Niagara Gazette

March 10, 2013

Hawley pushes two-state referendum

Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, is promoting legislation that would allow New Yorkers to answer the question “Do you support the division of New York into two separate states?”

Hawley, who represents neighboring Orleans County, says Assembly Bill 391 would help Upstate and Western New Yorkers make their voices heard in state government by allowing counties to put the aforementioned question to a non-binding voter referendum.

“Due to the fact that much of New York’s population is concentrated downstate – primarily in New York City – the vast majority of statewide legislative leaders are not from Upstate or Western New York. As a result, many local families feel their needs are ignored in state government,” said Hawley. “(The bill) would allow the people of this state to decide for themselves if they would be better represented in the Capitol if New York were split into two separate states. This legislation is meant to give our local families a voice in state government, and I will continue fighting to make our voices heard in all corners of this great state.”

The bill, which the assemblyman has proposed in prior sessions of the legislature, is co-sponsored by John Ceretto, R-Lewiston, and Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda.

Hawley cited two examples of statewide policy advanced by New York City-area legislators that has drawn the ire of Upstate and Western New Yorkers; gun control and Medicaid spending.

“We have seen time and time again that one-size-fits-all is not an effective way to approach government,” said Hawley. “When downstate politicians tax and spend our economy into peril and infringe on our Constitutional rights, our communities are the ones that suffer. We deserve a voice at the table, and that’s what this legislation aims to achieve.”