Senator Ritchie Continues to Cut Red Tape

Senate OKs Package of Bills to Ease Regulations, Help Farms, Businesses

State Senator Patty Ritchie continued her assault on needless bureaucratic red tape, announcing that the Senate today has passed of package of bills she sponsored to reduce regulations on Central and Northern New York businesses.

The measures included a bill, drafted in conjunction with the state Agriculture Commissioner, that will ease some regulations that could impact Fort Drum.

“I ran for the Senate to bring common sense to Albany, and that includes cutting outdated and needless red tape that makes it tougher for businesses to create jobs, and communities to thrive,” Senator Ritchie said. “Taken together, these bills are yet another signal of the change in attitude in Albany that says ‘jobs first,’ and puts people ahead of the needs of government.“I will continue to work to find ways to ease the regulatory burden on businesses and help our economy and our communities grow stronger,” senator Ritchie said.

The bills passed include:

· S.4718—Streamlines the operations of soil and water conservation districts, and provides more local control over programs to protect soil and water quality, and prevent pollution. The bill has special significance for the North Country because the Department of Defense has pointed to outdated regulations and overlapping bureaucracy as a problem for continued growth and development of Fort Drum. The bill helps the Army meets its obligation of preserving an adequate buffer zone between the post and surrounding developments. The bill is sponsored in the Assembly by Assembly Member Bill Magee.

· S.5160—Allows farmers to claim agriculture exemptions for woodlands that they also use for pasturing. So-called “silvopastures” are not currently eligible to be considered as farmland. The bill is sponsored in the Assembly by Assembly Member Bill Magee.

· S.5168—Provides agriculture benefits to small horse farm operations, and helps to encourage the growing equine industry in the state. The bill is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Magee.

· S.5262—Eliminates the requirement for farmers to carry “blue cards” that specify the names of roads on which they will operate registered farm equipment. DMV already limits the areas where farmers can operate their equipment, and the “blue card” requirement is redundant and outdated.

· S.5166—Provides relief to businesses on Watertown’s Arsenal Street, who are being required to move and reinstall signage as a result of the road’s designation as a Scenic Byway. The bill allows the businesses to apply to the state DOT for an exemption to the sign rules, saving significant expense. The bill is sponsored in the Assembly by Assembly Member Addie Russell.