Continuing Senator’s Efforts to Protect Pets and Help Them Find Safe Homes
The State Senate marked “Animal Advocacy Day” at the State Capitol Wednesday by passing a series of bills to protect animals, including a measure sponsored by Senator Patty Ritchie that would double prison sentences for abusing an animal in the presence of a child.
“As a pet owner, I feel very strongly that it’s our responsibility to provide safe homes for our pets and protect them from abuse,” said Senator Ritchie, a dog owner of “Gunner,” a Yellow Lab, who has been teaming with local animal shelters in Central and Northern New York to promote responsible animal adoptions through her online “Pet of the Week” effort. “An act of cruelty intended to harm an animal is heartbreaking, but it’s especially heartbreaking when animals are abused in the presence of a child. This bill seeks not only to protect their innocence, but also to safeguard animals by cracking down on those who seek to harm them.”
Measure Would Create Online “Next-of-Kin” Registry for Law Enforcement
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced her bipartisan legislation to help law enforcement more quickly find family members or loved ones of victims following accidents or other emergencies has passed the Senate.
Under Senate bill 2396, the Department of Motor Vehicles would be directed to create an optional “Next-of Kin Registry,” where motorists could add information—such as phone numbers and addresses—of key people to be contacted in the event of an emergency.
“When an accident or medical emergency occurs, often times life or death decisions need to be made and loved ones need to be notified as quickly as possible,” said Senator Ritchie.
State Senator Patty Ritchie welcomed the 10th Mountain Division’s new Commanding General, Major General Jeffrey Bannister to Albany Monday, for a visit that included meetings with legislators and top aides to the Governor.
Senator Patty Ritchie today announced she’s sponsoring legislation to protect the privacy of millions of New Yorkers by prohibiting the state DMV from selling personal information to the highest bidder without their consent.
And she announced that she has launched an online petition to send a message to DMV that New Yorker’s personal information shouldn’t be for sale. The petition can be found at Senator Ritchie’s website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.
“Each and every year, millions of Americans fall victim to identify theft, which means we all need to be increasingly concerned about privacy protection,” said Senator Ritchie.
NY is Only State Without a Law that Protects Careers of Soldiers’ Families
The State Senate today approved a bill, sponsored by Senator Patty Ritchie, to make it easier for spouses of active duty military to get approval to work in their chosen fields that require licensing or certification by the state.
“Right now, hundreds, if not thousands of military spouses at Fort Drum and other posts around New York are prohibited from working in jobs for which they are well-trained, even though they have valid licenses in their home states,” said Senator Ritchie.
“That’s because New York—alone among every other state—requires these professionals to undergo the same training, testing and certification process as if they were seeking a license for the very first time.
Hundreds of people seeking employment took part in State Senator Patty Ritchie’s St. Lawrence County Job Fair, held Thursday at the Oddfellows Hall in Ogdensburg. This was the fifth year in a row Senator Ritchie has hosted the Job Fair in St. Lawrence County.
“It goes without saying that meeting face-to-face with employers is key to any person’s job search,” said Senator Ritchie. “Each year, I strive to feature employers at my Job Fairs who are looking to hire right away and today, I was thrilled to give so many people the chance to learn more about the opportunities currently available here in the North Country.”
Participants Agree to Find Better Safety Markings for Buggies
In an effort to help the North Country public and the region’s Amish population more safely share the road, State Senator Patty Ritchie brought together St. Lawrence County Legislators, law enforcement and Amish leaders to explore different ways to improve markings on buggies and announced that by using a state grant she had secured, St. Lawrence County recently finished installing more than 100 new warning signs to alert motorists to buggies traveling on roadways.
“St. Lawrence County is home to the fastest growing Amish population in our state, and while they have different beliefs and customs, members of the Amish community have become a significant part of our community—living working and investing in our region,” said Senator Ritchie.
State Senator Patty Ritchie honored Oswego County World War II veteran Donald Keeney as her 2015 inductee into the New York State Senate “Veterans Hall of Fame” from the 48th Senate District at a special ceremony held Tuesday at the State Capitol.
“Among the tales of World War II’s epic battles and horrific conflicts, are stories of ordinary people who rose to the occasion to defend our country,” said Senator Ritchie.
“Donald Keeney is one of those people who stepped up to the plate and put his life on the line to fight for our freedom. Not only did he dedicate himself to our nation, after completing his service, he went above and beyond to serve his community. In 2015, we marked 70 years since the end of WWII, and today, I’m humbled to honor him and thank him for his unwavering commitment to making our country and his community a better place.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced final passage of legislation aimed tapping into the potential of the state’s many walnut and birch trees, which are seen by researchers as a way for producers of maple syrup to expand their markets.
According to researchers, there are 22 types of trees that can be tapped for syrup, with the most common in New York State being black walnut and birch. In recent years, Cornell University has been working to help maple producers explore the use of these trees to expand and add value to their businesses, and extend the season for “sugar makers,” as birch and walnut saps typically run after maple stops flowing.
“We’ve seen the popularity of maple products explode in recent years and while there’s still room for the industry to grow, there’s also untapped resources contained in the millions of other trees throughout our state, namely birch and walnut trees,” said Senator Ritchie.
Bill Seeks to Close Gaps in State Law So Abusers Can’t Go Free
Inspired by the case of the St. Lawrence County sisters who were abducted from their family’s Amish roadside stand, Senator Patty Ritchie has written and introduced legislation that proposes to toughen New York’s laws against the sexual abuse of children, with longer prison terms and new restrictions to prevent offenders from hiding their crimes in their future.
Senator Ritchie’s bill, S.5560, creates the specific crime of “Sexual Exploitation of a Child,” a Class B felony, defined as participating, arranging or assisting in creation of child pornography, including enticing or transporting the victims to be used in such a production. Abusers would face up to 25 years in prison for each offense. Under current law, promotion or possession of child pornography can result in a sentence of as little as seven years in prison, or even probation.
Senator Ritchie’s Effort is Cleaning Up Roadsides, Protecting Public
More than 10,000 waste tires were removed from area backyards and roadsides during last weekend’s free disposal events sponsored by Senator Patty Ritchie in Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties.
It’s the most ever collected during the one-day events, made possible through special State Budget funding secured by Senator Ritchie. Over three years, Senator Ritchie’s efforts have resulted in the removal of more than 30,000 waste tires from area communities.
“Waste tires along roadsides and in backyards are not only unsightly, they can be a cause for spreading disease because mosquitoes love to breed in the standing water that collects inside them,” Senator Richie said. “With proper disposal, we are cleaning up our roadsides and communities, protecting the environment and preventing disease.”
As the nation continues to celebrate National Military Appreciation Month, State Senator Patty Ritchie honored 16 veterans from throughout Central and Northern New York Thursday, at her annual “Veterans Hall of Fame” ceremony, which took place at the U.S. Army Reserve Center near Fort Drum.
“There are people we paid tribute to today, who fought in some of history’s most dangerous battles, including, the Invasion of Normandy, Iwo Jima and the Battle of the Bulge, as well as more recent conflicts in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Senator Ritchie.
Students and Families Recruited in Latest Effort to Raise Awareness and Stop EEE
State Senator Patty Ritchie is once again teaming with Oswego County health officials and educators to raise awareness and help fight the deadly mosquito-borne disease, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE.
This week, Senator Ritchie distributed more than 20,000 EEE educational flyers to all nine Oswego County school districts. The flyers contain information about EEE and ways that residents can protect themselves, and was created in cooperation with Oswego County’s Health Department and the family of Maggie Sue Wilcox, the little New Haven girl who died in 2011 after being bitten by an infected mosquito.