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Legislators speak up as bills go to Gov. Hochul's desk for signature

By Joanne Beck
Marianne Clattenburg with certificate letter
Genesee County Legislator Marianne Clattenburg holding the state letter of certification she just received for her reelected four-year position. 
Photo by Joanne Beck

Bills that were passed in the Senate this year are now headed to Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk, and Genesee County legislators made one more impassioned plea for her to veto the legislation, though perhaps in vain, during Wednesday’s legislature meeting.

One act is to amend the town, village, county and municipal home rule law that would revise certain offices to have three-year terms and elections to be on the first Monday in November of every even-numbered year is one of the bills proceeding for Hochul’s vote.

Legislator Marianne Clattenburg, who just received her state certification letter in the mail acknowledging her legislative status, takes issue with the possibility that her four years might just get cut short a year.

“And the governor has called that up, and she has till the end of the year to sign it. If she doesn't sign it, then it goes away. If she signs it, then it becomes law. And I just wanted to state my opposition; first, the way it was done. And second, it will not save any money as far as elections go. And third, it was only concentrated on certain counties, not New York City people. And so I'm totally opposed to it,” Clattenburg said. “It'll skew everyone's terms. I was just reelected to a four-year term. If this goes through, my term turns to three. And I just think it's wrong because we put this to the voters, the voters decided our terms. And now they want to take that home rule away.” 

She also opposes the bill because the state legislators passed it during budget negotiations, she said. The entire Genesee County Legislature sent its own letter as well as joining the state Association of Counties in passing a resolution to oppose the measure in a bipartisan effort, she said. 

Wednesday’s public appeal was one more attempt at reminding the state where this county stood, Clattenburg said.

Because today was the day (Hochul) called it up, we received an alert that we should make our sentiments known again,” she said. “So (Legislature Chair Shelley Stein) just wanted one of us to, you know, speak up and reiterate what we had said previously. And it just so happens that I got my certification in the mail today. I thought it was ironic that it says I have a four-year term. But if the governor signs the paper, it negates that.” 

Legislator Christian Yunker also spoke up about the Birds and Bees Protection Act, which he — and Stein, per her prior public comments — are against. 

This Act is a measure to prohibit the “sale, distribution or purchase by any person within the state of corn, soybean or wheat seeds coated or treated with pesticides with the active ingredients clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, or acetamiprid,” as of Jan. 1, 2027. 

Stein, of Stein Dairy Farm in Le Roy, previously wrote an opinion piece for The Times Union explaining her rationale that: "New York farmers have only one shot each year to grow a crop of corn or soybeans, and waiting under the soil are insects like the seed corn maggot that love to gobble up seedlings before they emerge," she said in her opinion piece. "Coating minute amounts of neonic pesticides on corn and soybean seeds is a proven practice to keep the maggots away and assure a successful crop — but legislation passed this year would take this tool out of New York farmers’ toolbox."

Yunker helps run CY Farms, Batavia Turf, and CY Heifer Farm. He said that New York would be the only state to enact this prohibition of seeds treated with the particular pesticides, which he considers to be promoted by “environmental radicals.”

“This would have devastating effects for farmers in New York State. Not only would we be able to see this as an unfair advantage … it will also have devastating environmental impacts that I don’t think most realize. These seed treatments are a critical tool for farmers … it’s a safe and effective tool; it’s been proven all around the world, and New York State wants to get rid of this critical technology,” Yunker said. “So, this is legislation that makes no sense. As rural residents and farmers, it just doesn't make sense, and I just wanted a strong urge against this bill.”

Christian Yunker CY Farms pic
Christian Yunker
Photo from CY Farm website

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