Albany, N.Y. - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo honored the victims of the Christmas Eve shootings in Webster during his third State of the State address.
Cuomo presented New York State flags to the families Lt. Mike Chiapperini, 43, and Tomasz Kaczowka, 19. The West Webster volunteer firefighters were shot and killed when they arrived on the scene to fight a fire on Christmas Eve. Chiapperini’s wife, mother and son were joined on the stage by Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering. Kaczowka’s parents were joined by West Webster’s Fire Chief.
During Wednesday’s speech, Governor Cuomo said with the nation still reeling from the senseless massacre in Newtown, Connecticut and the loss of first responders in Webster's shooting tragedy, New York must say enough is enough to gun violence.
He wants to pass the toughest assault weapons ban in the country.
Cuomo proposed closing loopholes on a state ban on assault weapons and ammunition clips that carry more than 10 bullets.
Cuomo's gun proposal would also require follow-ups for owners of handgun licenses to make sure they are still qualified to possess a gun based on criminal and other records.
Some other highlights from Wednesday’s speech: Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.75 an hour. Cuomo said it will increase the standard of living for workers, reduce poverty, incentivize fair and more efficient business practices, and ensures that the most vulnerable members of the workforce can contribute to the economy.
The Governor also proposed that an expansion of gambling in New York begins with three casinos upstate and none in New York City.
The governor said he wants to bring visitors from downstate and other states to upstate areas.
A gaming commission would pick the best locations and revenues would be split 90 percent for education and 10 percent for property tax relief.
In terms of education, Cuomo proposed a new competitive grant program for schools that develop initiatives to improve student achievement that include extending learning time by at least 25 percent and a high quality plan to achieve better outcomes for students.
The Governor also announced that a district’s school aid increase will continue to be contingent on local adoption of an appropriate teacher evaluation system agreed to by school districts and union leadership. He also proposed increasing admission standards for entry into educator preparation programs and implementing a “bar exam” that teachers must pass in order to receive certification.