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Today's Top Stories - Friday January 3rd, 2020

Van Etten Named County Legislature Chairman
The New Chairman of the Steuben County Legislature has been named. Scott Van Etten of Caton was named Chairman, replacing his longtime colleague from Campbell Joseph Hauryski who retired on Tuesday. Van Etten will leave his current committee positions behind and noted the last several years that unexpected changes imposed by state officials have been key influences in shaping the top issues in our county. Legislator Robin Lattimer from Bath was named the Vice Chair of the Legislature, who is primarily responsible for running meetings in the absence of the Chairman.


Several Blood Drives Scheduled for This Month
Two blood drives will be held in Bath for the month of January. The first one is at Davenport and Taylor on Tuesday January 7th from 9am to 1pm. Friday, January 17th a blood drive will be held at the Steuben County Office Building from 8:45am to 2pm. Blood drives for January are also scheduled at Savona Fire Hall on January 21st and Hammondsport Fire Hall on Jan 30th. Make an appointment by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS


Steuben Land Bank Corporation Reschedules 1/8 Meeting
The Steuben County Land Bank Corporation announces its meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 8th has been cancelled.  This meeting has been tentatively rescheduled to Wednesday, February 5th at 10:30 a.m. in the Legislative Committee Room of the County Office Building.


Complications from Restraining Order Affects Farm Labor Law
A new farm labor law that went into effect Wednesday is being complicated by a temporary restraining order. The restraining order comes as a result of a lawsuit filed by a coalition of dairy and vegetable farmers. The new law gives farmers rights to overtime and collective bargaining units but opponents say the conditions of the law are ambiguous, lack clarity and parts of the law conflict with the National Labor Relations Act. A hearing for the legislation is scheduled later this month on January 24th.


Beer Tax Could Increase in NY
A new law has been proposed in the State Assembly that could increase the beer tax. A Manhattan Assemblyman proposed the bill as the bill’s sponsor and the legislation would increase the tax for beer from 14 cents per gallon to 30 cents per gallon. It is estimated that $50 million would be generated by the tax raise and the revenue would be distributed within the CUNY and SUNY school systems. However, beer distributors in the state may see a negative impact on their business as a result of the tax increase.


Labor Dept. Ending Sub Min Wage for "Miscellaneous" Industries
Governor Cuomo announced a Department of Labor order that ends sub minimum wage for the “miscellaneous” industries across the state. Over 70,000 tipped employees will be impacted and the Governor says this order will end confusion and outright wage theft that evidence shows robs them of tipped income they rightfully earned. Nail salon workers, hairdressers, aestheticians, valet parking attendants, doormen, tour guides, tow truck drivers and more will be affected by the measure. The tip wage for these industries will be eliminated to bring workers up to the current minimum wage and the tip wage elimination will be phased out over a one year period to help employers adjust.


Cuomo Kills Bill Bringing State-Owned Study of Broadband
Governor Cuomo quietly killed a piece of legislation last month that would study state-owned broadband as a solution that could address poor internet service in rural areas. Both the State Assembly and Senate had passed the measure but the Governor vetoed it due to the need for significant investment from the state to conduct the study, saying: “In order to deliver the study called for in the bill, funding must be allocated,” Cuomo said at the time.” The bill’s supporters believe corporate providers are not fulfilling their obligations to expand their service to rural areas. So far, the Governor has not mentioned improving Upstate New York’s infrastructure as a proposal for the 2020 State of the State Agenda.


NYS Legislature Approves Pay Raise for Governor
The New York State Legislature has approved a pay raise for Governor Cuomo. This salary increase will make the NY Democrat the highest paid Governor in the nation. Beginning January 1st, 2021, Cuomo’s salary will increase to $250,000 a year. Cuomo’s current annual salary is $179,000. Lieutenant Governor Hochul will also receive a pay bump to $220,000 a year. Both salaries haven’t changed since 1999.

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