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Legislators oppose Spitzer policy shift

In a county heavily dependent on farming, the Genesee County Legislature on Wednesday expressed strong opposition to Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer's action canceling a temporary visitor's stamp on driver's licenses issued to noncitizens here temporarily.

Legislators noted the governor reversed a policy that had been upheld by the State Court of Appeals. As a result, farmers contend, it will be more difficult to recruit seasonal workers.

"Genesee County is a major producer of dairy and labor-intensive crops and products that rely heavily on a foreign-born supply," the resolution reads.

In letters to federal and state officials, legislators also called for support for the federal Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits and Security bill to "facilitate the proper documentation of a trained and trusted labor force at work on America's farms."

The resolution reads, "The [governor's] policy change does not address the real problem . . . while crops rot in the fields or fall unpicked from trees due to the lack of farm workers."

Legislators also:

* Authorized a transfer of $10,000 in the county road fund for the purchase of additional rock salt for snow and ice road treatment.

* Voted to accept $36,425 in state funding for a one-year continuance of the county's Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention program.

* Awarded $35,000 in contracts for Office for the Aging programs ranging from transportation and legal advice to adult day care and meal services.

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