Assemblyman Norris says some successes in ‘painful’ legislative session in Albany
There is no question that the 2019 Legislative Session has been the most challenging and offensive session in recent history. However, every day when I’ve walked into our State Capitol I think of the people who sent me here and, on your behalf, I have worked hard to make sure our voices have been heard.
I am proud to have delivered important successes that will improve the lives of people in our community:
• Expanding the Discover Niagara Shuttle into Lockport will further encourage tourism and economic development;
• Restoring library construction funding and the Extreme Winter Recovery program to improve roads and infrastructure;
• Increasing the reimbursement rate for local governments that maintain state-owned roadways;
• Delivering a $300 million package for flood-impacted communities along Lake Ontario; and
• Assisting veterans and our military families by restoring the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer-to-Peer Counseling program and creating a Gold Star Scholarship Program for the children of our fallen heroes.
Despite these successes, the overall session was dominated by downstate progressive interests resulting in a devastating and painful year for upstate taxpayers. I stood up and voiced our opposition and voted no on:
• The $175 billion budget was bloated with new taxes and fees, no mandate relief, and increased debt;
• Providing illegal immigrants driver’s licenses and free college tuition;
• The Farmworkers Fair Labor Protection Act that will destroy our family farms and agricultural community; and
• Numerous bills to advance a “pro-criminal platform,” including measures to increase minimum wage for prisoners and giving prisoners an annual cost of living adjustment, among others.
Yes, this session imposed some very concerning and offensive policies, but I did everything possible to fight against them.
Representing the concerns and needs of Western New Yorkers remains my mission. That’s why I will continue fighting for real ethics reform, property tax and mandate relief, supporting measures to promote recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters and promoting critical job training programs for young adults. I look forward to continuing this challenge on your behalf.
(Norris represents the 144th Assembly District comprised of portions of Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties.)