Waiting period sought

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Board of Supervisors wants a residency waiting period in New York state for people to qualify for welfare benefits.

Supervisors also oppose mandated early voting in the state.

Resolutions expressing those opinions were approved by the board Monday.

The board passed a resolution urging the state to establish a residency waiting period for people to qualify for welfare benefits.

There currently is no waiting period.

“I believe this is well due,” said Gloversville 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr. “I believe anybody who goes for welfare should [also] be drug-tested.”

The resolution indicated the board calls upon the state Legislature to approve legislation establishing a “reasonable waiting period requirement” before a person from another state can apply for and obtain any form of public-assistance benefits in New York state.

The resolution also says establishing a residency requirement is a “safeguard” to reduce high costs of public-assistance spending in New York.”

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said welfare benefit distribution under law is uniform from county to county. But he said the waiting period legislation is designed to address and discourage state-to-state migration, especially since New York has among the most substantial social welfare and public-assistance benefits compared to other states.

In another resolution, the board opposed a state Assembly bill passed in March mandating early voting in New York state. Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery and Gloversville 6th Ward Supervisor Warren Greene opposed the resolution.

The resolution says the proposed law – if passed by the entire state Legislature and signed into law – would mandate a 15-day early voting period for general elections, an eight-day voting period for primary elections, and require operation of Fulton County polling sites throughout the county and at the Board of Elections office on Route 29.

The bill would mandate “substantial new costs upon county governments and taxpayers,” the resolution said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.