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61st senate district

Borrello helps colleague by adding two new committee roles for the 2024 season

By Press Release

Press Release:

Sen. George Borrello

Senator George Borrello has been elevated to Ranking Member of the Senate Elections Committee and named as a new member of the Committee on Energy and Telecommunications by Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt.

The changes come in the wake of the military deployment of Senator Borrello’s Republican colleague, Senator Mark Walczyk (49th District), who will be deployed to Kuwait for nine months. Senator Borrello is among those chosen to fill committee vacancies resulting from Senator Walczyk’s absence.

“First and foremost, I am grateful to Senator Walczyk for his service to our nation. We are incredibly fortunate to have dedicated leaders like Senator Walczyk who are willing to answer our nation’s call, regardless of the sacrifices it entails. We wish him a safe and successful mission and extend our deepest support to his family.”

Senator Borrello explained that he will be taking over as Ranking Member on the Elections Committee, which he has served on as a member since January 2023.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue to serve on the Elections Committee, but in a new role as the Ranking Member. This is a pivotal time for our electoral system when issues of election integrity have moved to the forefront. While voter participation is important, it is just as crucial that people have confidence that their vote is secure and that it will count. That will continue to be a top concern of mine as we review new proposals,” said Senator Borrello.

“Energy policy is also at a critical juncture in New York. The rapid push to transition our state to renewable energy has major implications for our economy, taxpayers, and the environment. We need to take a hard and honest look at the data, the costs and adjust course where necessary,” said Senator Borrello. “I look forward to bringing my perspective to the committee and advancing proposals that will assure New Yorkers continue to have access to safe, reliable, and affordable energy,” Senator Borrello said.

Senator Borrello noted that in addition to his new assignments on the Elections and Energy committees, he will retain his roles as Ranking Member on both the Agriculture and Banks committees. He will also continue to serve as a member on the following committees: Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, Finance, and Housing, Construction and Community Development.

“There are so many important issues facing our state right now, which I look forward to working on with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. I am grateful to Leader Ortt for entrusting me with these new responsibilities as we move forward with the 2024 Legislative Session.”

Senator Rath urges action on legislation to increase government transparency

By Press Release

Press release:

Senator Rath is calling for action on legislation he sponsors in the Senate that would work to increase the transparency of our state government.  

“Creating more transparency around our state government and its processes is extremely important.  Assuring that residents have faith and understanding of our government is essential.  Unfortunately, Albany has a reputation for its closed doors, corruption, and cover-ups, I am fighting to change that,” said Senator Ed Rath. 

The legislation that Senator Rath sponsors is a package (S.6931, S.6932, S.6933, S.6943, S.6935, S.8588) which includes: initiatives to expand political contribution reporting requirements, restrict certain contributions from public officials and restrict certain contribution time periods.  All bills were active in the 2021-2022 legislative session.  

“Recently we have seen questions surrounding the Governor’s donors being awarded state contracts, this needs to end.  The continuous pay-to-play culture of Albany is unacceptable. I believe this legislation is a step in the right direction,” said Senator Ed Rath. 

For a full listing of the bills and their explanations, visit


Sen. Ed Rath seeking teacher nominations for 'Local Heroes' program

By Press Release

Press release:

Senator Rath is asking for residents to nominate teachers that they would like to honor.  The nominations will be open during Teacher Appreciate Week, which runs from May 2nd through May 6th

“Teachers play such an instrumental role in children’s lives, many of us can recall a teacher who made a lasting impact on us.  I hope everyone will take a moment to nominate that special teacher,” said Senator Ed Rath. 

To nominate an educator from the 61st senate district, visit

Jacobs, Hawley, Rath call on Hochul to reject lowering overtime threshold for ag workers

By Press Release


Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27), NYS Senator Ed Rath (R,C,I - Amherst), and NYS Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) held a press conference this morning to call on Governor Hochul to reject the NYS Farm Laborers Wage Board’s decision to lower the overtime threshold from 60 hours a week to 40 hours.

“Farming is already a business suffering from labor shortages with incredibly tight margins, if the Governor were to accept this decision it would have disastrous impacts on the viability of agriculture in our state and the security of our rural economies,” Jacobs said. “Lowering the threshold would force producers and workers out of our state, and bankrupt generation family farms. I urge the Governor to reject this decision – made at the expense of our farmers – our region’s future prosperity depends on it.”

"The decision by the Farm Laborers Wage Board to lower overtime hours from 60 to 40 hours is fatal to our farms. As the largest industry in New York, agriculture is a vital part of our Upstate community. With this overtime change, many family farms will not survive. I have spoken with countless farmers and farm workers who have shared their concerns with this hour reduction. I remain deeply troubled by this decision and the impact it will have, not only in my district but across our State," Rath said.

“Our state’s agribusinesses and rural communities are staring down the edge of a cliff as they eagerly wait to see whether Gov. Hochul will stand up for them, or for the special interests who’ve been pushing this policy through the bureaucratic process,” Hawley said. “Farmers, lawmakers, farm laborers and experts alike have made clear the devastating consequences this decision will have on agriculture. In this moment, Gov. Hochul has the power to save agriculture in New York state, or put it down a path that will cause it to become something completely unrecognizable. Having represented a rural part of upstate New York in Congress, I sincerely hope she understands how dangerous this decision would be not just for farmers, but for rural communities throughout the state.”

Jacobs recently joined the New York Republican Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to Governor Hochul outlining the disastrous impacts of this recommendation from the wage board and urging her to reject it. You can read that letter here.

Hawley, Rath issue statements critical of proposed budget from Legislature

By Press Release

Press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

“The Assembly Majority’s one-house budget is a historically-poor representation of where state funds should be allocated, and this year’s is no different. Not only does it deny health care heroes a bonus for their incredible work over the last two years and ignore the need for teacher support in our state, but it directs funds towards illegal immigrants for public defenders in deportation cases and so prison inmates get longer phone call times. It’s a bloated budget proposal spurred by a downstate mindset and totals at a whopping $226 billion, which is even larger than the governor’s own proposal, and it would leave behind a burden of debt repayment for our children’s entire young adult lives. The Majority is clearly out of touch with the needs of the greater New York state, and it’s why I voted against this proposal.”

Press Release from State Senator Ed Rath:

“Yesterday I voted “No” on the Senate One House Budget Resolution.  While there are some good aspects, such as critical aid for our aging infrastructure, the bad far outweighed the good.  The out-of-control spending from Albany needs to stop. New revenue streams for the State should have equated to cost savings for hard-working New Yorkers, unfortunately, that is not what is being done. As I have said time and time again, New York has an affordability crisis, and this budget is only going to make the issue worse.” 

Rath named to government committee

By Press Release

Press release:

Senator Rath has been named to the Senate Budget Committee on General Government and Local Assistance. Senator Rath is ranking member on the Senate Local Government Committee. 

“I look forward to advocating for our local communities.  While many local governments saw growth this past year, it is critical to assure that vital programs remain whole.  Over the past two years, many saw extremely trying times, it is important that we work to adopt a budget that is financially viable and protects vital programs that our local governments depend on,” said Senator Ed Rath.  

The budget subcommittees will begin meeting in the coming weeks.  

Rath critical of redistricting plan

By Press Release

Press release from State Sen. Ed Rath:

As the Congressional, Senate, and Assembly map lines come into focus, one thing is clear: the will of the people was ignored. In 2014, the voters of New York resoundingly supported a constitutional amendment creating an Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). This amendment made it crystal clear that New Yorkers wanted legislative lines drawn in a fair, non-partisan fashion. 

This past November, the voters spoke again – furthering their support of an independent process for redistricting. Twice in 7 years. 

Both of these referenda were completely ignored, sidestepped and bypassed by Democrats in the Legislature. 

Now, we are seeing the results: communities that have been bound together for years have been separated with little public notice and no public input on these maps.  Make no mistake, this is the least transparent redistricting the state has ever seen.  Plain and simple, too many communities in Western New York and the state are losing a voice. And in return for what? New York City is gaining two new Senate districts to further its partisan agenda.  It's proposals like this, which we are seeing from this majority, that is the reason why people across our state do not trust our government.  

This is not good government, nor the intention of the IRC. It’s more hyper-partisan politics, as usual, out of Albany.  

There has not been one public hearing on these maps nor any public input.  This is unacceptable.  

Rath calls on Cuomo to resign immediately

By Howard B. Owens

Press release from Sen. Edward Rath:

The findings of the Attorney General’s report are extremely concerning and downright disgusting.  The upsetting details of this report speak for themselves.  If the Governor does not resign, the State Legislature must act immediately.  Out of respect for the victims, further inaction regarding this matter is simply unacceptable.

Rath reflects on end of session in Albany

By Press Release

Press release:

“The 2021 Legislative Session came to an end on June 10th, said Sen. Ed Rath. "Unfortunately, the session fell short in many ways and did little to help the struggling residents and small businesses of New York State. 

“The state has faced an extremely tough year and at a time when New York could have been a leader in COVID reopening and recovery, we saw confusion and misplaced priorities. Changing mandates, new taxes, increased spending were the common themes of the year.  

“While this session fell short in many ways, I was happy to be able to serve the residents of the 61st Senate District and to be able to get legislation passed to help our local communities. I look forward to returning to Albany, for hopefully a more ‘normal’ session.”

Rath says birds and bees bill would hurt state's farmers

By Press Release

Press release:

“The legislation that passed the Senate today, S.699b, is detrimental for our farming community and a clear disregard to their knowledge and expertise.  

“I have heard from many farmers from my district, as well as statewide organizations, such as the Farm Bureau, the New York State Turfgrass Association, and the New York State Corn, Soybean and Vegetable Growers, who have voiced their extreme concern with this legislation. This legislation will tie their hands and prohibit them from protecting their crops.

“Unfortunately, this is just another example of a Downstate politician proposing legislation from a conference room that will negatively impact the agricultural community without taking the time to understand the effects.  Farmers take great care in assuring their crops and products are safe and healthy, while also having an obvious vested interest in the environmental impacts.

“I would encourage the agricultural community to contact Assembly leadership to share their opposition to this dangerous legislation.”

Rath's first bill passes, renaming a portion of Route 77 after Pembroke resident killed in action

By Press Release

Press release:

Today, May 25th, Senator Ed Rath’s first bill passed the New York State Senate (S.6105). The bill will designate state Route 77 between Pembroke Town Park and the intersection of Indian Falls Road in the Town of Pembroke, County of Genesee, as the "Specialist Four (SP4) Clarence 'C. Jay' Hall Memorial Highway."

“I am extremely happy to announce the passage of my first bill," said Senator Rath. "I am immensely proud of this legislation, highlighting a local hero. It is also fitting that this bill passes just days before Memorial Day. Specialist Hall gave the ultimate sacrifice and to be able to honor him is very humbling."

Specialist Hall served as a rifleman in the Army in Binh Duong, Vietnam. He was mortally wounded on Oct. 7, 1969, during an intense attack by enemy forces.

Specialist Hall earned: the NYS Conspicuous Service Cross; the National Defense Service Medal; the Vietnam Service Medal with One Bronze Star; Vietnam Campaign Ribbon; Combat Infantryman Badge; and the Silver Star, which is the nation's third-highest award for valor.

The Veterans Outreach Club and the Government classes of the Pembroke Jr. /Sr. High School requested this legislation.

The bill passed the Senate and is currently in the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means for consideration.

Rath critical of mask mandate in preschools

By Press Release

Statement from Sen. Ed Rath:

“Another day, another executive order. The latest being children aged 2 and up must wear masks at daycare facilities. This is outrageous. From the very start of the pandemic, we saw the State create arbitrary rules and guidelines without listening to the science. 

“For the past year and a half, younger children in daycare settings were not required to wear masks, as the CDC and NYS loosen these requirements, now suddenly this younger age group is forced into mask-wearing. 

“If the Governor does not act to resolve this, the Legislature must.”

Rath supports audit of unemployment system

By Press Release

Press release: 

“I am happy that Comptroller (Thomas) DiNapoli will be auditing the New York State Unemployment system for fraud," said Sen. Ed Rath (NYS-61). While this is a critical first step, I believe that a full and comprehensive audit of the system needs to be done.

"From the very start of the pandemic, the unemployment system in our State has been an absolute mess and the lack of transparency has been very concerning. Between residents being unable to receive the benefits they are due, to long wait times to overpayments and blatant fraud, there has been nonstop issues.

"My office has heard from hundreds of residents regarding their unemployment problems, and I am proud to say we have been able to work to resolve many of their issues.

"Unfortunately, until the fundamental challenges with the unemployment system are addressed, these problems will continue to occur, and we will continue to see fraud and waste in the system. I am hopeful that this audit will bring some much-needed transparency to the process.”

Rath announces Batavia Downs VTL funds for local government restored to state budget

By Press Release

Press release:

The final budget bill includes the Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) aid for the City of Batavia, Town of Batavia, and Genesee County in the amount of $800,000. Originally left out of the Senate One-House Budget, Senator Ed Rath was vocal in his opposition to the elimination of this critical aid.

“I am pleased to see this aid restored," Senator Rath said. "Many of our communities are beginning to recover from COVID and the financial implications, to cut their funding at such a critical time would be detrimental.

"To think that the only areas that were exempt from the VLT aid were areas represented by Republican senators was troubling. This cut would have been detrimental, and I am glad that the aid was restored."

The VLT funding was included in part KK of the Public Protections and General Government Budget Bill (S.2505-C).

Rath announces results of hunter survey

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Senator Rath conducted a survey focusing on hunting issues contained in the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal.

“Hearing from residents and knowing where they stand on proposals is extremely important to me. We received input from thousands of residents, from all over New York State. Thank you to all those who took the time to share their views with me. With this information, I am able to better represent my constituents,” said Senator Ed Rath.

“Thank you to Senator Rath for asking these questions. We appreciate the Senator involving the hunting community in these conversations,” Jeff Jondle, president of the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Club. 

The survey results indicated that residents overwhelmingly support lowering the hunting age (76 percent of respondents) and expanding the crossbow season (74 percent of respondents). Both proposals were included in the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal.

Senator Rath was elected in 2020 and represents the towns of Amherst, Clarence, and Newstead and the villages of Akron and Williamsville in Erie County; the towns of Chili and Riga, the Village of Churchville and part of the City of Rochester in Monroe County; and all of Genesee County. The Senator is also a member of the New York State Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.

Rath introduces bill to allow schools to fully open with three feet social distancing

By Press Release

Press release:

Senator Ed Rath has introduced legislation, S.5718, that would permit school districts to open to students for in-person instruction if the school can always maintain at least 3 feet between students. 

“Getting our children safely back into schools is critical," Rath said. "For the past year, children have had their daily routines completely upended. While virtual learning was necessary early in the pandemic, schools have proven that they can safely bring children back.

"I continue to hear from parents who share their concerns about their children falling behind academically and greatly missing the social aspect of in-person learning. Now that teachers have been prioritized for vaccination, allowing the three feet of social distancing would be another tool in helping get children back in the classroom.

“While some counties and school districts have made spacing adjustments on their own, a unified approach is necessary.  Additionally, it has been seen in other areas of the United States that bringing back students does not contribute to significant community spread.

"I have also met with the New York State American Academy of Pediatrics, who shared their support of this measure. I am hopeful that this bill will help get our children back into the classroom and allow schools to focus on educating our children."

The bill, S.5718, was introduced on March 16th and was referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs for consideration.

Rath calls for investigation into nursing home deaths, possible cover up

By Press Release

Press release:

Senator Rath has called for a full, independent investigation into the Cuomo Administration, the Department of Health, and any other government official complicit with covering up information.

“What we are seeing regarding the reporting of deaths in nursing homes is extremely disturbing," Rath said. "Questions surrounding the number of deaths in nursing homes have swirled since March and for almost a year, the Governor and the DOH have ignored the cries for clarity.

"We need all the facts and that is why an investigation is critical. We need to know who knew what and when, and if the information was kept from the Department of Justice.

“In an ironic shift, Senate Majority members are now calling for the Governor’s executive powers to be revoked. After months of my colleagues and I (calling) for the repeal of the powers and being accused, by the Majority, of playing games and being political, now they see the true effects of centralized control.

“Furthermore, after members of the majority dismissed our conference’s calls for transparency as political, it now appears we were correct and that there was a coordinated effort to cover up facts for political gain.

“It is extremely troubling to me if the public cannot trust our top elected officials during a public health crisis."

Rath's first piece of legislation intended to help small businesses

By Press Release

Press release:

Senator Rath has introduced his first bill as a new member of the New York State Senate. 

The bill, S.4691, would establish the “save our small businesses grant program” which would aid small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Aiding small businesses and helping our communities come back stronger is critically important.  This bill will help provide much needed financial support for our struggling businesses and economy,” said Senator Ed Rath.

The State’s Regional Economic Development Councils will provide the funds and help facilitate the implementation and roll-out of the “save our small businesses grant program.”

“As COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift, this becomes even more important.  We must assure that our businesses have the means to reopen and rehire to ensure financial stability.  It is crucial that our Regional Economic Development Councils shift their attention to supporting our existing businesses.  We owe it to them to offer any assistance we can during these trying times, especially because many are suffering as a result of state mandates,” said Senator Ed Rath.

The bill was submitted to the State Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business for consideration.

Rath calls for investigation into nursing home 'data coverup'

By Press Release

Press release:

“It is completely unacceptable that the scheduled Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 hearing was canceled. I joined my colleagues this morning in a press conference to demand answers and I believe that Senator (Thomas) O’Mara’s subpoena of Howard Zucker (NYS commissioner of Health) is critical. We need a full investigation into this nursing home data coverup.

“The DOH is fully aware that there are many answers that the public needs. Unfortunately, they are trying to avoid answering tough questions by postponing the hearing until the end of the month. We need to hold them accountable.

"Between the flawed rollout of the vaccine distribution to the cover-up of nursing home deaths, to say there is a lot that needs to be discussed is an understatement. The public deserves answers and accountability and what we are seeing is far from that.”

Sen. Rath asks hunters to take poll

By Press Release

Press release:

Senator Rath has launched a four question Hunter’s Poll.

“Hearing from residents on important topics is critical to me," Rath said. "There are a few proposals that have been included in the Governor’s 2021-22 Budget that would affect the hunting community. Learning the residents’ perspective on these issues will allow me to better represent the district. That is why I hope you will take a moment to complete the poll.”

Residents can complete the survey here. The poll focuses on two long-debated proposals that will affect hunters in New York State. These proposals were recommended by the Department of Environmental Conservation and included in the Governor’s budget. 

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