Rural Resources Commission Introduces Legislative Agenda

ALBANY (May 12, 2009)—The bipartisan Legislative Commission on Rural Resources has introduced its legislation for the 2009 session, with 12 bills sponsored in the Senate and Assembly intended to benefit the State’s rural communities.

“This Commission has a long track record of promoting the interests of rural New York and that’s what these bills are designed to do,” said State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, Chair of the Commission. “These bills address needs for farmers, landowners and municipalities looking to lower costs through consolidation or shared services. This Commission remains committed to working across party lines to help our rural communities. This legislation is an important part of the process as this Commission works to build the economy of our rural regions and create jobs.”

The bills address a wide range of rural issues from consolidation of government and shared services, to rural healthcare, agriculture and economic development. The Commission endorsed the 12 bills last week.

“The legislation we are advancing through the Commission on Rural Resources reflects the wide ranging issues – land use, our environment, the economy and workforce, governmental efficiency, health care – that every rural community in New York State confronts on a regular basis,” said Assemblyman David Koon, Vice Chair of the Commission.  “As a bi-cameral Commission in the State Legislature, I am proud of the way we bring both sides of the aisle in both Houses together to address these many issues.”

“We’ve broken some important ground for the Rural Resources Commission over the past several years.  Now we need to keep working, on a bipartisan basis, to address the key short- and long-term challenges facing rural communities.  I’m glad for this opportunity to stay focused on rural job creation, broadband development, local property tax relief, and so many other priorities,” said State Senator George Winner, Commission member.

Established in 1982, the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources is a bipartisan and bi-cameral commission of the State Legislature charged with examining the impact of rural resources on the State’s economy, reviewing existing laws/regulations as they relate to rural resources, assessing the effectiveness of programs designed to promote rural viability, recommending and sponsoring legislation and otherwise promoting activities that will enhance and protect rural resources.

Sen. Aubertine was appointed chair in February by Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith. He had served on the commission since he joined the Assembly in 2002. As the new chair, the Senator continues to work with Assemblyman Koon to develop research and introduce legislation that will address agriculture through farm to plate initiatives and alternative energy, form partnerships with universities and entrepreneurs to create new jobs in green industries, improve infrastructure such as broadband, water and sewer, and promote improvements in rural healthcare.