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Chris Jacobs

Jacobs announces tit-for-tat response to Canada's foreign nationals property tax

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) introduced the American Property Act designed to combat the Canadian government’s discriminatory property tax set to potentially impact countless Americans with generational properties in Canada.

“For many Western New Yorkers, owning property in Canada has been a part of their family for generations. These homes are handed down, and visiting them, especially during the summer months, is a way of life,” Jacobs said. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Canadian government has made it clear how they view Americans who either have binational families or enjoying frequenting Canada – they have been ostracized and had countless ridiculous restrictions placed upon their travel. Most recently we witnessed this with Canada’s decision to levy a tax against ‘underused’ housing owned by foreign nationals. For many Americans with property, these places are vacation homes and thus remain uninhabited for months out of the year, putting families in jeopardy of having to pay additional money on top of the taxes they pay the Canadian government each year.”

Rep. Jacobs’ American Property Act would levy a tax equal to 1% of an underused property’s value that is owned by a foreign national. To be considered used, the property must be occupied for at least 180 days in one calendar year. This tax rate matches the one levied by the Canadian government on foreign-owned property which was enacted in June of this year.

“Canada’s tax is a slap in the face for many – we made clear should Canada pursue this action there would be retaliatory action, today that action is being taken through this legislation,” Jacobs said. “Underused, foreign-owned, properties in the United States will now be subject to the same tax levied by the Canadian government.”

Rep Jacobs introduces legislature to further effort to reduce plastics in wastewater

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) and Congresswoman Mary Peltola (AK-AL) introduced the Reducing Plastics in Wastewater Act.

“I was proud to join the late Congressman Don Young in calling for full funding for the Save our Seas Act 2.0 in the 117th Congress. This bipartisan legislation, introduced with his successor, builds upon that work by making SOS 2.0 wastewater infrastructure projects eligible for additional funding under a federal-state partnership,” Jacobs said. “I have been committed to improving the quality of our water, and the health of our Great Lakes - I am proud put forth this legislation with Congresswoman Peltola to ensure every means of reducing plastic waste in our water systems is available to states and municipalities.”

“As we understand more about the dangers of plastic pollution in our oceans it is clear we need to do everything possible to empower local efforts to improve wastewater treatment. Alaskans have clearly supported the effort and this bill takes the important step of making funding streams available to upgrade and improve efforts to reduce and remove plastic from wastewater,” Congresswoman Peltola said.

This bill makes Save Our Seas 2.0 (P.L. 116-224) Section 302c projects—infrastructure projects to reduce and remove plastic waste and postconsumer materials, including microplastics and microfibers, from wastewater—explicitly eligible for loans and additional subsidization under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Program, regardless of community affordability considerations. This change would give state agencies, individuals, citizens’ groups, and nonprofit organizations the option of directing loans or funding from the CWSRF to certain wastewater infrastructure projects.

Save Our Seas 2.0 passed the 116th Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law on December 18, 2020. SOS 2.0 aims to reduce, remove, and prevent marine debris in the environment, particularly in U.S. waters and oceans around the world. If adequately funded, the law would provide important incentives for reducing and removing plastic waste from drinking water and wastewater resources. There are major gaps in funding for the law to date.

For FY22 and FY23, Representative Chris Jacobs (NY-27) led bipartisan, bicameral appropriations letters to fully fund SOS 2.0 with the late Representative Don Young (AK-AL), Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Senator Dan Sullivan (AK), and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI). You can view the FY22 letter HERE and Rep. Jacobs press conference HERE.

Absent full funding for SOS 2.0, the Reducing Plastics in Wastewater Act provides an alternate funding stream for Section 302c infrastructure projects to reduce plastic waste in wastewater. SOS 2.0 Section 302b projects, drinking water infrastructure projects, are already eligible for funding under the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Program.

Jacobs calls on Hochul to hold special session to rescind bail reform

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) sent the following letter to Governor Hochul on Friday, October 21st calling for her to take immediate action to amend the state's bail reform laws following the recent murder of Keaira Hudson earlier this month.

Dear Governor Hochul,

I write to express my ongoing concerns about the flawed and failed bail reform laws which were passed in this state and signed into law by your predecessor in January 2020. Violent crime committed by repeat offenders in New York State is at now epidemic proportions, especially with such crimes as domestic abuse, which put women and children in our communities at grave risk. I implore you to immediately call the legislature into emergency session to make the necessary reforms to this failed law to ensure public safety for all New Yorkers.

Just last week in Buffalo, NY – our shared hometown – a mother of three children was murdered by her estranged husband who was released on his own recognizance without bail, despite being brought in on domestic violence-related charges. This murder is yet another case of preventable death in our state.

It is unacceptable that a man with a record of violence and domestic abuse, one who had been recorded just days before beating his wife in their home and who was arrested on multiple domestic violence-related charges, could be released on his own recognizance because his charges were deemed “bail ineligible.” Numerous studies have shown domestic violence incidents are not isolated, and escalation is highly probable. According to a 2016 study, 10 to 18 percent of those arrested for domestic violence are arrested again within six months, 15 to 30 percent face a second arrest within 28 months, and up to 60 percent are rearrested within 10 years. Had the judge been afforded judicial discretion in this case, this man would have not been released, and a life may have been saved.

This is one of many instances of a police officer making an arrest for a serious crime only to have that offender back in the community committing more violence. In August 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams released a study detailing how a group of career criminals has accumulated hundreds of arrests yet are still roaming the streets, free to commit additional crimes, due to our failed “bail reform” laws. Your office’s defense that this problem was fixed or that these incidents are not data, but rather anecdotal evidence, disregards the countless families whose lives have been upended by violent crime committed by offenders who would otherwise be behind bars.

Our Erie County Democratic District Attorney John J. Flynn said after this needless murder, “This could easily be solved with one sentence in the bail law.” That one sentence would provide judges with discretion to consider “dangerousness” when determining bail.

We have a serious problem in New York State, and there is an immediate need for reform to our failed bail laws. I implore you to call an immediate special session of our legislature to first address the need for increased judicial discretion to limit the release of individuals who are arrested with domestic violence charges; and second, to reform the entire law to give judges the authority they previously had, and now desperately need, to keep dangerous individuals in custody. No family should have to suffer the pain of losing a loved one to a violent criminal who was set free under your failed system.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I look forward to your response.

Jacobs calls for state to release schools' standardized test results

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) led Congressmembers Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Joe Sempolinski (NY-23), Lee Zeldin (NY-01), and Claudia Tenney (NY-22) in calling for New York State Department of Education Commissioner Betty Rosa to release 2021-2022 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics assessment data. Traditionally, the state has released this data in August before the start of the next school year. However, this data for the previous school year have yet to be made public.

“Around the country assessments are showing us COVID-19 caused detrimental learning loss in our students. School closures, quarantines, and remote learning left many students behind and widened the achievement gap – especially for students from traditionally disadvantaged populations,” Jacobs said. “A portion of American Rescue Plan Funding has been allocated to New York school districts to address learning loss, yet in true NYS government fashion, we have yet to get transparent answers on the state of our students’ assessments. As we work to begin our long road to academic recovery, we need a full and accurate picture of the loss that occurred in NYS students – the Commissioner must release this data immediately so academic plans can be formed and implemented effectively and expeditiously.”

"It is way past time that parents have the answers they deserve and demand. What lasting effects did our extended COVID lockdowns have on our children, and why has the NYS Department of Education not been more forthcoming with their data? We need to have all of the information so that we can do what is best for our students and their education,” Congressman Sempolinksi said.

"Albany needs to immediately release the standardized test scores for the entire state. There is no good excuse to delay this a day longer, and the further the state stalls, the more suspicious New Yorkers will understandably become that the state is trying to hide the data from the public," Congressman Zeldin said.

“Assessment data for mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) are made available for New Yorkers to review every August. However, with an election approaching, Governor Hochul withheld the data this year, in what appears to be a clear attempt to cover up the damage done by New York’s unscientific COVID mandates, which undoubtedly had a significant impact on learning. New York should make its data public now, just as it has in past years. Our children must always come first,” Congresswoman Tenney said.

Jacobs introduces bill, Federal Assault Weapons Licensing Act

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) introduced the Federal Assault Weapons Licensing Act, legislation designed to put in place additional protections on accessing high-powered weapons.

“We saw firsthand in Buffalo, Uvalde, and countless other communities around our nation that high-powered semi-automatic weapons have the capacity to cause an extreme amount of destruction in a very short amount of time. While the overwhelming majority of Americans who own these weapons are law-abiding, responsible gun owners - the increasing trend of mass shootings with these weapons shows additional safeguards must be placed upon obtaining them. My bill will better ensure these guns do not fall into the wrong hands, while still protecting Americans’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Jacobs said.

The Federal Assault Weapons Licensing Act would create a new licensing system for any American seeking to purchase a new assault weapon – anyone who already owns an assault weapon at the time of enactment would be grandfathered in. The licensing process would require an individual to take a mandatory safety course, pass an FBI background check, submit fingerprints, and provide proof of identity. This license would need to be renewed every five years if an individual wants to purchase or obtain additional assault weapons.

If an individual fails to pass a background check at the time of purchase, disqualifying information becomes available, or DOJ finds an individual poses a threat to themselves or others, their license can be withdrawn. Importantly, this bill will also increase the availability of information on criminals that the FBI draws from when conducting a background check. The bill also contains protections for the privacy and constitutional rights of license holders.
The bill also incorporates reasonable exemptions. Like individuals who already own an assault weapon, active-duty military and law enforcement officers would not need a license. Additionally, the legislation allows an individual without a license to use an assault weapon at a shooting range, or for the purposes of hunting, if a license holder supervises. It also allows non-license holders to assume a weapon if it is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious harm to another person.

“My legislation is common sense and provides a straightforward licensing process to ensure those who are purchasing and taking ownership of assault weapons are responsible law-abiding Americans,” Jacobs said. “We can honor and protect our Second Amendment, while also ensuring that dangerous weapons do not fall into the wrong hands. We must do more to ensure the safety of our schools and communities, and I urge my colleagues to join me in sponsoring this legislation."

Chris Jacobs introduces federal legislation to override potential state rule on farm worker overtime

By Press Release

Press release: 

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) introduced the Protect Local Farms Act (H.R. 8756) to prevent the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board's recommendation to lower the overtime threshold from 60 hours to 40 hours per week from taking effect. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21) is a co-sponsor of the legislation as well.

“Two days ago, the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board handed down their final recommendation to lower the overtime threshold for farm workers from 60 hours to 40 hours – this is a devastating decision made by out-of-touch bureaucrats which will bankrupt family farms throughout our state and end farming as we know it. If Governor Hochul approves this recommendation, she is signing the death warrant for thousands of farms,” Jacobs said. “Farming is not like other industries. It is not a normal work week, is subject to weather, and operates within very slim margins. None of these factors were properly considered before this recommendation was made. Our already small workforce will be further depleted as workers seek more hours in other states, and our farmers will face dire financial burdens. That is why I am proud to introduce the Protect Local Farms Act to combat this ignorant decision and keep the threshold at 60 hours. We need our New York farmers – they’re critical to our community, economy, and health.”

“I’m standing up for our hardworking farmers and workers devastated by Albany’s out-of-touch decision to lower the farmworker overtime threshold. As this decision jeopardizes New York’s agriculture industry, puts thousands of farm laborers out of work, and makes New York less competitive by sending our workers to neighboring states in the midst of a labor shortage, this bill will set a federal standard to ensure the overtime threshold for agricultural workers cannot be lowered beyond 60 hours a week, so our farmers can continue to operate their farms and New York can continue its strong contributions to our food security. I am proud to provide this critical check on Far-Left Democrats who are crushing out Upstate farmers. Upstate families will always support our farms, because we understand: No farms, no food,” Stefanik said.

"The farmworker overtime threshold in New York makes it harder for our farms to make ends meet when we face higher labor costs than nearly every other state in the country. Rep. Jacobs common sense legislation looks to put every farm on the same level playing field. A set minimum federal overtime threshold will eliminate the competitive edge one state has over another and benefit farmworkers at the same time," said Patrick McCormick, dairy farmer and New York Farm Bureau State Director.

The Protect Local Farms Act (H.R. 8756) is designed to combat the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board decision by mandating federally that the overtime threshold for the agriculture industry cannot be set lower than 60 hours per week – keeping New York’s current threshold in place.

Jacobs introduces legislation designed to lower property taxes in New York

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) introduced the Property Tax Reduction Act of 2022. The legislation would prohibit state governments from shifting their Medicaid burden onto local county governments. 

“New York State is the only state to impose this Medicaid burden onto their local county governments, forcing property taxes higher and putting unnecessary financial strain on residents across the state. County governments in New York must devote massive amounts of their property tax revenue to this Medicaid obligation – it costs Erie County over 70 percent of its local property tax revenue annually. This legislation corrects this inequity, demands much-needed state fiscal responsibility, and provides tax relief to families and homeowners,” said Jacobs.

“Since taking office, I have made it a priority to do everything I can to once again make New York an affordable place to live, work, and raise a family. By passing this legislation, county governments and their taxpayers will be financially liberated from this oppressive burden. In turn, they would be able to put these saved local funds toward cutting local taxes and making critical investments to bring prosperity and growth back to their regions,” Jacobs said. 

“The cost of living has risen exponentially for New Yorkers. From sky high property taxes to today’s 41-year-high inflation, people across our state just cannot catch a break. I’m honored to join the Property Tax Reduction Act once again to ensure counties across New York are not burdened with the State’s high costs of Medicaid spending. This will lower property taxes and force the State to live within its means and finally make important decisions about how to allocate and reduce spending. Enough unfunded mandates and costly burdens have been passed down to our local governments, it’s time we set New York on a path toward fiscal responsibility,” Rep. Tenney said.

The Property Tax Reduction Act would require New York State to absorb the full costs of its Medicaid spending by reducing the state’s Federal Financial Participation (FFP) commensurate with the counties’ share of spending. This reduction is phased in over four years starting in 2025. In 2020, New York counties outside of New York City collectively are forced to contribute $2.3 billion towards the state’s share of Medicaid.

Rep. Jacobs was joined by Representatives Zeldin (NY-01), Stefanik (NY-21), and Tenney (NY-22) in introducing the legislation.

The federal Medicaid program is jointly funded by the federal government and states. New York State shifts a significant portion of its obligation onto local county governments. New York is the only state in the nation to place this significant financial burden on counties. New York counties have no say in how the Medicaid program is run but are required to pay a significant amount of its costs. In 2020, Erie County was forced to pay the state $215 million – or 73% of its property tax revenues – for this Medicaid obligation. Niagara County paid $46 million – or 50% of the county’s property tax revenues. 

Jacobs explains vote against reconciliation bill

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after voting against the reconciliation package falsely named the “Inflation Reduction Act” that was forced through the Senate and House without bipartisan consensus. 

“Despite record inflation and an economic recession, Democrats have once again used the partisan reconciliation process to force through a wildly irresponsible bill filled with billions in new taxes and spending. The bill will ratchet up taxes on companies that will drive our economic comeback and hire 87,000 IRS agents to audit Americans of all income levels.

“This legislation is not an inflation reduction bill. It will not ease your pain at the pump or when buying groceries, and it will not improve our economy or pull us out of Biden’s recession. This bill is a massive expansion of the federal government and its administrative power over our economy and your wallet. It is irresponsible and the last thing Americans need as we endure a recession caused by Democrats’ reckless spending.”

Jacobs explains vote in support of 'assault weapons' ban

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 1808 – The Assault Weapons Ban of 2021.

“Two months ago, following the massacre of 10 people in Buffalo and the horrific killing of 19 children in Uvalde, I announced that I would support an assault weapon ban that stops the further sale and manufacture of AR-15 style weapons – the guns used in these and many other mass shootings. Today, that bill was brought to the floor of the House of Representatives and I voted in favor of it.

I strongly support the Second Amendment and the right to self-defense and have a record of doing so. As Erie County Clerk, I ran our county’s Pistol Permitting Office, issuing over 10,000 pistol permits allowing citizens to avail themselves of their Second Amendment rights. However, what I do not support is easy access to high-powered semiautomatic weapons and large capacity magazines that have time and time again resulted in mass casualty shootings. These weapons have been proven to cause an immense amount of damage quickly - in Buffalo, 13 people were shot – 10 fatally – in less than 3 minutes.

We have a duty to provide for the safety of all Americans. These weapons do not belong in our communities. While this bill is not perfect, I believe it will save innocent lives.

“I want to be clear; this legislation does not call for the confiscation of guns that are already legally owned today. They are grandfathered in the bill. Finally, gun reform is only one piece of solving our nation's gun violence problem. We need to work to increase security at our schools, provide resources to our law enforcement officers, and significantly enhance our mental health infrastructure. Our work is not done until we accomplish these goals as well.

NOTE: It is the policy of The Batavian to publish press releases such as this verbatim.  It's also our policy to do our best to follow Association Press Stylebook guidelines, hence "assault weapons" in quotes in the headline.  "Assault weapons" is part of the bill's title, so it's hard in a case like this to avoid the use.  Here's what AP says about the phrase in its guidance to journalists:

The preferred term for a rifle that fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, and automatically reloads for a subsequent shot, is a semi-automatic rifle. An automatic rifle continusouly fires rounds if the trigger is depressed and until its ammunition is exhausted.

Avoid assault rifle and assault weapon, which are highly politicized terms that generally refer to AR- or AK-style rifles designed for the civilian market, but convey little meaning about the actual functions of the weapon.

Jacobs votes for bill that could help land semiconductor company at STAMP

By Press Release


Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 4346 – CHIPS-Plus. This legislation passed the House of Representatives in a 243-187 vote and passed the Senate earlier this week 64-33.

“The COVID pandemic highlighted our overdependence on China, especially in terms of semiconductor chips which are now critical components in nearly every product and machine impacting our daily lives. China holds a major share of this market, and should they ever take over Taiwan - which is another major producer of semiconductors - our nation’s supply would be in jeopardy,” Jacobs said. “We need to urgently ‘re-shore’ chip manufacturing and bolster domestic production, this legislation will make that possible.”

“CHIPS-Plus also presents an opportunity for our region. The City of Buffalo has an opportunity to land one of the twenty tech hubs established in the bill and Genesee County has a great potential to land a semiconductor manufacturer. This could mean numerous high paying jobs and a transformational leap for our regional economy,” Jacobs said.

“This legislation is a bipartisan achievement for our economy and our nation’s security – I am proud to have voted for it, and look forward to it being signed into law,” said Jacobs.

Previously: Genesee County will benefit from $50 billion CHIPS and Science bill passed by Senate, Schumer says

Photo Courtesy GCEDC: Aerial view of Plug Power plant under construction at WNY STAMP

Jacobs introduces legislation designed to bring more transparency to fertility industry

By Press Release

Press release:

Last week, Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) introduced Steven’s Law to bring transparency and needed safeguards to the fertility industry. The bill is named in honor of Steven Gunner, who tragically passed away at the age of 27 due to an opioid overdose following a long battle with addiction and schizophrenia. His parents learned after his passing the donor used to conceive him also struggled with addiction and had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

“Today, I am proud to announce I have introduced Steven’s Law, a bill that will bring needed safety regulations to the fertility industry. After the passing of their son, Laura and David Gunner discovered that the donor they had used to conceive him had failed to disclose pertinent medical information in his pre-donation screening and was diagnosed with schizophrenia and later died from substance abuse,” Jacobs said. “This legislation is common sense and will ensure other families around the country will not have to endure the same pain and suffering of the Gunners. I want to truly commend Laura and David for their strength in the face of such adversity - their advocacy and fight will ensure thousands of other families are protected.”

“This legislation is simple and straightforward and will ensure that common sense protections are put in place in a widely unregulated industry. We are working to ensure that any potential parent has the right to see all available information about a potential donor to help them make the most informed decision possible,” Laura and David Gunner said. “We want to thank Congressman Jacobs for his work to bring attention to our son Steven’s story and to put forth legislation in his honor to protect other families from enduring such pain. It is our great hope this legislation will gain momentum and the support needed to pass quickly.”

Steven’s Law would require sperm banks to collect information from donors on diagnosed medical conditions including genetic disorders, mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities, familial medical conditions, and sexually transmitted diseases. Sperm banks would also be required to disclose certain information to participants including the donor's anonymized medical records, a summary of the information in such medical records, and any medical information the sperm bank was unable to obtain.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

Jacobs applauds bipartisan support for Safer Communities Act

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after voting to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – a comprehensive gun safety package developed by a bipartisan team of U.S. Senators. With Jacobs’ support, the legislation now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. 

“Today is a historic day. For the first time in nearly three decades, the United States Senate and House of Representatives have reached a meaningful and bipartisan compromise to address the rising tide of gun violence plaguing our nation. Recently, we witnessed the racist massacre of 10 individuals in Buffalo and the senseless deaths of 19 children in Uvalde. Sadly, these events are not isolated. Gun violence has touched every state in our nation and too many families have been destroyed by it. The American people have rightfully demanded action and today Congress delivered. 

“For too long, Congress has suffered from gridlock on this issue while both sides of the aisle faced intense backlash for even suggesting they were open to a compromise. We can honor our Constitution while also protecting our children and communities. We can protect the Second Amendment rights of every law-abiding American while also ensuring dangerous individuals do not access firearms. This legislation upholds these principles. 

“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act represents meaningful reforms that I believe will decrease gun violence and save lives. That is why the legislation is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police and other law enforcement organizations. Some of the significant measures are
enhanced background checks for those under 21, funding for states who want to implement extreme risk protection order laws, closing the ‘boyfriend loophole’ which will help keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous domestic abusers, and greater preventions against ‘straw purchases’ which is a major source of illegal firearms on our streets. Aside from gun safety, this package also provides significant funding for more mental health resources and school safety – major Republican priorities to keep our children safe. 

“This legislation may not be perfect, and both sides may not have gotten everything they wanted, but it represents a major step forward in working across the aisle to accomplish meaningful and impactful change on the significant issues our country faces. It will save lives. I am proud to have supported this legislation and to be an advocate for action to decrease gun violence. I will continue to work to improve the quality of life and safety of every American in any way that I can. 

This week, Rep. Jacobs also voted in favor of H.R. 7666 the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act. This bipartisan legislation authorizes numerous grant programs to address several areas of mental health, including substance abuse and services for children, to help communities confront the root causes of all violence.

Jacobs supports bipartisan gun safety bill passed by Senate

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after text was advanced for the bipartisan Senate gun safety legislation. 

"The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act represents meaningful reforms that I believe will decrease gun violence and save lives. This bill is thoughtful, balanced, and comprehensive. I will do all I can to advocate for this bill’s passage in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support."

Jacobs, Higgins join forces to restrict access to body armor

By Press Release

Press release:

U.S. Reps. Chris Jacobs (NY-27), Grace Meng (NY-06), and Brian Higgins (NY-26) introduced bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives that seeks to restrict access to enhanced body armor, and they named the measure in memory of Aaron Salter Jr., the retired Buffalo Police Officer and supermarket security guard killed in the Buffalo massacre who was unable to stop the shooter since he was protected by enhanced body armor during the attack.

“Four weeks ago, we witnessed an unspeakable tragedy here in Buffalo when ten people were massacred at a local grocery store,” said Rep. Jacobs. “One of those victims, Aaron Salter, was the security guard for that store and gave his life protecting others who were inside. His heroic confrontation of the shooter undoubtedly saved lives. Unfortunately, the shooter was wearing enhanced body armor that protected him from Aaron’s attempts to take him down. Had the killer not had such armor, the outcome would have been one with much less bloodshed. There is simply no reason for enhanced body armor to be used without restriction on our streets. It puts others in extraordinary danger and prevents the swift termination of a dangerous threat. We have an opportunity to make a real change here, and that is why I am proud to join Rep. Meng and Rep. Higgins in introducing the bipartisan ‘Aaron Salter Jr. Responsible Body Armor Possession Act’ to ensure military-grade armor cannot be used for malicious purposes. I urge every one of my colleagues to support it.” 

“Armor designed for warfare has no place on our streets, and the ‘Aaron Salter Jr. Responsible Body Armor Possession Act’ is a common-sense step to ensure that enhanced body armor is not in the hands of bad actors,” said Rep. Meng. “Gun violence plagues our communities, and a gunman who is protected by enhanced body armor is even more frightening. Over the last decade, there have been 17 mass shootings where the gunman was protected by some form of body armor. That is two and a half times more than the previous three decades. When would-be shooters are able to arm themselves with military-grade equipment, our community is at increased risk. We must ensure that our law enforcement community – and everyone who is the first to respond to shootings – are not facing military-grade equipment that inhibits their ability to respond to the shooter. I urge all my colleagues in the House to support this legislation to help prevent future tragedies from occurring.”

“Aaron Salter was a 30-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department, he saved many lives, but ultimately was rendered defenseless due to the shooter’s body armor, allowing a racist shooter’s rampage on a neighborhood supermarket to continue,” said Rep. Higgins. “This is a public safety bill named for a hero, which will protect communities as well as law enforcement dedicating themselves to answering the call in emergency situations.”

The Aaron Salter Jr. Responsible Body Armor Possession Act would prohibit the sale, transfer or possession of enhanced body armor by civilians – specifically, those body armor that meets or exceeds a Level III ballistic resistance level as determined by the National Institution of Justice. Presently, there are no federal restrictions on civilians' access to this level of body armor which can be legally purchased online. Law enforcement, active-duty military and other public servants whose job responsibilities require them to possess body armor would be exempted under this measure.

Jacobs supports using unused COVID-19 funds for school safety

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) cosponsored the Securing our Students Act, a piece of legislation designed to allow school districts to access unused COVID-19 funds to purchase equipment and improve school safety measures.

“As the Senate and the House continue to debate steps forward on gun-control measures and meaningful action is still weeks away – there are steps we can take right now to ensure schools across our nation are the safest possible learning environments for our students,” Jacobs said.“One such action is the Securing our Students Act which would allow school districts to immediately allow school districts the ability to put unused American Rescue Plan Funds toward safety measures.”

The Securing our Students Act – introduced by Representative Burgess Owens (UT-04) – would allow school districts to immediately amend their spending plans to allow for American Rescue Plan funds to be used for evidence-based school safety measures. The bill would require schools to submit documentation of specific needs and would also require a full accounting of funds spent toward school safety measures. Finally, the bill requires states to move expeditiously to approve any amended plans submitted by schools for this purpose.

“Right now, roughly 93% of K-12 funding, or billions of dollars nationally, from the American Rescue Plan remains unspent. This is funding we can use right now to harden our schools and prevent further tragedy,” Jacobs said. “I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to support this measure, and I call on the Speaker to bring it to the floor, if we can act on this issue, we should do so expeditiously.”

Jacobs pushing for U.S. to ramp up domestic mineral mining

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) cosponsored the Accessing America's Critical Minerals Act to boost domestic supply chains for critical minerals for advanced manufacturing and technology development.

“Right now, America’s adversaries, like China, are rushing to corner the market on advanced manufacturing – especially regarding semiconductors. This presents both an economic and national security threat to our nation, and we must take decisive action to increase our competitiveness and secure our supply chains,” Jacobs said. “One solution is to increase our utilization of the vast resources America currently harbors in terms of critical minerals. Accessing and utilizing American minerals ensures we end our dependence on hostile foreign nations for the raw materials necessary to produce advanced technologies, and it also has the added benefit of creating countless additional American jobs.”

The Accessing America's Critical Minerals Act specifically directs United States federal agencies to expedite the permitting process for mineral mining to allow for increased domestic production. Additionally, it sets up a channel for the Small Business Administration to communicate directly with Congress on the progress of permitting and streamlines federal agency involvement to improve efficiency.

“Securing supply chains and increasing domestic production of critical technologies is paramount to ensuring our long-term economic and national security. I am proud to join this effort to move us one step closer to increased domestic production. I will continue my effort to ramp up American advanced manufacturing,” Jacobs said.  

Jacobs will run for newly formed 23rd Congressional District

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement announcing he will seek re-election in the new 23rd Congressional District drawn by the Special Master.

“Serving Western New York for the past two years has been an honor, it is my home, and we value freedom, family, national security, and fiscal responsibility. With this in mind and after much consideration, I am announcing my candidacy to run in the newly drawn 23rd district. “NY-23 shares these conservative values. They draw across county lines and connect cities, towns, and villages throughout the region. Many of these communities I have been honored to represent in Congress and previously in the New York State Senate and as Erie County Clerk. I look forward to getting to know new communities throughout the Southern Tier, and I am committed to being out and about in each and every community, continuing my track record of working effectively with localities.

“In my first two years in office – we have faced and overcome many challenges, but this coming election is one of the most consequential in my lifetime. One-party Democratic rule and the Biden administration in Washington have been disastrous for our nation. We face an inflation crisis not seen in 40 years. Families face record-high prices at the pump, leaving them to choose between filling their tanks and buying medicine and essential goods. Our southern border remains open to criminals and dangerous fentanyl due to weak policies from the current administration. And Americans are being forced to foot the bill for the administration's partisan policies. Now, more than ever, we need a strong, conservative majority in the House to deliver real solutions that bring down costs, restore our energy independence, end reckless spending, and secure our nation. I will fight to deliver that majority and continue my work for the people of New York to defend our constitutional rights, economic prosperity, and our future."

Jacobs votes for bill aimed at improving access to baby formula for low-income mothers

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) voted in favor of the Access to Baby Formula Act (H.R. 7791) when it passed the House of Representatives last night.

“Months ago, Abbott Nutrition issued a voluntary recall of their baby formula products and shut down their plant in Sturgis, Michigan while the FDA conducted inspections. The Sturgis facility is a major portion of the domestic supply of baby formula – yet the President and his administration sat on their hands for months, as the strain on domestic supply became a crisis,” Jacobs said. “Last night I voted in favor of the bipartisan Access to Baby Formula Act developed by the Education and Labor Committee of which I am a member. This bill provides flexibilities for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Children, and Infants (WIC) so that recipients can use their benefits to purchase what formula stores have on the shelves. This legislation helps new mothers, especially lower income families, access necessary supplies and develops a process to deal with future supply chain issues so a crisis like this does not happen again. I will proudly support tangible and meaningful solutions to this problem.”

The Access to Baby Formula Act would provide additional resources and protections to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program to ensure the FDA and USDA can act quickly in the event of a supply chain crisis to protect WIC recipients and ensure access to critical supplies – especially formula.

Today, Jacobs cosponsored the Babies Need More Formula Now Act to increase supply, require a plan from the FDA, expand choices for parents, and improve the recall process. Jacobs has also cosponsored the Formula Act that would direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create a new set of international standards to cut red tape and allow for increased formula imports to supplement domestic supply. Additionally, Jacobs also sent a letter to the President last week expressing the urgency with which the administration needed to act and outlining additional action.

Jacobs explains why he voted against Domestic Terror Prevention Act

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after voting against H.R. 350, the Domestic Terror Prevention Act.

“The racist massacre that occurred in Buffalo this past weekend was horrifying and has shocked our community to its core. Simply put there is no place for such hatred in our country, and we must condemn hatred and racism in the strongest possible terms. However, tragedy is not a reason to pass a flawed policy. Unfortunately, what occurs too often in Washington is bad laws and problematic policies are given a good name to ease their passage and stifle reasonable debate. This legislation falls into that category.

“The Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and Federal Bureau of Investigation already have offices set up to monitor, investigate, and neutralize all threats of terrorism, including threats of domestic terrorism. Instead of approving additional resources for these existing offices to further aid in threat prevention, this legislation would divert resources to three new duplicative offices in DHS, DOJ, and FBI that have an initial focus on examining threats of domestic terrorism that occurred in the past, as opposed to focusing on current and future threats. Not only does this legislation spread critical resources thin, but it hampers the work DOJ, FBI, and DHS are already doing to address acts of terrorism. Furthermore, these new offices would be given broad jurisdiction that in the wrong hands could be used to investigate political enemies and infringe on the civil liberties and constitutional rights of Americans.

“We as a nation and a Congress have a duty to ensure the safety of every American – that is done through better supporting our existing agencies and programs, funding law enforcement, and supporting our communities. Hasty and reactionary policy without proper thought and debate is not the answer. We as a Congress must work better to develop actual, tangible solutions to the problems facing Americans.

Study finds intersection outside vets cemetery safe but suggests possible changes

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor
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The intersection of Route 77 and Indian Falls Road is deemed safe in that it meets or exceeds all state and national design standards, according to a draft report released this week by the Office of Veterans Affairs.

The latest report is based on data and a study by an independent engineering firm, Larson Design Group.

The location is outside the Western New York National Cemetery, which opened a year-and-a-half ago and where two veterans (Christopher Rowell and Arnold Herdendorf, both of Lockport) were killed in a motor vehicle accident in September of 2021.

Glenn Elliott presented the report at a meeting hosted Monday in Corfu by Rep. Chris Jacobs. Elliott is the environmental director in the office of facility planning, construction and facility management at the VA.

"The draft study concludes that the intersection meets NYSDOT standards for sight distances and the US Federal Highways Administration Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices," Elliott said. "This is the standard used by roadway managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways and private roads open to the public."

He also said, "It finds that the sight distance is at the State Route 77 in Indian Falls Road intersection for greater than design criteria. Concluding sight distances do not propose a safety issue for traffic turning off Indian Falls Road. It concludes neither an all-way stop nor a traffic signal are required for the applicable criteria of METCB. It finds the expected crash frequency not significantly higher than the predicted crash frequency. Therefore safety performance is consistent with what is expected at this intersection. Since November 2020, when the cemetery opened, the crash frequency incident rate did not increase."

And, "The study finds that the expected crash frequency is not significantly higher than predicted crash frequency. Therefore, the safety and performance of the intersection is consistent with what is expected for this type of intersection."

However, because of the interest within the veterans' community in the safety of the intersection, the report reviews seven potential changes to the intersection.

  • Eliminate the existing departure passing zones at the Indian Falls Road intersection.
  • Install a flashing intersection control beacon or alternatively install side-mounted flashing warning devices along Route 77 intersection warning and involves road stops.
  • Install rumble strips on the shoulder and centerline on State Route 77.
  • Eliminate the existing departure and passing zone mentioned earlier.
  • Installed larger right and left stop signs with reflected posts on Indian Falls Road, including placards for cross traffic does not stop at stop pavement markings on Indian Falls Road.
  • Install larger intersection signs on State Route 77.
  • Install a roundabout at the intersection of route 77 and Indian Falls Road.  

None of the possible changes are explicitly recommended though flashing beacons, signage and pavement markings, and a roundabout all score the best when mathematically weighted for effectiveness in reducing accidents.  Roundabouts reduce accidents by 60 percent and fatal accidents by 99 percent.

One suggestion by the study explicitly deemed ineffective is reducing the speed limit approaching the cemetery.

Jacobs said he organized the meeting in order to give community members a chance to review the report and make their own comments about it and potential changes to the intersection. 

"It is clear that more needs to be done to make this intersection safer for our veterans and our families who come to pay respects to our fallen heroes," Jacobs said. "I am committed to working with the veteran community to ensure meaningful changes are made."

For more details and for comments from among those who attended, watch the video above.

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