Senate Passes Legislation Allowing Special Election For State Comptroller and Attorney General

The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S3008), sponsored by Joseph Griffo (R-C-I, Rome), to amend the state constitution to allow the Governor to call a special election to fill vacancies in the offices of Comptroller, Attorney-General or U.S. Senator, ensuring these officers are chosen by the people of the state and not the Legislature.

Senator Griffo said, "Our attorney general, comptroller and U.S. Senators are some of the most important positions in the state. But voters are shut out of the process to pick their successor when those leaders leave their posts early. This bill restores the voice of the people, while limiting the power of the government."

Under the provisions of the bill, a special election would be held between 45-60 days from the date of the proclamation.

In the past seven years, two of these top statewide positions were filled by appointment; In 2007, Thomas DiNapoli was selected by the state Assembly for Comptroller, and in 2009, former Governor David Paterson appointed Kirsten Gillibrand as U.S. senator.

The State Comptroller oversees the state's $145.7 billion pension fund and is responsible for hundreds of yearly audits of cities, towns, school districts and other government agencies. He or she is responsible for ensuring that tax dollars are spent prudently and productively.

The Attorney General is the state's chief legal officer.

The bill has been sent to the Assembly where it is sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill.