In an effort to share her plan to help revitalize the North Country, State Senator Patty Ritchie today led a top aide to the state's job development chief on a tour of the vacant properties and buildings at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center; property that, under a plan by Senator Ritchie and the City of Ogdensburg, could be redeveloped to create new opportunities and transform the region.
“I want to thank Ken Adams, the CEO for Empire State Development, for sending his personal representative to see first-hand how my plan to redevelop Airy Point could be the key to kick-starting Ogdensburg’s economy and putting people back to work,” Senator Ritchie said.
“I want to thank representatives of the City of Ogdensburg and the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority for partnering with me to help state officials understand why we need a comprehensive approach to redeveloping the campus.”
Funding Will Help Promote Events, Raise Awareness of Region’s Waterways
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $150,000 in special funding to support fishing tournaments and boost tourism in the Central and Northern New York regions. The funding will support 15 tournaments, including nine in St. Lawrence, four in Jefferson and two in Oswego County.
Included in the funding is support for the 2014 BASS Eastern Divisional Championship, which will take place in September in Waddington as well as funding for the NYS BASS Masters tournament, which will be held in August in Ogdensburg.
“Here in Central and Northern New York, our rivers, lakes and streams are phenomenal natural resources that not only offer world-class opportunities for fishing, they also attract tourists to our area, boosting our local economy and creating jobs,” said Senator Ritchie.
SUNY Canton and SUNY Oswego to Split Funding for Campus Additions and Upgrades
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $3 million in special funding to be split between SUNY Canton and SUNY Oswego that will allow the colleges to enhance learning by making much needed additions and upgrades.
“Our SUNY schools are where so many of our state’s best and brightest get the education they need to begin promising, rewarding careers that enable them to give back to our state and our region,” said Senator Ritchie
“I’m thrilled to have been able to secure this funding, which will go a long way towards helping two of our local SUNY schools make the improvements necessary for offering top-notch educational opportunities to students.”
Since the 2014 Legislative Session began in January, I've been focused on achieving results that make for a better New York for all who call our state home. By working together, across the political aisle, we have made great strides towards several of my top priorities, including creating jobs, cutting red tape, lowering taxes, improving our schools and fostering new opportunities for people across our state.
It’s nearly every day that I hear from constituents who are concerned about the rising use of heroin in our state. Whether it’s a parent looking for a way for their child to get treatment or simply a concerned citizen, it’s becoming more and more clear that we need to take real action to address this epidemic.
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 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.