Thomas F. O'Mara's Press releases

Senate approves 'Hire-a-Vet' legislation

Albany, N.Y., June 20—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) voted in favor of legislation approved by the Senate yesterday to provide tax credits to state businesses that hire returning and wounded veterans.

O’Mara highlighted federal Bureau of Labor statistics showing that unemployment has reached a staggering 20 percent for veterans under the age of 30 who have recently returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Moreover, statistics show that a significant number of recently returned veterans report service-connected disabilities.

June 20, 2012
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Senate approves legislation prohibiting use of public assistance benefits to buy alcohol and tobacco -- or to gamble

Albany, N.Y., June 19—The New York State Senate today approved legislation co-sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats), the “Public Assistance Integrity Act,” to prohibit welfare recipients from using cash assistance to purchase tobacco, alcoholic beverages or lottery tickets, and to combat other abuses of public assistance benefits.

June 19, 2012
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Senate approves O'Mara's anti-fraud legislation targeting 'runners'--read more in this week's New York Daily News

Albany, N.Y., June 15—The State Senate this week approved legislation co-sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara  (R-C, Big Flats) to target criminals, called “runners,” who are key players in the epidemic of fraud that especially plagues New York’s automobile insurance industry, drives up insurance rates for every state motorist and costs New Yorkers more than $1 billion annually.

[Read a June 14th New York Daily News opinion piece on the legislation, "The way to choke no-fault fraud"]

June 15, 2012
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Senator O'Mara teams up with NYS Library and local public libraries to encourage summer reading

Albany, N.Y., June 7—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) has announced the beginning of “Dream Big READ!” -- a new, online summer reading program that the Senate will be promoting throughout the summer of 2012 in partnership with the New York State Library and public libraries across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions.

June 7, 2012
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Senate approves 'College Affordability Plan'

Albany, N.Y., June 5—The New York State Senate has unanimously approved legislation called the “College Affordability Plan” that Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) said proposes state-level actions  to try to find new ways to ease the burden of college costs for students and families.

June 5, 2012
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Senate approves creation of new dairy farm energy assistance fund

Albany, N.Y., June 4—The New York State Senate today unanimously approved legislation co-sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) to establish a “Dairy Farm Improved Energy Efficiency Loan Fund.”

The measure was approved by a vote of 54-0.

The proposed new loan fund (S.3126/A.5145), which would be administered by the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), would provide state grants and low-interest loans to help dairy farmers undertake energy efficiency projects and purchase cutting-edge energy technologies.

June 4, 2012
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'New York State Museum Week' underway locally, statewide

Elmira, N.Y., May 31—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) reminded area residents today that a number of regional museums and historical societies will be sponsoring special events and activities as part of the inaugural “New York State Museum Week” from May 31 to June 6, 2012.

“We’re fortunate that the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions are home to many of New York State’s exciting and finest museums and historical attractions.  They’re a foundation of our premiere tourism industry and the first annual ‘New York State Museum Week’ offers a new opportunity to showcase everything they offer,” said O’Mara.

May 31, 2012
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Senator O'Mara honors local veteran with induction into Veterans' Hall of Fame

Elmira, N.Y., May 24—When the late Cornelius “Connie” Milliken, the long-time chairman of the Chemung County Legislature who passed away this April, contacted State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) early last year to nominate his friend and fellow public servant J. Arthur “Archie” Kieffer for the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame, Milliken wrote, “J. Arthur ‘Archie’ Kieffer is the definition of what it is to be an American – a role model to all serving his country, his family, and his community.  He truly believes that government deserves respect and dignity.” 

May 24, 2012
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State begins new competitive grant program to encourage local government efficiency and cost cutting, ease property tax burden

Albany, N.Y., May 17—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Elmira) alerted local leaders across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions today that a new state competitive grant program is underway that will award state grants to assist local government initiatives to reduce government costs and ease the burden on local property taxpayers.

O’Mara said that the new program was created as part of last year’s state budget.

May 17, 2012
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Virginia Houseknecht of Watkins Glen to be honored as a "Woman of Distinction" in Albany later today

Albany, N.Y., May 15—In Albany on Tuesday, State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) and his Senate colleagues will pay tribute to Virginia “Ginny” Houseknecht of Watkins Glen, a long-time area Cornell Cooperative Extension educator and leader, and founder of the Southern Tier Parkinson’s Disease Support Group, as a 2012 New York State Senate “Woman of Distinction.” 

The Senate's "Women of Distinction" program, which began in March to coincide with Women's History Month in New York State, allows senators statewide to select one honoree from their respective legislative districts for this distinguished, statewide tribute.

May 15, 2012
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Local public libraries receive state construction grants

Albany, N.Y., May 8—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats), Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R-C-I, Corning) and Assemblyman Christopher Friend (R, Big Flats) announced that public libraries  throughout Chemung and Steuben counties have been awarded state library construction grants.

The area legislators said that the grants are being awarded through the state’s $14-million Library Construction Grant Program contained in last year’s state budget.

“A public library is a fundamental resource for area families, seniors, and countless other community residents.  We’re hopeful that these grants will help local libraries better afford and address their renovation needs,” the legislators said in a joint statement.

May 8, 2012
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O'Mara's legislation targets possession, sale and manufacturing of methamphetamine

Albany, N.Y., April 27--State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats), highlighting the dramatic rise in methamphetamine-related arrests and other incidents across the region over the past year, announced today that he has introduced legislation in the Senate to significantly increase the criminal penalties for possessing, selling or manufacturing the dangerous and highly addictive drug.

April 27, 2012
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O'Mara sponsors legislation to combat Medicaid fraud, cut waste of taxpayer dollars

Albany, N.Y., April 25—On the same day that a Congressional panel is turning the federal spotlight on Medicaid fraud nationally, New York State State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) announced today that he is sponsoring legislation (S.4614)  in the Senate to reimburse counties for the cost of purchasing locally developed, cutting-edge computer software that could help pinpoint cases of fraud and other abuses within New York’s Medicaid system and potentially save state and local taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

April 25, 2012
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Area legislators sponsor legislation to encourage emergency services volunteers

Albany, N.Y., April 18—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats), Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R-C, Corning) and Assemblyman Chris Friend (R-Big Flats) announced today that they are continuing to sponsor legislation aimed at helping localities fend off potentially enormous future local property tax increases by offering incentives to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters and other emergency services personnel.

April 18, 2012
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O'Mara: Senate will keep pushing 'New Jobs-NY' plan

Albany, N.Y.--Even with the ambitious and aggressive economic development initiatives included in the new state budget, the Senate Majority has renewed its call for the enactment of a jobs program it proposed earlier this session called "New Jobs-NY."

State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) joined his Senate colleagues to renew their call for the enactment of the comprehensive economic development program.

April 12, 2012
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2012 Legislature Questionnaire Results

See the attached copy below of the results of the 2012 Legislative Questionnaire.

April 12, 2012
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The 2012-2013 New York State Budget

The 2012-2013 New York State budget was enacted on Friday, March 30, 2012.While the annual budget adoption marks the most signficant action of each and every legislative session, the regular session of the 2012 Legislature is scheduled to continue until the end of June -- meaning that many other issues are on tap for debate and discussion.But the new budget represents the biggest news at the moment.  You can find more analyses and additional details on the final 2012-2013 New York State budget from:-- the New York State Division of the Budget-- the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

March 30, 2012
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O'Mara: state budget includes funding to combat threat to Finger Lakes environment and economy

[April 2, 2012 Update: Listen here to Tompkins County Administrator Joe Mareane on WHCU radio]

March 28, 2012
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Legislature reaches key budget agreement on funding for local roads and bridges

Albany, N.Y., March 26—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) said today that the Legislature’s joint budget conference committee on transportation has reached a key agreement that will maintain New York’s commitment to funding for local roads and bridges in the 2012-2013 state budget.

The CHIPS program provides the bulk of state aid to localities for the maintenance and improvement of local roads and bridges.

March 26, 2012
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Senate unveils historical "Women of Distinction" exhibit -- including tribute to Tompkins County, Civil War-era nurse

Albany, N.Y., March 21—The State Senate has unveiled its annual tribute to “Women of Distinction” from throughout New York State’s history in Albany today as part of the ongoing celebration of Women’s History Month.

March 21, 2012
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