Friday, April 30, 2021

Schuyler County Commemorates Saturday May 1 as “Law Day”

The Schuyler County Legislature has recognized as the Law Day 2021 theme “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.”

The legislature passed a resolution at its April 12, 2021 meeting, recognizing “Law Day” as an occasion of public acknowledgement of our Nation’s heritage of justice, liberty, and equality under the law. The resolution was submitted to the legislature by Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman.

“The Rule of Law rests upon the idea that no one is so important as to be above the law and conversely no one is so insignificant to be beneath the law,” Getman wrote. “The United States was founded on the principle that adherence to the Rule of Law expands, rather than limits, the opportunities for freedom.”

In passing the resolution, the legislature found that “promoting public understanding of the roots of our freedom are an important component in the civic education of the citizens of the United States, the State of New York and the County of Schuyler.”

The American Bar Association selects an annual theme for each Law Day. Law Day is an annual commemoration first held in 1957 when the American Bar Association envisioned a special national day to mark our nation’s commitment to the rule of law. The following year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Law Day Proclamation. Law Day was made official in 1961 when Congress issued a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day.

A copy of Schuyler County’s resolution “Recognizing and Commemorating May 1, 2021 as ‘Law Day’ in Schuyler County” is available below.


Monday, April 26, 2021

New York State extends availability of Veterans Treatment Courts

New York State officials have enacted legislation extending access to Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC) throughout the state.

These courts connect justice-involved veterans to appropriate services in a court setting, surrounded by an interdisciplinary team. These include the judge, court staff, prosecutors, treatment/service providers, defense attorneys, probation, law enforcement, volunteer veteran peer mentors, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Veterans Services, all of whom work collaboratively to help veterans.

Studies have indicated that VTCs reduce recidivism and alcohol and drug use and promote positive life changes that allows veterans to re-enter their communities in a positive and meaningful way, often with assistance of VA therapies.

Prior to this legislation, there were only approximately 33 VTCs in 25 counties. Due to the lack of a VTC in over half of the counties of the state, about one-third of New York veterans lacked access to a VTC.

The new law authorizes the transfer of cases from jurisdictions without VTCs to adjacent counties with VTCs and requires the chief administrative judge to establish new VTCs, to the extent practicable.

Monday, April 19, 2021

FEMA to Help Pay Funeral Costs for COVID-19-related Deaths

In April, FEMA will begin providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 for deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance:

• The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020 for a death attributed to COVID-19.
• If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. FEMA will also consider documentation from other individuals not listed as the applicant and co-applicant who may have incurred funeral expenses as part of the registration for the deceased individual.
• An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.
• The COVID-19-related death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
• This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.
• Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.

For more information, click here.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Second Amendment Legal Update: April, 2021

A monthly update, prepared for the Schuyler County Chapter of S.C.O.P.E. NY, a statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to preserving the 2nd Amendment rights for the residents of New York State.

For a complete PDF copy of this month's update, click here.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Schuyler County to take up resolution on cryptocurrency mining regulations

The Schuyler County Legislature will take up a resolution at its monthly meeting (Monday, April 12), calling on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to study and develop regulations for cryptocurrency mining.

In addition, the proposed resolution asks the state legislature to mandate that all such cryptocurrency mining operations permitted within the state operate solely on renewable energy, such as wind, solar, geothermal or hydropower.

The resolution was introduced by Legislator Mark Rondinaro (R-District 7). It was drafted by County Planning Director Kristin Van Horn, with input from County Attorney Steven Getman and the County’s Environmental Management Council. It targets mining operations having peak power demand of more than 50 kilowatts.

According to the resolution, cryptocurrency is a digital currency, which is mined through the use of server farms employing data processing equipment. These servers are “highly energy consumptive,” the resolution notes, and mining operations gravitate toward areas with cheap, abundant electricity sources. This type of power generation may not always be regulated under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and New York State does not currently have regulations on cryptocurrency mining, the resolution states.

If passed, copies of Schuyler County’s resolution will be forwarded to state officials, requesting further action on potential regulations.

The resolution is directed at operations statewide and does not single out any specific cryptocurrency mining facility, such as the Greenidge Generation plant and bitcoin mining facility in neighboring Yates County. That facility recently began to mine the cryptocurrency bitcoin and is reportedly seeking a permit from the Town of Torrey Planning Board to expand. Opponents of the expansion claim the additional computers will have adverse impacts on the environment. Greenidge officials have disputed that claim.

The April 12 meeting of the Schuyler County Legislature will be held at 6:30 pm at the County Human Services Complex, 323 Owego Street, Montour Falls, NY. The public is encouraged and invited to attend. All COVID-related social distancing and masking rules will apply.

A complete copy of the proposed resolution can be seen below.


Monday, April 5, 2021

The top consumer scams perpetrated against New Yorkers in 2020

New York State officials have released a list of the top consumer scams perpetrated against New Yorkers in 2020, many of which had to do with the COVID-19 public health crisis, in addition to a variety of tips on how New Yorkers can avoid COVID-19 scams in the future.

After analyzing consumer complaints received statewide throughout 2020, the following were found to be the top 10 consumer complaints by category:

• Internet-Related (internet services and service providers, data privacy and security, digital media, data breaches, frauds through internet manipulation)
• COVID-19 Price Gouging (online and brick and mortar gouging of prices for items such as hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, bathroom tissue, food)
• Landlord/Tenant Disputes (security deposit releases, tenant-harassment)
• Health Clubs (continuous charging of fees while clubs were closed, inability to cancel memberships, refunds not provided, no response from clubs)
• Automobile (sales, service, financing, repairs)
• Consumer Services (security systems, tech repairs, immigration services, employment training)
• Retail Sales (any sale of goods: food, clothing, rent-to-own, online orders)
• Credit (debt collection, credit card billing, debt settlement and debt relief, payday loans, credit repair, credit reporting agencies, identity theft)
• Utilities (wireless and residential phones, energy servicers and suppliers, cable and satellite)
• Travel (inability to cancel or lack of refunds for cancellations required by COVID-19 travel restrictions)
Consumers can learn more about COVID-19 resources and consumer scams here.

Fraud victims should report instances of fraud to the New York State Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau or by calling local law enforcement officials.