October 2013


October 30, 2013                                                                                  



            I have recently highlighted the newest problem with Governor Cuomo’s overreaching gun control law as another reason to repeal the measure. The State Police have confirmed that they will not begin tracking ammunition background checks and purchasing history on January 15 as planned, due to their inability to compile a proper recording system by that time. This hang up is further proof that the bill was irresponsibly rushed into law.

            The SAFE Act was forced through so hastily that its authors didn’t even properly consider its impact on the very law enforcement agencies charged with upholding it. It is disturbing to think that this would be handled with such little care that a deadline for enforcement would be imposed that our own state police couldn’t be reasonably expected to meet. Between all of the amendments, corrections and corresponding protests from law-abiding gun owners, it could not be more clear that the SAFE Act must be repealed. As a co-sponsor of legislation to do just that, I will continue to fight for our constitutional rights and responsible measures to truly strengthen the safety of our communities.

October 23, 2013                                                                                   


            I am pleased today at the news that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation creating a 2-percent agricultural assessment cap into law. I was a co-sponsor of this cap and I this as crucial to ensuring our farming families can afford to maintain their operations for generations to come.

            Our local farms have felt the squeeze from constantly escalating taxes in recent years. The agricultural assessment will be crucial in giving our farming families some financial breathing room, allowing them to stay on their land for generations to come and continue doing what they do best: producing the locally grown, healthy products our state relies on.

October 11, 2013                                                                                  



            I am promoting a Grant Action News update provided by the Assembly.  This update will keep residents informed about funding opportunities available each month. The list will be posted on my official website when it is released, and is available through social media as well. Interested parties can also sign up for direct mail and email updates through the Assembly.

Individuals, organizations and municipalities are all struggling in our lagging economy, and the information contained in the Grant Action News update can provide critical assistance. From transportation projects to family care-giving, educational programs and a host of other issues, these grants can provide a critical boost for people in our community. I encourage local residents to review this month’s list and see what help is available to them.

            The monthly updates are available under the “Important Links” section of Assemblyman Hawley’s official website at http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Stephen-Hawley/. Grants for the month of October include:

            State level:

  • The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Refugee Health Program seeks applications from qualified licensed health care providers/agencies located throughout New York State (except New York City) to provide health assessments for new refugee arrivals to the state. The refugee health assessment is designed to: identify individuals with health conditions not observed during or developing after the overseas exam; initiate appropriate immunizations; ensure refugees with problems identified are referred to primary and specialty care; eliminate barriers to successful resettlement; and protect the health of the US population.

            Federal level:

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is now accepting applications for its Social and Behavioral Interventions to Increase Solid Organ Donation grant program. The overall goal of this grant program is to reduce the gap between the demand for organ transplants and the supply of organs from deceased donors by identifying successful strategies that can serve as model interventions to increase deceased organ donation registration or family consent.
  • IMLS Museums for America (MFA) has announced its funding opportunity to support projects that strengthen the ability of an individual museum to serve its public. MFA grants support activities that strengthen museums as active resources for lifelong learning; as important institutions in the establishment of livable communities; and as good stewards of the nation’s collections. MFA grants can fund both new and ongoing museum activities and programs.

            Private level:

  • Parks & Trails New York is offering a new round of Growing the Grassroots Capacity Building Grants to enhance the long-term sustainability of park and trail not-for-profit organizations by helping them better fulfill their missions; improve their reach, effectiveness, and impact; leverage resources; and increase community support for, and involvement in, park and trail planning, development and/or stewardship.
  • The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) Documentary Fund furthers the development of exceptional character-driven, non-fiction works that spotlight contemporary themes with an original focus and bold, creative filmmaking. This fund allows TFI to fund many audience-grabbing genres that fall under the documentary umbrella including arts, sports, hybrid and experimental projects.

      Scholar awards:

·        Sodexo Foundation is now accepting applications for its Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship program. Through scholarship awards, Sodexo Foundation recognizes and rewards students who are driving awareness and mobilizing youth to be catalysts for innovative models and solutions to eliminate hunger across the country.

·        The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago invite outstanding doctoral students to apply for the Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being. These fellowships are designed to identify and develop a new generation of leaders interested in and capable of creating practice and policy initiatives that will enhance child development and improve the nation’s ability to prevent all forms of child maltreatment.

October 7, 2013                                                                                  




October 7, 2013                                                                                  



            Petty, party-line politics have halted business in Washington D.C., leaving many Americans with a distrust and disinterest in government at all levels. It is truly disheartening to see such issues casting a pall on the institution of public service, and it will take time to rebuild the trust that is eroding as we speak. There is an aspect of the federal government shutdown where no time can be wasted, however: the re-opening of the monuments and memorials dedicated to the honorable men and women who have sacrificed for our country.

            Over the last six years, I have had the honor of leading an annual Patriot Trip with local veterans to Washington D.C., visiting the sites and venues dedicated to their service. Throughout the course of the trip, more than 650 veterans and family members have embarked on this emotional journey, which has featured many of the monuments and memorials currently shut down due to gridlock within the federal government. This year’s trip included veterans from the World War II, Korean and Vietnam War eras who put their lives on the line in defense of our freedom and way of life. I cannot imagine showing up with my bus full of veterans and having to tell them their government would not allow them to experience the structures specifically meant to recognize their personal sacrifice.

            The mere fact that open-air venues would be closed off to the public illustrates just how far the government has gone astray. While departments, employees and entities have been deemed “non-essential” and had their operations put on hold, it’s actually taking effort to keep veterans away from these destinations. Conversely, the groups of veterans who have broken through the barricades at the World War II memorial show the indomitable spirit of our servicemen and women. As always, these veterans have shown that strength in one’s convictions and a willingness to let actions speak louder than words will always win the day. This is a lesson from which many of the people responsible for the government shutdown could stand to learn.

            As Ranking Minority Member on the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs, I understand that government must step up to the plate to recognize and honor the sacrifice made by our courageous heroes. If government can’t get that right, then I can’t blame the American public for being disheartened. I urge the National Park Service to right this wrong and re-open these monuments and memorials at once, not only to honor our veterans, but to show that government is capable of fulfilling its most basic and essential duties.


October 4, 2013                                                                                  


            I am promoting a new program allowing qualified veterans to list their service status on their driver license, permit or non-driver ID. The indication will not only recognize their sacrifice, but make it easier for them to access benefits and opportunities rightly afforded to them in honor of their service.

The veteran designation is a way to display the pride one feels for their service and sacrifice, and also a great way to facilitate access to the benefits and resources our veterans deserve. Many businesses and organizations offer discounts and perks to our courageous veterans, and this new feature on IDs will make accessing those benefits easier. This is a great program that I hope all of our heroic service men and women take advantage of.

            The program is available to all honorably-discharged veterans of the US Armed Forces. In order to obtain this status from the DMV, applicants must mark the appropriate box on the application form (MV-44 or MV-2) and show their original Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214), which states either “Honorable” or “Under Honorable Conditions” in the “Character of Service” section. Eligible veterans who request to have this status from the DMV will have the word “Veteran” printed on the upper left corner of their newly-issued driver license, permit or non-driver ID. There are no additional fees for qualified veterans to receive the status on their driver license or non-driver ID. However, the regular fees for an original license or non-driver ID, a license or non-driver ID renewal or a duplicate driver license or non-driver ID still apply. Applicants may apply either through the mail at renewal time (a photocopy of the DD-214 form is acceptable) or by visiting their local DMV office for a renewal or replacement document. The licenses cannot be ordered by phone or online.


October 3, 2013                                                                                  


            I was recently named to the Farm Bureau’s 2013 Circle of Friends list, which recognizes members of the state legislature for their support of New York’s farming industry. The honor is based upon each legislator’s voting record on issues of agricultural importance, sponsorship of bills that New York Farm Bureau supports, and opposition to policies that the organization has deemed harmful to farming.

Farming is both the engine that drives our economy and an integral part of our way of life in Western New York. Providing our family farms with the support they need to stay competitive and prosperous in our global economy has been a top priority of mine throughout my time in the Assembly, and I remain committed to strengthening our proud, agricultural heritage. I have worked with the Farm Bureau on many critical issues over the years and I look forward to partnering with them in the future.

            I am a member of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, a past president of the Farm Bureau and former owner and operator of Hawley Farms.


October 2, 2013                                                                                  


            Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed legislation, co-sponsored by myself, which restores funding for programs and services for the developmentally disabled.  I fought against a $90 million cut to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) during this year’s budget deliberations and backed a plan to reallocate money from a program providing tax credits for movies and television shows to close the gap. The legislation signed by the governor will ensure that the families and individuals who rely on OPWDD will receive the treatment they deserve.

            Reducing funding for programs and services that developmentally disabled New Yorkers rely on was a terrible idea from the start, and I am extremely thankful that our bipartisan effort was able to right this wrong. I’ve seen firsthand the amount of effort and compassion that goes into care for the developmentally disabled, and it is our responsibility to make sure that New York continues to take care of its most vulnerable citizens. The signing of this bill marks a victory for all those who believe people are more important than politics, and I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together on this critical issue.


October 1, 2013                                                                                  


October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information about the disease, and provide greater access to services. I am encouraging women to contact the Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program to schedule a mammogram as soon as possible.

Early detection is a critical tool in the fight against breast cancer, and October serves as a reminder that mammograms save lives. While we must be vigilant all year long, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time to refocus our efforts and encourage our friends and family to get examined as soon as possible.

            For more information and to locate an accredited mammography facility near you, call the Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program at 1-800-877-8077 or visit the website at www.adelphi.edu/nysbreastcancer. The hotline also offers emotional support from trained volunteers, many of whom are women who have survived breast cancer. All services are provided free of charge.

            The hotline has been operating in New York since 1980 and is a project of the Adelphi University School of Social Work on Long Island.


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