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.
I'm getting ready to ride, joining fellow outdoor enthusiasts at the weekend's ATV ride in South Colton (St. Lawrence County). I told riders that 3,000 people have already signed my online petition to allow UTVs in New York -- we are the only state that bans their use.
Teachers Receive Special Funding for Classroom Enrichment
In recognition of their efforts to encourage students to succeed, 65 educators from Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties were awarded State Senator Patty Ritchie’s Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence at a special ceremony held Friday evening at Pulaski’s historic Kallet Theater.
In addition to receiving the Golden Apple Award, each teacher was also awarded $500 in special funding for classroom enrichment. The funding—which represents a more than $30,000 addition to the increase in state education funding local schools received this year—will be used by teachers for making improvements to their classrooms.
RITCHIE TO HONOR 65 EDUCATORS WITH GOLDEN APPLE AWARD
Honorees to be Recognized at Friday Event in Pulaski
In recognition for their dedication to brightening the futures of students in the Central and Northern New York regions, State Senator Patty Ritchie will award 65 local educators with her Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence.
Educators receiving the award include those who dedicate their lives to working with students with special needs and individuals who ignite a passion for learning in those they teach to those who have made headlines for safeguarding students and educators who have overcome major challenges to pursue their careers.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, we can all remember a teacher who has made a lasting, significant impact on our life,” said Senator Ritchie.
“That’s what this event is all about—recognizing educators for going above and beyond to make a difference in those who they teach. I’m pleased to recognize these 65 educators for dedicating themselves not only to their careers, but more importantly, to the students they influence each and every day.”