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January 24, 2020 - 10:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Scholastic Bowl, news.

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Alexander edged out Batavia 260 to 240 points in Thursday's first match of the Scholastic Bowl at Genesee Community College. 

In the high-scoring match, Le Roy also tallied 190 points for third place.

In the second match, Akron beat Pavilion 340-90.

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January 24, 2020 - 10:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

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  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]

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January 23, 2020 - 9:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, VTL Impact Aid, batavia, news, notify.

Another proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to shift local revenue to the state coffers has come to light: Cuomo is proposing eliminating the local share of video terminal lottery money from facilities such as Batavia Downs. 

That would mean a $440,000 loss in revenue for the City of Batavia, $200,000 for Genesee County and $160,000 for the Town of Batavia.

Local officials are not pleased.

County Manager Jay Gsell has a laundry list of complaints about new mandated expenses in funding. This is just an extra burden for the county to shoulder.

Gsell said what he called a "bait and switch" on Aid to Municipalities funding where county sales tax proceeds will replace direct state aid, cuts in community college aid, and no reimbursement for early voting expenses.

"NYS counties will be gathering in Albany next Monday through Wednesday to gain more insight and develop resolution and position papers for the upcoming 2020 NYS legislative session," Gsell said. "The sentiment so far coming from the executive branch is disheartening and discouraging and fraught with peril from my perspective only three weeks into the new Genesee County budget year."

City Manager Marty Moore said the news of the VLT cuts comes at a bad time -- just as the city is wrapping up its own budget process.

"The loss of the VLT money is tough considering we balance the general fund to the penny," Moore said.  "Our feeling is obvious -- please put it back."

He called on state officials to enter into some dialogue and communication with local governments and listen to the impact the cuts will have locally.  

Since Batavia Downs doesn't pay any local property tax, the VLT money helps offset the expense of hosting the facility in the county, the town, and the city.  The facility needs support for crowd control at major events, police protection, fire protection, health and safety support, along with the roads that get people to and from the gaming casino.

"I do think it's important that our operations are supported by the money that comes along with it to help pay for some of the expense," Moore said.

In a budget statement, the governor's office justifies the cuts by the suggestion that local municipalities receive more in "VTL Impact Aid" (the formal name of the program) than it costs to host the facility.

This category of State aid was created to support assumed local service needs associated with hosting VLT facilities, but the revenue benefits of hosting a facility outweigh any associated costs. Further, not all municipalities that currently host VLT facilities receive aid through this program and the State does not provide additional "impact-type" aid for other types of facilities which may have similar local public service impacts as VLT facilities, including community colleges, SUNY campuses, and State office buildings. Accordingly, the Executive Budget eliminates VLT Aid outside of Yonkers, which is the only municipality receiving this aid to direct the funds to educational purposes.

It's been a point of pride for Western OTB officials for years that the facility supports the counties that oversee the facility with VTL money. 

Henry Wojtaszek, Western OTB CEO, said he will be closely monitoring the proposal.

"We work well with local governments and understand that these VLT aid monies substantially help them," Wojtaszek said. "We hope that local elected representatives will listen to the concerns of our host municipalities and work towards the best possible outcome."

Both State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer said they will work to protect the local share of VTL funds.

"This cut in aid is unacceptable," Ranzenhofer said. "At a time when the governor is proposing more unfunded mandates on our local governments, these reductions will have devastating impacts on our local taxpayers.  The governor is attempting to fill the budget deficit, that he created by overspending, through cutting crucial funding to Genesee County communities."

Hawley said, "The Governor needs to look toward actually cutting spending (that’s what real families and businesses do). We have a self-inflicted $6.2 Billion deficit (we spent that more than we took in). Why in the world would he look to take money that is shared with our local communities (which helps keep our local taxes lower than they would be without this money)? He’ll be hurting our local communities."

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January 23, 2020 - 4:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in mall, city centre, batavia, news.

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At Christmas, an enthusiastic city employee who thought the drip buckets in the mall wasn't a great look for the holidays, took it upon himself to put wrapping paper around the canisters.

With the holiday passed but his spirit undaunted, the employee recently wrapped the buckets in Valentine's Day paper. The employee is doing this at his own expense.

Still, Director of Public Works Matt Worth is concerned that some people might make negative comments about the employee so the employee is remaining anonymous. 

"Hopefully, this is the last hurrah for the buckets," Worth said. "We're going to get a new roof and the buckets are going to go away."

Reader-submitted photo.

January 23, 2020 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, Democrat running in the special election in NY-27, issued the following statement criticizing the rumored presidential pardon for disgraced former Congressmember Chris Collins, who resigned from Congress following pleading guilty to felony insider trading. Collins was sentenced to 26 months in prison on Friday. So far, 14 Trump aides, donors and advisers have been indicted or imprisoned.

“President Trump should not further the injustice inflicted on Western New York," McMurray said. "His own Justice Department pursued this case and won a sentence that includes prison time for Mr. Collins, a convicted felon. This should not be a Democratic or Republican issue; I urge all Republican candidates in this race, elected officials, and party leaders to stand unified in defense of the rule of law in America.

"Collins was a wealthy politician who acted as if laws don’t apply to him. We all need to tell him that America's laws apply to everyone. He must pay his debt to society and not have it wiped away because of his political support for the president. I know that these are the same Republican insiders who enabled and protected Collins, long after we all knew he was guilty while working people paid for his salary and pension. Now is the time for them to do what’s right. Join me.”

January 23, 2020 - 11:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Scholastic Bowl, pembroke, Notre Dame, news.

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In the Scholastic Bowl on Wednesday night, Notre Dame won the first match with a score of 270.

Alden scored 200 and Oakfield 160.

In the second match, Pembroke scored 230 points, edging out Attica with 210. Elba came in third with 90 points.

Submitted photos and information.

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January 23, 2020 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in ski team, Batavia HS, batavia, sports.

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Write up and photos submitted by Matt Holeman.

SWAIN -- The Batavia Ski Team competed Wednesday night at Swain Resort in a two-run Giant Slalom race on Wheels Run. With the recent cold temperatures and clear sky, the temperature dipped to make the race conditions nearly perfect. The snow was hard, but not icy holding together with minimal ruts and you could almost see the stars shining through.

Junior Zach Wagner was the team's top finisher, recovering from a potential crash on his second run, completing a combined two run time of 1.50.59 was good enough for seventh place.

It was a night to forget for the girls' varsity team as two of the three skiers (Senior Aubrey Towner and eighth-grader Lily Wagner) ended up crashing, losing a ski and not finishing the race. Junior Lily Whiting, however, had a great night finishing with a combined time of 2.10.92 finishing in 12th place.

Modified finishers included Ethan Bradly in 15th and Abby Bestine in 19th. 

Midseason Standings had the Batavia Girls Team was tied for third with Livonia, both sitting behind Keshequa and Arkport-Canaseraga in the Southern Tier Race League.

Aubrey Towner is currently in sixth place for the season, Lily Whiting in 13th and Zach Wagner is sitting in 10th for the boys. Finishing in the top 10 for the season would send them to the league's all-star team.

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January 23, 2020 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once re gistered you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]

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January 22, 2020 - 8:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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         Plush Dozier

Plush Kevin Dozier, a 23-year-old Monroe County resident facing a possible lengthy prison term on arson and attempted murder charges, now has a chance to make bail after appearing in Genesee County Court today for the first time in 2020.

New state rules on bail for defendants who have not yet been convicted of a crime took effect Jan. 1, requiring judges to release detainees without bail unless they're accused of a qualifying offense. In those cases, the judge must set the least restrictive amount of bail or bond possible. 

What is "least restrictive" is for the judge to decide.

Dozier is charged with qualifying offenses but is now entitled to some opportunity to make bail.

In this case, Judge Charles Zambito set bail at $100,000 cash, $100,000 bond, or $200,000 partially secured bond.

Previously, Dozier was held without bail, and since his arrest in June, Dozier's confinement has been eventful. He reportedly became more than the Genesee County Jail could handle, so he was transferred to Attica, where he was reportedly held in solitary confinement.

During his confinement, Dozier allegedly damaged jail property and a patrol vehicle, following an outburst in court, and is facing new criminal charges stemming from those alleged incidents.

Dozier is accused of setting a fire at a residence on Maple Street, Batavia, on June 15, and attempting to kill one of the residents there.

The bail review for Dozier followed a hearing where defense attorney Thomas Burns challenged the sufficiency of the grand jury hearing that led to Dozier's indictment on attempted murder and arson. The hearing in July 2018 was during a period of time when a court stenographer was improperly making audio recordings of grand jury proceedings.

The stenographer was using a device on her machine that allowed an audio recording to activate while she typed on her stenography machine. Even though she has 33 years of experience as a court reporter, the technology she was using was fairly new and the issue had never been raised with her before.

The fact that she was recording the proceedings was discovered by happenstance when Assistant District Attorney Shirley Gorman inquired about a transcript on a particular case and the stenographer mentioned she had an audio recording she could check. Gorman immediately informed District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

The discovery led Friedman to notify the attorneys for a number of defendants. Some of the attorneys have challenged the grand jury proceedings. In all cases so far, Zambito has denied motions to vacate the grand jury proceedings.

Burns had a novel argument today, however. He elicited testimony from the stenographer, Susan Ryckman, that there is a small mic, about the size of a dime, attached with a wire to her machine. That mic would then be potentially visible to witnesses and grand jurors, which might cause them to wonder if the proceedings were being recorded. There is also apparently a mic on her laptop that may actually be the one activated when she is taking stenography.

Grand jury proceedings are supposed to be secret and the identities of witnesses protected.

After questioning whether, under the circumstances, the transcript from the Dozier proceeding could be relied on as accurate, Burns argued that witnesses might not testify as truthfully if they thought their statements were being audio recorded, or that grand jurors may ask different questions, or not ask questions, because their voices might be recorded.

There is no way of knowing, Burns said, if witnesses and jurors noticed the potential for recording and, if they did, if that altered their behavior in any way. 

"The very presence of an electronic recording device could have a negative effect and a detrimental effect on the grand jury process," Burns said.

Burns acknowledges he was being speculative but he said Friedman would also be speculating to argue otherwise.

Friedman said there was no speculation on his part.

"Our position is based on the facts," Friedman said. "The court reporter has 33 years experience and even she doesn't know where the microphone is (on her laptop) and she indicated there is no light on the mic when it's on. There is no evidence to support that speculation. Otherwise, we rely on the court's numerous other rulings."

Zambito said he will make his ruling at a later date.

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January 22, 2020 - 8:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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       Heidi Schollard

A Batavia woman who stole more than $350,000 from elderly people was making progress until recently on paying restitution, according to District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

Heidi L. Schollard, 47, of 161 Bank St., was ordered in 2012 to make restitution payments of $500 a month.

Friedman said records indicate Schollard made more than 100 payments, reducing the amount she owes to her victims from $350,729.40 to $335,290.11.

Then the payments stopped.

So she was ordered to appear in court today.

She didn't show up.

A warrant was issued for her arrest.

In 2017, Schollard was having trouble making restitution payments and asked to have the restitution order amended. Judge Charles Zambito kept her restitution at $500 a month.

Schollard stole the money from two elderly victims between 2006 and 2011. She pled guilty in 2012 to three counts of grand larceny, 3rd, which are Class D felonies, and a single count of grand larceny, 4th, a Class E felony. She was sentenced to the maximum possible prison term by then-County Court Judge Robert C. Noonan.

January 22, 2020 - 7:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu, news, notify.
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        Jerrol Newell

A sometimes Corfu resident facing three felonies for alleged strangulation, who has friends and relatives in at least three other states, has a better chance of making bail following a bail review hearing today in Genesee County Court.

Fifty-year-old Jerrol Paul Newell was described in court today by Assistant District Attorney Shirley Gorman as a man who has moved from state-to-state -- Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, even Hawaii -- with a spotty employment history and a lifelong problem with alcohol.  

She said Newell has had multiple DWI arrests, including a felony arrest in 2004, plus a DWI arrest in April where he had a BAC of .20 in the middle of the afternoon and allegedly left the scene of an accident. He also had a forgery conviction in 1996. He owes, she said, $39,000 in back child support payments, and is facing more than $9,000 in restitution from his recent accident.

Newell also lied, she said, to Genesee Justice about owning a home in Corfu.

His previous bail was $50,000 cash, $50,000 bond or $300,000 partially secured bond, which was set by Justice Donald O'Connor in December, before new bail rules took effect, in the Village of Corfu Court.

Newell's attorney, Thomas Burns, asked for either release on Newell's own recognizance or $5,000 bail, citing his client's ties to the community and Newell's own and his family's limited resources. 

Gorman said considering Newell's history, she didn't find the bail set in village court to be excessive. 

"He has an alcohol problem that leads the defendant to exercise extremely poor judgment that could lead him to leave the jurisdiction, especially when he has connections outside the jurisdiction," Gorman said.

Gorman noted that Newell is facing three Class D felony charges of strangulation and his sentence on each charge could be consecutive. She suggested the physical evidence against Newell, including photographs, is compelling.

Judge Charles Zambito, citing New York's bail reform rules, said he was obligated to set the least restrictive bail so he reduced Newell's bail to $7,500 cash, or $7,500 bond, or $75,000 partially secured bond.

January 22, 2020 - 6:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Quinton Edmonds, crime, news, notify, batavia.
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    Quinton Edmonds

In Genesee County Court yesterday, Quinton Edmonds, of Rochester, admitted to killing Michael R. Paladino outside of Paladino's Ross Street residence on June 1 after Paladino tried to come to the aid of a woman he apparently believed Edmonds was assaulting.

With the guilty plea, Edmonds avoids a trial next month and gets a sentence cap of 20-to-life in state prison. The possible maximum sentence for the Class A1 felony is 25-to-life.

According to District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Edmonds made no other statements in a court other than admitting to his crime as Judge Charles Zambito read the facts contained in the grand jury indictment before pleading "guilty."

Edmonds will be sentenced at 9 a.m., Feb. 19.

January 22, 2020 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports.

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Le Roy lost to Avon on Tuesday night in girls basketball, 56-38.

Bryn Luckey scored 16 points for the Knights. Jill Curtis scored seven and Amara Condidorio scored six.

Byron-Bergen beat East Rochester 71-59 behind Julianna Amesbury's 34 points. Miriam Tardy scored 18. Kelsey Fuller scored eight.

Elba beat Akron 48-34. Brynn Walczak scored 19 points. Leah Bezon scored eight and Taylor Augello, seven.

In boys basketball: 

  • Bergen beat Barker 81-46
  • Oakfield beat Attica, 58-49
  • Pembroke beat Pavilion 59-56

Photos by Tim McArdle.

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January 22, 2020 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Medicaid, Andrew Cuomo, news, notify.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to cap increases on Medicaid spending at 3 percent at the county level could cost Genesee County another $2.3 million over the next four years.

That's just a rough guess, said County Manager Jay Gsell.

He called Cuomo's accusation that counties are spending on Medicaid with a "blank check syndrome" since the county share of Medicaid was capped in 2012 a "lie." He said the attempt to shift the burden for increases on Medicaid to counties is "voodoo economics for 2020" and using the maneuver to shift the cost of the state's deficit spending to county taxpayers a "Ponzi scheme."

“The Medicaid system has to be fiscally sustainable,” Cuomo said during his 2021 budget address. “If it is not fiscally sustainable then we accomplish nothing.”

New York State is facing a $6.1 billion budget gap due in large part to rising costs of Medicaid, a health insurance program that serves the poor, elderly and disabled.

Since the state capped county expenses, the state's share has increased $20 billion.

“That’s the blank check syndrome,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “We are signing the check and they’re filling out the amount.”

All Medicaid expenses, Gsell said today, are the result of state mandates. The county has no control over how much Medicaid costs or how much expenses increase.

The increases are a result of NY, as mandated by Albany, offering among the most generous Medicaid benefits package in the Union, and an increase in enrollment of Medicaid-eligible residents under the Affordable Care Act.

There are now 13,300 Genesee County residents enrolled in an ACA medical plan (not all are Medicaid eligible) compared to 8,800 five years ago.

"The State about eight to 10 years ago promised to takeover Medicaid administration from the local DSS districts, which still hasn’t occurred," Gsell said. "It now appears easier to pick a 'fall guy' – NYS counties – for the ongoing quagmire since 1966 that -- unlike in 48 of the other U.S. states -- New York State has bought into lock, stock, and barrel. I have yet to be told that we NYS Counties are making up our own benefit levels for this entitlement, enrolling masses of ineligible recipients, promoting fraud, waste, and abuse and essentially not doing our jobs. That is a figment of someone’s imagination in Albany. It is a lie and convenient dodge for a problem of the State government’s own making."

Photo: File photo of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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January 22, 2020 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, news, steve hawley, Ed Rath, NYS Association of Counties.

Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his proposed budget for 2020-2021. His budget press release is too long to put on the home page. You can read it here. Below are reactions we've received to the budget proposal.

From Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

“The governor made a lot of promises Tuesday, specifically to increase funding across the board for every program in the state, including an out-of-control Medicaid program that is the root cause behind a $6 billion deficit. In fiscal year 2018 alone, New York spent more on Medicaid than Texas and Florida combined, despite having around half the population.

“The national economy is booming in almost every metric, yet under one-party leadership in New York, we are facing a massive shortfall. Every indication says we need to roll back reckless spending, but Gov. Cuomo continues his handouts, even blaming counties and local governments for causing the state’s woes.

“As budget negotiations intensify, I will be working diligently to see that the governor sticks to his word of no new taxes and that his deficit does not fall on the backs of hardworking taxpayers. Whether it’s property tax relief, road and bridge repair or school funding, Western New York deserves its fair share of help, and I will continue to be a strong advocate on our behalf as the budget is determined over the coming months."

From Ed Rath, candidate for the 61st State Senate District:

“Faced with a $6.5 billion budget gap, I was hoping the Governor would outline some specifics on how he planned to address that shortfall, particularly as it relates to Medicaid. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with the proposed budget the people of New York State heard today. Medicaid accounts for two-thirds of the projected budget shortfall, but the Governor was woefully short on specifics in how he plans to generate the $2.5 billion in savings needed to offset Medicaid spending.

"Similarly, and equally disappointing, the budget proposal fails to reform the cash bail law. Instead, public safety and judicial discretion are being compromised, and a misguided and dangerous policy remains in effect.

“I was pleased to see a focus on education, and I hope that there is adequate funding for our schools to meet their increased financial needs.”

“However, any measure to address and strengthen our state’s business climate is mixed. On one hand, I was also pleased to see that middle-class tax cuts are expected to generate $4.7 million in savings, and that small corporate business tax cuts will generate an estimated $35 million. This is the sort of approach we need to help spur job creation and retention so that companies and workers can remain in our great Empire State, rather than continue to flee to other states. Unfortunately, the budget proposal also includes $51 million in tax and fee increases, which only serve to continue to shift the burden onto the backs of the hardworking people of New York.

“Overall, it seems that any attempt at a step forward in this budget is coupled with two steps backward or deafening silence on how our elected leaders plan to make New York stronger. The people of New York deserve more.”

The 61st Senate District includes portions of Erie, Genesee, and Monroe Counties.

Rath has served in the Erie County Legislature since first winning election in 2007. His district includes Amherst, Clarence, Akron, and Newstead. In the Legislature, he has been a fierce advocate for the reduction and reform of County government to lower the property tax burden, including co-sponsoring the effort to reduce the size of the Legislature from 15 to the current 11 seats. Throughout his 12 years in office, Rath has never voted in favor of a tax increase, and he voted against Erie County’s 2020 spending plan, due to runaway spending increases and public safety concerns.

New York Farm Bureau:

“Governor Cuomo’s proposed funding of $29 million is integral to the success of a number of important agricultural programs that support research, marketing and promotion of New York farm products. In addition, New York Farm Bureau supports the proposed Environmental Protection Fund that assists with conservation and stewardship programs utilized by farmers across the state.

"This year, Governor Cuomo also is proposing several new budget changes that are among our organization’s biggest priorities for the year. This includes a permanent Refundable Investment Tax Credit for farmers, increasing funding for the Farmworker Housing Program to $15 million and expanding the definition of family that was severely limiting in the recently enacted farm labor law. The budget language will better reflect the reality on farms today as many extended family members also play significant roles on farms and should not be covered under new farm labor regulations. These additions will begin to offset the increased labor costs facing our state’s farms, and we thank Governor Cuomo and his administration for continuing to work with New York Farm Bureau to address these issues.”

From the NYS Association of Counties President John F. (Jack) Marren:

In 1966, the State’s new Medicaid program cost county homeowners and businesses $112 million in local property taxes. Today, that cost is $7.6 billion.

More than 50 years later, in 2013, to address property taxes at the local level, the state capped increases in local Medicaid costs. On behalf of the 62 counties, including the boroughs of New York City, we are grateful to Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for championing the State's cap on local Medicaid cost growth. It has proven to be an historic safeguard against property tax growth.

Once again, counties stand united behind lowering the cost of Medicaid and improving the quality of care for those in need. We will review what is under local control to accomplish this, as well as what parameters are under state control, to insure the integrity of the taxpayer-funded health care program.

As with any organization, today’s health care costs, especially those embedded in Medicaid, are inherently systemic. Right now more than one third of New York’s population is on Medicaid, more and more Baby Boomers are accessing costly long-term care, and other medical coverage—from prescriptions to X-rays to hospital stays.

Counties stand ready to work with a Medicaid Redesign Team to assist the state with reforming its Medicaid Program.

January 22, 2020 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once re gistered you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]

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January 22, 2020 - 10:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, Andrew Cuomo.

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today outlined the FY 2021 Executive Budget, advancing a clear vision and bold, nation-leading and historic actions to make progress happen in the State of New York.

The budget plan features a $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change, including a new plan to streamline government bureaucracy to deliver renewable energy projects faster; a $25 billion expansion of New York's largest-in-the-nation building program, bringing it to $275 billion; an historic $28.5 billion investment in education while reforming funding formulas to prioritize support for poor schools, and an expanded Excelsior free college tuition program to include families making up to $150,000 per year.

The Executive Budget also includes a new proposal to protect our democracy by banning foreign-influenced corporations from making campaign contributions; the most funding in the state's history - an additional $64 million - to provide services to people who are homeless, including those with mental illness; investments to combat child poverty and $157 million to expand the Empire State Child Tax Credit, serving 400,000 families with children under 4 years old; and an additional $25 million funding to harden security infrastructure at non-public schools and cultural organizations vulnerable to hate crimes.

The budget plan will also promote public health with proposals to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and cap insulin co-payments at $100 per month. It will continue New York's unprecedented economic and social progress by continuing middle-class tax cuts for 4.7 million New Yorkers making under $300,000 a year; cutting small corporate business taxes, benefiting 36,000 taxpayers and saving them $35 million; enacting the strongest Paid Sick Leave program in the nation, impacting 1.3 million New Yorkers; closing the rape intoxication loophole; expanding banking services for low-income people, and proposing an inclusive Equal Rights Amendment.

The Governor's proposal will reform the current Medicaid system with a new Medicaid Redesign Team co-chaired by Michael Dowling of Northwell Health and labor leader Dennis Rivera. The MRT II will work to reform the program and identify $2.5 billion in savings this year by finding industry efficiencies or additional industry revenue with zero impact to beneficiaries.

For the 10th consecutive year, the Executive Budget is balanced and continues the state's record of fiscal integrity.

"This budget is a roadmap for delivering progressive results for the people of this state and addressing the imminent challenges of our time by advancing social, racial and economic justice. We're proposing historic investments in climate change and infrastructure programs and fixing the school aid formula to ensure poorer schools get the funding they need," Governor Cuomo said. "We're tackling the division and hate that has spread like cancer in the body politic by funding new security measures for organizations targeted by hate crimes, protecting our democracy from foreign-influenced corporations, and addressing homelessness, child poverty and other barriers facing low-income New Yorkers. These policies build on our extensive accomplishments over the past nine years that have led to unprecedented economic growth and social progress and historically low unemployment throughout the state all while maintaining fiscal discipline and lowering taxes for middle class families."

Fiscal Highlights of the FY 2021 Executive Budget:

  • State Operating Funds spending is $105.8 billion - an increase of 1.9 percent (State Operating Funds exclude Federal funds and capital)
  • All Funds spending $178 billion for FY 2021
  • Increases School Aid by $826 million - a 3 percent increase that brings the State's total annual investment to $28.5 billion
  • Provides $7.8 billion in State support for higher education in New York - an increase of $1.8 billion or 29 percent since FY 2012
  • Continues the phase-in of the Middle Class Tax Cut for nearly five million New Yorkers - saving New Yorkers over $1.8 billion this year

2021 MAKING PROGRESS HAPPEN BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

$33 Billion Five-Year Plan to Combat Climate Change: The FY 2021 Executive Budget continues New York's record as the most aggressive climate leader in the world through a $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change that will include: $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act supplemented by $740 million in additional state funding; $28 billion for green energy; and $1.5 billion for carbon-free transportation. The Governor also proposes reforms to approve renewable projects faster, with the State taking the lead in getting sites shovel ready for our green energy future.

$275 Billion Infrastructure Program: Governor Cuomo has undertaken the most ambitious infrastructure plan in the nation. Starting with an initial $100 billion investment, and followed up in the FY 2020 Budget with a second $150 billion investment, this Budget begins the support for expanding the total investment by $25 billion to $275 billion with new investments in transit, roads and bridges. The second phase, newly expanded $175 billion infrastructure plan builds on the Governor's initial $100 billion plan and includes:

  • $87 billion for transportation, including mass transit, railroads, airports, highways, bridges, and tunnels across the State.
  • $35 billion for improving environmental facilities and parks, and the development of green energy.
  • $11 billion for economic and community development.
  • $9 billion to further the State's investment in the construction of high-quality, affordable housing for the people of New York.
  • $19 billion to help school districts build new and better school buildings.
  • $14 billion to improve and maintain SUNY and CUNY buildings, State health care facilities and other capital assets.

The $275 billion infrastructure program will also continue to fund $6 billion for the Long Island Rail Road Second Track, Third Track and 39 modernized stations; new LaGuardia and JFK Airports; the East Side Access project; the Javits Center expansion; four new Bronx Metro-North stations in transit deserts; the Empire State Trail; modernization of the New York State Fair; and the $1 billion New NY Broadband program, ensuring broadband internet access for all.

Housing and Services for People who are Homeless, Including Those with Mental Illness: New York's homeless community and those with mental illness are among the hardest populations to help. This year, Governor Cuomo is proposing an aggressive strategy and the most funding in the State's history to provide housing and services to these vulnerable populations. Building on the State's $20 billion affordable housing and homeless initiative, the FY 2021 Budget doubles funding from $64 million to $128 million for the Homeless Housing Assistance Program and invests $5 million for projects for homeless veterans.

Combating Child Poverty with the Empire State Child Tax Credit: The FY 2021 Budget is supporting $2.9 billion for families with children under five years old, including $157 million to expand the Empire State Child Tax Credit. Currently this critical credit for low-and moderate-income families only applies to children 4-16 years old. This proposal will eliminate this unfair distinction and expand the tax credit to families with children between the ages of 0-3 making under $50,000. This will provide an average of a $400 benefit per family to nearly 400,000 working class families with children under four years old - approximately 172,500 families with children over the age of three will get an additional benefit and 225,500 families with children three and under will receive this benefit for the first time.

Protecting Organizations Vulnerable to Hate Crimes: The FY 2021 Budget will invest an additional $25 million for religious and non-religious not-for-profit organizations that are vulnerable to hate crimes. This funding builds on the $70 million the State has already made available for these organizations to fight back against hate.

Banning Contributions from Foreign-Influenced Corporations: The FY 2021 Budget includes a proposal to ban corporations from contributing to political campaigns in New York, or from making independent expenditures to influence elections, if a single foreign entity controls 5 percent ownership. The proposal would also ban corporations with more than 10 percent ownership in aggregate by two or more foreign entities from making such contributions or expenditures. Finally, the proposal will ban campaign spending if more than 10 percent of a corporation's board members are foreign nationals, or a foreign national participates in the decision making with respect to a corporation's political activities in the United States. Our nation's campaign finance laws state that "foreign nationals" are barred from spending in any American election, city, state or federal. Since that's true for individual foreigners, it must also be true for the corporations owned or controlled by them.

Requiring Public Officials to Disclose Their Tax Returns: Governor Cuomo will propose the "Nothing to Hide" Act in the FY 2021 Executive Budget to make our government the most transparent in the nation. The law will require that the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Comptroller, every state commissioner, and every Assembly Member and Senator make their tax returns public. Further, any elected official in the State with a government salary over $100,000 a year will have to do the same. 

New School Aid Funding Formula: Since 2012, New York State has increased funding for education by 43 percent, and this year the Governor's main goal is to ensure educational equity. In 2019 the Governor mandated that districts disclose the amount of funding distributed to each individual school. However, wealthier school districts still spend approximately $36,000 per student as opposed to $13,000 per student at poorer school districts. To ensure State funds are used to reduce funding disparities, the FY 2021 Budget will increase School Aid by $826 million, bringing the total annual investment to a record $28.5 billion, with 85 percent of the Foundation Aid increase going to the highest-need districts. To further prioritize poorer schools and ensure education equity, the Governor is proposing a new School Aid Funding Formula to properly distribute funds and build up underserved school districts.

Continuing Middle-Class Tax Cuts: Governor Cuomo will continue to lower Personal Income Tax rates for middle-class New Yorkers. In 2020, the third year of the multi-year tax cuts enacted in 2016, income tax rates have been lowered from 6.85 percent to 6.09 percent for taxpayers in the $43,000-$161,550 income bracket, and to 6.41 percent in the $161,550-$323,200 income bracket. These cuts are expected to save 4.7 million New Yorkers over $1.8 billion this year. Furthermore, income tax rates will continue to drop to 5.5 percent for taxpayers in the $27,900-$161,550 tax bracket and 6 percent in the $161,550-$323,200 brackets. When the cuts are fully phased in, middle-class taxpayers will have received an income tax rate cut up to 20 percent, amounting to a projected $4.2 billion in annual savings for six million filers by 2025. As the new rates phase in, they will be the State's lowest middle-class tax rates in more than 70 years.

Lowering Tax Rates by 40 Percent for Small Businesses: To continue the State's robust economic growth and record of job creation, Governor Cuomo will enact comprehensive tax relief for small businesses, including reducing the corporate tax rate for small businesses from 6.5 percent to 4 percent, which will benefit 36,000 taxpayers and save them $35 million.

Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Working New Yorkers: To further empower New York's low-wage workers and protect all consumers in the State, Governor Cuomo will enact paid sick leave. Businesses with five to 99 employees will provide their employees at least five days of job-protected paid sick leave per year and businesses with 100 employees or more will provide at least seven days of paid sick leave per year. Smaller businesses, with four or fewer employees, will guarantee five days of job-protected unpaid sick leave to their employees every year. Small businesses already providing paid sick leave will be able to so.

Expanding Access to Safe and Affordable Banking Services, Credit and Financial Education: The FY 2021 Budget will invest $25 million in new funding over five years to support banking services in low-income areas and underserved communities across the state. This funding is part of the Governor's sweeping financial access and inclusion agenda that builds on the work his administration has done to expand access to safe and affordable banking services, credit and financial education. The Budget will also create a statewide Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment, based at the Department of Financial Services, to meet the financial services needs of low- and middle- income New Yorkers across the state.

Expanding Free College Tuition to More Middle-Class Families: To expand the transformational opportunity of the Excelsior Scholarship to more middle-class families, Governor Cuomo is proposing to raise the Excelsior eligibility threshold from $125,000 to $150,000 of adjusted gross family income for New York's families. By increasing the threshold, more than 230,000, or nearly 58 percent of New York resident students will go to a SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free.

Closing the Rape Intoxication Loophole: Governor Cuomo will advance legislation to close the archaic rape intoxication loophole because rape should not be a punishment for drinking alcohol under New York State law. This legislation will rightfully clarify that a victim's ability to consent is jeopardized whether they were voluntarily or involuntarily intoxicated, giving prosecutors the ability to ensure that sexual abusers are held accountable for their criminal acts and sexual abuse survivors are able to obtain the justice they deserve.

Passing First-in-the-Nation Inclusive Equal Rights Amendment: Governor Cuomo will seek to amend the New York State Constitution's Equal Rights Amendment so that New York sets the national standard for how states protect equal rights. The Governor will seek to add sex as a protected class to Section 11 of Article I, ensuring that all New Yorkers, regardless of their gender, are fully protected by the State Constitution. Additionally, he will push for the addition of other categories, including ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity so that those critically important protections are also enshrined into the state constitution.

GREEN ECONOMY & ENVIRONMENT
This past decade was the hottest ever recorded, and the five hottest years in history have all occurred since 2015. New York will continue its record as the most aggressive climate leader in the world through a $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change. This nation-leading first of its kind plan will transition the State to renewable power while combatting climate.

Restore Mother Nature: Centered on the Governor's $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, New York State will reduce flood risk, invest in resilient infrastructure and revitalize critical fish and wildlife habitats by connecting streams and waterways, right-sizing culverts and dams, restoring freshwater and tidal wetlands, reclaiming natural floodplains, restocking shellfish populations and upgrading fish hatcheries, preserving open space, conserving more forest areas, replanting more trees, reducing contamination from agricultural and stormwater runoff, and expanding renewable energy. This wide-reaching environmental conservation and resiliency investment includes support from the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Environmental Protection Fund. This is a key component of the Governor's $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change.

Green Energy: Governor Cuomo has set New York on course to achieving 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and zero greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector by 2040. Under his leadership, the State has made substantial progress toward these goals with significant investments in energy efficiency, solar energy, wind energy and energy storage. To help achieve these goals, the Climate plan invests $28 billion through NYSERDA, New York Green Bank, NYPA and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to develop, support and expand carbon-free energy production, build the infrastructure such as transmission lines and energy storage that make renewable energy sources viable and work with our regional partners in driving down carbon emissions. This is a key component of the Governor's $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change.

Carbon-Free Transportation: New York already has the second most efficient transportation sector and lowest CO2 emissions per capita of any state. New York is a leader in electric vehicles - or EVs - thanks to the Charge NY initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2013.  Charge NY set ambitious goals - 30,000 EVs and 3,000 EV charging stations by the end of 2018 - and exceeded them.  Over 50,000 electric vehicles have been purchased in New York since 2013 — more than 48 other states. The Climate Budget invests $370 million to continue to reduce carbon emissions in New York State. This is a key component of the Governor's $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change.

Banning Single Use and Packaging Styrofoam Products: To build on the progress of last year's plastic bag ban, the Governor is proposing new legislation to prohibit the distribution and use of expanded polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, single-use food containers and packaging materials by January 1, 2022.

Enacting Comprehensive E-Bike and E-Scooter Legislation: To get more people out of cars, the Governor is proposing comprehensive legislation to legalize and expand the e-bike and e-scooter network without compromising on public safety.

Making the Fracking Ban Permanent: The Governor will introduce a bill to permanently ban fracking by amending environmental conservation law to restrict the Department of Environmental Conservation from approving permits that would authorize an applicant to drill, deepen, plug back or convert wells that use high-volume hydraulic fracturing to complete or recomplete natural gas resources, protecting the health of New Yorkers and ensuring permanently that our environment is not harmed by this practice. This bill reflects an important step forward toward achieving New York's clean energy economy goals.

Renewing Record Funding for the Environmental Protection Fund: The Budget continues EPF funding for a second straight year at a record high $300 million. Appropriations include $39 million for solid waste programs, $89 million for parks and recreation, $152 million for open space programs and $20 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program.  

BUILDING A NEW NY

Economic development follows infrastructure, and while the country sits idle New York State is forging ahead with the nation's most aggressive $275 billion infrastructure program that is transforming every region of the State. Under the Governor's leadership, New York is investing more today in roads and bridges than at any period in our State's history, and the state has already completed $65 billion in construction, more than any state in the nation. Building upon these historic investments, Governor Cuomo will continue to lead the way on creating a 21st Century transportation infrastructure that moves New York's economy forward and improves quality of life for our residents and visitors.

DOT Capital Plan: The FY 2021 Budget will support $11.9 billion for the two-year DOT Capital Plan that will transform New York's highways, bridges, rail, aviation infrastructure, non-MTA transit and DOT facilities. Compared to the final two years of the last DOT Capital Plan, this is an increase of $3 billion, or 33 percent.

MTA Capital Plan Commitment: The FY 2021 Budget will continue to support the $52 billion MTA Capital Plan - the largest state investment in history. This investment includes $3 billion to make up to 70 subway stations accessible.

Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition Round 2: The FY 2021 Budget will invest up to $100 million to continue transforming upstate airports with Round 2 of the Upstate Airport and Economic Development Revitalization Competition. Airports across the state will be encouraged to submit proposals to enhance safety and economic development, improve airport operations and access, reduce environmental impact and create better passenger experiences.

Reimagining the Erie Canal. Building on the findings of the Reimagine the Canal Task Force, the New York Power Authority, which now oversees the Canal Corporation as a subsidiary, will invest $300 million over the next five years to integrate the Empire State Trail and Erie Canal through a new program that will stimulate tourism and economic development, address environmental challenges unknown a century ago, and create an asset that will improve the quality of life in communities along the 360-mile spine of the Erie Canal. A first phase of funding will start this year that will have two parts: a $100 million economic development fund to invest in communities along the Canal and a separate $65 million investment in solutions that will help prevent ice jams and related flooding in the Schenectady area. The remaining $135 million of the plan's funding will subsequently be allocated to research recommended by the Reimagine Task Force, as well as to solutions related to flood mitigation, invasive species prevention and ecosystem restoration.

Empire Station: The State is investing $700 million to leverage a total of $3 billion, including from private sector and Federal sources, for the transformation of the James A. Farley Post Office building into the Moynihan Train Hall. Combined with extensive renovations at the existing Penn Station, this will create a new Empire Station. In his 2020 State of the State, Governor Cuomo announced a proposal to expand Penn Station southward to create the Empire Station District. The plan creates new, larger terminals, and will increase track and train capacity by 40 percent, addressing the underlying and most critical problem at the busiest transit hub in the Western Hemisphere.

Regional Targeted Investments are Working

The Governor will continue to advance economic prosperity for all with projects that build on the state's successful regional economic development strategy.

Securing a High-Speed Electron-Ion Collider at Brookhaven: The FY 2021 Budget supports a $100 million multi-year commitment to secure a High-Speed Electron-Ion Collider at Brookhaven to build the region's research triangle. The funding will allow for the construction of new support buildings, power distribution upgrades, a new cooling system and sustainability enhancements required for the new collider.  

Modernizing Lake Placid Olympic facilities, Gore and Belleayre Mountains: The FY 2021 Budget will invest $147 million to modernize Lake Placid Olympic Facilities, Gore Mountain, and Belleayre Mountain.

Creating the State's First Comprehensive Education and Training Center in Syracuse: To meet the emerging science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics demands in Syracuse, the Executive Budget proposes the creation of the State's first regional Comprehensive Education and Workforce Training Center in Central New York. Administered by the Syracuse City School District in partnership with SUNY Empire State College and other local colleges and universities, the Center will provide specialized educational opportunities and state of the art workforce training programs in advanced technologies to students and residents throughout the region. The State will reimburse 98 percent, or $71.4 million, of the cost to renovate the building that will house the Center. The Syracuse Comprehensive Education and Workforce Training Center is scheduled to open in 2021 and will serve ultimately 1,000 students, as well as residents of the community. 

Transforming Buffalo's North Aud Block: The State will develop Buffalo Canalside's North Aud Block and improve access to the city's waterfront, featuring mixed use residential and commercial buildings and a piazza for public use, based on community and stakeholder input. This also includes the rail station that is forthcoming in Buffalo and its coordination with the new North Aud Block neighborhood.

Expanding High Technology Companies in Rochester: The Governor is supporting the expansion of three industry-leading high technology companies in the City of Rochester that will further grow the Finger Lakes regional economy as part of the Governor's continued commitment to growing the high-tech ecosystem in and around Rochester's Downtown Innovation Zone. The expansion of these companies will create more than 700 jobs in and near Rochester's Downtown Innovation Zone.

Expanding New York's Drone Corridor: The Governor is investing $9 million to establish an unmanned aerial system experimentation and test facility at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, Oneida County. This "Skydome" will be a year-round indoor research facility to support the safe experimentation of drone technology and techniques, further strengthening the Mohawk Valley and Central New York as a hub for innovation.

Phase II Capitol Courtyard Restoration: The FY 2021 Executive Budget will invest $5 million to enhance the State Capitol by renovating and refurbishing the courtyard to bring it back to its original grandeur and make it sustainable for commercial use.

Transferring Pier 76 Tow Pound to Hudson River Park for Reuse: Governor Cuomo is proposing that the Hudson River Park Trust develop a plan to effectuate the long deferred transfer of Pier 76 from its use as a tow pound for the NYPD to the control of the Hudson River Park Trust to integrate into the park complex, maximizing green space, recreation and community access and market potential. As part of the proposal, the NYPD must vacate within one year and the Hudson River Park Trust should also develop an improvement plan for Pier 40.

Vital Brooklyn Initiative: The FY 2021 Executive Budget will continue to invest in the $1.4 billion Vital Brooklyn Initiative. The funding will help build 32 healthcare centers, 4,000 new affordable homes and over 400 acres of newly opened green and recreational space.

South Bronx Transformation: The Budget will support $1.8 billion for the South Bronx transformation - the largest state investment in the South Bronx in the State's history. Projects to transform the South Bronx include the Sheridan Boulevard, Hunts Point Market and four new Metro-North stations in Bronx transit deserts. 

Launching Next Round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative: The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families. Participating communities are nominated by the State's ten REDCs based on the downtown's potential for transformation. Through four rounds of awards, each winning community was awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community's vision for revitalization. The FY 2021 Executive Budget provides $100 million for a fifth round of the Downtown Revitalization Program.

Continuing the Successful Regional Economic Development Councils: In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Economic Development Councils to develop long-term regional strategic economic development plans. Since then, the State has invested more than $6.9 billion through the REDCs, funding more than 8,300 projects and supporting more than 240,000 jobs across the state. The FY 2021 Executive Budget includes $750 million to continue our aggressive, bottom-up regional economic development strategy through the transformative REDC initiative.

COMBATING DIVISION AND ENSURING PUBLIC SAFETY

Increasing and Modernizing Emergency Response Capacity: Over 60 percent of New York counties have been flooded twice in the past 10 years. We must be ready to handle these increasing, life-threatening, emergency situations. It is a new and growing challenge for our state operations. The FY 2021 Executive Budget sustains $12 million in capital funding to increase and update the State's emergency response capacity so our brave women and men have the right equipment to do their jobs.

Banning Repeat and High-Risk Sexual Offenders from MTA Transit Systems: The Governor will advance legislation to authorize the MTA to issue orders prohibiting individuals who commit repeat sex-related violations of the MTA code of conduct, those who are high-risk sex offenders (Level 3) or those who assault or harass MTA employees from using MTA transportation services for a period of three years. Additionally, this proposal will establish a new law for transit-related sex crime where, if convicted, a prohibition order may be imposed by a judge to ensure the safety of the pubic. Under this proposal, as a condition of pre-trial release, the judge may also issue a temporary prohibition order if good cause is shown that the prohibition is necessary to maintain public safety. Individuals who violate a prohibition order could be charged with Transit Trespass, an A misdemeanor.

 Banning Fentanyl Analogs to Further Combat the Opioid Epidemic: The Governor will introduce legislation to explicitly designate fentanyl analogs as controlled substances in New York State. This legislation will give police and law enforcement the authority to prosecute the manufacturing, sale and distribution of these drugs to the fullest extent of the law. The proposed legislation will also give the State Department of Health Commissioner the authority to add additional analogs to the list of controlled substances, enabling the State to stay in front of these deadly substances as they appear on the market.

 Preventing the Manufacture and Dissemination of Ghost Guns: To address the growing concern over ghost guns, Governor Cuomo will advance comprehensive legislation to prevent access to and use of these weapons. First, this proposal would require individuals to obtain major components of a firearm, rifle or shotgun only through an in-store transaction at a licensed gun dealer. Second, licensed dealers would be required to distribute major components only to individuals who possess valid identification and to log all transactions and would require all unfinished frames and receivers to have a serial number issued by the State Police. Third, the proposal would prohibit individuals who cannot legally possess a rifle or shotgun from possessing a major component part that could be used to build a firearm, rifle or shotgun and create new misdemeanor and felony penalties for violating these new provisions.

Closing the Out-of-State Gun Loophole: Governor Cuomo will advance legislation to prohibit individuals from obtaining a gun license who commit serious offenses out-of-state that would disqualify them from obtaining a gun license if committed in New York. This will provide greater consistency in New York's licensing scheme and ensure individuals who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm are not able to do so. The Governor is also advancing legislation to require all state and local law enforcement agencies in the state to opt in to the ATF's crime gun trace data sharing program and submit crime guns recovered through the ATF's eTrace system. Additionally, Governor Cuomo is proposing legislation to amend the Mental Hygiene Law to allow New York to share reports of individuals who are a danger to themselves or others with other states.

Legalizing Cannabis: This year Governor Cuomo is proposing a comprehensive regulatory approach to legalize cannabis, creating a new Office of Cannabis Management to specialize in cannabis regulation - overseeing the medical, adult-use and hemp programs. The proposal will administer social equity licensing opportunities, develop an egalitarian adult-use market structure and facilitate market entry through access to capital, technical assistance and incubation of equity entrepreneurs. The proposal will also correct past harms to individuals and communities that have disproportionally been impacted by prohibition. To safeguard public health, the proposal limits the sale of cannabis products to adults 21 and over and establishes stringent quality and safety controls including oversight over the packaging, labeling, advertising and testing of all cannabis products. These efforts will be done in coordination with neighboring states Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Governor will also propose creating a first of its kind Global Cannabis and Hemp Center for Science, Research and Education with SUNY and other expert partners.

Passing the Hate Crime Anti-Terrorism Act: To address the disturbing number of anti-Semitic and other discriminatory attacks in New York, the Governor is proposing a first-in-the-nation domestic terrorism law to include mass violence motivated by hate, creating a new A-1 class felony punishable by up to life in prison without parole. The Governor is also proposing New York schools add a curriculum that teaches civic values and the state's rich history of diversity and religious freedom. The Battery Park City Authority will develop a plan to expand the Museum of Jewish Heritage on the Holocaust to be a learning destination for school children across the state.

January 21, 2020 - 6:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Ramparts, sports, hockey.

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Batavia Rampart teams had a pretty good weekend of tournament hockey.

The Peewee travel team were undefeated champions of the Niagara Falls Blizzard Tournament.

The Peewee house team came in 2nd place in the Ohio Rock N Roll Tournament.

Bantam house are undefeated champions in the Empire State Cup Tournament.

Squirt house grabbed second place in the Ohio Rock N Roll Tournament.

Photos and info submitted by Teresa Pfendler.

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January 21, 2020 - 6:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, Rob Ortt, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Today, New York State Senator Rob Ortt, Army combat veteran, and candidate for New York’s 27th Congressional District is calling for Democrat and Working Families endorsed candidate, Nate McMurray, to give up his recent Working Families Party endorsement. Recently, the New York State Working Families Party called on candidates to “stop defending taxpayers,” and stated that using the term “taxpayer” is racist.

“Our district is home to around 710,000 ‘taxpayers’ who go to work every day to help support their families and build a better life,” Ortt said. “The fact that a candidate for New York’s 27th Congressional District would accept an endorsement from a political party that explicitly asked prospective candidates to avoid advocating for the taxpayers of our state is embarrassing.

"As elected officials, we are chosen by the taxpayers of our district to defend their best interests and do the will of the people. Any politician who accepts and endorsement from the Working Families Party clearly shows they have no interest in protecting hardworking taxpayers.”

The Working Families Party, backed by progressive donors, recently stated in the party’s 2020 questionnaire:

Messages that frame "taxpayers" as an aggrieved or marginalized group promotes an anti-tax, anti-government worldview that is often used to justify disinvestment and austerity policies. "Taxpayer" has also become a racially coded term designed to appeal to white individuals and reinforce the misconception that they are paying taxes to support the needs of people (often implied to be non-white) who don’t pay taxes. Will you avoid messaging that centers "taxpayers" or "tax burdens" and instead talk about "public funding" and the public as a whole?

Just this week, Nate McMurray accepted the endorsement of the Working Families Party line. The New York State Working Families Party has already endorsed several other candidates for 2020, including for U.S. President (Elizabeth Warren), U.S. Congress (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), and Democratic candidates for the New York State Legislature. Ortt called on all candidates running for office to denounce the Working Families Party and refuse their support. McMurray did neither.

“By accepting this endorsement, it is clear that Nate has not prioritized representing the best interests of the constituents in New York’s 27th Congressional District,” Ortt said. “Either he is ignorant of the agenda that the New York State Working Families Party stands for, or he has full knowledge of the statements made by this group and has decided that advocating for ‘taxpayers’ is racist. Either one is unacceptable and I call on him to give up his endorsement by this radically socialist party."

January 21, 2020 - 5:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, alexander.

A motor-vehicle accident involving two cars and a minor injury is reported at 10880 Alexander Road, Alexander.

That's between Stroh Road and Railroad Avenue.

Alexander fire and ambulance dispatched.

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