Today, State Senator Brad Hoylman announced the introduction of legislation (Bill S6196) prohibiting members of the state legislature from receiving outside earned income, making New York the first state in the country to have a truly full-time legislature. The legislation comes on the heels of the December 2, 2013 preliminary report released by the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.
“It’s long past time to restore the public’s trust in our state legislature, which has plummeted from the continuous stream of Albany scandals,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman (D, WFP-Manhattan). “The Moreland Commission preliminary report acknowledges the numerous conflicts of interest from legislators moonlighting on their legislative responsibilities. This bill will remove this source of conflict and re-focus legislators on their most important job: representing the public. With this legislation New York State could go from being a poster child for dysfunction and public corruption to a nationwide example for ethics reform. I'm hopeful the Moreland Commission will review this bill and consider it for inclusion in their final report."
In addition to prohibiting outside income, Hoylman’s bill would also establish a quadrennial commission, similar to the one recently established for state judges, to review legislative pay commensurate with a full-time employment.
Specific provisions of the bill are:
Section 1 of the bill amends the legislative law by adding two new sections, 5-b and 5-c.
• § 5-b prohibits members of the legislature from receiving outside earned income for the duration of their terms in office. This prohibition 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, copyright royalties, or compensation for services rendered prior to becoming a member of the legislature.
• § 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.
o 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.
o 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 provides that the act shall take effect January 1, 2015