NYS Seal


Oral Testimony by Invitation Only


Agriculture and Consumer Affairs and Protection Budget Implementation Hearing


To review state agency implementation of the enacted State fiscal year 2006-07 budget

Friday, December 8, 2006
12:00 p.m.

Hamilton Hearing Room B
Legislative Office Building, 2nd Floor
Albany, NY

This hearing will review the budget implementation initiatives of state agencies under the jurisdiction of the Assembly Standing Committees on Agriculture and Consumer Affairs and Protection. This hearing will review agency budget policy for State fiscal year 2006-07. Please see the list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony.

Oral testimony will be by invitation only. Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committees would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements. Written testimony will also be accepted and may be sent to the contact persons listed on the reply form. In order to publicize the hearing further, please inform interested parties of the Committees' interest in receiving written testimony from all sources.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Senate and Assembly, in accordance with their policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Senate and Assembly facilities and activities.

William Magee
Chair, Committee on Agriculture

Audrey I. Pheffer
Chair, Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection


  1. Does the Consumer Protection Board have adequate staff to achieve its mission to protect, educate and represent New York consumers?

  2. Does the Consumer Protection Board support the creation of an identity theft prevention and mitigation unit within the Board, as proposed in Assembly bill 10077?

  3. What protections, if any, does the Consumer Protection Board think the State should implement to protect wireless telephone customers in New York State?

  4. Does the Consumer Protection Board support proposals to require home improvement contractors to register with the State? Does the Board support proposals that would establish a home improvement trust fund similar to the fund currently administered by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs?

  5. What changes, if any, would the Board recommend be made to New York law to ensure that consumers are treated fairly by debt collectors? Should New York State license third-party debt collectors?

  6. What new initiatives has the Department of Agriculture and Markets undertaken due to the SFY 2006-07 budget? What new initiatives, if any, does the Department anticipate for the SFY 2007-08?

  7. How many new full time positions were created and filled and how many existing vacant lines were filled in SFY 2006-07? Does the Department anticipate any staffing changes in SFY 2007-08?

  8. In October 2006, Governor Pataki announced that the Department's Food Laboratory would be relocated to Geneva, New York. At that time, it was estimated that a New York State Office of General Services' environmental assessment team would need two months to conduct an environmental assessment. Is this work near completion? Has OGS selected a site-specific design consultant? How many Food Laboratory employees currently employed by the Department are committed to relocating to Geneva?

  9. Has the Department received any indication as to what role it will play in the administration and disbursement of the $20 million appropriated in SFY 2006-2007 for the construction of a pilot cellulosic ethanol refinery in New York State? If so, how will the Department be involved?

  10. How has the Department of Agriculture and Markets thus far utilized the $2 million allocated in the 2006-2007 Budget for wine industry promotion? Is a spending plan available?

  11. Chapter 554 of the Laws of 2006 requires the Department of Agriculture and Markets to license feed manufacturers and inspect such businesses at least once annually. While technical amendments regarding the actual licensing process may be needed, has the Department of Agriculture and Markets begun to implement this program? Does the Department currently have sufficient staff to meet the requirements of this new law?

  12. In accordance with the Food Safety Education Certification Program enacted in 2005, food processing license applications for the period beginning November 15, 2006, were the first to require applicants to demonstrate proof of having a person in their employ that completed a food safety education course approved by the Department. How many businesses applied for a new Article 20-C license or license renewal during this period? Of these, did any indicate difficulties in certifying designees?

  13. Pursuant to Chapter 527 of the Laws of 2005, the Department was charged with establishing a grants program whereby municipalities could apply for money to assist in the creation of local farmland protection plans. Does the Department plan to make a portion of the $23 million appropriated for farmland preservation through the Environmental Protection Fund in SFY 2006-2007 available for such a purpose?

  14. Chapter 265 of the Laws of 2006 extended the effective date for compliance with last year's law requiring the pasteurization of apple cider in New York State to January 2007. In September 2006, the Department awarded two producers grants through the Farmland Viability Program for equipment costs related to this requirement. How many Farmland Viability applications did the Department receive to assist with cider pasteurization costs?

  15. Chapter 665 of the Laws of 2005 provided statutory pricing accuracy guidelines for county weights and measures departments. Has the Department promulgated rules and regulations as further guidelines for this program?

  16. How many pet dealers are currently licensed? What measures, if any, have been taken by the Department to improve the process by which pet dealers and breeders are licensed and inspected as required by law? To what extent does the Department anticipate that recently enacted changes to the state definition of "pet dealer" in Article 26-A will assist in compliance efforts?

  17. What is the current fund balance of the Department of Agriculture and Markets' Animal Population Control Fund (APCF)? Information from the Department indicates that the Division of Animal Industry is receiving an average of sixty calls daily from low-income residents seeking vouchers for reduced-cost spay/neuter services through the New York State Animal Population Control Program. Are the majority of such requests coming from New York City residents? How much of the existing APCF balance does the Division of Animal Industry estimate will be dedicated to satisfying demand for low-income vouchers? Will there be a separate account created to disburse funds to New York City vets to provide spay/neuter services?

  18. How many dogs are currently licensed in New York State? Given the initial pet owner response to the new low-income spay/neuter law, does the Department feel that increased efforts to encourage licensure will be necessary to ensure the continued solvency of the APCF as a whole?


Persons invited to present testimony at the public hearing on Agriculture and Consumer Affairs and Protection Budget Implementation to be held on December 8, 2006, or who wish to submit written testimony only, are requested to complete and return this reply form to:

Bill Ketzer
Senior Policy Analyst
Assembly Committee on Agriculture
22nd Floor, AESOB
Albany, New York 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4355
Fax: (518) 455-7250

box I plan to attend the public hearing on Agriculture and Consumer Affairs and Protection Budget Implementation to be conducted by the Assembly Committees on Agriculture and Consumer Affairs and Protection on December 8, 2006.

box I have been invited to make a public statement at the hearing. My statement will be limited to 10 minutes, and I will answer any questions which may arise. I will provide 10 copies of my prepared statement.


I will address my remarks to the following subjects:

box I do not plan to attend the above hearing.

box I would like to be added to the Committee mailing list for notices and reports.

box I would like to be removed from the Committee mailing list.


I will require assistance and/or handicapped accessibility information. Please specify the type of assistance required:








*** Click here for printable form ***

New York State Assembly
[ Welcome Page ] [ Committee Updates ]