March 2014

March 31, 2014                                                                                     



Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today voted on 10 individual bills that make up the New York State budget. Because the bills are separated, Hawley was able to vote in favor of parts of the budget that help Western New York’s middle-class families, while rejecting pieces that benefit only downstate interests. Among the highlights of the budget that Hawley helped pass are $33 million for the Western New York Science, Technology, and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP), a zero percent income tax for manufacturers, and increased aid of over $800,000 to municipalities because Batavia Downs hosts Video Lottery Terminals (VLT). 

            “The impact that this $33 million in funding for the STAMP project will have on all of Western New York cannot be understated. This project could create up to 10,000 new jobs in our area and become an economic force that benefits local families,” said Hawley. “This is an example of the good things that can happen when all parties work together to help middle-class families. In addition, the zero percent state income tax for manufacturers that we passed will directly benefit the STAMP project, as manufacturing is one of the industries that will be housed there. I thank the governor and Senators Maziarz and Ranzenhofer for helping to bring this project to fruition.” 

            Other initiatives that Hawley helped include in the budget because of their importance to his district are funding for agricultural local assistance programs such as the New York Farm Viability Institute, the Genesee County Agricultural Academy, and the New York State Apple Growers Association, and a $1 million increase in library aid,  more than the governor proposed.

              However, Hawley disagreed with several budget bills: he is disappointed that the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) still remains. The GEA deprives our local school districts of the funding they need to give our children the world-class education they need and deserve. While funding was partially restored, and every school district in Hawley’s Assembly District received an increase in funding, schools are still dealing with a funding gap that threatens the quality of education they can give our children. Hawley vows to keep working to eliminate the GEA.

March 28, 2014                                                                                     


Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is responding to the extreme spike in electric rates, saying this is further evidence of the need to invest in new, cheaper forms of energy, like natural gas and nuclear energy. The steep rise in electric rates was caused by the increased demand for energy to heat homes during this particularly cold winter. Higher demand without a corresponding rise in supply causes an increase in prices. While energy costs will always rise in the winter, if there had been more energy options to increase the supply, the steep rise in home heating costs may not have been as noticeable. 

            “Every winter, Western New Yorkers are reminded of the narrow-minded approach our state has to producing energy to heat homes. High energy costs in winter are caused by a lack of options to heat your home,” said Hawley. “Natural gas and nuclear energy provide options that need to be explored so that middle-class families aren’t burdened with extreme home heating costs. We need to put middle-class families first by providing cheaper home heating options.” 

            Electricity rates are determined by two things; the market for electricity and the cost of delivery. While delivery costs have generally remained constant, the market for electricity can change drastically with supply and demand. Due to the record-breaking winter Upstate New York has experienced, demand for electricity has skyrocketed, and without a corresponding increase in supply, costs go up as well. 

            Electric consumers who want to do something about their rates can switch to fixed rates offered by some providers. This removes the risk of being hit by rate spikes in winter, but also locks you into the same rate even if prices drop due to low energy consumption. Individual consumers will need to do a cost-benefit analysis to see what works the best for them. Other steps consumers can take include saving energy by unplugging appliances and using compact fluorescent lightbulbs, both of which will reduce energy consumption and lower your bill.

            For more information, National Grid has made an online webinar available to anyone who has questions about their rates and how they are calculated. This webinar can be found at

March 25, 2014                                                                                     




Assemblyman Steve Hawley holds signed petitions seekingimproved services for people with developmental disabilities. 

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) brought petitions to Albany this week requesting support for a two-percent pay increase for direct service professionals in the final state budget. This bump in funding would give these professionals a well-deserved raise, while ensuring that people with developmental disabilities receive better services to improve their quality of life. 

            “Direct service professionals who work with the developmentally disabled have been getting squeezed out of the budget process recently. The two-percent increase these compassionate workers are requesting is reasonable and overdue,” said Hawley. “As we wrap up the state budget, I’ll be working to ensure that these workers receive the compensation and respect they deserve.”




            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today voted in favor of legislation to give six percent of state contracts to disabled veteran-owned small businesses. As the ranking minority member on the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, Hawley is pleased to help pass this important bill, which honors his commitment to the well-being of veterans who have made sacrifices for our country. 

            “This is just one small way to demonstrate our appreciation for veterans who were disabled in the line of duty. Disabled veterans understand the value of hard work and sacrifice, and will bring this positive attitude to the work they’ll do for the state,” said Hawley. “I have been working to push this legislation through the Assembly for several years. Now, disabled veterans will have opportunities to transition back into the workforce and make a life for themselves after their service is completed.” 

            The legislation will set aside six percent of state contracts for companies owned by veterans who were disabled in combat. This will help solve one of the biggest problems that disabled veterans face when they return home – the transition back into the civilian workforce. Due to their combat injuries, many disabled veterans are unable to take jobs that require physical labor, and often do not have the qualifications necessary for office jobs. This measure will give disabled veterans a chance to enhance their income for their families.

March 12, 2014                                                                                     


            “The Assembly’s budget proposal was crafted by the downstate interests that have wreaked havoc on upstate New York’s economy for years. The governor’s tax relief proposals, which themselves were not significant, are scaled back even further in the Assembly’s budget. There is no mandate relief whatsoever, without which property taxes will continue to drive families out of upstate. In addition, there is no plan to pay back the education cuts from 2011 (Gap Elimination Adjustment), and our local libraries are not properly funded, creating the risk that our children will not have the resources they need to grow and learn. This is also a bad budget proposal for those who support the Second Amendment of our Constitution, as $3.2 million is devoted to implementing the SAFE Act, and a proposal to legalize crossbows for hunting purposes that the governor included in his budget was omitted here.

            “It is also deeply troubling that the Assembly leadership has included controversial issues like college tuition for illegal immigrants, taxpayer funded political campaigns and medical marijuana. Fortunately, this proposal is not the final product. We will have a chance over the next couple of weeks to fight for measures that provide tax relief for middle-class families and bring decent jobs to upstate New York’s economy.”

March 11, 2014                                                                                     


            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today voted to replace the three members of the Board of Regents up for re-election due to the flawed rollout of Common Core. Though the three were re-elected, Hawley believes a message was sent to the board that the current state of New York’s education system is unacceptable and must be fixed as soon as possible.

            “Parents, students and teachers are all struggling because of Common Core mandates. This year’s election of the Board of Regents was particularly tense because of the pressure to fix the situation in New York classrooms,” said Hawley. “Hopefully, the board has heard the message loud and clear. Now, the responsibility to stop the disastrous effects of Common Core lies squarely at the feet of the governor and the Board of Regents.”

            The state Board of Regents, which steers New York’s education system, is chosen every year by majority vote in a joint session of the Assembly and State Senate. There are 17 members of the Board of Regents, with 13 from each of the state’s judicial districts and four at-large seats.

March 6, 2014                                                                                     


            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) voted to take the first steps to stop Common Core’s negative effects in New York classrooms. The legislation Hawley voted for would end Common Core-aligned testing for grades K-2 and allow parents to prevent their child’s data from being shared with a third party. Hawley considers this an important first step, but will continue to push for a full moratorium on Common Core mandates that put a stop to high-stakes testing and promote a creative learning environment in New York classrooms.

            “While there is still much left to do, this legislation brings us closer to removing Common Core from the classroom. We are going to continue talking to parents, students and teachers and turning their input into initiatives that create a positive, productive learning environment in New York’s schools,” said Hawley. “Now that we got the ball rolling, I call on my colleagues in the Assembly Majority and the State Senate to take the next step and put a moratorium on Common Core’s high-stakes testing until a full review can take place.”

            The measure that would stop Common Core testing in New York classrooms is called the APPLE Plan. This is a comprehensive plan that would place a moratorium on Common Core testing until a full review of the Common Core standards is completed. The APPLE Plan also restores education funding that was cut in 2011 and gives teachers professional resources to further improve their ability to teach our children.


A Message from Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb 

‘Education Reform For Our Kids Represents a True Test of Courage For Legislators, and the Assembly Majority Failed Miserably Today'
“The Assembly Majority has denied students and parents immediate relief from another round of disastrous Common Core tests in April. Instead of fixing a broken program that has hurt New York’s children and families, they have added more pain to an issue that still remains unresolved.
This was our last chance before April to put a moratorium on the Common Core problem. Unfortunately, we still have a testing system in place that adversely impacts students, teachers, curriculum and ignores the challenges children with special needs are facing.
Today we brought the fears and anxieties expressed by children, parents and teachers to the Assembly floor, and attempted to provide an immediate remedy to a tragically flawed public program. As thousands of New Yorkers voiced their distress about Common Core, today’s vote shows that the Majority Conference was not listening.
I am proud that the Assembly Minority Conference has been the first and only legislative body to present a vote that immediately delays continued testing until we get the right program in place. We need comprehensive reforms – not half-measures that fail to fix the root problems.
By voting against our amendment to delay April’s tests, the Majority has forced students and parents to go through another stressful season of Common Core. Education reform for our kids represents a true test of courage for legislators, and the Assembly Majority failed miserably today.”
March 5, 2014                                                                                     



Assemblyman Steve Hawley is pictured with other lawmakers, highway superintendents and highway workers in the State Capitol advocating for local roads. 

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) joined county and town highway superintendents to call for an additional $50 million in state funding to improve local roads and bridges. This funding is necessary to improve New York’s deteriorating local infrastructure, and will also create jobs related to infrastructure improvements. These roads cost each New Yorker an average of $1,600 in damage to vehicles because of roads in disrepair.

            “After a particularly harsh winter, the importance of having well-maintained roads has become clear. We need to make sure that our roads and bridges are safe for the people who rely on them to go about their day to day lives. I stand with highway superintendents across the state in saying that our local roads do matter, and proper funding is critical to keeping them safe,” said Hawley.

March 3, 2014                                                                                     



            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) will hold three town hall meetings on March 8 in Genesee County to discuss the issues and concerns of his constituents. Hawley encourages everyone who has a question about state government matters to attend, voice their concerns, and have an open dialogue with him. The three town hall meetings are scheduled as follows:

City/Town of Batavia
Old Courthouse, Main Floor Conference Room
7 Main Street

Town of Stafford
Stafford Town Hall
8903 Route 237

Village/Town of LeRoy
LeRoy Town Hall
48 Main Street

            “These town hall meetings are for my constituents; if you have questions or concerns about what is happening in Albany, come share them with me. I am here to listen and inform you about the issues that affect our families and communities. I encourage everyone to come, discuss the issues, and learn more about New York State government.”


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