The newly formed “International Border Caucus,” co-chaired by State Senators Patty Ritchie and Joseph Griffo and Ontario Senator Robert Runciman, discussed problems posed by delays at Northern New York’s border crossings for both Americans and Canadians.
“I am very pleased that our first organizational meeting of this international legislative group identified the problems everyday citizens and business people from both sides of the border are having when they visit each other’s countries,” Senator Ritchie said. “That’s the number one complaint I hear from the people I represent.”
Panel Looks for Ways to Reduce Burdens on Property Taxpayers
State Senator Patty Ritchie said her Mandate Relief Working Group, a team of local leaders who are tasked with finding unnecessary and wasteful state requirements that cost local taxpayers’ money, held its first session Thursday evening.
“Too often, Albany creates extra costs for rural areas because they are unaware of what their one-size-fits-all rules mean for upstate communities,” said Senator Ritchie. “This year, I made cutting the cost of government and reducing mandates a priority, and my Mandate Relief Working Group will help me accomplish this goal by attacking the problem from the ground level, finding waste, and rooting it out.”
Joint Ag-Health Committee Event to Feature Officials, Experts on Animal, Human Health and Prevention
State Senator Patty Ritchie will hold a roundtable forum on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 11 am, in Oswego’s County Legislature Chambers, to discuss the state and local response to Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Central New York, and to explore ways to reduce risk of the disease to humans and animals.
The event is being sponsored jointly by the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, chaired by Senator Ritchie, and Health Committee, which is chaired by Senator Kemp Hannon, and will feature state and local health officials and experts on animal and human health, and disease prevention.
Sets Goal to Collect 100 Worn US Flags to Cheer Service Men and Women Abroad
State Senator Patty Ritchie announced that she is seeking 100 worn, tattered and faded American flags during the month of October as part of her “Stars for Our Troops” campaign to cheer 5,000 US service men and women overseas with a simple, patriotic reminder of home.
“The men and women of our military spend months in strange and dangerous lands far from home to protect the flag and the freedom it represents,” said Senator Ritchie. “This campaign allows us to retire a worn and used American flag in a dignified way that also tells a member of the US military that he or she is remembered, appreciated and respected.”
Legislation would speed payments of money owed by Albany
State Senator Patty Ritchie today announced that she has drafted legislation to help cash-strapped counties by requiring Albany to speed up its payments for mandated services—or pay interest on the overdue amounts.
Senator Ritchie’s bill was prompted by complaints from officials in St. Lawrence and other counties that Albany was holding back millions of dollars of overdue payments to balance its own budget, forcing county governments to borrow money to pay their bills.
Ending requirement would have made NY highways less safe
State Senator Patty Ritchie is praising the Cuomo administration for its reported decision to overturn a DMV rule change that would have ended routine eye tests for New York drivers.
“New York has made tremendous gains in improving highway safety—and saving lives—by focusing on such problems as drunk and distracted driving, but those gains were put at risk by this plan to essentially let motorists play eye doctor and self-certify that their vision was good enough to be on the road,” said Senator Ritchie.
State Senator Patty Ritchie is today calling on the state DMV to abandon its plan to abolish vision tests for drivers, saying the move creates an unnecessary risk for motorists and will undo recent gains in road safety.
A few weeks ago I saw firsthand what a disaster can do when it strikes rural New York.
I saw families forced from their homes, gathered at emergency shelters, waiting for relief supplies.
I met farmers who had spent months raising their crops only to see them washed away in a single day.
I spoke to people with nowhere to go after their homes were devastated by the rising waters in the wake of the Hurricane rains that swept parts of our state.
I toured Schoharie County in the Mohawk Valley in my role as the chair of the Senate's Agriculture Committee to see firsthand the extent of the flood's damage to the rural farms that fill the Mohawk Valley.
It was heart breaking seeing what a sudden flood can do to families.
State Senator Patty Ritchie released an email she received from a flood relief coordinator in the Schoharie Valley thanking residents of Northern and Central New York for their generous response to her call for donations for victims of Hurricane Irene.
In her message, relief coordinator Debi Christman said agencies had nearly run out of food and personal items that are so desperately needed by victims of the flooding that wiped out towns, farms and homes.
"You van could not have arrived at a more needed time," Christman wrote. "We're thrilled with the awesome donations contained in that van and assure you that your efforts will greatly benefit the flood victims."
The Job Fair and Career Expo hosted by North Country State Sens. Patty Ritchie and Joseph A. Griffo has picked up another 10 employers, bringing the total to more than 60 businesses, health care agencies and exhibitors signed up for the first time event.
Agricultural Businesses Offer Ideas To Ritchie’s Senate Ag Panel
Upstate agriculture industry leaders, including onion growers, wineries and dairy farmers, told New York State Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Patty Ritchie that upstate can grow jobs if the state reduces the regulatory burden on farm families.
Agricultural Business Forum To Set Senate Ag Committee's Agenda
New York State Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Patty Ritchie says her Agricultural Business Forum in Watertown on Tuesday will help her committee set the agenda for the upcoming legislative session.
“If we really want to revitalize New York’s economy, it’s absolutely critical that we harness our family farm businesses which make up so much of the upstate economy,” Senator Ritchie said. “Too often too many forget that our family farms produce what our manufacturers need.”
Senate Task Force On Government Efficiency To Investigate Bureaucracy
State Senator Patty Ritchie announced that she was named to a bipartisan legislative panel investigating waste and inefficiency in New York State government.
Senator Ritchie’s appointment to the Senate Task Force on Government Efficiency was made official by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
“Making government operate more efficiently means lower costs for overburdened state taxpayers, a better economic climate for our state, and an invitation for businesses to create new jobs,” Senator Ritchie said.
Since taking office in January, Senator Ritchie has been focused on cutting the cost of state government, including: