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steve hawley

April 23, 2015 - 2:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, SAFE Act.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today commented on the actions of Assembly Majority Codes Committee members, who killed two bills that would have repealed the unconstitutional SAFE Act. Despite an impressive showing from pro-Second Amendment sportsmen, members of the Assembly Majority killed two bills sponsored by Hawley, A.2651 and A.3350, that would have repealed the NY SAFE Act, which was passed controversially in 2013.

Hawley said the SAFE Act continues to violate New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights and was irresponsibly jammed though the Legislature in the middle of the night as a political stunt by Gov. Cuomo.

“I have, and always will be, a supporter of the Second Amendment,” Hawley said. “Any legislation that takes away a law-abiding citizen’s ability to possess firearms is an unconstitutional act of government tyranny. I am from a rural district in Western New York and my experience with gun owners has been exemplary. Most gun owners are responsible hunters or firearm enthusiasts, and to prohibit them from adequately protecting themselves or their families is indefensible and governmentally oppressive.

"New Yorkers, in no way wanted this bill to become law, that is why it was rushed through the process in the middle of the night using a message of necessity. A truly fair and transparent government would allow this bill to come to the floor for a vote, but apparently that is not how New York functions.”

April 22, 2015 - 9:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today blasted Assembly Majority members for holding legislation he sponsored in the Committee on Higher Education rather than bringing it to the floor for a vote. In 2009, Hawley introduced Assembly Bill 3093, which seeks to provide free college tuition and expenses for dependent family members of military personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty. The Assembly Majority has never allowed this bill to leave committee and come before the entire house for a vote.  

“I am discouraged by today’s committee vote,” Hawley said. “As a veteran, I know the personal and financial struggles of children who lose their parents in the line of duty. This legislation would lift some of the financial burden that comes with attending college and allow military families more freedom in pursuing their educational aspirations. We owe it to those who have paid the ultimate price to assist their loved ones in any way we can. It is disappointing that Assembly Majority members do not feel the same urgency to support those who sacrificed their lives for us.”

Hawley is a veteran of the Ohio Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves. He has consistently and thoroughly advocated for veterans during his time in the Assembly and currently serves as Ranking Minority Member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

April 21, 2015 - 10:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today called on legislative leaders and Gov. Cuomo to bring a bill to the Assembly floor for a vote that would strip pension and retirement benefits from corrupt lawmakers. Hawley said this is an issue he and the Assembly Minority Conference have been fighting for the past several years and it is finally time to get tough on ethics reform.  

“As a taxpayer of this state, I am appalled at the amount of money our pension system has given over the past couple of decades to lawmakers and officials convicted of crimes,” Hawley said. “In my view, this has nothing to do with party or position in government; it is commonsense legislation that we need to put the people’s faith back into our government. I have been a sponsor of this legislation for years, because each day we sit idly by is another day we have failed the taxpayers of New York State. I am calling on legislative leaders and members of the Assembly Governmental Operations Committee, where this bill is currently being held, to bring this bill to the Assembly floor for a vote.”

Hawley’s comments come after it was reported by The Journal News that 14 former lawmakers and officials convicted of crimes are being paid a total of about $531,000 per year by the state’s pension system. Over the past 15 years, about $4 million has been paid out in pension benefits to ex-lawmakers and officials convicted of various crimes.

April 13, 2015 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, steve hawley, common core.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today called on the New York State Education Department (SED) to provide guidance to parents and school districts about the consequences of opting out of Common Core tests and what it could mean for future funding. Hawley said school districts are operating in the dark about what will happen as a result of a large number of students opting out of the upcoming Common Core tests, and that State Ed should provide more information so parents can make informed decisions.  

“I realize that Common Core is an increasingly controversial issue and thousands of students have already opted out of the tests,” Hawley said. “While I respect parents’ rights to opt their children out of the Common Core tests, I do not want them to make a decision that will negatively impact the funding received by their school districts. This is why I am calling on SED to clarify how opting out will impact schools’ funding. At this point, SED has created a complex situation where many factors are still undetermined. It is their obligation to provide direction to schools. SED has an equal responsibility to provide us with accurate information as to how funding will be impacted if a large number of students chose to forgo the state assessments this year.”

Common Core tests for English Language Arts begin tomorrow and Math Assessments begin later this month. In 2014, more than 100,000 students opted out of both the English and Math tests. Schools are required to maintain adequate yearly progress and show 95 percent participation in state assessments for grades three through eight to remain eligible for full Federal funding.

April 9, 2015 - 2:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, educaiton, common core.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today reminded his constituents of their ability to opt out of the Common Core tests. Hawley said the Common Core Standards have been irresponsibly implemented and parents have a right to know that they can refuse to have their children take the tests.  

“As we look forward to the warm weather that April brings, let us not forget that it also brings another round of dreaded Common Core testing,” Hawley said. “With all the conversation surrounding how teacher evaluations will be altered in the 2015-16 State Budget, we are overlooking the bigger issue of Common Core tests. Teachers are still struggling to learn new curriculum requirements, and students fear this time of year as immense pressure is placed on them to succeed on the fairly new methods of testing and learning. I sponsor the Common Core Parental Refusal Act, which mandates that school districts notify parents of their ability to have their children refuse to participate in Common Core tests without penalty to themselves or the school. To learn how you can opt out of Common Core testing, please visit www.childrenbeforepolitics.com/refuse.”

Hawley also commented on how the Assembly Minority Conference’s Achieving Pupil Preparedness & Launching Excellence (APPLE) Plan would address many salient education concerns such as Common Core and teacher evaluations. Assembly Bill 3656 is a bipartisan measure that was reintroduced earlier this year.

“Fortunately, the Assembly Minority Conference’s APPLE plan would address many of these concerns,” Hawley said. “Our plan would suspend Common Core tests for two years and create a commission, consisting of experts from the front lines of education, to evaluate all aspects of Common Core and determine a more suitable way to implement the standards. This legislation has been active since last year but was blocked by members of the Assembly Majority during last year’s session.”

Hawley’s comments come on the eve of Common Core testing which is scheduled to begin later this month. More information can be found about the Assembly Minority APPLE plan at www.childrenbeforepolitics.com/refuse.

April 1, 2015 - 10:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

“I cannot, in good conscience, support a budget that allows the state to have power over the needs of individual school districts and classrooms. The education component of the budget gives the State Department of Education (SED) too much latitude in implementing the teacher evaluation system. We should have included teacher groups and school administrators in these decisions instead of leaving it up to bureaucrats and armchair educators. Furthermore, this budget makes no mention of exceptions for special education teachers’ evaluations, whose students will likely struggle with Common Core testing, and we will likely see a large number of students score poorly on Common Core Assessments.

“I cannot support budget measures which include funding for the SAFE Act. The Capital Projects and State Operations budget bills appropriate millions to be used for the SAFE Act database and personnel. It is unfortunate that good legislation is often tainted with politically advantageous appropriations. I refuse to vote for legislation that funds an irresponsible and shameful measure that was passed in the middle of the night without public input or adequate time for discussion and debate.”

March 31, 2015 - 10:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced that the Legislature has included several well-funded programs in the 2015-16 Enacted Budget that will bolster local agriculture. Hawley announced a $1 million initiative for the Beginning Farmers NY Fund to attract young people to the career of farming, a $4.2 million increase for local agriculture assistance programs, and a $500,000 loan fund for the Soil and Water Conservation Committee to create a revolving loan fund for drain tile installation on farms.

“As the former owner of Hawley Farms, I know the struggles that farmers face on a yearly basis,” Hawley said. “I have worked tirelessly to advocate on behalf of Western New York’s farmers and I am proud to see these proposals pass in the Assembly today. Farmers constantly deal with threats to their businesses such as drought, heavy rainfall and destructive insects. These proposals will help keep our agriculture industry flourishing, entice young people to the industry, and allow farmers to obtain loans they will use to protect and enhance their crop production.”

March 24, 2015 - 4:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) said today that Upstate economic development would be the best option for the state’s $610 million surplus, obtained as result of a recent bank settlement. Hawley criticized Gov. Cuomo’s proposed Upstate Revitalization Fund for pitting communities against each other and said surplus funding should be appropriated in a more equitable fashion.

“The surplus would best serve the people of this state by promoting economic revitalization in Upstate New York,” Hawley said. “The governor’s competition plan is a misguided approach that pits communities against each other and creates three winners and four losers. By splitting this money evenly among the seven regions or combining it with the governor’s plan, we could ensure that more regions see tangible economic development. The state’s financial investments in businesses and local projects over the past several years have been hugely beneficial, especially in the rural areas of my district. This surplus funding should be invested back into Upstate communities and support projects that will attract new businesses and jobs to many struggling areas of the state.”

Hawley’s comments come after a press release issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services revealed that Commerzbank has paid a $610 million fine to New York State as part of a punitive package for financial and accountability crimes.

March 19, 2015 - 4:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that he has become a co-sponsor on legislation, Assembly Bill 06256, that will ease the financial burden placed on farmers. The bill would forgo the requirement that farmers who employ aliens admitted to the United States to perform farm labor pay unemployment insurance for such workers. Under state law, alien laborers are not eligible for unemployment insurance, so there is no need for employers to pay into the unemployment insurance fund.

“I have introduced this legislation with Assemblyman Bill Magee (D-Madison County), current Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, after meeting with Farm Bureau representatives from my district,” Hawley said. “As the former owner of Hawley Farms, I know firsthand how hard farmers work for their profits and that sustainability of their business is not guaranteed year to year. This is common-sense legislation that will correct a glaring deficiency in the labor law that mandates farmers pay unemployment insurance for workers who are ineligible. My district contains many farm operations and I will do everything I can to help them keep more of their profits.”

March 18, 2015 - 9:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

The more time I spend in the Assembly, the more I notice the distinction between New York City and Upstate New York. It is clear to me that the needs of Downstate continue to dominate New York State politics. Year after year, New York City drains our education fund dry and more attention is given to things like rent control and New York City’s mass transit system; issues for which Upstate New Yorkers have little concern. Two-thirds of representatives in the Assembly have districts south of the Tappan Zee Bridge and their interests continue to dominate the budget process while Upstate is left to fight for scraps.  

With recent news emerging about the Southern Tier toying with the idea of secession to Pennsylvania, Upstate New Yorkers deserve to have a choice about splitting from New York City now more than ever. In 2012, New York spent more on Medicaid than Florida and Texas combined, and this year’s budget will surely raise that to an even higher level. Why should Upstate be forced to take home less pay because of those who choose to remain on government assistance and abuse the system for benefits such as rent and energy assistance and funding for appliances and groceries?

Sen. Joseph Robach (R,C,I-Rochester) and I have recently introduced legislation (A.4167) to allow a referendum on the question, “Do you support the division of New York into two separate states?” In doing so, we could measure the citizen support for this initiative to determine if it is actually feasible. As liberals from New York City continue to move Upstate generation after generation, they will undoubtedly support increased services and more taxation.

New York has one of the highest exodus rates in the country. Younger generations are realizing that a life in New York is not sustainable due to the abusive tax structure and lack of employment opportunities. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to see if separation from New York City is actually feasible. Without the expensive Downstate burden, we could gain education funding, lower taxes, have full Second Amendment rights, and more opportunities to experience the “American Dream.” Join me in fighting for Upstate and passing my legislation so we can build a better “New New York.”

March 17, 2015 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today commented on the Assembly’s decision to pass one plank of the 10-point omnibus Women’s Equality Act (WEA). Hawley was proud to see this legislation finally come before the entire Assembly for a vote and said that a measure of such great importance should not have taken this long to pass the house. The Assembly Majority has blocked separate WEA bills from moving out of committee in order to use the entire 10-bill package, which contains a controversial abortion provision, as a tool for political gain. 

“Today we take a giant leap forward toward enacting true gender equality for New York’s women,” Hawley said. “It is unfortunate that a measure of this magnitude was held for so long in committee by members of the Majority. It is a disservice to New York’s women and an embarrassment to our government that we could not bring this legislation to the floor for a vote earlier. The Assembly Minority Conference has been at the forefront of passing this package as separate bills for years, and today we can finally claim victory.”

Hawley’s comments come after the Assembly passed A.506, which will enact the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act. Identical legislation, Assembly Bill 2704, was introduced by the Minority Conference several years ago but members of the Majority have refused to take action upon it.

March 13, 2015 - 10:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press release:

“The Assembly’s one-house budget resolution all but ignores the needs of Upstate families,” Hawley said. “Unfortunately, a large portion of economic development funding was gutted from the budget proposal, funding that my district has used to upgrade its infrastructure, help struggling companies stay afloat, and expand and foster community projects. It includes a crippling minimum-wage hike, which will surely stifle business expansion, restrict the ability to hire new employees, and raise prices for groceries and other consumer items."

“I have been fighting tooth and nail to restore the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) education cuts that were unfairly taken from our school districts in 2010, and our House’s budget resolution repays $150 million less than it did last year toward restoration of these cuts. Furthermore, Assembly Majority members had yet another chance to pass meaningful ethics reform and adopt Gov. Cuomo’s proposals. They ignored many of the governor’s reforms and have left New York vulnerable to more abuses of power and taxpayer money. We can and should do better for Upstate families, and I will work with my legislative colleagues to make sure this does not stand.”

March 12, 2015 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that he will sponsor a bill to provide tax credits against New York State Thruway tolls for farmers who travel the highway. Assembly Bill 2414 provides a tax credit of 75 percent of the Thruway tolls assumed by farmers in order to allow them more profits when selling their products across the state. Hawley said this is a vital piece of legislation that will help sustain the farms in his Western New York district and allow them to sell crops statewide. 

“Growing up on our family’s farm, I know firsthand the struggles our farmers face every year,” Hawley said. “Profits are not guaranteed and much of the business relies not only on the ability to produce a high yield of crops, but also the ability to transport those products across the state and sell them at a variety of outlets. Thruway tolls are continuing to rise, and large-box trucks and farm vehicles are not allowed on smaller highways. Because of this, farmers are losing a large amount of their profits in tolls. This bill would allow greater intrastate commerce while also financially supporting those who feed our state.”

The legislation is a bipartisan effort currently awaiting action in the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee. Under the bill, to receive the tax credit, farm vehicles cannot exceed 26,000 pounds and must be controlled and operated by a farmer for the transport of agriculture products, farm supplies or farm machinery.

March 9, 2015 - 1:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, infrastructure.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) attended a press conference Wednesday held by Sen. Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) to call for an increase in funding for local roads, culverts and bridges. The press conference called on the governor and Legislature to increase funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) during this year’s budget negotiations.

“Preserving the safety of our roads, bridges and culverts is especially important to my district, where many small businesses and agriculture producers transport products,” Hawley said. “The past few winters have been considerably difficult and have taken their toll on our local roads and bridges. This funding is necessary to ensure the safety of our local business people and the families and school buses that travel these roads almost every day.”

March 5, 2015 - 6:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today renewed his support for New York’s small businesses as the Legislature begins budget negotiations. Hawley cited his own small business ownership and urged the Legislature to make cutting regulations and taxes for small businesses a priority in this year’s budget negotiations.  

“As the owner and operator of a small business for many years, I know the amount of hard work and determination it takes to succeed in New York’s economic climate,” Hawley said. “Small businesses are the backbone of this nation and the driving force behind employment and economic growth, and are oftentimes family owned for generations. It is unfortunate that Gov. Cuomo and the Assembly leadership have, year after year, neglected to enact sweeping deregulation and tax cuts for small businesses to help them hire more employees and compete with larger corporations. My district is home to many small businesses and I will be sure to make their voices heard during this year’s budget negotiations.”

Hawley has received 100-percent ratings from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and Unshackle Upstate for his legislative votes during the 2013-14 year. Hawley also urged other legislators to sponsor and support the Small Business Full Employment Act.

“This legislation provides a comprehensive overhaul of how we regulate and tax small businesses,” Hawley said. “The bill focuses on cornerstones of economic growth such as tax cuts for businesses with fewer than 100 employees, repeal of the 18-A utility tax and tax credits for creating new jobs. I urge my Assembly colleagues to support this bill and help our businesses thrive in a less than ideal economic climate.”

Hawley’s comments came on Small Business Day in Albany, hosted by the NFIB. Hawley has been a staunch supporter of the organization’s efforts during his years in the Assembly.

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