At Senator Ritchie’s request, the state Office of Unclaimed Funds created a list of abandoned or forgotten accounts—usually old bank accounts, rent or utility deposits, gift cards and other type of accounts—that the state is holding with owners’ addresses in the three counties she represents.
“By law, the state holds onto the funds in these accounts until they are claimed by their rightful owners,” Senator Ritchie said. “The problem is that most people don’t even know that they are missing money, and they don’t know where to look to find it.”
“It’s your money—you just have to ask for it back.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced Central New Yorkers helped to “fight the bite,” disposing of nearly 4,000 waste tires at free events that took place at several locations throughout Oswego County this past weekend.
The recent event was the second of two made possible through $275,000 in the new State Budget that Senator Ritchie helped secure. As a result of the two events—which were hosted in conjunction with Oswego County—nearly 10,000 waste tires were disposed of, with the $5 fee for each tire being waived.
Measure Proposed by Local Mandate Relief Working Group
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced her bill to provide mandate relief to local school districts by eliminating the duplicative requirement for annual visual inspections of school buildings has passed the State Senate.
The measure was first suggested by Senator Ritchie’s local Mandate Relief Working Group. Established in 2011, the group—which includes local leaders from Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties—aims to find ways to provide relief to hardworking New York taxpayers by slashing mandates. Since its founding, they have proposed two dozen recommendations for cutting government spending and eliminating costly, unfunded mandates, several of which have been enacted into law.
The State Senate gave approval today to a bill striking down New York’s one-of-a-kind ban on popular side-by-side all-terrain vehicles. The measure is sponsored by Senator Patty Ritchie and Joe Griffo.
The bill (S.1946-A) would raise the weight limit for ATVs to 1,500 pounds, from the current 1,000 pounds, an outdated limit that has prevented virtually all of the side-by-side units, knows as UTVs, from being legally used on trails in the state.
A companion bill in the State Assembly has been moving through committees, and could come to a vote later this week, before the scheduled end of this year’s legislative session. The bill is currently in the Ways and Means Committee.
“State leaders are going all out to encourage New Yorkers to explore the great outdoors, but outdated laws prevent them from using UTVs that are wildly popular in every other state in the nation, to visit the ever-increasing network of trails that are being designed and built especially for these vehicles,” Senator Ritchie said.
Video Now in Schools, Available on Senator Ritchie’s Website
In an effort to help protect people in Central New York from the deadly EEE virus, State Senator Patty Ritchie has teamed up with the Oswego County Department of Health and SUNY Oswego to create an educational video to teach the public about the dangers of EEE.
“When it comes to EEE, we can’t do enough to prevent and protect people from this deadly disease. It’s my hope that this video will make more people aware of the dangers and teach them how to properly protect themselves and their loved ones.”
“Through recent tragedies, we’ve seen that our region is particularly susceptible to EEE and I’m proud to collaborate with the Oswego County Department of Health as well as SUNY Oswego to help fight the bite.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced two of her bills to ease local county jail overcrowding and alleviate costs to taxpayers by requiring the state to move more quickly when picking up inmates and placing them back in state prisons were approved by the Senate Wednesday.
According to recent statistics, nearly a thousand state parole violators are in county jails for extended periods of time—all at a cost to taxpayers.
“In Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties, localities are bearing the cost of detaining the state’s prisoners who have been released on parole. Not only that, but the overcrowding is causing some leaders to call for expansions, ” said Senator Ritchie.
State Senator Patty Ritchie’s plan to create a “St. Lawrence Wine Trail,” highlighting for tourists and local residents the growing number of wineries and quality wines produced in the North Country, was approved by the Senate today. The bill (S.6321) now goes to the Governor for his signature.
Funding to be used to Increase Handicapped Accessibility, Improve Energy Efficiency
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced several libraries in Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties will share more than $188,000 in public library construction funds to make much-needed upgrades, increase handicapped accessibility and improve energy efficiency.
“The libraries throughout Central and Northern New York are such fantastic resources for taxpayers in our region; offering books, new technology and countless community activities,” said Senator Ritchie.
“As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Libraries, I’m thrilled that the state is recognizing the importance of our libraries and know that this funding will go a long way towards helping these centers of learning improve and better serve those who utilize them.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie’s bill directing the state to create “gift cards” that can be used for hunting and fishing license and other fees won final approval in the Senate today.
“Hunting , fishing and outdoor sports are traditions that are handed on from generation to generation, and these gift cards will make it easier for parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends to share their love of the outdoors,” said Senator Ritchie.
Last year, the state Department of Environmental Conservation unveiled gift cards that could be used for camping fees at state-run campgrounds.
Across our state and our nation, the spike in heroin use has meant the loss of life, increased crime and heartbreak amongst families and friends of those who use this deadly drug. Today, I applaud Governor Cuomo for his announcement of a statewide initiative to combat the rise of heroin use. This initiative—which includes stepping up law enforcement efforts, an awareness campaign taking place at public college and university campuses throughout the state—will greatly help to address the heroin epidemic.
As a member of the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, I’ve heard from many individuals who are on the ground level about what can be done to stop the spread of heroin. Time and time again, one of the top suggestions has been educating individuals—especially young people—about the dangers the drug presents. As we saw last month at SUNY Oswego, heroin is a deadly drug, with very serious consequences. I am extremely pleased that the Governor and SUNY leaders are focusing their attention on increasing awareness at colleges across our state.
State Senator Patty Ritchie beat back a challenge by downstate nuclear power opponents and won final legislative passage of her bill allowing Oswego County to continue to negotiate tax agreements with the operators of three nuclear power plants, helping to stabilize local government finances and protect jobs at some of the region’s biggest employers.
State Senator Patty Ritchie announced that three bills she’s sponsored to boost farming in New York were approved by the Senate today, and two were sent on to the Governor, the last stop before they become law.
The measures would expand markets for New York farm products, allow farmers to increase their land that’s available for agriculture purposes, and look for ways to boost programs that can help aging farmers who want to stay in business.
“New York’s $5.7 billion agriculture industry is key to our region’s and the state’s economy and I am constantly working to find ways to keep farmers growing,” said Senator Ritchie, who serves as chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee.
“These three bills build on—and complement—my earlier legislative efforts to strengthen New York agriculture and help preserve family farming as the backbone of our agricultural industry.”
Legislation Will Create 21st Century Workgroup for Disease Elimination and Reduction
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced her legislation (S.2115) to help find a vaccine to prevent the deadly EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) disease has passed the State Senate.
The bipartisan measure will create the 21st Century Workgroup for Disease Elimination and Reduction within the state Department of Health. The group, comprised of experts in diseases, infection and public health, will be tasked with pushing for the development of effective vaccines against diseases, including EEE, West Nile Virus and Lyme. Included in the new State Budget is $100,000, secured by Senator Ritchie to fund the new workgroup.
What was once thought to only be a problem in inner cities, heroin is a drug that has pushed out across our state—being used everywhere from rural Northern New York to our Central New York suburbs and beyond.
Today, the Senate has taken a major step in fighting back against this deadly drug; passing a package of legislation to combat the heroin epidemic, including my bill (S.7662), which will help recovering abusers gain insurance coverage for treatment. The passage of these bills—which target the important areas of treatment, prevention and law enforcement—will go a long way to stop the spread of heroin and ensure those looking for help receive it.
As the school year winds down, students are itching to get out of the classroom and dreaming of days spent having fun in the sun. However, while the season might mean time off from school, it shouldn’t mean a break from the books.
It’s so important that throughout the summer months, students keep their minds sharp to avoid what’s commonly called “learning loss.” Helping to ensure students stay on track is the New York State Senate Summer Reading Program. This program, which is made possible through a partnership with the New York State Library is a fun and exciting way to keep students in fourth through sixth grades reading while on break from school during the summer months.
Senator Patty Ritchie, chair of the State Senate's Agriculture Committee, is pictured with New York's 51st Dairy Princess, Casey Porter, of Adams Center, during the annual Dairy Parade, held June 6 in downtown Watertown . The 17-year-old, who grew up on a dairy farm and plans to study agriculture this fall at Cornell, was chosen over 24 other contestants at the Coronation event held in Liverpool in February.
Dairy is the centerpiece of New York's $5.7 billion agriculture industry, and New York currently ranks third in the US in dairy production, with 5427 dairy farms--and young farmers, like Casey, will help lead the indutry's growth into the future, Senator Ritchie said.