senate Bill S6196A
(D, WF) 27th Senate District
- In Committee
- On Floor Calendar
- Passed Senate
- Passed Assembly
- Delivered to Governor
- Signed/Vetoed by Governor
Prohibits members of the legislature from receiving certain income and establishes the commission on legislative compensation.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the legislative law, in relation to
prohibiting members of the legislature from receiving certain income
and establishing the commission on legislative compensation
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Clarifies that the New York State
Legislature is a full-time legislative body by restricting the amount
of outside earned income members can receive during their term in
office, prohibiting certain activities that can create an appearance
of impropriety, and establishing a quadrennial commission on
legislative compensation to periodically examine, evaluate, and
recommend adequate levels of compensation and non-salary benefits for
The restrictions on outside earned income and prohibited activities
are based on the respective restrictions and prohibitions that apply
to members of the United States Congress.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill amends the legislative law by adding two new
sections, 5-b and 5-c.
§ 5-b restricts members of the legislature from receiving outside
earned income in excess of 15% of their base legislative salary in any
given calendar year for the duration of their terms in office.
"Outside earned income" does not include salary, benefits, or
allowances made by New York State, income from military or National
Guard service, income from pensions or other continuing benefits from
previous employment, income from certain investment activities, income
from family-owned businesses where the member's services are not a
material factor in the production of income, copyright royalties, or
compensation for services rendered prior to becoming a member of the
Additionally, members of the legislature would be prohibited from
receiving compensation for practicing a profession that involves a
fiduciary duty, being employed by a firm that provides professional
services involving a fiduciary relationship, allowing their name to be
used by a firm that provides professional services involving a
fiduciary relationship, receiving compensation as an officer or member
of a board of directors, receiving compensation for teaching without
prior notification to and approval from the Legislative Ethics
Commission, or receiving advance payments on copyright royalties.
§ 5-c establishes the Commission on Legislative Compensation ("the
Commission"). The Commission will convene every four years starting
April 1, 2015, and is charged with examining, evaluating, and making
recommendations with respect to adequate levels of compensation and
non-salary benefits for state legislators, taking into account a
number of economic and budgetary factors.
The Commission will consist of nine members: three appointed by the
Governor, one each appointed by the majority and minority leaders of
the Senate and Assembly, and two appointed by the Comptroller.
The Commission shall make its final determination within 150 days
after its establishment, and its recommendations are binding unless
modified or abrogated by statute before taking effect.
Section 2 of the bill amends the legislative law by adding a new
subparagraph f-1 to paragraph 7 of Section 80, requiring the
Legislative Ethics Commission to promulgate guidelines for members of
the legislature to notify the Commission of their intention to accept
a compensated teaching position, and for the Commission to evaluate
and issue a determination on such requests.
Section 3 of the bill amends subparagraph 9(a) of Section 80 of the
legislative law to give the Legislative Ethics Commission the
authority to impose penalties on members who knowingly and
intentionally violate the restrictions and prohibitions contained in
the new section 5-b of the legislative law, or make false statements
about such restrictions and prohibitions on their annual finance
disclosure forms. The Commission can levy a civil penalty of up to
$40,000 and the value of the compensation received as a result of such
violation. In lieu or in addition to a civil penalty, the Commission
may refer violations to the appropriate prosecutor.
Section 4 of the bill provides that the act shall take effect January
JUSTIFICATION: Over the past several decades, the public's trust in
their state legislators has steadily eroded as scandal after scandal
has rocked Albany. In July 2013, Governor Cuomo convened the Moreland
Commission to Investigate Public Corruption to "probe systemic public
corruption and the appearance of public corruption" in state
In the Commission's December 2013 report, they note that the New York
State Legislature is "part-time," and a majority of legislators
supplement their $79,500 base salary with other jobs - many as
attorneys employed by firms representing clients who have business
before the state. The Commission acknowledges that legislators holding
outside employment inherently creates the appearance - at the very
least - of competing interests between responsibilities as a lawmaker
and their outside job. The Commission has issued subpoenas to certain
lawmakers, seeking details on income derived from sources outside of
their legislative work, and for legislators who are practicing
attorneys, a list of their clients.
This legislation would establish the legislature as "full-time" by
adopting the restrictions the apply to members of the United States
Congress, restricting legislators from earning more than 15% of their
base salary in outside income, and banning certain forms of outside
income that most often give the appearance of impropriety. Doing so
will help to refocus legislators' priority to representing their
A quadrennial commission, similar to the model recently established
for state judges, would be created to periodically examine and adjust
legislative pay to help ensure that members of the legislature are
compensated at levels commensurate with the full-time work they are
expected to perform.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect January 1, 2015.
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