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This Week in New York State Government

Governor:

Governor Cuomo Congratulates New York Farmers on All-Time High in Sales

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that farmers in New York set a sales record in 2013, with $5.68 billion in cash receipts—more than $1 billion more than just three years earlier. According to newly-released federal data, the cash receipts, which are defined as the gross income from sales of crops, livestock, and other products, have from 2011 to 2013 been the highest on record.

“New York produces some of the best produce and agricultural products in the world and this administration has made it a priority to help promote this industry, cut red tape and lower costs to help it grow,” Governor Cuomo said. “The proof of this success is in the numbers and I congratulate the farmers and producers for their hard work day in and day out and for making New York proud.”

The Governor has made the development of the state’s agricultural economy a top priority since taking office, creating new marketplaces for agricultural producers, developing new opportunities for producers to market their products through the Taste NY program, and most recently trying to facilitate the connection between upstate agricultural producers and downstate consumers.

Farm Income:
2010: $4,644,950,000
2011: $5,437,633,000
2012: $5,471,639,000
2013: $5,677,561,000

Governor Cuomo Announces New Commander of the 107th Airlift Wing

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that Col. Robert Kilgore, a resident of Lancaster, NY and a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and the Iraq War, has been selected to command the New York Air National Guard’s 107th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Kilgore, who currently serves as the wing’s vice commander, will take command from Col. John Higgins, who has led the wing for the last two years, at the end of January.

“Col. Kilgore’s experience and proven leadership will be an asset to the 107th Airlift Wing, and I am proud to announce his promotion to commander today,” Governor Cuomo said. “The brave men and women serving in this unit have defended our nation and aided our state in times of crises, most recently during last month’s snow storm in Western New York. With Col. Kilgore at the helm, we will continue to see that dedication to New Yorkers’ safety, and I thank him for his leadership and longstanding service to our State.”

The 107th Airlift Wing has a long history of service in western New York dating back to 1946 when the predecessors of today’s Airmen flew propeller driven P-47 fighters. Today, the unit is in the process of transitioning from flying C-130 Hercules transport planes to the MQ-9 “Reaper” remotely piloted aircraft. Kilgore was recently qualified as an MQ-9 pilot.

Kilgore, age 48, has served in the New York Air National Guard’s 107th Airlift Wing since 1997. He is a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours, having joined the wing when it flew the KC-135R refueling aircraft. As vice commander, he has been responsible for the deployment and employment of assigned personnel and equipment to ensure assets are available to support all state and national requirements.

Kilgore served in the Active Air Force from 1988 until 1997. Since joining the New York Air National Guard in 1997, he has served as a flight commander, operations officer, and squadron commander for the 136th Air Refueling Squadron and as the 107th Airlift Wing Maintenance Group Commander. Kilgore also was Director of Plans and Programs for the New York Air National Guard.

He has served in combat as an operations officer, detachment commander and most recently as deputy operations group commander for Joint Base Balad in Iraq.

Kilgore has received a number of awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Southwest Asia Service Medal (for Operation Desert Storm), the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Service Medal.

Kilgore is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and holds a Masters of Arts in Managerial Economics from the University of Oklahoma. He is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College.

Attorney General:

Attorney General Schneiderman Leads 22 State Coalition Calling For Stricter Regulations To Protect Service Members From Predatory Lending

Attorney General Schneiderman and Illinois A.G. Lisa Madigan submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), jointly signed by 20 other state attorneys general, urging the Department to strengthen proposed revisions to regulations implementing the federal Military Lending Act (MLA). The MLA was intended to shield service members from predatory lending practices by capping interest rates and fees on loans to service members, and providing other important protections. However, since rules implementing the Act were adopted in 2007, some unscrupulous lenders have changed tactics to avoid complying with the law. In response, on September 29, 2014, the DoD published new proposed regulations aimed at providing more comprehensive protections for service members. In their letter to the DoD, Attorneys General Schneiderman, Madigan and their colleagues praised the Department for closing some loopholes in the current rules, while highlighting weaknesses in the revised regulations that could leave service members exposed to common abusive lending practices.

Attorney General Schneiderman And 16 Other States Urge U.S. Supreme Court To Uphold Disparate Impact Claims Under Federal Fair Housing Act

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley led a coalition of 17 states in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court urging the court to uphold the longstanding interpretation of the federal Fair Housing Act that allows challenges to practices that have a “disparate impact” on protected groups, such as racial minorities. A party can prevail on a disparate impact claim, without specific proof of discriminatory intent, by proving that housing practices are causing unjustified discriminatory effects. The federal courts of appeals have unanimously upheld the availability of disparate impact liability under the Fair Housing Act, and such claims often succeed in rooting out entrenched discrimination.

Attorneys General Schneiderman and Coakley jointly submitted the brief in the case of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. In this housing discrimination case, the district court held that The Inclusive Communities Project had proven a low income housing tax credits program resulted in a disparate impact on African-American residents in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

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