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Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer

September 2, 2020 - 11:58am

From Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer:

As schools prepare to open in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions, there are many strong opinions regarding how it should be handled.

I have always relied heavily on the opinions of the residents who I represent.

Please take a minute to complete my brief five question survey to share your thoughts on reopening schools.

Thank you for taking the time to complete my survey. I hope you and your family are well.


Michael H. Ranzenhofer

State Senator -- 61st District

August 26, 2020 - 5:19pm

Press release:

As part of the 2019 Farm Labor Bill, the Commissioner of Labor is required to convene a wage board to hold hearings to solicit input on the impact of the new law and make recommendations for overtime work.

Under the 2019 Farm Labor Bill, farm workers became eligible for overtime compensation starting in 2020, for any work over 60 hours per week.

Senator Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement:

“I would encourage all farmers and farmworkers to submit their testimony to the Board. It is so important that our Upstate farmers be heard and respected. Last year, when I hosted a farm roundtable, tour and community meeting with the bill’s sponsor, Senator Ramos, we heard many concerns from both farmworkers and farm owners.

“I know this bill was detrimental to our local farms and Upstate economy and I fervently hope that our farmers and farmworkers take the time to express their concerns with the wage board. Agriculture is a huge part of the economy of New York State and Upstate. These concerns need to be heard.”

To submit your testimonial, email [email protected]. You can also find the links to Zoom virtual meetings of the hearings on the State Labor website here.

August 26, 2020 - 12:32pm

Press release:

New York State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has introduced a bill (S.8935) that will create a new category of projects eligible for funding under the Smart Schools program and shorten application time to help protect students and teachers from the threat of COVID-19.

“Our schools need our support during this trying time," said Senator Mike Ranzenhofer. "Making Smart School grant funding available for schools, in a timelier way, while they work to safely welcome back students, either in person or virtually, is extremely important.

"This funding can help with social distancing measures, distance learning or any other needs that arise. We must do all we can to protect our children."

“I applaud Senator Ranzenhofer’s bill to add flexibility and efficiency to the Smart Schools Bond Act process," said Pavilion Superintendent Kenneth Ellison. "The current Smart Schools funding process, while well intentioned, has been extraordinarily slow in application. The technology needs created by COVID related closures are many.

"Enhanced flexibility in securing these funds for technology purchases, in a timely way, will be very beneficial to educators and students during these difficult times."

The “Smart Schools” grant program was funded by bonds and created in 2014. In the past, the application process has been lengthy, taking up to a year for approval.

This bill will provide a fast-tracked way to allow schools to use this funding to find safe ways to fight COVID-19 and safely welcome students back to school. Schools across New York are working on their reopening plans with the safety of our students at the center of everything they do. Whether going back virtually, in person or a hybrid model, this funding will help alleviate some of the financial burdens school districts are facing.

The bill was introduced on Aug. 21st and is in the Senate Committee on Rules for consideration.

July 24, 2020 - 4:53pm

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.



State Senator - 61st Senate District

April 7, 2020 - 1:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in covid-19, news, ventilators, Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer.

From Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer:

I hope that this message finds you and your family safe and healthy. As you may know, Governor Cuomo recently announced an Executive Order instructing local hospitals and healthcare providers to surrender ventilators in order to support patients in the New York City region.

Healthcare providers from our region are expressing their concerns about the impact this could have on our community’s ability to fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic moving forward.  

Jody Lomeo, president and CEO of Kaleida Health, recently said in a statement, “Hoping for no surge here or a promise of reimbursement for ventilators in the future -- at time of great uncertainty -- would be irresponsible. I cannot jeopardize our workforce and the very patients that we are responsible to care for.”

In response to the concerns raised by local providers, I joined several of my colleagues in writing to the Governor requesting that he reconsider this Order.

I am hopeful the Governor and Department of Health will listen to medical providers, who are on the front lines fighting this pandemic, and work with other states who have a surplus of supplies, to acquire critical devices.  

To be clear, there is a real and ongoing need for medical supplies in the New York City metro area, however, it should not come at the expense of other communities in the state. It has been well documented that in the days and weeks ahead cases are expected to peak in our region. Now is not the time to export critical medical devices.

April 2, 2020 - 10:27am

From Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer:

The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has severely damaged many small businesses and left thousands of hardworking Western New Yorkers unemployed. As your State Senator, I am working to provide critical support to employees who are out of work and struggling small businesses. 

Recent changes have been made to the New York State Unemployment Assistance Program as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, more residents -- including some small business owners -- are eligible for benefits.

Below is information that may be helpful in answering any questions you may have.

​In addition, the state is waiving the seven day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines.  

Those who need to apply for unemployment can do so here.

Please continue to check my website, ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov, or connect with me on facebook for the latest updates regarding the resources available to employees and employers.

January 28, 2020 - 12:58pm

As a result of last year’s plastic bag ban, Wegmans announced that they would eliminate the use of plastic carry-out grocery bags on Monday (Jan. 27th.) The ban goes into effect statewide on March 1. Paper bags will still be available for a fee.

While reusable shopping bags are already widely used, many residents do not have or do not wish to purchase reusable bags for one reason or another. As such, my office has a limited supply of reusable bags available free of charge.

If you are interested in a free reusable bag please stop by my office at 8203 Main St., Suite 4, Williamsville, or contact my office by phone at (716) 631-8695 or (585) 454-0322 (Monday-Friday, 9-5) and we would be happy to get you a bag. Supplies are limited and bags will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

October 10, 2019 - 6:48pm

From Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer:

Taxpayer Funded Elections

Your Tax Dollars Could Be Used to Support Political Campaigns

The New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission has started to meet and is required to issue its final recommendations by Dec. 1st. The commission was created as part of the disastrous 2019 Budget and one of its major objectives is to determine the future of publicly financing elections in New York State.

The budget also allocated $100 million for the potential public financing system across New York State. I strongly opposed this spending and voted No.

There is a money problem in politics but spending nearly $100 million of taxpayer money on elections will do nothing to fix it. It is comical to think that spending $100 million of taxpayer money on elections will “take the money out of politics.”

Supporters say that spending taxpayer money on elections will help fight corruption. However, New York City already has a public financing system in place and it has done little to curb corruption or build public trust.

If New York State wants to get serious about reducing the money in politics, it needs real solutions that actually address the problem. That is why I am advancing legislation that will actually reduce corruption and the influence of money in politics.

Instead of spending $100 million of taxpayer money to support candidate mailings and phone calls, we should lower contribution limits, require greater disclosure of political advertising by third parties and ban donations from politically appointed individuals. My proposals will do just that.

Please review and share your comments with me on my reform bills. The Commission is due to make its recommendations on Dec. 1st and it is not too late to have your voice heard. To tell the commission that you do not support spending $100 million on political campaigns, please visit my website and sign my petition.

Bill Number Purpose
S1932 Restricts government partcipant contributions
S1933 Restricts certain corporations from participating or intervening in any political campiagn on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office
S1934S1936 Relates to contribution limits for parties appointed to public positions
S1935S1987 Restricts government participant contribution periods
S2350 Expands media disclosure requirements and lowers political contribution limits
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