The State Senate is committed to restoring the public’s faith in electoral politics and the workings of government in New York. A key component of these reform efforts is a sound ethics oversight system for our state government. Senator Daniel Squadron, joined by eighteen of his State Senate colleagues, introduced key legislation today that would fundamentally revamp oversight of state government by creating a single, independent Ethics Commission.
Under the current structure, the legislative and executive branches effectively police themselves by having control over their respective oversight entities. Senator Squadron’s bill calls for a Commission comprised of three appointees chosen by the Governor and one each from the Comptroller, the Attorney General, the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, the Assembly Speaker and the Assembly Minority Leader. This structure would make it virtually impossible for one branch or one elected official to dominate the Commission, which will go a long way towards creating true independence in this critical body.
The State Senate’s efforts towards comprehensive reform on this important issue have not gone unnoticed. The Daily News wrote in a recent op-ed:
The Senate Democrats' plan includes both these crucial features [an independent commission, and oversight of the legislative and executive branches by a single entity] - and much more.
It would limit political donations from lobbyists and bar pols from using their campaign accounts as personal slush funds.
Most critically, the Senate plan would require legislators to disclose outside business interests - exposing any conflicts of interest to the light of day.
Also encouraging is how Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith and his members have studied the bills.
Instead of haggling in backrooms, they have held bona fide hearings and invited comment.
They've also set up a Web site, ethicsideas.nysenate.gov, where New Yorkers can add their two cents.
Watch Senator Liz Krueger discuss the Senate's efforts in this area in the video below.
You can also share your ideas or comment on ethics reform bills, and watch full videos of recent public hearings on the Ethics Committee’s page. We welcome and value your input as we take these important steps to building a more ethical, transparent, and open government for the people of New York.