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michael ranzenhofer

January 12, 2017 - 4:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, news.

Press release:

The New York State Senate has passed legislation (S365) to enact into law a permanent cap on state spending. The bill would further increase savings from a self-imposed restraint that has already saved taxpayers a cumulative $31 billion since the 2010-11 budget. Senator Ranzenhofer voted in favor of the proposal.

“A state spending cap ensures fiscal discipline and saves taxpayers billions of dollars,” Ranzenhofer said. “Enacting a long-lasting limit on state expenditures would allow taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned dollars.”

Since 2010, six on-time budgets have restricted spending growth at or below 2 percent. Maintaining this level of fiscal responsibility has fostered major investments in education by abolishing the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) budget cuts, infrastructure projects by delivering Upstate’s fair share of state transportation dollars, and economic development projects to create jobs. 

The legislation would control spending to a three-year rolling average of inflation and increase the maximum capacity to the state’s rainy day fund. This approach helps end the historic pattern of “boom and bust” cycle budgeting.

The bill will be sent to the State Assembly.

January 11, 2017 - 3:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, news.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has been appointed to serve as chairman of the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee and member of seven additional Senate Standing Committees, including:

  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Finance 
  • Judiciary
  • Racing, Gaming & Wagering
  • Rules
  • Transportation

“The process of enacting laws starts at the committee level, and serving in each one of these committee posts is so important to achieving key priorities,” Ranzenhofer said. “Whether it is delivering our fair share of state education dollars or bringing ride-sharing services to Upstate New York, I plan to take full advantage of committee roles as a way to make a real difference for Western New Yorkers.”

Senator Ranzenhofer is beginning a fourth session as Corporations Committee chairman.

“As chair, I have advanced legislation that positively impacts municipalities, state and local agencies, state authorities and commissions, and private entities across the state. A total of 18 new laws, reported from the Committee, were enacted last year that will make New York a better place to live and work. This year, the goal is to build upon this momentum,” Ranzenhofer said.

Senator Ranzenhofer is also a member of the Select Committee for Science, Technology, Incubation & Entrepreneurship.  

The committee assignments are for the 2017-18 Legislative Session. A complete list of Senate standing committees is available at nysenate.gov.

January 9, 2017 - 4:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, news.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst) has issued the following statement in response to Governor Cuomo’s state of the state address delivered in Buffalo earlier this afternoon:

“I am disappointed that Governor Cuomo made the decision to schedule the Western New York version of his state of the state presentation at a time when I am required, by my duties as a State Senator, to be in the Capitol for session. I am hopeful that we can finally bring ride-sharing services to Upstate, create more jobs by enacting real tax relief and repealing costly, burdensome regulations for small businesses, and providing mandate relief to local governments. I look forward to working towards these legislative goals in the days and weeks ahead.”
 

January 6, 2017 - 12:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ride sharing, michael ranzenhofer, news.

ranzhenhoferoath2017.jpg

Press release:

As the State Legislature reconvenes for the 2017-18 Session, Michael H. Ranzenhofer has started a new term representing constituents across the 61st District as New York State Senator.

“It is truly a privilege and an honor to serve our community in the New York State Senate. I continue to be focused on helping small businesses, by repealing burdensome regulations and reducing taxes, in an effort to strengthen our economy and create more jobs,” Ranzenhofer said.

Bringing ridesharing to Western New York is another one of Ranzenhofer’s top legislative priorities this year.

“I have renewed enthusiasm after receiving an outpouring of support from thousands of residents in favor of allowing Uber and Lyft to operate in Upstate New York,” Ranzenhofer said. “I am hopeful that this legislation will move through the committee system quickly and ultimately be approved, and I am determined to make it happen sooner rather than later.”

PHOTO: The Honorable Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the State of New York, administers the oath of office to Ranzenhofer on the floor of the State Senate. 

December 13, 2016 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, business.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has started a new petition for residents to urge Governor Cuomo and members of the State Legislature to expand ridesharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, to Upstate New York.  The petition is available online at ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov.

“While New York City residents are able to enjoy ridesharing services, Upstate New Yorkers have been left behind. Expanding access to these transportation companies is long overdue,” Ranzenhofer said. “Working together, we can send a strong message: give the green light to ridesharing in Western New York. I encourage residents to express their support for this legislation by signing my petition.”

Currently, transportation network companies operate only in New York City.  Senator Ranzenhofer has co-sponsored (S.4580A) and voted for legislation (S.4108D) to make these transportation services available across the entire state.

“New York has repeatedly stood in the way, whether by over-regulation or outright banning, of professional services that are legal and available in most states and cities across the nation. There is no reason why residents, from Rochester to Buffalo, should be prevented from requesting an Uber when they could easily do so in Boston, Cleveland and Milwaukee,” Ranzenhofer said.
 

October 18, 2016 - 2:30pm

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced $55,000 in state funding to establish a new joint agriculture education program for Oakfield-Alabama Central and Elba Central School districts.

The mission of the new program is to encourage more high school students to explore agriculture and consider a career in the industry.

“This important program will serve as another tool for educators to cultivate student development and success, and I am proud to have been able to jump start this new program," Ranzenhofer said. "Now, our students will have better opportunities to learn more about agriculture and be inspired to start a career in the industry."

The start-up funding will cover equipment, field trip expenses, instructional resources and materials, and instructional salaries. Enrolled students, in grades nine through 12, will experience classroom instruction, hands-on projects and opportunities to visit local businesses with a connection to the agriculture industry. The program will be administered by and located at the Oakfield-Alabama School District.

“We appreciate the support of Senator Ranzenhofer in this new program. Our students are surrounded by agriculture and now have the opportunity to learn about the careers of the industry. We hope the program will motivate some of our graduates to remain in the area as well,” said Oakfield-Alabama Superintendent Mark A. Alexander.

Agriculture and its related industries are the number one economic driver for Genesee County and New York State, and industry demand for a properly trained workforce is greater than ever. According to the Land O' Lakes Foundation, food production in the next 50 years will need to be higher than the prior 500 years.

Senator Ranzenhofer’s office received letters of support from the local agriculture industry, including: Cornell University Cooperative Extension Genesee County; Lamb Farms Inc.; CY Farms LLC; East Pembroke Grange; Wayne E. Phelps Ent. Inc.; Offhaus Farms Inc.; and Z&M Ag and Turf.

The Oakfield-Alabama Board of Education will publicly recognize Senator Ranzenhofer for his efforts to establish the new program during tonight’s board meeting.

August 22, 2016 - 4:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, STAMP, business, GCEDC.

Press release:


Empire State Development has approved $46 million in state funding for the WNY STAMP Project. Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement:

“I laud the Genesee County Economic Development Center and Empire State Development for their most recent actions to bring the WNY STAMP Project to fruition. The unanimous approval of $46 million in state funding paves the way for construction to begin in the fall.

"In 2015, I spearheaded the effort to secure $33 million for the project, and I am pleased that it will soon reach its final destination, the largest economic development project ever in Genesee County. The project is a game changer for our region. Now, we are one step closer to creating at least 600 new, full-time jobs for residents of Genesee County.”

June 18, 2016 - 2:31pm

Press release(s):

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) and Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer (R-Amherst) applaud their colleagues for passing this much-needed raffle bill, which nows awaits Govenor Cuomo's signature.

“I am elated to announce that the Senate has passed the ‘Charitable Gaming Act of 2016’ (A.10249A/S7640A) this afternoon and the bill is set to hit Govenor Cuomo’s desk in the near future for the executive’s approval before it becomes law. I would like to commend Sen. Gallivan (R-Elma) and Sen. Ranzenhofer (R-Amherst) for their leadership in the Senate to guide this bill through the legislative process and get it passed as well as Sen. Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) for his persistence on this issue."

In a separate statement, Sen. Ranzenhofer said:

“I am pleased to announce that the State Senate has approved a bill to lift state gaming authority regulations for raffles. Now, local fire departments and other organizations in Genesee County will be able to continue efforts to support our community and help offset the local tax burden. I was proud to co-sponsor the legislation and vote for it in the State Senate, and I am hopeful that Governor Cuomo will sign it into law.”

Hawley added:

“What we need now is for all nonprofit organizations, church groups, Rotary clubs, fire departments, Kiwanis clubs -- and any other service clubs statewide that raise money through raffles -- to write the governor urging him to sign this bill into law.”

Governor Cuomo’s Mailing Address

Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

May 11, 2016 - 3:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in michael ranzenhofer, NYCLU, farms, business, agriculture.

Sen. Michael Ranzerhofer today issued a statement about the lawsuit filed Tuesday by the NY Civil Liberties Union seeking improved rights for farmworkers. The Senator says the suit will have a devastating impact on local jobs and farms.

After the lawsuit was filed against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state in the New York Supreme Court in Albany, the governor made it known that he backed workers' rights and the NYCLU's efforts and that he would not contest the litigation.

Among its aims is to allow farmworkers to unionize and get paid overtime. The NYCLU maintains that existing state law does not provide farmworkers with the protections that other worker groups are afforded. Cuomo noted "inconsistencies" and said workers in any sector should not be exploited.

The increase in the minimum wage approved last month in New York includes farmworkers and the wage will become $12.50 per hour by in end of 2020 in Upstate New York. Farms are expected to get a $30 million subsidy to accommodate the wage increase.

Ranzenhofer issued the following statement this afternoon:

“The New York Civil Liberties Union is trying to push increased regulations on farm workers through the courts. These burdensome regulations would force local farms to eliminate jobs and potentially go out of business. Whether it is New York City politicians or the NYCLU, they have little to no understanding of the economic realities of the agriculture industry. If the NYCLU wins this lawsuit, then it will have a devastating impact on our family farms and jobs in our rural communities.”

May 10, 2016 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in michael ranzenhofer, sports.

Press release:

A bill to further protect sportsmen’s personal information has passed the New York State Senate by a vote of 54 to 4. The bill, S.2951, would prevent information submitted on hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and permit applications from being disclosed or released outside of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer sponsors the bill in the State Senate.

“At a time of growing concern for identity theft, it is important to strengthen the rights of hunters and trappers to maintain their personal privacy and security. This bill will ensure that DEC may continue to protect sporting license applicants’ just expectation that personal information will be kept private,” Ranzenhofer said.

Existing law does not contain restrictions on the release of information for holders of licenses and permits. The bill would also require the DEC to establish procedures to ensure information is protected from disclosure.

DEC recently installed a new database system to maintain information on sporting licenses and permits. Among the personal details entered into the database include: individual’s first and last name, date of birth, height, eye color, driver’s license number, mailing address, telephone number, and whether the licensee is permanent 40-percent military disabled.

“Clearly, this information contains intimate details related to personal matters, such as medical conditions and physical attributes. The release of any of these details would be an unwarranted intrusion into an individual’s privacy. This bill would diminish the potential for identity theft by enacting further protections for sportsmen,” Ranzenhofer said.

The bill has been sent to the New York State Assembly. Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther has introduced the bill in the State Assembly. If enacted, the bill would take effect immediately.

April 6, 2016 - 1:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in michael ranzenhofer, 2016-17.
Press release:
 
State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) budget cuts for school districts have been permanently eliminated. The 2016-17 State Budget abolishes the $434 million remaining of the GEA cuts this school year.
 
Senator Ranzenhofer advocated for the end to the GEA as a member of the Joint Budget Subcommittee for Education.
 
“I vowed earlier this year to do away with the GEA for students, parents and our communities, and I kept my word. While Governor Cuomo proposed a phase-out over two years, I am proud to report an end to the GEA this school year,” Ranzenhofer said. “Finally, millions of dollars will be restored to our school districts, and a better future is ahead for our children. This boost in funding will also help to protect taxpayers from higher property taxes. This is a major victory for parents and taxpayers.”
 
The GEA was first imposed in 2010 by former Governor David Paterson and the Democrats who controlled the Senate and Assembly. Senator Ranzenhofer voted against the GEA because it made severe cuts to the bottom lines of school districts in Western New York.
 
Since it was first approved, Senator Ranzenhofer has been leading the charge to eradicate the GEA and deliver major funding increases to help mitigate its devastating impact on education. Last year alone, Senator Ranzenhofer successfully pushed for an additional $603 million to help schools overcome the GEA challenge.
March 19, 2016 - 12:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in michael ranzenhofer, news, education.
Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has been appointed to serve as a member of the Joint Budget Subcommittee for Education.

Over the next several weeks, Senator Ranzenhofer will work with members of the Senate and Assembly to finalize the education portion of the 2016-17 State Budget.

“One of my priorities is getting rid of the GEA budget cuts. As a member of this committee, I will be pushing to eliminate the GEA once and for all,” Ranzenhofer said. “Abolishing the GEA in this year’s budget will finally restore millions of dollars to our schools and build a better future for our children.”

Nearly $434 million in Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) cuts remain for schools in 2016-17. The Senate’s one-house budget resolution, passed earlier this week, ends the GEA this year.  Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a phase-out of the GEA over two years.

The GEA was first imposed in 2010 by former Governor David Paterson and the Democrats who controlled the Senate and Assembly. Senator Ranzenhofer voted against the GEA because it made severe cuts to the bottom lines of school districts in Western New York.

Since it was first approved, Senator Ranzenhofer has been leading the charge to eradicate the GEA and deliver major funding increases to help mitigate its devastating impact on education. In the past five years, the GEA cuts have been reduced by approximately 85 percent. Last year alone, Senator Ranzenhofer successfully pushed for an additional $603 million to help schools overcome the GEA challenge.

November 1, 2015 - 11:40am
posted by Billie Owens in business, Milestones, michael ranzenhofer, robert friedman.

Today, the law firm of Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC (WNY-Lawyers.com) announced it is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2015.

Founded in 1955, the general practice law firm has grown from one office in Akron to seven Western New York offices. Their other offices are located in Williamsville/Clarence, West Seneca, Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Batavia and Rochester. Michael H. Ranzenhofer and Robert Friedman are the firm’s partners.

May 14, 2015 - 1:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Leadership Genesee, batavia, michael ranzenhofer.

photo_-_ranzenhofer_honors_marone_as_woman_of_distinction.jpg

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has honored Leadership Genesee Director Peggy Marone as a Woman of Distinction at the 18th annual ceremony in the State Capitol, recognizing her outstanding contributions in enriching the quality of life for the community and beyond.
 
“Peggy inspires participants of Leadership Genesee to enhance their capacity to lead, and every graduate of the one-year program can tell you how her philosophy has improved their personal and professional lives,” Ranzenhofer said. “Our community is lucky to have such a thoughtful, genuine leader.” 
 
“I have worked with so many people over the past 30 years, and one of the constant takeaways is leaders are people who understand the needs of others. Leadership isn’t about being first or most powerful; real power comes from ensuring those you serve are better because of your efforts. I appreciate Senator Ranzenhofer’s recognition of this philosophy, and I will continue to instill it in every Leadership Genesee participant,” Marone said. 
 
As a 2002 graduate of Leadership Genesee, Peggy is passionate about her community. She is an annual volunteer for the United Way’s Day of Caring. She also serves as a judge for Operation Graduation at Batavia High School, and she is a former member of the Genesee County Arts Advisory Committee. 
 
In addition to her community involvement, Peggy is a strong advocate for theater productions in Genesee County. For more than 25 years, she has held every theatrical role possible, including actress, director and stage manager. In 2010, she received an Excellence in Ensemble Acting from the Theatre Association of New York State.
March 12, 2015 - 6:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer.

Press release:

The New York State Senate has passed its one-house budget resolution. State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement:

“Today, the New York State Senate took the next step in getting a budget done on time. The Senate budget restores $15 million for Roswell Park Cancer Institute after the Governor proposed cutting state funding for the Institute by 15 percent. I remain committed to working with my colleagues in the Western New York Delegation to ensure this funding restoration is included in the final budget. The one-house resolution also proposes the most property tax relief in state history, a $200 million small business package and elimination of the energy tax surcharge. It ends the notorious Gap Elimination Adjustment and its devastating impact on our local school districts. Overall, the Senate budget is a responsible fiscal plan that makes investments for a brighter future for Western New Yorkers.”

March 12, 2015 - 1:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has been named Deputy Majority Leader for Economic Development as part of the Senate Republican Majority’s Leadership Team. The new leadership position involves more responsibilities to develop economic development policies.

“As a member of the Senate Republican Conference, we have made some progress in strengthening our state’s financial health, and its economy, over the past few years. This new leadership position is an opportunity to advocate for creating more jobs and growing our economy, particularly in Upstate and Western New York,” Ranzenhofer said. “I look forward to working on policy issues, such as tax relief for businesses and repealing burdensome regulations, to attain these important goals.”

Senator Ranzenhofer also serves as Chairman of the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee. He is a member of six Senate Standing Committees, including Agriculture, Education, Finance, Judiciary, Racing, Gaming & Wagering, and Transportation. Senator Ranzenhofer is a member of the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, as well as the Select Committee for Science, Technology, Incubation & Entrepreneurship. 

The 61st Senate District encompasses the towns of Amherst, Clarence and Newstead and the villages of Akron and Williamsville in Erie County; all of Genesee County; and the towns of Chili and Riga, the Village of Churchville and part of the City of Rochester in Monroe County.

October 22, 2014 - 2:04pm

In the 61st State Senate District we have a choice on election day. Elaine Altman is running against incumbent Michael Ranzenhoffer. Ms. Altman is a teacher who understands that our state government is broken. She is an advocate for kids, teachers, and families who is committed to working for us to pass the Women’s Equality Act, fighting for property tax relief, ensuring that our schools receive their fair share of state funding, increasing the minimum wage, and implementing tax incentives for job creation. Elaine is a teacher with more than 20-years experience. She supports students, learning, and teachers without the increase in testing that we have seen with the implementation of Common Core. Elaine believes that current mandates take power away from local schools and she will fight to give that power back! She is very familiar with the inequities in state funding for our schools and how that affects everything from the academics of our students to funding for our local sports. She grew up working for her father in his small business and knows how important local business is for the economy, as well as how difficult an increase in minimum wage could be for such businesses. I have had the distinct pleasure to spend some time with her over the last few weeks and have found that she is very down to earth, intelligent, accessible, and present. She is not afraid to speak her mind and to stand up for what she believes in. One thing I have heard her say over and over is that “one size fits all approaches do not work”. She strongly feels that representing us is a full time job and pledges to treat it as such. Elaine is endorsed by NYSUT, Working Families, CWA, UFCW, UAW, NARAL, Empire State Pride Agenda, NYS AFL-CIO and RGV AFL-CIO, NALC, Local Teamsters 449, OPEIU local 153, Northern Regional Council of Carpenters, Amalgamated Transition Union Local Union 1342, Eleanor’s Legacy, and the New York State Democratic Committee as well as the Genesee County Democratic Committee. Instead of just talking about it on November 4th YOU have an opportunity to SUPPORT CHANGE by voting for Elaine Altman for State Senate!

May 21, 2014 - 4:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer.

Press release:

Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer will host a public forum for the Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction this Friday, May 23, from 10 a.m. to noon at Batavia City Hall, One Batavia City Centre. Members of the public are invited to attend and participate in the discussion.

The forum is one of 17 statewide to solicit input on the rise of heroin and opioids and to develop legislative recommendations for treating and preventing addiction and its consequences.

“Heroin and opioid addiction is a very serious issue facing communities all across the State. That is why I have invited the Task Force to discuss the impact heroin and opioid use has on our local community,” Ranzenhofer said. “I look forward to this important discussion with community stakeholders.”

The Task Force is chaired by Senator Phil Boyle (R-C-I, Suffolk County), chairman of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

"The numbers are staggering. Every day we hear of one heroin-related tragedy after another in our state," Boyle said. "I applaud Senator Ranzenhofer for his leadership in our statewide fight against heroin and opioid addiction."

Participating panelists are experts in the fields of education, law enforcement, mental health and substance abuse, civic groups and individuals directly affected by opioid abuse, including: 

• Gary Maha -- Sheriff, Genesee County
• Shawn Heubusch -- Chief of Police, Batavia Police Department
• Timothy Lynch -- Assistant U.S. Attorney Western District, Chief of Narcotics and Violent Crime Division
• Dr. Michael Merrill -- Vice President of Medical Affairs, United Memorial Medical Center
• Lisa Glow -- Program Director, Horizon Health Services
• Colleen Babcock -- Parent & Family Support Coordinator, Horizon Health Services
• John Bennett -- Executive Director, GCASA
• Dr. Bruce Baker -- Medical Director, GCASA
• Augusta Welsh -- Director of Community Services, Genesee County Mental Health Services
• Donna Sherman -- Substance Abuse Treatment Program Manager, VA Western New York Healthcare System
 
Heroin’s deadly effects are well established, and overdoses are on the rise across the State. In February, The New York Times reported that the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) heroin seizures in New York State increased 67 percent over the prior four years. The Buffalo News reported that 29 people died of heroin overdoses in Erie County in 2013, “almost a third more than the year before.”

The 2014-2015 State Budget included $2.45 million for initiatives to provide prevention, treatment and addiction services to address the increased prevalence of heroin and opioid abuse.

April 29, 2014 - 10:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, michael ranzenhofer.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that the Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee has approved Senate Bill No. S6695. The legislation, authored by Senator Ranzenhofer, would designate yogurt as the official State snack.

A Byron-Bergen fourth-grade class, while studying the history and government of New York State, wrote to Senator Ranzenhofer to suggest the idea for the bill.

“I am pleased to report that this bill is on the move, and New York is one step closer to designating yogurt as its official State snack,” Ranzenhofer said. “It’s not just a nutritious, delicious food. It is also a major economic driver locally and all across the State. I am hopeful that we will be able to pass this legislation so that it may become law this year.”

New York is the number one processor of yogurt in the United States. Increasing demand for milk, the primary component in yogurt, has helped to support and grow the State’s dairy industry. New York is now fifth in the nation in milk production, producing over 13 billion pounds in 2012, in part fueled by the demand from yogurt processors.

Senator Ranzenhofer introduced the legislation on Feb. 28.

November 1, 2013 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that his new petition drive, encouraging the State Assembly to pass the Public Assistance Integrity Act, has garnered more than 3,300 signatures since launching the campaign one week ago.

“Thousands of Western New York residents have added their voice to mine in calling on the State Assembly to pass a bill that protects our tax dollars,” Ranzenhofer said. “We are sending a powerful message to the State Assembly: a fraud prevention measure is needed to prohibit welfare benefits from being spent on alcohol, cigarettes and other non-essential items.”

Senator Ranzenhofer launched the online petition on Oct. 25. 

“I hope that residents will consider adding their voice to the thousands who have already expressed their support for passing the Public Assistance Integrity Act. It is not too late to sign my online petition, and I encourage residents to join our campaign to protect taxpayer dollars,” Ranzenhofer said.

Residents can still sign the petition by visiting ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov.

The Public Assistance Integrity Act (S.966) would prohibit using EBT cards for tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets, and ATM cash withdrawals at liquor stores and casinos.  Senator Ranzenhofer is a co-sponsor of the legislation. The bill passed the State Senate on June 18. The State Assembly has not taken action on the bill.

EBT cards work like a debit card for public assistance recipients, containing both a Food Stamp and Cash Assistance component. Strict regulations already guide what can be purchased for Food Stamps. Cash assistance is intended to pay for items not covered by Food Stamps, such as soap, toothpaste, school supplies and toiletries. Currently, there are no restrictions on the use of Cash Assistance.

Federal aid received by New York may be at risk if the State Assembly does not pass the bill. The federal government has mandated that states implement a fraud prevention system by February 2014. If New York State does not act accordingly, the Federal government will penalize the State by cutting federal funding for Cash Assistance by 5 percent or $120 million.

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