September - December 2020

DECember 31, 2020                                                                                                   


With all the negativity and anxiety that has run rampant through the public consciousness in the last year, as we move into 2021, I think we should look back at 2020 and take pride in the strength we showed as a people. In a matter of months our lives were flipped upside down, as everybody from young children to the elderly had to adapt to the unthinkable circumstances we live with today


From getting used to mask-wearing, bearing with new technologies, and learning to go with less physical contact from the people we love, we have all done our part to face this unprecedented challenge to both our public health and economic well-being. As the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine continues to accelerate in the months to come, I hope we can look to the future with hope and look back at these times in the same way we look at the sacrifices made by our greatest generation during World War II, as people changed the way they live for the sake of their neighbors and their country.


What I would like in 2021 is to see the ability to adapt to changing circumstances displayed by the people of our state emulated within our state government. Just as families throughout the state learned to tighten their budgets and focus on what’s truly essential in this period of hardship, our state Legislature should also look at cutting out spending we don’t need and focusing on what’s really important. Wasteful spending on things like tax breaks for movie studios and extra political advisors for our Governor is unconscionable in a time when more small businesses and restaurants are being forced to close their doors by the day. 


This holiday season and throughout the year families looked within their own communities as they purchased gifts and necessities, and just as the people of our state have gone out of their way to support their local institutions, we should act as a state to support our small businesses, small landlords and restaurants that have endured a massive drop in revenue during the pandemic. We should be talking with local stakeholders in these industries and talk about how they can do more, not less, business in our state, and what we can do to support their success in terms of both fiscal and regulatory policy. When small businesses succeed, families prosper, and in 2021 I want to bring the voices of small business owners to the forefront of our conversations in Albany, as they know better than anybody what needs to be done to help them grow and thrive.


2021 might end up being the best year we’ve seen in a long time, but only if the Legislature learns from its mistakes and acts with the same toughness and adaptability the people of our state have. New Yorkers deserve a government as tough and as compassionate as they’ve been throughout this year, and I am hopeful that if the Legislature gets smarter with spending and listens more to people affected by the policies they create, that 2021 will be the dawn of a new and brighter day for our state. With that said, I wish a happy and healthy New Year to all of my friends and neighbors!


During today’s legislative session, the Assembly Minority presented amendments intended to curtail the governor’s expanded authorities and provide greater balance and accountability in the “COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act” (A.11181). The Assembly Majority rejected each proposal. 

Earlier this month, members of the Assembly Minority wrote to conference leaders, including Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, urging lawmakers to rein in Gov. Cuomo’s unilateral powers as soon as the Legislature reconvenes. Despite 10 months of expanded authority and laws created by executive order rather than the legislative process, the Assembly Majority declined to take action.

“Our constituents deserve to have their voices heard in our government, and I am saddened the Majority has decided to deprive New Yorkers of their representation in state government by allowing the Governor’s unnecessary executive authority to persist,” Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) said. “This authority has long outlived its usefulness, and at this point a return to normal, constitutional governance is overdue.”

In addition, the Assembly Minority offered amendments to add protections for small businesses and small landlords also suffering losses as a result of the COVID-19 economic collapse. The “COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act” creates a hardship declaration that effectively ends residential eviction and foreclosure proceedings until May 1, 2021. Members of the Assembly Minority proposed the same protections provided to residential tenants be offered to small landlords and businesses as a way to alleviate financial pressures and allow thousands of job creators and individuals to begin their recovery.

    The three amendments proposed today intended to:

  • Restore legislative checks and balances for emergency declarations exceeding 45 days and ensure judicial due process rights for any actions that affect fundamental constitutional rights (A.10546, Goodell).

  • Provide the same protections extended to residential tenants in A.11181 to small businesses also facing mortgage and tax foreclosures. Also extend foreclosure protections to small landlords who are not covered by the bill in chief.

  • Require hardship declarations to include a statement, under penalty of perjury, that tenants have used their best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing, and to make timely partial payments that are as close to full payments as their circumstances permit.


Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) has received his committee assignments for the upcoming legislative year, and will be serving on the committees for Agriculture, Insurance, Rules, Veterans’ Affairs and Ways and Means. Additionally, Hawley has also been re-appointed as Deputy Minority Leader of the Assembly Republican Conference.


“I am honored to have been chosen once again to serve our conference as Deputy Minority Leader, and look forward to continuing to use my role in our conference to give a voice to the people of the 139th Assembly District, as well as working people and families from all walks of life throughout our state.”

DECember 18, 2020                                                                                                   



Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) rallied alongside his Assembly Republican colleagues in a letter to President Trump requesting that he assist them in obtaining data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state, including those in nursing homes. For months now, we have written to the director of the CDC, Robert Redfield, requesting this information but have not been provided with a firm number of COVID-19 fatalities in New York state. In a hearing in August, NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker also refused to provide this data, stating he was concerned it would not be fully accurate.


“When thousands of people die, families deserve answers,” said Hawley. “Giving the families that suffered irreplaceable losses closure on this matter is the least we could do for them, and we need to know as much about this tragedy as we can to assure we never endure loss like this again. For these reasons, I ask the president to direct the CDC to release this information and give New Yorkers the answers they deserve regarding this unthinkable loss of life.”






Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) joined in a letter with his Assembly Republican colleagues to call on Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to demand the Legislature pass legislation to curb Gov. Cuomo’s emergency powers, which have persisted since March. The governor has used his emergency powers to implement several directives unilaterally, and Hawley believes his emergency authority has been too expansive and lasted too long.


“New Yorkers deserve a return to representative government,” said Hawley. “The problems that have emerged during this pandemic are too complex for one man to handle, and our constituents deserve to have their concerns voiced by the representatives they elected to speak on behalf of their unique districts. The Governor failed the people of our state in 2020 with mismanagement of this pandemic which left businesses in countless industries closed and without income for far too long, and we owe it to them to do better and take local factors more strongly into consideration before shutting down local businesses that people rely on to feed their families.”









Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) joined several of his Assembly colleagues in a letter to FEMA seeking to ensure adequate funding for projects necessary to protect Great Lakes shoreline communities and surrounding habitats. Within the letter to FEMA Administrator Peter T. Gaynor, Hawley and others requested the federal government to omit cost-sharing requirements that may come with a potential FEMA grant due to the state’s financial constraints.


“The people of our shoreline communities have already had to manage both flooding in recent years as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. If we do not prepare now for future flooding, things could become much worse for them given rising water levels in the Great Lakes,” said Hawley. “We need to be proactive in preparing our infrastructure for rising water levels, because every day we are not the problems our shoreline communities will have to face become more dire.”

DECember 7, 2020                                                                                                     


A Column from the Desk of Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia)

               Seventy-nine years ago, America was attacked by Imperial Japanese forces. The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was the day that officially forced the hand of the United States into the conflict that would come to be known as World War II.

That day saw much tragedy, as did the months and years of conflict following it, which is why we remember it today. Being so far removed from the attack, it can be challenging for current generations to reflect on why exactly this day is so important. In a time when global war was once again on the rise, and recognizing America’s strength and influence, our enemies had coordinated an attempt to prevent us from pushing back against their own plans of expansion and domination. And in a time when the world was truly just beginning to open itself up, to globalize in the political, social, and economic sense that we know it today, many world powers were making their claim for dominion wherever they could.

            Reflecting on the Attack on Pearl Harbor today can bring up many diverse and confusing feelings, especially with where the country is today. Despite the clear, distinct, and harsh rivalry America and Japan had as a result of this attack, today, we remain some of the strongest allies to each other. Despite America’s commitment to the freedom and prosperity of its citizens, there was a period following this attack that many American citizens of Japanese descent saw their freedoms stripped for the sake of aggressive security measures, such as with the case of Fred Korematsu. Tensions rose within the country as a result, leading to a lot of social strife, which was only exacerbated with America’s entry into the war and joining the fight on the Western Front.

            This is a day of remembrance: for what followed, absolutely, but also in recognition of the brave heroes who fought in the face of true adversity, in the face of a complete surprise, in the face of losing everything in an instant. Wartime tactics like these aren’t seen often, and aren’t publicized the way Pearl Harbor was; and to know that there were still soldiers, sailors, airmen, nurses and civilians fighting through those wee hours in the morning to get to another day, to save their fellow American, and to push back against aggression, is something worth remembering.

            In the aftermath, 15 Medals of Honor were given. 51 Navy Crosses. 53 Silver Stars. Four Navy and Marine Corps Medals. One Distinguished Flying Cross. Four Distinguished Service Crosses. One Distinguished Service Medal. Three Bronze Star Medals. And following the attack, the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal was given to all veterans of the attack. These tokens of recognition serve as but a small way to show to America, and indeed to the rest of the world, the courage, bravery, and sacrifice those men and women gave all those years ago. Because that’s what we think about when we remember Pearl Harbor.


               Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) and Sen. Robert Ortt (R,C,I-North Tonawanda) are celebrating passage of their legislation which designates a portion of New York State Route 31 in the town of Albion as the “Charles W. Howard Memorial Highway.” Howard was a lifelong resident of Albion, nationally recognized as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Santa Claus for 18 years and founder of the world’s first Santa Claus school. Hawley and Ortt were thrilled to honor Howard (Santa Claus) for his achievements and dedication to the community.  

“Mr. Howard was known for his hard work, his love for community and his jolly spirit; he represented the best any New Yorker could hope to achieve,” said Hawley. “With this highway dedication and the committed partnership of Sen. Ortt, Western New York has finally given the man the recognition and reverence he deserves. This holiday season and  year-round, we can all learn from Charles about how to be good neighbors, how to work to spread cheer and joy and how to live life to the fullest.”

november 11, 2020                                                                                                   


A Column from the Desk of Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia)

            As another year passes, with just as many challenges (or certainly more so) as in years previous, we arrive at yet another Veterans Day. Like many federal holidays or days of remembrance, it may sometimes be easy for us to forget why we have days like this dedicated in the first place. Between the large-scale issues that face us today and the minutia of our lives, we can easily forget why we celebrate as we do. Veterans Day is here to remind us why.

            To serve one’s country on the battlefield is one of the most selfless things a person can do. Our nation has a proud history of innumerable servicemen and women giving themselves to the country, to ensure our safety and security, and to protect the prosperity in our country today. That sacrifice cannot be understated.

            As veterans, our soldiers, sailors and airmen and women alike all face unique challenges when leaving service or retiring. What these folks see and do would shock even the most accomplished individuals. There’s truly nothing like the work our veterans do; that’s why we dedicate this day to honoring and remembering them. It’s not just a day for department stores to get rid of some over-stocked goods or a day to throw  a fun parade for the town. The true essence of Veterans Day is about showing reverence and thanks to those who have given it all so  we can have it all. Remember their sacrifices today, and remember to thank a veteran when you see one. God bless America.

november 4, 2020                                                                                                   


A Column from the Desk of Assemblyman Steve Hawley

               I am drafting this letter to thank each and every person that voted for me. This tenure as your State Assemblyman for the 139th district has been a wonderful experience, and I am proud to continue to serve as your Assemblyman.

            And while there is certainly celebrating to do and thanks to go around, I want to assure you that as the new session starts up in January, I am just as committed as ever to making the voice of Western New York heard.

            I will continue to fight for local and small businesses that need support from the state following the COVID-19 lockdowns, for their economic success means a strong economy for New York. I will continue to hold the majority party accountable when they try to play fast-and-loose with the laws and the God-given rights of citizens. I will push even further my two-state New York bill, which will ensure that the needs of Western New York are not drowned by the urban demands downstate thrusts upon the rest of us. I will continue to ensure our law enforcement is defended and uplifted in state government. All of this, and more, I will continue to do.

            And I will continue to give my time to you all, to ensure you have the support you need from your state government. Because of you, I am continuing to fight for you. Thank you. 







October 19, 2020                                                                                                    







October 14, 2020                                                                                                    







October 5, 2020                                                                                                     


September 30, 2020                                                                                               

WheN the Governor Put NY on Pause, We CONTINUED Working

This year has presented our state with some exceptional challenges. We faced the usual from our state – bad policies touted by downstate politicians who squander state resources, all while rewarding those who refuse to obey our laws. I hate to say it, but it was business as usual in New York State, and then the Coronavirus pandemic hit.

The governor consistently exceeded his statutory and constitutional authority. Even as he forced a pause on most of the state’s private sector, our work in the Legislature did not stop.  Many of our neighbors were suffering from job and income loss, needless deaths of their elderly loved ones and a total disruption to their normal lives. We did everything we could to help them navigate a flawed system.

I am proud of the leadership and cohesive advocacy our Conference and I offered during these times of uncertainty for the residents of New York. Some were successful and some fell on deaf ears:

·         Removing unilateral “emergency” power from the governor to reinstate powers of the Legislature as an equal branch of the government (June 18);

·         Accountability in the Department of Labor for the system’s failure to respond to the needs of hundreds of thousands of unemployed New Yorkers during the lockdown (May 7);

·         Proper investigation into the many needless deaths of seniors in nursing homes throughout the state (May 11);

·         Expanded broadband in all communities, especially in rural parts of the state, as it’s a utility imperative to keeping workers, students and loved ones connected while living, learning and working from home (May 8);

·         Quality education, care and support for New Yorkers with developmental or physical disabilities (May 14);

·         Spiritual and mental health by safely reopening houses of worship (May 8);

·         Guidance to be issued for non-public schools when they were initially left out of the governor’s reopening plan of schools (July 24);

·         Reopening of public libraries to ensure access to broadband internet and learning materials (May 11);

·         Safe, socially-distanced high school graduations (June 4);

·         Reinstatement of dental care (May 14);

·         Safely reopen recreational and health businesses and venues such as golf courses, boat launches and public parks (April 16); bowling alleys (June 8); and gyms (June 26). Getting people moving and in healthy activities is not only important for physical health, but also mental and economic health;

·         Early reopening of the 400,000 job construction industry to help recharge our state economy (May 20);

·         Release of promised $743 million state aid for local highways, bridges and other roadways (June 4);

·         Emergency considerations to help family farms, fighting for state and federal aid (April 15) and opposition to any ban on widely used farming techniques such as the use of glyphosate (July 29);

·         Delay in deciding potentially job- and farm-killing policies into 2022, so New York’s agriculture industry is able to recover and the state may collect farm labor data under normal circumstances (August 7);

·         Reopening of the gaming industry to ensure communities where casinos and VLTs are an integrated part of the economy may recover (September 1); and

·         Caution when resorting to state issuance of debt during this time of the pandemic and recovery (April 27).

Our state is diverse in its people, diverse in its political and economic landscape and especially diverse in its needs. However, the pandemic highlighted how important we are to one another and that no one person can adequately meet the needs of us all. That is the beauty of three co-equal branches of government. Now more than ever, we need officials who will work together and cooperate with each other.

September 24, 2020                                                                                       

September 21, 2020                                                                                               



Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) (center) joins veterans and his Assembly Republican Colleagues who have also served in the military to urge for a focus on passing legislation to help veterans.

               Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) joined his Assembly Republican Colleagues in Syracuse to call for action on a number of legislative items focused on veterans to help support the lives of these men and women and their families. A veteran himself, the Assemblyman proudly serves on the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs, but points to the lack of veteran representation on the committee as a hindrance to passing meaningful legislation.

“I am proud of my record on veterans’ issues and am so honored to work on behalf of our military men and women and their families. Despite intransigence from the majority in the Assembly, we still achieved important measures, like the expansion of scholarships for Gold Star families, approval of a study on veteran homelessness and more,” said Hawley. “We have much more to work on, but I look forward to a day when there are more veterans serving alongside me in the Assembly. The leadership and character instilled in our service men and women would be a welcome addition to our chambers.”

In the past two years, Hawley helped achieve a number of items for veterans:

  • Expanded scholarships for Gold Star families (A.2991, Higher Education, 4.9.2019; Executive Order 4.19.2019);
  • Approval of tax exemptions to help injured or disabled veterans to refit their homes to increase mobility (A.7289);
  • Authorization  of a study on homeless veterans to better provide support (A.5660); and
  • Required the state to closely examine veteran health issues, including PTSD and traumatic brain injuries (A.1804).

Hawley continues to fight for:

  • A veterans clearinghouse to better connect veterans to needed services (A.4395);
  • The “Veteran Owned Business Enterprise Act” to help veteran entrepreneurs (A.4490);
  • Honoring military experience as civil work experience by increasing civil (A.5535) and education credits (A.7999); and
  • Veterans’ health by tracking a list of toxins military personnel are exposed to (A.6421) and requiring coroners to report suicides of veterans and active military personnel (A.38934).

Hawley served seven years in the Ohio Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves, earning the rank of first lieutenant. 30 percent of the Assembly Republican conference is comprised of veterans, and the Assemblyman wishes to increase this number.

September 10, 2020                                                                                               


               Earlier this year, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) issued his annual survey to his constituents as a way to gather input from the residents of his district. One of the main concerns was public safety.

“My constituents share my concern that the policies passed by downstate liberal legislators and signed by the governor are making our state and communities less safe,” said Hawley. “Since the beginning of the year, residents have been contending with criminals emboldened by so-called bail reform. In case after case we have seen violent thugs, drug dealers and known abusers released right back to our streets to victimize innocent New Yorkers. It’s simple – law-abiding New Yorkers must be prioritized over those who continue to break our laws and hurt other people.”

Western New York residents in Hawley’s district responded to a number of items:

  • Overwhelmingly, 93 percent of survey respondents oppose bail reforms, which have released criminals accused of violent and abhorrent crimes;
  • Nearly 88 percent  oppose the policy  allowing undocumented individuals to obtain a license;
  • Additionally, they oppose efforts to allow undocumented immigrants to vote in New York elections by 97 percent and also oppose by 87 percent giving convicted felons the right to vote; and
  • Hawley’s “Two New Yorks” solution (A.1687) is supported by 81 percent of respondents.

Hawley staunchly opposed the dangerous bail reform, which has wreaked havoc in communities and created headaches and burdens for law enforcement and courts. He continues to fight against the expansion of rights for lawbreakers.

While New York City lawmakers have been working to increase the rights of criminals, Hawley has spent his time supporting crime victims. He voted to make it easier to report domestic violence incidents (A.4467-A, Chapter 152), provide transportation for sexual assault victims to a healthcare facility (S.3966-A, Chapter 737) and protect the addresses of victims of human trafficking, sexual offenses and stalking (S.5444, Chapter 141).

September 4, 2020                                                                                                  


               Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) has sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo requesting the state allow casinos, VLT gaming facilities and racetracks to open while following proper social distancing and COVID-protection protocol. Hawley points out how other ventures have been allowed to open that often draw more risk in enclosed spaces compared to casinos, despite not bringing in the same revenue the state desperately needs to pick itself up.

            “With the economy continuing to struggle, I see the unwillingness to allow casinos and other gaming ventures to open and follow appropriate protocol as nothing but hindering the state’s further economic recovery,” Hawley said. “New York is losing millions in tax revenue by making this decision, not to mention keeping a sizeable job market from opening in the rural areas of the state that could use support at this time. We need to open these casinos, gaming sites and racetracks now.”

            If you or someone you know struggles with a gambling addiction, know that you’re not alone, and you don’t have to fight it alone. For help and resources on how to combat gambling addiction, visit


               Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) recently testified in a virtual Zoom New York State Department of Labor public hearing regarding an upcoming decision on resetting the overtime threshold for farm laborers. Concerned with the rashness of the actions attempted to be taken on this issue, during a pandemic, Hawley suggested that a delay in the decision-making would be most advantageous for farmers and their farms, and that the state should be doing as little as possible to interfere with their already modest margins.

            “As someone with farming experience myself, I can tell you that however well-intentioned the lowering of the overtime threshold is for the farm workers, the actual farm employers themselves won’t be able to sustain these changes; certainly not in the economic world we’re living in right now,” Hawley said. “The last thing New York needs to be looking to do is strangle our farms and our farmers into submission.”

            Hawley said during his testimony on Monday, “Why would we want to increase costs for our agricultural producers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic economic calamity? Workers are considered family; average wages are $13/hour. In many cases, housing and food are provided. Even during good economic times, implementing mandatory increased labor costs for agriculture is a bad idea. Farmers have little to no control over prices they receive for their product, and with variations in factors like weather, long hours are necessary.”

            In a closing note, Hawley said, “ We need to protect New York state’s number one industry: Agriculture. [We should] delay the implementation of lowering the Overtime threshold.”


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published this page in News 2021-06-24 11:16:57 -0400
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