(Albany, NY) Building on their commitment to immediately adopt Mayor Koch’s reform pledge for independent redistricting, ethics and budget reform, Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) Senate Democrats called on all 62 members to join them in immediately passing a sweeping rules reform resolution that would protect historic reforms passed in the Senate in 2009, and take additional proposals from both Republicans and Democrats to create a more fair, deliberative, and accountable Senate.
ALBANY -- Public officials convicted of corruption would be stripped of their pension benefit under legislation introduced Friday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
New York has long been criticized for allowing convicted lawmakers -- even those sentenced to prison -- to collect their public pensions. But the state constitution prohibits reducing or taking away benefits from any current official or public servant.
DiNapoli's proposal would skirt the constitutional issue in that it would apply only to future members of the New York State and Local Retirement System who are state or local elected officials, officers and appointees...
Guy J. Velella, a former state senator from the Bronx who died last week, was bidden farewell at a funeral service on Monday. His legacy, however, lives on. Among other things, Mr. Velella will be remembered for having turned a career of public service into one of public shame by taking bribes and going to jail for his corruption.
He will also be remembered as someone who pocketed public money even after pleading guilty in 2004. Every year, his conscience unburdened, Mr. Velella collected a state pension of more than $75,000. “The law says I’ve earned it,” he told The Daily News a few months ago. “I’m entitled to it. I take it.”
State Senate Democrats unveiled a comprehensive ethics package today and called on it to pass quickly in order to reinsure voters that an election season promise is being honored.
Minority leader John Sampson said that the Democrats' six-part bill that will cover a variety of ethically-dubious areas including client disclosure requirements, proper use of campaign funds, the need to eliminate the existing 'pay to play' attitude, and the creation of an independent redistricting commission.
"We need to make these changes because they have lost faith, trust and confidence in us," Sampson said. "If we ask them to tighten their belts, we have to tighten our belts."
On Monday, Senator Krueger joined her colleagues in the Democratic Conference in urging the Republican Majority to keep their promise and take action on comprehensive ethics, campaign finance and independent redistricting reform. In doing so, Senator Krueger called specific attention to her legislation (S.3053 / Krueger) that would set specific requirements for reporting lobbyist donations and for the ways in which campaign funds can be used.
The latest push for reform in Albany dates back to 2004 when the Brennan Center released a report deeming New York’s legislature the most dysfunctional in the nation. Since then, there have been countless calls for change – from ethics reform, to redistricting reform, to campaign finance reform. Friday, Democratic State Senator Liz Krueger weighed in, calling for the elimination of stipends known as lulus, bonuses state lawmakers get for chairing committees and leadership posts.
Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians must come together to curb reckless behavior
Posted by Our Town on February 23, 2011
Op-ed By Liz Krueger
When you’re on a small island with millions of people living, literally, on top of one another, problems with sharing space are bound to occur. Add to that the fact that New Yorkers are often racing to get from one destination to another, and you are faced with the reality that the streets of New York can be dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Sadly, this reality has been displayed recently, as six people have been struck and killed by automobiles while walking or cycling on the Upper East Side: a fact both startling and heartbreaking.