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Ed Rath

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.  

Governor signs bill designation portion of Route 77 'Specialist Four (SP4) Clarence 'C. Jay' Hall Memorial Highway'

By Press Release

Press release:

Friday, October 8, Governor Kathy Hochul signed bill S6105/A6021 into law, Chapter 471 of 2021.  The law, sponsored by State Senator Edward Rath and Assemblyman Steve Hawley, designates 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 proud that Governor Hochul signed this legislation into law. It is especially significant for me as S6105 was my first piece of legislation to pass the Senate.” Senator Rath continued, “the story of Specialist Four Hall’s bravery and courage is truly awe-inspiring and his sacrifice should never be forgotten.  Thank you to everyone involved for sharing his story with me. I am honored to have had a role in bringing this proposal to reality and look forward to driving down "Specialist Four (SP4) Clarence 'C. Jay' Hall Memorial Highway” in the future.”

“As a veteran and representative, it humbles me any time there is an opportunity to honor those who served. There’s no time more solemn than when we are memorializing and giving thanks for the heroic and ultimate sacrifice of a soldier in combat, like Specialist Four Clarence "C. Jay" Hall. May God bless him and his family. We are all freer today because of his service,” said Hawley. “I am so proud to have worked with Sen. Rath to get this bill enacted into law, and I would also like to thank all of the veterans groups, Pembroke High School and Mr. Matt Moscato’s class, and all the members of the community who helped to support this initiative. I look forward to marking the official occasion with you all at an upcoming dedication ceremony.”

Specialist Four Clarence "C. Jay" Hall served as a rifleman in the United States Army in Binh Duong, Vietnam.  He was mortally wounded on October 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 Veteran’s Outreach Club and the Government classes of the Pembroke Jr. /Sr. High School requested this legislation.

The bill passed the Senate and Assembly on May 25 and June 8 respectively.  It was delivered to the Governor for consideration on September 28, 2021.

A formal presentation and renaming ceremony will be held at a later date.

Officials react to Cuomo's resignation

By Howard B. Owens

Press release from State Sen. Ed Rath:

This afternoon's resignation from Governor Cuomo is a welcomed and necessary relief for those New Yorkers he has harmed and those who continue to look to Albany for leadership amid this pandemic. Harassment has no place in our society, especially at the upper levels of state government.

I continue to call on the State Legislature to ensure that other investigations into Governor Cuomo's malfeasance remain ongoing. New Yorkers who lost loved ones in nursing homes deserve answers. While the Governor has already written his book, let us not write off other avenues where he has betrayed his oath of office. If ongoing investigations by the State Assembly reveal further misdeeds, impeachment must remain a viable option. The State Legislature must uphold its duty to hold Governor Cuomo accountable.

I look forward to working with Lieutenant Governor Hochul in her new capacity as the first female Governor in New York State history. As a fellow Western New Yorker, I hope she strives to help New York heal and elevates the voices of upstate New Yorkers long maligned and ignored by downstate leaders. Having served with her at several levels of government, I am confident that her integrity is unwavering. Together, we will continue to navigate the challenges facing all New Yorkers.”

From Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul:

"I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.

As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor."

Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

 “Now that the governor has done the right thing and resigned, we can focus on bettering the lives of the working people of this state once again. This is the third high ranking official that has stepped down due to improper conduct during my tenure, and I hope we can come together and work to assure it’s the last and that conduct like that of Andrew Cuomo’s is never left unchecked. I do want to congratulate Kathy Hochul, who will be our next Governor in two weeks, and hope we can work together in bipartisan fashion to do more for the people of this state than ever before.”

Rep. Chris Jacobs:

“Andrew Cuomo's resignation is long overdue, and needed to move our state government past the multiple scandals he and his staff inflicted on the citizens of New York. Despite his resignation, criminal investigations of the Cuomo administration must continue to ensure justice is served.”

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, Hawley call on Albany to release 9-1-1 funding

By Howard B. Owens
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Press release:

Today, Senator Ed Rath called on the Department of Budget (DOB) to release critical funding grants for emergency services. Senator Rath was joined by Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein, Undersheriff Brad Mazur, Genesee County Director of Emergency Communications Steven Sharpe, members of the Genesee County Legislature and members of the 911 Advisory Board.

“The delay in the release of this funding for our communities is extremely damaging," Senator Rath said. "As ranking member on the Senate Local Government’s Committee, I know the extreme duress many of our counties are under as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the State to be delaying the release of this funding, with no end in sight, is completely unacceptable.

"We need to be working with our counties and local governments, not adding unnecessary burdens. Unfortunately, this seems to be all too typical for our State. I am calling on the Department of Budget to release these grants (2020-21) and inform our counties when they will be able to apply for the current fiscal year’s grants (2021-22)."

Assemblyman Hawley said: "Our heroes of healthcare have been working dutifully throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure emergency services were not overwhelmed or interrupted during the highly contested time. To see that our 9-1-1 services are now under threat of being underfunded is unacceptable, and the State needs to take immediate action to ensure that our emergency telecommunications are not stifled."

"County governments must work alongside the State to ensure the funding needs are met for these important emergency services," said Genesee County Legislator Gregg Torrey, Human Services chair. “I want to thank Senator Rath and Assemblyman Hawley for fighting to secure our fair share of critical 9-1-1 funding which is needed to support our County Public Safety operations."

Genesee County Legislator Gary Maha, Public Service chair, said: "We have been fighting this battle for years through the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, the New York State 911 Coordinators Association and the New York State Association of Counties. It is time the Governor stops using these funds for other purposes than 9-1-1 services."

"The delay in releasing already collected 9-1-1 surcharge revenue money could cost Genesee County over $500k in the 2021 budget," said L. Matthew Landers, Genesee County manager, budget officer. "While we have long been advocating that a greater share of the collected surcharge go to the intended recipients, namely emergency communications operations such as the Genesee County Dispatch Center, this recent delay in funding is unexplainable and undermines emergency communications operations across the State."

Emergency Communications Director Sharpe, of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, and NYS 911 Coordinators Legislative Committee chair, said: “Over the past year, our first responder community needed to address the pandemic while continuing to provide emergency services to the public.

"Our friends at the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Interoperable and Emergency Communications (DHSES/OIEC) have been excellent partners by assisting local communities setting up communications for testing sites, emergency clinics, and now mass vaccination sites. DHSES/OIEC also hosted teleconferences for local and county partners to discuss best practices during the pandemic.

"Unfortunately, the State of New York has not honored their commitments regarding grant funding. Counties provide a majority of public safety answering point (9-1-1 center) services throughout the State and also administer a majority of public safety communications systems. During this pandemic, the State has inexplicably halted and delayed grant funding despite the funding stream for those grants increasing during the pandemic. 

"We are asking our partners at the State to honor their words, obey the laws of the State of New York, execute the law in a timely manner, and release the grant funding that is now above a year overdue."

The State has yet to release the 2020-21 grant funding or the application information for 2021-22.

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.”

Hawley and Rath announce continued funding for Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor
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Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley was joined today at the Genesee County Veterans Service Agency by Senator Ed Rath, Genesee County Legislator Gary Maha, Genesee County Veterans Services Director Bill Joyce, and Chris Kreiger and Lynn Magistrale of WNY Heroes, the organization that operates the Dwyer program in Genesee County, to discuss funding of the Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program and the impact the program has on local veterans. 

The final enacted budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year included $4,505,000 for the Dwyer Program across New York State, with $185,000 allocated for Niagara County, $185,000 for Monroe County, and $185,000 for Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties. This funding was secured even as Governor Cuomo proposed eliminating it entirely in his executive budget proposal.

“As a member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and being a veteran myself, I am proud to have secured this funding for our service members after yet another attempt by the governor to eliminate it from our state budget,” Hawley said. “This funding saves lives, and operating programs such as the Dwyer program is the least we can do for those that risk their lives to defend our liberties.”

"I was pleased that the Dwyer Program funding was included in the final 2021-22 budget,” Senator Rath said. “The services that the Dwyer Program provides to our veteran community are critical. The State has continuously tried to cut or delay this funding, so I am happy that it was included in full."

“We are honored to take care of veterans and assist their families,” said Chris Kreiger, president of WNY Heroes and Iraq War veteran. “Our programs are about providing a hand up, not a handout. It takes more strength to ask for help and even more strength to accept it.

"Here at WNYHeroes, we are no different than you, the veteran. We don’t dress in fancy clothing, we don’t drive fancy cars, we simply just want nothing more than to provide support while sustaining your dignity at the same time.”

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.

Sen. Rath invites you to take his 2021 Constituent Survey

By Press Release

From Sen. Ed Rath:, NY 61st Senate District:

Since being elected, I have heard from thousands of residents on numerous topics. It is critical to me to hear from those I represent on important issues. As budget discussions continue, many topics are being discussed. 

From mandatory COVID-19 vaccines to legalizing marijuana, your opinion on issues facing New York and our communities is extremely important to me. That is why I have launched a 2021 Legislative Questionnaire.

Click here to complete the 2021 Constituent Survey.

I look forward to hearing from the community on these issues and I will be listening as the legislative session continues. 

Thank you in advance for taking the time to fill out the questionnaire. I look forward to hearing your feedback.

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