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Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Ranzenhofer to host public forum for Heroin and Opioid Addiction Task Force in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer

Press release:

Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer will host a public forum for the Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction this Friday, May 23, from 10 a.m. to noon at Batavia City Hall, One Batavia City Centre. Members of the public are invited to attend and participate in the discussion.

The forum is one of 17 statewide to solicit input on the rise of heroin and opioids and to develop legislative recommendations for treating and preventing addiction and its consequences.

“Heroin and opioid addiction is a very serious issue facing communities all across the State. That is why I have invited the Task Force to discuss the impact heroin and opioid use has on our local community,” Ranzenhofer said. “I look forward to this important discussion with community stakeholders.”

The Task Force is chaired by Senator Phil Boyle (R-C-I, Suffolk County), chairman of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

"The numbers are staggering. Every day we hear of one heroin-related tragedy after another in our state," Boyle said. "I applaud Senator Ranzenhofer for his leadership in our statewide fight against heroin and opioid addiction."

Participating panelists are experts in the fields of education, law enforcement, mental health and substance abuse, civic groups and individuals directly affected by opioid abuse, including: 

• Gary Maha -- Sheriff, Genesee County
• Shawn Heubusch -- Chief of Police, Batavia Police Department
• Timothy Lynch -- Assistant U.S. Attorney Western District, Chief of Narcotics and Violent Crime Division
• Dr. Michael Merrill -- Vice President of Medical Affairs, United Memorial Medical Center
• Lisa Glow -- Program Director, Horizon Health Services
• Colleen Babcock -- Parent & Family Support Coordinator, Horizon Health Services
• John Bennett -- Executive Director, GCASA
• Dr. Bruce Baker -- Medical Director, GCASA
• Augusta Welsh -- Director of Community Services, Genesee County Mental Health Services
• Donna Sherman -- Substance Abuse Treatment Program Manager, VA Western New York Healthcare System
 
Heroin’s deadly effects are well established, and overdoses are on the rise across the State. In February, The New York Times reported that the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) heroin seizures in New York State increased 67 percent over the prior four years. The Buffalo News reported that 29 people died of heroin overdoses in Erie County in 2013, “almost a third more than the year before.”

The 2014-2015 State Budget included $2.45 million for initiatives to provide prevention, treatment and addiction services to address the increased prevalence of heroin and opioid abuse.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Bill making yogurt official state snack advances in Senate

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, michael ranzenhofer

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that the Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee has approved Senate Bill No. S6695. The legislation, authored by Senator Ranzenhofer, would designate yogurt as the official State snack.

A Byron-Bergen fourth-grade class, while studying the history and government of New York State, wrote to Senator Ranzenhofer to suggest the idea for the bill.

“I am pleased to report that this bill is on the move, and New York is one step closer to designating yogurt as its official State snack,” Ranzenhofer said. “It’s not just a nutritious, delicious food. It is also a major economic driver locally and all across the State. I am hopeful that we will be able to pass this legislation so that it may become law this year.”

New York is the number one processor of yogurt in the United States. Increasing demand for milk, the primary component in yogurt, has helped to support and grow the State’s dairy industry. New York is now fifth in the nation in milk production, producing over 13 billion pounds in 2012, in part fueled by the demand from yogurt processors.

Senator Ranzenhofer introduced the legislation on Feb. 28.

Friday, November 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Ranzenhofer says 3K people have signed petition against public assistance cards being used for beer, smokes

post by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that his new petition drive, encouraging the State Assembly to pass the Public Assistance Integrity Act, has garnered more than 3,300 signatures since launching the campaign one week ago.

“Thousands of Western New York residents have added their voice to mine in calling on the State Assembly to pass a bill that protects our tax dollars,” Ranzenhofer said. “We are sending a powerful message to the State Assembly: a fraud prevention measure is needed to prohibit welfare benefits from being spent on alcohol, cigarettes and other non-essential items.”

Senator Ranzenhofer launched the online petition on Oct. 25. 

“I hope that residents will consider adding their voice to the thousands who have already expressed their support for passing the Public Assistance Integrity Act. It is not too late to sign my online petition, and I encourage residents to join our campaign to protect taxpayer dollars,” Ranzenhofer said.

Residents can still sign the petition by visiting ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov.

The Public Assistance Integrity Act (S.966) would prohibit using EBT cards for tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets, and ATM cash withdrawals at liquor stores and casinos.  Senator Ranzenhofer is a co-sponsor of the legislation. The bill passed the State Senate on June 18. The State Assembly has not taken action on the bill.

EBT cards work like a debit card for public assistance recipients, containing both a Food Stamp and Cash Assistance component. Strict regulations already guide what can be purchased for Food Stamps. Cash assistance is intended to pay for items not covered by Food Stamps, such as soap, toothpaste, school supplies and toiletries. Currently, there are no restrictions on the use of Cash Assistance.

Federal aid received by New York may be at risk if the State Assembly does not pass the bill. The federal government has mandated that states implement a fraud prevention system by February 2014. If New York State does not act accordingly, the Federal government will penalize the State by cutting federal funding for Cash Assistance by 5 percent or $120 million.

Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 8:54 am

Ranzenhofer's statement on the state mandating $1 million in new county expense at jail

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Jail, michael ranzenhofer

We requested a statement from Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer about the unelected NYS Corrections Commission requiring Genesee County to add $1 million annually to the county budget to fund 10 more jail guards.

Here's Sen. Ranzenhofer's statement:

I have recently had an opportunity to speak with Genesee County Officials about the Commission’s report concerning the county jail. Our office will be happy to work with the Sheriff’s Office and members of the Genesee County Legislature in the event they believe we can be of assistance to them.

Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 8:03 am

Ranzenhofer's bill to reform laws for nonprofits passes Senate

post by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer

Press release:

The New York State Senate yesterday passed the Nonprofit Revitalization Act (S5845), sponsored by Senator Michael Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst), that would – for the first time in 40 years – overhaul state laws that govern charities and other not-for-profit organizations.

“The state laws that apply to not-for-profits were enacted in 1969 and, since that time, there has been no comprehensive review and update --until now,” Senator Ranzenhofer said. “Millions of New Yorkers depend on not-for-profits to respond in times of emergency, provide health care, and offer vital community assistance, among many other services.

In listening to the concerns of these organizations and officials across the state, we have developed comprehensive legislation that will help the not-for-profit sector continue to fulfill its essential mission in a streamlined and cost-effective way, while also reducing the opportunities for fraud and financial abuse.”

More after the jump. Click on the headline to read more:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Ranzenhofer announces committee assignments for new term

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Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R, C, I – Amherst) has been appointed to serve as chairman of the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee for another legislative session.

“As chair of the Corporations Committee, over 25 defunct, inactive commissions have been dissolved, and 45 other good government bills have been enacted into law to positively impact authorities and commissions, as well as private corporations all across the state. I look forward to 2013 to continue the important work of this committee,” Ranzenhofer said.

Senate Republican Conference Leader Dean Skelos said "Senator Ranzenhofer has a strong sense of fiscal responsibility that has helped us reduce state spending in two consecutive budgets. He is a very strong advocate for a state spending cap and has fought to consolidate and shrink the government bureaucracy. I am confident that he will continue his excellent service as chair of the Corporations Committee and as a new member of the Senate Finance Committee."

Senator Ranzenhofer has also been appointed to the following Senate Standing Committees: Agriculture, Banks, Education, Finance, Judiciary, Racing, Gaming and Wagering, and Transportation.

“One of my top priorities has been to cut state spending,” Ranzenhofer said. “While the last two budgets have reduced overall expenditures, more work needs to be done to ensure the state spends within its means. As a member of the Finance Committee, I’ll be able to go over the fiscal impact of legislation with a fine-tooth comb.”

An official list of legislative meetings for Senate Standing Committees is available at nysenate.gov/committees.

The 61st Senate District encompasses: the towns of Amherst, Clarence, and Newstead and the villages of Akron and Williamsville in Erie County; all of Genesee County; and the towns of Chili and Riga, the Village of Churchville and part of the City of Rochester in Monroe County.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Hawley, Ranzenhofer react to governor's state-of-the-state message

post by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, steve hawley

Statement by Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

The Governor’s State of the State address detailed his personal agenda for the 2013 legislative session. His plans to promote Upstate New York’s economy and invest in programs that will put the state on the cutting edge of high-tech innovation will provide a much-needed boost for our region. However, his presentation lacked any plans to address unfunded mandate relief, one of the biggest issues facing state government this year. No legislative agenda can be considered complete without a substantive plan to free our schools, towns and taxpayers from the burden of unfunded mandates.

Statement by State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R, C, I- Amherst) has issued the following statement in response to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address:

“Over the last two years, the State Legislature has been able to work together – unlike the gridlock and partisanship in Washington, D.C.– to pass two on-time budgets that reduced overall spending, lowered middle-class tax rates to the lowest levels in 58 years and realigned investments toward job-creation initiatives, such as ReCharge NY and Regional Economic Development Councils. Despite our fiscal house being put back in order, difficult choices remain ahead since the State still faces a $1 billion budget gap.

The ultimate goal must continue to be making New York more business friendly and improving our State’s economy so that the private sector can create jobs. The Governor’s proposals to reform workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance programs and his commitment to avoid taxes as a way to balance the budget will further help companies lower the costs of operating a business in New York. I am also pleased that, after announcing a billion dollars in economic development incentives for the Buffalo region last year, the Governor has again recommended a series of initiatives to revitalize Upstate New York’s economy.

The private sector created more than 210,000 jobs in New York State alone during the last two years, and I am hopeful that the State Legislature will be able to move New York’s economy in an even stronger direction by making the right investments and taking the right actions in the 2013 Legislative Session.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Photo: Mary Pat Hancock recognized for service to local government

post by Howard B. Owens in Mary Pat Hancock, michael ranzenhofer

County Legislature Chairwoman Mary Pat Hancock was honored Wednesday night by Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, through his aide Jay Grasso, for her service to local government during her term as president of the New York State Association of Counties. Grasso read a resolution from Ranzenhofer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 9:50 am

DOT to increase crosswalk time at Ross Street on Main Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, michael ranzenhofer

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) will be increasing the crosswalk signal time by 20 percent for pedestrians at the intersection of Route 5 and Ross Street in Batavia.

Senator Ranzenhofer requested the NYSDOT to conduct a study late last year.

“After receiving complaints that the time allotted by the signal had been too short – especially for residents at a nearby senior housing facility – to walk across a multi-lane road safely, I requested the State Department of Transportation determine essential improvements for the intersection,” Ranzenhofer said.

After further review, NYSDOT informed Senator Ranzenhofer that it has decided to implement numerous actions:

  • Increase the crosswalk signal time by 20 percent
  • Repair two of the four countdown timers
  • Replace missing informational signs

“I am pleased the Department of Transportation will be taking action to make this crossing safer for residents. Without these necessary improvements, this intersection would continue to pose a danger to the many walkers and residents at a nearby senior housing facility who utilize this crosswalk,” Ranzenhofer said.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Three elected officials with single message for SCOPE members: We support the 2nd Amendment

The 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution got a ringing endorsement Tuesday from three of the top-ranking elected officials who represent Genesee County.

Rep. Kathy Hochul, State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Steven Hawley all appeared at SCOPE's monthly meeting to talk about what they're doing to help prevent extremists on the left from stripping gun owners of their right to own firearms.

Ranzenhofer started off the evening by discussing how important a Republican majority is in the State Senate to protecting gun rights.

"There are people out there who don’t like you and want to take away your rights," Ranzenhofer said.

When Ranzenhofer was first in office, and the GOP didn't have a majority in the Senate, he said anti-gun Democrats regularly tried to push new laws to restrict gun and ammo sales.  Since the GOP regained control of the upper chamber, "we’ve not had to be constantly on guard for new legislation coming up," Ranzenhofer said.

Now, Ranzenhofer said, the biggest worry at the state level for gun-rights advocates is a popular governor who wants to push through legislation to restrict the rights of gun owners.

Hochul said she comes from a family of gun-rights advocates. She has two brothers in Maryland, she said, who are expert marksmen. While Hochul said she isn't big into hunting or target shooting herself, she has taken safety courses and knows how to handle a firearm.

"When a bill comes up that affects your 2nd Amendment rights, I’m on your side," Hochul said.

While clerk in Erie County, Hochul said she streamlined the process for a gun permits from a year or longer to four months, and three of those months involve the State of New York doing background checks.

"Some of you may say I have a 'D' after my name and I can't vote for you," Hochul said. "Well, fine, but I still represent you. I am independent and I look at each and every issue as what's best for the people of Western New York. Sometimes the Democrats are right and sometimes they're really wrong. Some times the Republicans are right and some times they are really wrong."

According to Hochul, when the gun rights groups come out with their congressional rankings soon, she will receive a very high grade for her voting record for her first year in office.

"I'm very proud of my ranking," Hochul said.

Hochul also noted that she opposed the "Fast and Furious" operation, which provided guns to drug gangs in Mexico, and believes Attorney General Eric Holder should respect the powers of Congress under the Constitution and turn over all "Fast and Furious" documents to the House of Representatives, a demand from Congress the Obama Administration is fighting.

Hochul faces the most serious reelection challenge in November of the three officials who spoke Tuesday and SCOPE Chairman Jack Taylor said he contacted the campaign for her challenger, Chris Collins, to invite Collins to the meeting, but didn't get a response.

Hawley talked a good deal about his work on veterans' issues, particularly his annual Patriot Tour of Washington, D.C., and noted that while his colleague in the Senate, Ranzenhofer, may need to deal with only two anti-gun zealots in that chamber, the state Assembly is filled with 40 or 50 people eager to water down the 2nd Amendment.

Hawley said those representatives deal with a very different constituency than Assembly members in Upstate and Western New York, where people often live on a bit of land, own their own homes, like to hunt and fish and target shoot.

In noting the differences, Hawley segued into a discussion of a bill he has repeatedly sponsored -- allowing a referendum vote on whether New York should be split into two states.

Taylor spoke between each guest and hammered home the same point: Gun rights advocates need to educate the public on the difference between law-abiding citizens who own guns and criminals who not only use guns but other implements to commit their crimes.

"In all my years in retail, I've never seen a gun jump off the shelf and shoot somebody," Taylor said.

Some of the blame for the misrepresentation of guns falls on the media, Taylor noted, reminding SCOPE members that you never see a headline that says "Chevy and Budweiser kills family of four," but you do see headlines like "Glock used in murder spree."

The former county coroner said the most common way that young people die a violent death in Genesee County is from drunken driving, while there is only about one homicide every seven years locally (worth noting: the last homicide locally was Scott Doll beating to death his victim, no gun involved).

"We are all against crime, whatever the implement," Taylor said. "We need to separate the crime from the implement. There’s not a gun law out there that ever saved a life or prevented a criminal from committing a crime."

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