Patty Ritchie

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RITCHIE JOINS GOV. CUOMO TO STOP 'TXTG N DRVNG'

State Sen. Patty Ritchie (R,C-Heuvelton) joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he visited Northern New York to sign a new, tougher law to stop texting while driving.

The new law, which passed the Legislature unanimously and takes effect immediately, includes fines up to $150 and up to three violation points. The Governor signed the bill during a stop in Watertown Thursday.

July 18, 2011
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Getting in the trenches to cut the red tape and help you

Last week, Albany backed down from a plan to ban the age-old practice of selling hand-cut cheese at Farmers Markets. The issue arose when bureaucrats decided to reinterpret a 40-year-old rule that had never before been applied in this way.

As soon as I heard about the change, I started drafting legislation to exempt Farmers Markets from the rule. Like the practice of cutting fresh cheese, Farmers Markets have been around for years, but they are becoming increasingly popular, as consumers are looking for ways to buy more locally produced foods.

July 12, 2011
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RITCHIE RECRUITS GOV. CUOMO IN BORDER BOATER DISPUTE

Gov Jumps Into Fray Following Senator’s Request

State Sen. Patty Ritchie today asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo to intervene in the dispute over Canada's new border rules that threaten to cripple Central and Northern New York's $150 million-a-year boating and sport fishing industry.

Senator Ritchie met with Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, Mitch Franz of the Lake Ontario Fisheries Coalition, Henderson Town Supervisor Ray Walker, and representatives of US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush.

At the meeting, she gave the Lieutenant Governor a letter to deliver to Gov. Cuomo that details Canada's surprise crackdown on US boaters in the eastern Lake Ontario basin and St. Lawrence River, and asks for his help.

July 8, 2011
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SENATOR RITCHIE THANKS GOVERNOR FOR SAVING OUR PRISONS

SENATOR RITCHIE THANKS GOVERNOR FOR SAVING OUR PRISONS

State Senator Patty Ritchie today personally thanked Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his decision to spare five state prisons in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties from further budget cuts.

Sen. Ritchie was with the Governor in suburban Syracuse for a bill signing event for New York’s new Property Tax Cap law, a measure designed to end runaway state property taxes and get the state back on track to creating jobs.

Following the formal ceremony, Senator Ritchie spoke with the Governor about the prisons in Northern New York.

July 6, 2011
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RITCHIE JOINS GOV. CUOMO FOR TAX CAP SIGNING

Bipartisan Bill Protects Home Owners, Businesses

Senator Patty Ritchie joined Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Wednesday at a bill signing ceremony to mark the enactment of New York’s new “Property Tax Cap,” an historic measure that will protect homeowners and businesses from runaway tax hikes, help strengthen the state’s economy and create jobs.

“I promised the hardworking taxpayers of Central and Northern New York that we would get taxes under control and, thanks to Gov. Cuomo’s leadership, we now have the toughest Tax Cap in the nation, finally bringing relief from skyrocketing property taxes that have crippled our economy, hurt families and cost us jobs,” Senator Ritchie said.

“Everywhere I go, taxpayers and business owners tell me that rising taxes are a top concern, and a key reason why so many people and jobs have left our state,” Senator Ritchie said. “That’s why I was proud to join Gov. Cuomo in his campaign to deliver relief to the hardworking taxpayers of New York who for too long have been burdened by out-of-control property taxes.”

July 6, 2011
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SENATOR RITCHIE REACTS TO NEW CHEESE RULE: ‘IT STINKS’

State Senator Patty Ritchie today said that New York consumers who care about fresh, local food should be holding their noses at a move by state bureaucrats to require many farmers markets to sell only plastic-wrapped cheese.

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets is banning the age-old practice by cheese mongers of selling fresh sliced cheese, unless they take costly steps like installing specialized sinks with hot water at outdoor farmers markets.

July 1, 2011
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SENATOR RITCHIE RETURNS ‘GOLD STAR’ PLATES

DMV had denied mother’s tribute to her fallen son

State Senator Patty Ritchie today returned two “Gold Star Mother” license plates to an elderly Central New York woman who was forced to surrender them to Motor Vehicles officials who said she couldn’t keep them as a tribute to her only son, killed in Vietnam.

Ethel Barnes proudly displayed the plates, bearing the distinctive number “46,” to honor and remember her only son, Robert, who died in 1967. DMV required her to turn in the plates when she said she would no longer be driving, denying her request to keep one as part of a family memorial she had planned for her son.

June 30, 2011
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SENATOR RITCHIE: NNY PRISONS SAVED

Praises Governor’s Common Sense Approach to Closing List State Senator Patty Ritchie today said she was relieved—but not surprised—that no Northern New York prisons were included on a list of correctional facilities that are to be closed, and she credited Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s common sense approach to saving taxpayer dollars.

"Saving Northern New York’s prisons wasn’t just about jobs—though that was critical to a region suffering under some of the highest rates of unemployment in all of Upstate New York—but also about looking out for the interests of New York’s taxpayers,” Senator Ritchie said.

June 30, 2011
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MILITARY RESERVES CRITICAL TO OUR NATION'S DEFENSE

When a member of the Army Reserves asked me why some citizen soldiers are not eligible for the same kind of property tax breaks that benefit others who serve their country, I have to admit I was puzzled.

The Reserve units of our Armed Forces are a critical part of our nation’s military. They, and their families, make significant sacrifices so they can train and prepare to serve America in times of crisis.

They play an important role in our nation’s defenses and deserve the same respect and thanks that we give to the rest of our military.

June 27, 2011
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SENATOR RITCHIE STATEMENT ON END OF LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Agreement on property tax relief ‘caps’ year when Albany started working again

The 2011 legislative session, my first as the State Senator representing Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, will be remembered as the year Albany started working again.

Partnering with our new Governor, Andrew Cuomo, we kept our promise to reduce taxes and spending, and took the first steps toward putting New York on a new path to better jobs and a stronger economy.

We passed an on-time budget and historic ethics reform to rebuild New Yorkers’ trust and confidence in their government and elected officials.

We “capped” it all off with a two-percent property tax cap that provides certainty and relief to homeowners and businesses, and will stop the flow of families, businesses and jobs out of New York.

June 27, 2011
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RITCHIE BILL EASES COUNTY JAIL CROWDING

Would force state to take inmates now languishing in local jails State Senator Patty Ritchie (R-C, Heuvelton) said the Senate today passed a bill she sponsored that would ease local county jail overcrowding by requiring the state to move more quickly in picking up its inmates and placing them back in state prisons.

The bill (S.5498) gives the Department of Correctional Services just 10 days to move parole violators from county lockups to state facilities. Right now, nearly a thousand state parole violators are languishing in county jails—some for months a time—forcing local taxpayers to pick up the tab.

June 21, 2011
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SENATOR RITCHIE: RIVER HOSPITAL TO BENEFIT FROM SENATE-PASSED BILL

Long-delayed change in payment rules could help preserve health care in the Thousand Islands   State Senator Patty Ritchie today announced Senate passage of a bill she cosponsored that helps secure the future of rural hospitals like River Hospital in Alexandria Bay, and Clifton Fine Hospital in Star Lake.

The bill, S.5431-A, will require the state to pay rural “critical access hospitals” for their actual costs of providing services, instead of relying on reimbursement formulas that currently leave the facilities shortchanged.

June 21, 2011
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SENATOR RITCHIE: RIVER HOSPITAL TO BENEFIT FROM SENATE-PASSED BILL

Long-delayed change in payment rules could help preserve health care in the Thousand Islands

State Senator Patty Ritchie today announced Senate passage of a bill she cosponsored that helps secure the future of rural hospitals like River Hospital in Alexandria Bay, and Clifton Fine Hospital in Star Lake.

The bill, S.5431-A, will require the state to pay rural “critical access hospitals” for their actual costs of providing services, instead of relying on reimbursement formulas that currently leave the facilities shortchanged.

June 20, 2011
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Blankenbush, Ritchie, Fort Drum Representatives Ask Lieutenant Governor Duffy to Locate Air Med Service at Drum

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, Senator Patty Ritchie and representatives from Fort Drum today met with Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy and New York State Police representatives to make the case for locating an Air Medical Services helicopter at Fort Drum. The meeting was arranged by the governor’s office at the request of Assemblyman Blankenbush.  The meeting came just hours before the Senate was expected to pass Senator Ritchie's bill S.4712, legislation that will cut red tape to help recruit a commercial air ambulance service to Northern New York to provide the north country with another option in its efforts to provide an medical air evacuation service to the region.

June 20, 2011
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RITCHIE VOTES TO HELP FAMILIES WITH AUTISM

Treatments Will Be Covered By Insurance

State Senator Patty Ritchie said a bill (S4005A) she cosponsored that was passed by the Senate today will insure that families with autistic children will have their treatments covered by insurance.

“It’s outrageous that families have been told that their insurance will not cover therapeutic care, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy,” Senator Ritchie said. “I am proud that I was able to vote to insure that families will no longer be discriminated against if they have a family member with autism spectrum disorder when they buy or renew health insurance.”

June 17, 2011
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RITCHIE, RUNCIMAN ASK FOR EXPLANATION ON BORDER INCIDENT

Canadian Senator Says Treatment Of U.S. Fisherman 'Outrageous'

State Senator Patty Ritchie and Ontario Senator Robert Runciman are asking Canadian officials to investigate the treatment of a U.S. fisherman who had his boat seized for straying into Canadian waters near Gananoque.

"When I heard about this incident, I immediately contacted Senator Runciman, who has been working with me on border issues. I knew he would work with me to make sure Canada's top officials were aware and took appropriate action," Senator Ritchie said. "We need to continue to work together to encourage residents on both sides of the border to enjoy what both of our nations have to offer."

June 17, 2011
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RITCHIE BILL TO AID SEARCH, RESCUE TEAMS

Inspired By Oswego County Search and Rescue Team

State Senator Patty Ritchie says her bill to provide training and certification for specialized search and rescue teams, inspired by Oswego County’s Search and Rescue Team, will enhance emergency service capabilities across upstate New York.

“Every year emergency personnel across the state are called out to help search for people who are lost in wilderness areas as well as neighborhoods,” Senator Ritchie said. “It’s been established that the same skills and courses developed by our state’s forest rangers to search for people lost in wilderness areas can dramatically improve the success of searches anywhere else. This legislation will encourage emergency personnel to obtain the additional training that’s available that would help them be more effective when someone turns up missing.”

June 17, 2011
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