability Act, which would institute term limits for legislative leaders, restrict the use of campaign money, and ban corrupt officials from running for future office. I am an honest representative of the people of New York and work eighty hours a week between growing and operating my small business and representing my district in Albany . The chance to give back to my constituents and represent the families and businesses of Western New York is a distinct honor and means more to me than any monetary compensation I receive.”

            “I grew up working on our family farm and have grown my insurance business over the years from one employee to eight, while paying off the previous owner over a ten-year period. Additionally, I was one of only two officials to comply with the Moreland Commission’s investigations into outside income, and my office was found to have no financial, ethical or other conflicts of interest or infractions in December of 2013. Furthermore, I would comply with any other income disclosure requirements that may become law as part of this year’s budget.”

February 11, 2015                                                                             ___  

 Ranzenhofer, Hawley author bill to enact special State law
Legislation would allow rifles for deer hunting in Genesee County


State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Stephen Hawley have introduced special legislation, S.1292/A.4367, in the New York State Legislature to allow the use of rifles for big game hunting in Genesee County.


“In several areas of New York State, sportsmen are allowed to hunt deer with rifles and this change in law would allow the use of rifles in Genesee County,” said Ranzenhofer. “As the this year’s session progresses, Assemblyman Hawley and I will be working together to get this bill signed into law.”
Assemblyman Stephen Hawley is sponsoring the bill in the State Assembly.


“Hunting is very popular in Western New York, and this legislation is being requested on behalf of the Genesee County Legislature. I am pleased to address concerns of local governing bodies from my district and will work with members of the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee to bring this bill to the floor for a vote,” said Hawley.


Last fall, the Genesee County Legislature and the Genesee County Federation of Sportsman Club requested the special legislation to be introduced at the beginning of the 2015 Legislative Session.


Existing environmental conservation law only authorizes the use of pistols, shotguns, crossbows, muzzle loading firearms or long bows when hunting deer from the first Saturday after November 15 through the first Sunday after December 7.
The bill has been referred to the Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation in the Senate. If enacted into law, the bill would take effect immediately.


 

NEW SPEAKER FLIP-FLOPPING ON PRIORITIES

            “The election of Speaker Heastie last week brought hope that ethics reform would be ushered in with the changing of the guard in Albany. We are now beginning to realize that the priorities will likely remain the same despite the leadership change. Speaker Heastie stood tough on ethics reform merely a week ago and now we have learned his focus has shifted to rent control for New York City residents. I would like to say I am surprised, but the more things change the more they stay the same. As the legislature gavels out for its break, we have not heard a murmur of legislative ethics talk and cannot even discuss it until two weeks from now after the legislative break. It will have been almost two months since the opening day of session when we return to the chamber, and still no substantial legislation or ethics package has been voted on. That is unacceptable.”

February 9, 2015                                                                             ___  

FUNDING TO PROTECT

AGRICULTURE AND LOCAL FARMs

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that grant money will be distributed by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund directly to localities in Genesee County for agriculture and farm protection. Hawley said he is proud to announce that this funding is being delivered directly to his district and that agriculture remains one of his top priorities due to its prevalence and economic strength in western New York. 

            “I am proud to announce that $25,000 awards will be given to the towns of Alabama and Oakfield in Genesee County as well as a $50,000 award for the county as a whole,” Hawley said.  “The funding will be used for farmland protection plans and I am confident that our region will continue to lead the way in farming and agricultural development. I have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle during my time in office to advocate on behalf of our farms here in Western New York, many of which are family owned, and it continues to be one of my top priorities as we progress through this year’s legislative session.”

            Towns are required to fund at least 25 percent of the cost to develop an agriculture protection plan and county funding will be used to either update the plans or create new ones.  Local government and farm collaboration is necessary to ensure that each plan promotes the local agriculture industry. Municipalities that have agriculture and farmland protection boards are eligible for these funds and applications can be accessed at http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html.

February 6, 2015                                                                             ___  

RETURN OF GOVERNMENT CONFERENCE  

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) recently announced the return of his government conference to be held in Albany May 3 through May 5. Hawley said the conference is a great opportunity for local officials across his election district to discuss issues related to their counties, towns and municipalities.   

            “I am excited to host the government conference once again,” Hawley said. “There are not enough opportunities for local officials to brainstorm and share ideas and solutions related specifically to the operation of local government. Our trip will partially consist of a number of workshops led by representatives of state agencies and policy experts. I encourage all newly- elected officials to attend the event and use this time to gain valuable insight into the workings of state and local government.”

            Hawley is asking those interested to contact his district office at 585-589-5780 by February 25. The approximate cost of the trip is $450, all inclusive. The local government trip to Albany was originated by Hawley’s father, former Assemblyman R. Stephen Hawley. 

February 4, 2015                                                                             ___   

ELECTION OF SPEAKER HEASTIE

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Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) congratulates newly-elected Speaker Carl Heastie.

            “Now that we have elected new leadership, the first order of business should be enacting much-needed ethics reforms.  If the events of the past few weeks prove anything, it is that we have a unique opportunity to start fresh and for Speaker Heastie to prove that he is tough on ethics reform.  For years, the Assembly Minority Conference and I have been calling for passage of measures such as the Public Officers Accountability Act and forfeiture of pension and retirement benefits for those convicted of certain felonies while serving as public officers.  Today is the dawn of a new day in New York State government, and I hope Speaker Heastie takes the initiative to put us back on the right track.”

February 3, 2015                                                                             ___   

ASSEMBLY MAJORITY LATE TO

THE PARTY FOR ETHICS REFORM

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today reiterated his commitment to ethics reform and preventing future abuses of power in Albany. While the Assembly Minority has pushed for ethics reforms for years, Assembly Majority members are now hypocritically trying to use this opportunity to protect their own reputations and mislead constituents.

            “I have continuously sponsored and worked to draw public attention to legislation that would have prevented the abuses of power and public trust that we have seen the last couple years,” Hawley said. “It is extremely hypocritical for members of the Assembly Majority to be calling for these reforms when they blocked this legislation from coming to the floor for a vote mere months ago. Recent events have proven that narcissism and blind loyalty take precedent over doing what is ethical for many members of the Assembly. We were told that Speaker Silver would not cause a distraction from normal daily operations, but that has clearly not been the case. We are now approaching four weeks since session opened and we have not passed a single piece of legislation. It speaks very little of the representatives comprising the Assembly Majority that they are just now catching on to these common sense ethics reforms.”

            Hawley’s comments come after media has been pressing members of the Legislature to pass sweeping ethics reforms in the wake of Speaker Silver’s arrest. Hawley sponsored legislation first introduced in 2013 that would have stripped pension and retirement benefits from public officials convicted of certain felonies. He also sponsors the Public Officer’s Accountability Act which would impose term limits on legislative leaders and create new crimes against the public trust and failing to report corruption, among other things.

February 2, 2015                                                                             ___   

THRUWAY AUTHORITY INVESTIGATION

PERFECT EXAMPLE OF DYSFUNCTION

            “The news today regarding an investigation into employees of the New York State Thruway Authority allegedly using state-provided phones to arrange meetings with prostitutes is disturbing and speaks to the general dysfunction of the department. It’s repulsive to hear about abuses such as these permeating the leadership of such an important state-run organization. Many members of the Assembly have called out the Thruway Authority for failing to produce a financial plan to fund the repair of the Tappan Zee Bridge and keep tolls from skyrocketing and we are still waiting on a plan.  Whether using taxpayer funded resources to facilitate sex crimes or irresponsibly handling the finances of their own agency, the Thruway Authority continues to miserably fail New Yorkers.”

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