Statement on Ethics Reform By Senator Ranzenhofer
“During last night’s special session, I was poised to vote for the Senate ethics reforms so that New Yorkers would begin to have greater confidence in their State government. Unfortunately, the ethics reform proposal became poisoned by an amendment to create a partisan board that lacks fair and balanced representation.
Senator Sampson’s amendment to the historic ethics reforms would have created a partisan board of finance enforcement with seven Democratic members and only two Republicans. For too many years, the State Senate has been plagued by placing too much power in the hands of legislative leaders whose party controls the legislative body. This amendment simply would have continued the practices that have made the State Senate dysfunctional for too long.
Essentially, the amendment would have taken away powers from the Board of Elections and given them to a politically appointed board to serve as a rubber stamp for members of one party. The Board of Elections, historically administered by an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, already has the power to investigate voter fraud and other crimes. There is no reason to duplicate government functions with a new partisan board in the midst of a budget crisis.
As I predicted, last night’s special session turned out to be a waste of time and money for taxpayers since it failed to address the major issue facing our State: the need for across the board spending cuts to address the $2.1 billion dollar deficit.”