As the Senate regular session comes to a close, I have redoubled my efforts to get my priority legislation passed before then.
In total, I’ve gotten 47 of my 119 bills passed so far this session. The Assembly has also passed 23 of those 47 bills, and the governor has signed 16 of them into law. Five are awaiting his review. I thank my colleagues for helping me achieve the success I’ve enjoyed so far.
Here’s my thinking. First and foremost, a good state legislator is an advocate for his constituents. I’m occasionally asked by local government to help them enact special laws that would only apply to them – a good example is the regular reauthorization of a local sales tax rate, which can help ease the property tax burden.
Bills address powdered alcohol, Utica schools, first responders and special elections
ALBANY – The New York State Senate today passed four bills sponsored by Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, including a bill to ban powdered alcohol, one to help Utica schools and another to protect first responders, and a fourth to limit government and empower voters regarding statewide offices.
UTICA – Sen. Joseph A. Griffo and Oneida County leaders today outlined additional measures they’ll be taking to combat the heroin epidemic.
“I’m proud of the work the Senate Majority Coalition has done statewide to gather input from people affected by this drug scourge,” said Griffo, R-Rome. “It’s time to take this one step further, and make sure we arm everyone with the tools to combat an opioid overdose.”
Heroin – its use and abuse – continue to pepper police blotters across New York lately.
I joined the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction because I wanted to see if we could make an impact legislatively. I know this addictive drug, which is cheap and easy to obtain, isn’t going away. But that’s no reason to give up. Too many families have waged prolonged battles to help loved ones, only to see them overcome by their addiction.
UTICA – Sen. Joseph A. Griffo is partnering with his local libraries to entice more children to read this summer. The New York Senate’s 2014 Summer Reading Program, in conjunction with the New York State Library, offers families several entertaining ways to encourage reading.
“Reading is the cornerstone of learning,” said Griffo, R-Rome. “I want children to be excited about picking up a book this summer, so our libraries have designed a lot of fun activities to keep kids motivated.”
MASSENA – Sen. Joseph A. Griffo announced today that he has secured $100,000 in state funds for the reconstruction of Liberty and Garvin avenues in the village of Massena.
“Good infrastructure is an integral part of a healthy economy,” said Griffo, R-Rome. “I know how hard this winter was on our north country roads, so I was pleased to assist the village in securing these needed funds.”
ALBANY – The lieutenant governor position has drawn increased attention and scrutiny in the past month in light of an upcoming change in personnel in November.
State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger believe this is a perfect time for the Legislature to reconsider how the lieutenant governor is chosen and his or her role in the governing of New York. They sponsor three bills that would institute some common-sense reforms:
ROME – Sen. Joseph A. Griffo is teaming up with six former U.S. presidents to bring New York history into local elementary classrooms Friday.
The traveling road show, “Empire State Executives: New York’s Presidents,” will teach students about New Yorkers in politics who made it to the highest office in the country. Griffo, R-Rome, will also explain his job in the New York Senate, and the similarities and differences between today and the past.
I take abuse against animals very seriously. It’s not only deplorable to hurt an innocent pet, but it is oftentimes an indicator of additional problems within a household, whether it be manipulation, neglect, abuse, or violence toward humans.
That’s why I’ve sponsored several bills during my Senate tenure to combat animal cruelty. They haven’t all passed and become law, but their intent was laudable: Better information and investigations on animal fighting – and stiffer penalties for offenders. Also, one bill would have created tougher laws to use against people who abuse 10 or more animals at the same time.
ALBANY – Sen. Joseph A. Griffo today joined his colleagues on the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction to release a report that summarizes findings from statewide forums on drug addiction, treatment and crime. The report includes 25 bills that the Senate is expected to address before it recesses for the summer.
UTICA – State Senator Joseph A. Griffo is hosting an educational forum May 27 for the benefit of police officers in Oneida County who handle incidents of animal abuse and neglect.
Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara and Susan McDonough, a retired New York State Police investigator who specialized in animal abuse, will lead the informational sessions. They will discuss ways to identify animal abuse and neglect; how to approach abused animals; how to remove animals from an abusive household and how to ensure a successful prosecution of individuals who abuse animals.
Sen. DeFrancisco Bill, Co-Sponsored by Sen. Griffo, Would Improve Statewide Access to Information
State Senator John A. DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, announced that his bill (S2314) passed the New York State Senate today.
Under this legislation, the New York State Library would be authorized to coordinate the purchase of electronic databases and other information resources for state agencies, library systems and other governmental entities.
Here’s a straightforward, but deceptively hard question: You’re deciding between two doctors for your upcoming heart surgery. One has advertised as being “board certified” by the American Academy of Cardiology. The other, you learn, was certified by the American College of Cardiology. Which one would you trust with the scalpel? (The answer is at the end of this column.)
If you’re hemming and hawing about your answer, take comfort. You are not alone. It is so easy to get confused about the qualifications of medical professionals – and your life may depend on it.
I believe the medical profession needs more truth in its advertising. I’ve introduced a bill that would protect the patient by implementing four small changes.
Red tape: If you talk to most business owners about their impediments to growth, they’ll give you an earful about the countless hours they spend filling out forms for the government.
Now, not all regulations are bad. We’ve got well designed and well implemented rules that provide more benefits than costs, including ones that ensure our health and safety.
However, New York does not need 750,000 regulations. Businesses are spending $274 billion every year to comply with all these rules. That’s money much better spent on developing new product lines, expanding facilities or hiring additional workers.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation to legalize and regulate mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions in New York State. The bill (S6502), sponsored by Senator Joseph Griffo (R-C-I, Rome), would allow single discipline martial arts organizations to hold professional competitions in New York State and gives the state Athletic Commission the jurisdiction to regulate professional mixed martial arts promotions, participants, bouts and exhibitions.
The second full week in May is National Police Week and the following week is National EMS week, providing us a great opportunity to recognize the important work done by these two groups in our communities.
It’s also a time for reflection on those we’ve lost. Hundreds of officers gathered at the State Capitol recently to memorialize those killed in the line of duty, including our officers: Utica Police Department Officer Thomas Lindsey; Oneida County Sheriff’s Deputy Kurt Wyman and New Hartford Police Department Officer Joe Corr.
A similar, but larger, gathering will take soon take place in Washington, D.C. There will be 268 names added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial this year, including the late Patrick J. Fogarty of Lowville.