From Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer:
I was hopeful that the recently completed special session of the legislature would deliver strong results for working families and small businesses across Western New York.
Unfortunately, despite continuing economic uncertainty and ongoing confusion regarding reopening the state, the State Senate Majority used this session to advance a blatantly political agenda that will do nothing to address the problems so many people face.
To make matters worse, they actively opposed and blocked legislation to rescind the Governor’s emergency powers. They also blocked legislation that would increase penalties for assaulting police officers.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the session was the Senate Leadership’s voting “reform” proposals. Senate Bill S8806, made registering to vote for certain people easier by mandating that certain state agencies automatically ask customers if they would like to register to vote.
While on its surface this is an admirable goal, the legislation only allows this to be done by certain agencies. For example, the New York City Housing Authority would be required to ask people to register to vote, but the DEC would be forbidden from registering someone getting their hunting license.
To be clear, I have supported legislation that has done this across the board but picking and choosing certain state agencies and not others is wrong.
Another bill, S8833, even went so far as to amend the voter approved Independent Redistricting Commission. The changes would eliminate requirements that would prevent one political party from having total control of the process.
Furthermore, the Senate Majority increased the threshold needed to veto a gerrymandered redistricting process. The sponsor of the bill and Deputy Majority Leader went so far as to say that the minority should not have a say in the process. This is not only surprisingly arrogant but flies in the face of core principle of America’s democratic-republic system of government.
To make things worse, these bills were introduced within the last week and rammed through with virtually no public input. Unfortunately, this has been a staple of this majority’s style of government.
Despite claims of being more inclusive and respectful of the whole state, the current majority has made it clear that their only concern is advancing their political agenda.
While this week’s session was extremely frustrating, I will not stop advocating for the residents of Western New York and working to support its hardworking families and small businesses.
MICHAEL H. RANZNEHOFER
State Senator - 61st Senate District