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WNY delegation responds to governor's State of the State

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Governor Andrew Cuomo was credited for laying out an ambitious agenda by several members of the region's state delegation. Cuomo called for boosting the Upstate economy, expanding casino gaming, and increasing the minimum wage from $7.25-an-hour to $8.75 an hour.

Assemblymember Sean Ryan, a Buffalo Democrat, said  the best way to spur growth is pay workers more.  

"Western New York and minimum wage employers or national employers like Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid and CVS you know they're not mom and pop, they're main street.  They're huge companies who have a business model based on a low wage model and that's not model that's good for our economy," said Ryan.

The governor also called on lawmakers to pass a "Women's Equality Act."  The idea has a lot of merit according to Assemblymember Jane Corwin.   A Clarence Republican, Corwin says statistics show women get paid less than men do for the same work.  

"The important thing is we want to make sure that any kind of changes we make, any kind of new laws, don't make it more bureaucratic  and more difficult for women to be hired," said Corwin.

Gun control, increasing time in the classroom, and paying teachers based on performance were among some of the other noteworthy items from Cuomo's 2013 state of the state address. 

Some members of the region's state delegation don't appear ready to support gun control. 

Senator Patrick Gallivan, the former Erie County Sheriff, says most weapons used for crimes in New York come from out of state. Gallivan, an Elma Republican, says he's disappointed Governor Cuomo didn't mention funding gun interdiction, local law enforcement and prosecutions.  

"For too long we haven't, we've neglected and haven't talked about people dying one by one on the street," said Gallivan.  "So my focus, coming from law enforcement, is tough enforcement and working on getting illegal weapons and criminals off the streets."

Assemblymember Michael Kearns says he's apprehensive about changing the state's gun laws. Kearns, a Buffalo Democrat, says its a federal issue.

"I think we are going to need some comprehensive federal legislation," said Kearns.  "I can drive across the state lines and pick up a gun.  Mostly what happens is it's the criminal that have the guns, and the law abiding citizens....do what they are suppose to do."