June 2015

June 25, 2015                            ___                                                           ___

HAWLEY: ASSEMBLY FINALLY STEPS UP FOR VETS, BUY-BACK BILL RECEIVES OVERWHELMING SUPPORT

          Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today applauded the veterans’ buy-back bill that overwhelmingly passed the Assembly Wednesday. The bill, A.8174-A, will allow veterans to purchase up to three years of their military service from New York State toward their public retirement benefits. Hawley, Minority Member of the Assembly’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee, called for a vote on the bill in May.

            “As the son of a veteran and a veteran myself, I know first-hand the sacrifice and commitment it takes to serve in the armed forces,” Hawley said. “I called on legislative leaders back in May to bring this bill to the floor for a vote and I am proud to see we are showing appreciation for some of New York’s most courageous men and women. Unlike a similar bill that was passed by both houses and vetoed by the governor last year, this bill includes a state appropriation to fund the program so it will not cause financial hardship to counties and municipalities. Gov. Cuomo should do the right thing and sign this bill into law immediately.”


 

HAWLEY: UPSTATE IGNORED AS ‘CORRUPTION SESSION’ COMES TO A CLOSE

            “This year’s session has been extremely dysfunctional and marred by gridlock and controversy. We saw the downfall of two of Albany’s most powerful elected officials, yet there has been little to no meaningful ethics reform passed despite consistent pressure from the Assembly Minority Conference. Gridlock epitomized the waning days of session and the divide between upstate and downstate became much more apparent.”

            “As upstate businesses continue to struggle and middle-class New York is eroding, legislative leaders selfishly negotiated rent control as their end-of-session priority, an issue virtually meaningless to upstate New York.”

            “The extended negotiations between the ‘three men in a room’ cost taxpayers almost $40,000 per day for the per diem and travel expenses for the 213 legislators that were required to remain in Albany. We have been in session for a total of 14 hours this week, so that amounts to an extra $160,000, or $11,429 per hour in session, paid for by taxpayers. These extended negotiations are an affront to hardworking citizens of our state. ”


 

HAWLEY: ‘BIG UGLY’ BILL LIVES UP TO ITS NAME

A statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia)

            “Tonight I voted against an omnibus legislation rushed through the legislative process on the final day of session because it contained a variety of poorly constructed bills. Despite the inclusion of mild tax rebates in the bill, we have not accounted for postage, printing, processing and personnel to construct and mail out property-tax rebate checks. These added costs will surely be paid for by taxpayers and will drain resources from other areas of future budgets, such as education and infrastructure aid. Furthermore, these checks will substantially increase and be mailed out only days before Gov. Cuomo’s re-election in 2018. We should not be buying votes with taxpayer dollars.

            “The ‘Big Ugly’ bill fails to address the root cause of soaring property-taxes in New York State: unfunded mandates. The average state receives 2% of its revenue as transfers from local governments while New York receives 15% of its revenue from local governments. In shifting roughly 1/7 of the costs of the state to local governments, we have forced them to raise property-taxes to make up the lost revenue. This is shameful and irresponsible governing. Tax rebate checks or a property-tax cap will not solve our state’s rising property-taxes. This must be done at the state level by refusing to shift costs to our localities.”

            “It is ridiculous that in this legislation, Gov. Cuomo was granted the power to wed individuals. That power should be held by religious figures and justices of the peace. For these reasons I am disappointed in this bill and voted against it for these reasons.”

June 20, 2015                            ___                                                           ___

HAWLEY APPLAUDS $75 MILLION FOR PAVING PROJECTS, INCREASED ROAD REPAIRS

          Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today applauded the announcement of $75 million in paving projects spanning 428 miles of state highways across New York State. The level of repairs will be determined on a case-by-case basis and includes paving over rough areas of road, resurfacing stretches of highway, installing a new asphalt riding surface and repairing base concrete. Hawley was pleased to have the opportunity to announce this program to his constituents and commented on its particular usefulness in battling the effects of harsh Western New York winters.

            “I am pleased to inform my constituents that major road repairs and infrastructure upgrades will be taking place in my district,” Hawley said. “An accelerated paving program will be taking place on Route 98 from Route 31A in the Village of Albion to Route 104 in the Town of Gaines. Record cold temperatures the past two winters have wreaked havoc on our roads and these repairs will improve safety for drivers and motorcyclists, increase gas mileage and reduce the frequency drivers must make tire and suspension repairs on their vehicles. Infrastructure plays a vital role in a strong economy and I am proud to announce this funding for the businesses and families that use these roadways on a daily basis.”

June 19, 2015                            ___                                                           ___ 

SENATE, ASSEMBLY PASS BILL PROVIDING TAX INCENTIVES TO RENOVATE ZOMBIE PROPERTIES

          Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced that a bill he introduced to provide tax incentives to renovate zombie properties in the City of Batavia, A.7570-A/S.5196A, was passed by the Assembly and Senate on Thursday. The legislation establishes a program giving property-tax assessment incentives to residents of Batavia who purchase and renovate dilapidated single-family properties. The program, if successful, could be allowed in other cities statewide.

            “I was pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Senator Ranzenhofer to ensure that this legislation passed both houses before the end of session,” Hawley said. “Zombie properties have plagued Batavia for years and this is a monumental step toward addressing the issue. Residents who purchase these dilapidated properties will be given a property-tax exemption to help alleviate the financial burden of repairs made to the home. This will ensure that home renovation costs do not exceed property value. Also, the legislation protects against large real estate companies buying many properties and subdividing them into apartments or multiple-family dwellings. The bill will now be sent to the governor for his signature. If it receives his approval the program will take effect immediately.”

            Senator Michael Ranzenhofer carried the bill in the Senate and Hawley applauded his efforts and said he is pleased to have worked with him.

            “By spurring redevelopment of vacant homes, this innovative program will help to benefit all taxpayers.  For prospective home buyers, it will provide a real incentive to make costly repairs to a distressed home.  For neighbors, it will make their street a better place to live and prevent their home values from being depressed.  For all taxpayers, it will help to dilute the burden of property taxes by adding more properties with higher valuations to the tax rolls,” said Ranzenhofer.  “I am hopeful that the Governor will sign it into law.”

June 16, 2015                            ___                                                           ___

ASSEMBLY PASSES BIG GAME RIFLE HUNTING IN GENESEE COUNTY

          Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced that the Assembly has passed a bill to authorize big game rifle hunting in Genesee County. Assembly Bill 4367-A passed the house Monday and passed the Senate earlier this year. Hawley, a longtime proponent of sportsmen and an opponent of the SAFE-Act, introduced the legislation in January.

            “As an unwavering supporter of sportsmen and the Second Amendment, I am proud to announce that my legislation has overwhelmingly passed the Assembly and will be sent to the governor for his signature,” Hawley said. “Deer hunting is a mainstay here in Western New York and many families rely on venison as a viable substitute as grocery store meat prices continue to rise. The exhilaration of a young hunter getting his or her first buck cannot be replicated and I am proud to have made that possible.”


 

HAWLEY ENCOURAGES STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN ASSEMBLY SUMMER READING CHALLENGE

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced the 2015 Assembly Summer Reading Challenge and encouraged students in his district to participate. The program, in cooperation with Summer Reading at New York Libraries, starts at the beginning of July and requires students to read at least 15 minutes for at least 40 days during the months of July and August in order to complete the challenge. Students are provided with a pamphlet of suggested books and those who complete the challenge will be honored by Hawley with a certificate. This year’s theme is “Every hero has a story.”

            “I am excited to announce this year’s Assembly Summer Reading Challenge in elementary and middle school,” Hawley said. “The importance of reading cannot be overstated and studies show that summer reading allows children to return to school more prepared in the fall and increases their potential for success the following year. There is often a pejorative stigma associated with summertime reading, when in fact, books can enhance our imagination, creativity and ability to process information. I am encouraging all students in my district to find their favorite outdoor spot this summer and relax with a good book because the possibilities are endless!”


 

HAWLEY RECOGNIZES LOCAL TOWNS FOR MAKING STATE AND NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today recognized the Park-State Historic District in the Village of Brockport and the Holley Village Historic District in the Village of Holley for their recommendation to the State and National Registry of Historic Places. Both villages, represented by Hawley in the Assembly, were recommended by the New York State Board for Historic Preservation along with 24 other properties, districts and resources on Friday.

  “The villages of Brockport and Holley are exceptional places to live and receive an education,” Hawley said. “Brockport has transformed over the last two centuries from an industrial and commercial hub to a thriving village thanks to the addition of The College at Brockport. The Village of Holley is rich with history as its main development came during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Now it is home to many residential neighborhoods and thriving businesses. I am proud to represent both villages in Albany.”


 

ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL TO ALLEVIATE ZONE PRICING FOR GASOLINE

          Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced that the Assembly passed legislation he multi-sponsors to end the unfair practice of geographic zone pricing regarding gasoline sales. Hawley has been a leading opponent of this practice and has written to former Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and current Attorney General Eric Schneiderman urging them to investigate the practice in Genesee and Orleans counties.

            “I am proud to announce that the Assembly has finally taken measures to end the unfair practice of zone pricing, known as gouging, for gasoline sales in my district and across New York State,” Hawley said. “Three separate undercover investigations conducted by two different attorneys general have found that gasoline prices were excessively higher in Genesee and Orleans counties than in neighboring counties. Many families in my district are still struggling to pay their bills and remain in their homes and affording a full tank of gas should be the least of their concerns. This bill mandates the New York State Attorney General to enforce the fair zoning of gasoline prices statewide, an initiative I have called for several times. I am relieved that this bill offers relief from the unethical tactics used by petroleum companies to fix gasoline prices in my district.”

June 15, 2015                            ___                                                           ___

‘CORRUPTION SESSION’ HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR ETHICS REFORM

          Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today outlined his priorities for the last scheduled week of the legislative session. He pushed for the Assembly to take up real ethics reform, including passage of a bill that would strip public officials of their pension and retirement benefits for abusing their office.

            “Looking back on this year’s session, I can’t help but label it the corruption session,” Hawley said. “If the fall of two of Albany’s most powerful politicians has taught us anything, it is that we need to prevent future abuses of the public trust. I called on legislative leaders last week to pass pension forfeiture for corrupt politicians and my request has fallen on deaf ears. With only days left in Albany, let’s put integrity back into government and show our citizens we are for real when it comes to ethics reform.”

            Hawley, a small-business owner for over four decades with years of experience in the agriculture and insurance industries, commented on the lack of pro-business initiatives during this year’s session.

            “New York is certainly not open for business as the governor claims,” Hawley said. “It is no wonder that businesses continue to move out of New York State in search of less oppressive economic climates. This year’s budget brought virtually no tax or regulatory relief for our business owners and reinforced the exorbitant tax breaks given to the select few companies who participated in the START-UP NY program. This program has proven to be a dismally costly initiative which needs to be shut down immediately to cut our losses. We still have time to bring the Small Business Full Employment Act, A.5898, to the floor for a vote and leave session having accomplished something meaningful for the thousands of family-owned small businesses across the state.”

June 11, 2015                            ___                                                           ___

HAWLEY HOSTS WESTERN NY REALTORS IN ALBANY


WNY_Realtors_6-11-15.jpg 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) (left) hosts the Buffalo-Niagara Board of Realtors in his legislative office Tuesday

          Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) met with the Buffalo-Niagara Board of Realtors on Tuesday in his Albany office. The group represents a wide array of property managers, appraisers, bankers, attorneys and real estate agents who advocate for legislation benefiting the real estate profession.

            “I was happy to meet with great minds and leaders from the real estate profession on Tuesday,” Hawley said. “The real estate market has yet to make a full recovery in New York State after the great recession, and skyrocketing property taxes statewide are making success in the profession very difficult. I was pleased to hear the concerns and input from industry leaders and pledged my continued support for their business as we near the end of the legislative session.”

June 10, 2015                            ___                                                           ___

START-UP NY A FAILED BUSINESS VENTURE

           Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today criticized Gov. Cuomo’s economic development strategy, START-UP NY, which establishes exclusive tax-free zones on and near college and university centers where new businesses can re-locate from outside New York State. The program has spent over $200 million in taxpayer money for advertisements and tax breaks, yet only 76 jobs have been created since the program’s inception.

            “As an owner of small businesses for over four decades, I know what it takes to grow New York’s economy and create jobs,” Hawley said. “When this program began, I had high hopes it would help create jobs and pull New York’s economy out of the gutter, but now we can see it is a very bad investment and waste of taxpayer money. In business if you try something new and it doesn’t work, you cut your losses. Spending over $2 million to create ONE job is an abysmal return on investment. A real solution is the Small Business Full Employment Act, A.5898, which would cut taxes and reduce regulations as a means of job growth.”

            Hawley’s comments come after members of the Assembly Minority Conference held a press conference this morning in Albany calling for the shut down of START-UP NY.

June 9, 2015                            ___                                                           ___

 ASSEMBLY MAJORITY WEAK ON ETHICS REFORM, PENSION FORFEITURE BILL TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE

 Ethics_Presser.jpg

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) (far left) today joined his Assembly Minority colleagues to call for comprehensive ethics reform in the final days of session

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today attended a press conference held by Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) criticizing the Assembly Majority for its unwillingness to pass a comprehensive pension forfeiture bill before the end of session. A bill that is expected to reach the floor for a vote today has no Senate companion and exempts large labor unions from pension forfeiture even in the event a member is convicted of corruption related to their position in state government.

            “We are sending the wrong message by passing a watered-down pension forfeiture bill that makes exemptions for groups traditionally loyal to the Assembly Majority,” Hawley said. “Our conference has been at the forefront of ethics reform for years and yet our calls have been ignored by the Assembly leadership. It is time that we send a message to corrupt politicians that they cannot ride into the sunset on the coattails of taxpayers.”

June 3, 2015                            ___                                                           ___

103 NEW JOBS FOR CORRECTIONS OFFICERS, LONG AWAITED HELP FOR NYSCOPBA

          Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today commended the creation of over 100 new jobs for corrections officers around the state. The new positions will help offset the recent increased violence in prisons related to changes in the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the infiltration of synthetic marijuana into facilities across the state. Hawley was pleased to see that more is being done to protect local communities and that the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (NYSCOPBA) is receiving more state resources to keep its members safe.

            “New York State has several extremely dangerous maximum security prisons that need increased resources,” Hawley said. “On behalf of local NYSCOPBA chapters and members, I am pleased to hear that the state will be hiring over 100 new employees to protect our prisons and surrounding communities. The additional officers will be employed at prisons that completed a security staffing review for the 2014-15 fiscal year. Corrections officers have one of the most dangerous roles in law enforcement, but their success is paramount to keeping violent criminals behind bars and out of society. It is unfortunate that they are often put on the back burner to traditional police officers because they are just as crucial to society’s safety. I will continue to support NYSCOPBA and corrections officers across the state during my time in the Legislature.”

June 2, 2015                            ___                                                           ___

HAWLEY ANNOUNCES MINORITY AND WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES EXPO

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced that the Finger Lakes Regional Minority and Women Owned Business (MWBE) Opportunities Expo will take place Friday, June 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at SUNY Brockport’s Rochester Educational Opportunity Center (REOC) located at 161 Chestnut Street in Rochester.

            “I am proud to announce that this expo will be held in conjunction with a major educational institution in my district,” Hawley said. “Not only will the conference feature key discussions regarding the Regional Economic Development Councils and important projects in the Finger Lakes Region, but it will also help MWBE members capitalize on business and employment opportunities in our area. As a small-business owner for over four decades, I know the difficulties faced by business owners in New York State. We owe every group the opportunity to become successful entrepreneurs and we must pay special attention to the inclusion of minority and women owned businesses in New York State.”

            The event will feature a multitude of workshops and discussions that will provide valuable information for minority and women owned businesses in New York State. For more information about the program, please visit, http://www.esd.ny.gov/MWBE.html.  

June 1, 2015                            ___                                                           ___

DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES SHOULD NOT SELL DRIVERS’ PERSONAL INFO

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today called on the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to stop selling drivers’ personal information without their consent to for-profit companies. The DMV reportedly raked in $60 million from the practice last year. Hawley was appalled and astonished that this has been happening without the consent of citizens and called on the DMV and governor’s office to end the process immediately.

            “It’s appalling that in this day of technology and misuse of personal information that we would compromise New Yorkers, without their knowledge, in order to generate revenue,” Hawley said. “In an age where cyber crimes and identity theft are at an all-time high, it is unacceptable that our own state government would conduct a practice that increases residents’ susceptibility to these serious crimes. We have no idea exactly what information is being sold, to whom it is being sold, and what these for-profit companies are doing with the data. I plan to sponsor legislation that will stop this practice unless drivers consent and I will make this a priority during the last three weeks of session.”

            Assembly Bill 2509, a bipartisan effort, addresses this issue and currently awaits action in the Assembly Committee on Transportation. To sign the petition against this practice, use the following link, http://bit.ly/1HuIK8P.

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