Historic Ethics Reform Legislation Passes Senate with Independent Democratic Conference Support
The Independent Democratic Conference joined their colleagues in the Senate today to pass a comprehensive ethics reform package that strengthens oversight of the State Legislature, increases transparency, and helps restore the public's faith in their state government.
The legislation includes many parts of an ethics overhaul package the IDC proposed earlier this year. These elements include:
Creating a strong watchdog system that does not hinge on legislators sitting in judgment of each other;
Shining the light on legislators' outside activities by creating additional disclosure requirements on outside income and outside clients;
Stripping public pensions from public servants convicted of using their positions to violate the public's trust.
“Taken together, these measures will help root out and punish Albany's bad actors, and put an end to the scandals and the corruption that have plagued state government for far too long,” said Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/ Westchester.) “When we formed the Independent Democratic Conference, we said that passing comprehensive ethics reform was one of our top priorities. Today, I am proud to say that we have advanced legislation that fits the bill and will help New York once again become the Empire State.”
“Albany has become synonymous with scandal and embarrassment,” said Senator Diane Savino, (D-Staten Island/ Brooklyn). “I believe that this legislation – which includes key reforms that were advanced by the Independent Democratic Conference – will go a long way toward turning the page and restoring trust in our state government.”
“Passage of this legislation is a tremendous step forward in changing the dysfunctional culture in Albany,” said Senator David J. Valesky, (D-Oneida). “By providing for greater transparency, better enforcement and serious penalties for violators, this bill will help rebuild our state government into one which New Yorkers can finally be proud of again.”
“Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange) said, “Today is a bright day for the people of the State of New York who deserve to trust that their elected officials are working honorably and ethically on their behalf. I am proud to support this ethics bill that will go a long way in restoring that trust by requiring transparency and accountability from elected officials. I commend Governor Cuomo, the Senate and the Assembly for their perseverance in making this bill a reality.”
The legislation, called the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011, includes:
Greater Financial Disclosure: Financial disclosure statements filed with the new Joint Commission on Public Ethics from elected officials will now be posted on the internet and the practice of redacting the monetary values and amounts reported by the filer will be ended. The Act also includes greater and more precise disclosure of financial information by expanding the categories of value used by reporting individuals to disclose the dollar amounts in their financial disclosure statements. The Act requires disclosure of the reporting individual’s and his or her firm’s outside clients and customers doing business with, receiving grants or contracts from, seeking legislation or resolutions from, or involved in cases or proceedings before the State as well as such clients brought to the firm by the public official.