(Albany, NY) -- Yesterday, the New York State Assembly passed a series of bills that would begin strengthening New York’s lax campaign finance laws and reforming our electoral system. The bills would close the LLC Loophole, which allows large donors to give virtually unlimited and effectively anonymous campaign contributions, enact early voting, eliminate certain restrictions on absentee voting, and allow New Yorkers to register to vote online. The bills are sponsored by Assemblymembers Charles Lavine, Clyde Vanel, Michael Cusick, and Jo Anne Simon, and Senators Brian Kavanagh, Leroy Comrie, and Tony Avella.
In response, Senator Kavanagh -- the ranking Democrat on the Senate Elections Committee, the Senate sponsor of bills to close the LLC Loophole and to enact and fund early voting, and previously sponsor of several of the Assembly bills when he served in that house -- released the following statement:
“Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy, but here in New York, huge holes in our campaign finance laws encourage corruption, while antiquated, overly restrictive election laws pose obstacles to voters at every turn.
“Earlier this year, my Senate Democratic colleagues and I -- led by Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins -- called for the Senate to take up and pass a broad range of bills that would address these deficiencies. And the Governor and Democrats in both the Assembly and the Senate called for reforms to be enacted as part of the State budget. But these efforts have been rebuffed so far this session -- as they have in many prior sessions -- by Senate Republicans. This has to change.
“The Assembly once again has taken up the mantle of reform. As we look toward the remaining nine weeks of the regular legislative session in 2018, it’s time for the Senate to stand up for the integrity of our elections and our governmental institutions -- to stand up for democracy itself -- and pass these critical reforms.”