Petition to Require Public Hearings on Outside Income Disclosure, Stripping Convicted Pols of Pensions and Independent Legislative Oversight
(Albany, NY) Ignoring the overwhelming public support for ethics reform evidenced in recent public polling, Senate Republicans continue to stall negotiations and block progress on this critical legislation even as the Legislature prepares to break for the remainder of April. To break the Albany logjam and deliver the change New Yorkers want, Senate Democrats submitted petitions to force public action on key ethics reform bills.
Answering the public’s call for action, Senate Democrats are seeking to force hearings this month on ethics legislation including:
* Establishing an independent commission on governmental ethics (S31/Squadron).
* Stripping elected officials convicted of misusing office of pensions (S2333/Krueger).
* Increasing financial and client disclosure requirements (S382/Rivera).
* Restricting the personal use of campaign funds (S3053/Krueger).
* Eliminating Pay to Play (S1565/Addabbo).
According to Senate Rules, the Senate Democrats’ petitions to the Republican Conference require that the committee chairs which hold each of these bills should conduct a fair and open public hearing on them within 14 days.
Senate Democratic Leader John L. Sampson said, “Senate Republicans promised reform but are now standing in the way of it. Albany has an ethics problem caused by both parties and which must be corrected by both parties through the passage of ethics reform that will restore the public’s trust in their Legislature. The petitions by Senate Democrats to force action on ethics legislation will provide an immediate opportunity to move forward with the reform Albany needs and the public expects.”
Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) said, “Public hearings are a win-win which would bring negotiations on ethics reform out of the dark, and keep us moving towards an agreement. More than one year ago, Senate Republicans changed their vote and defeated ethics reform which, while not solving all the problems, would have been a very good first step. They said those reforms did not go far enough, and I agree. While I disagree with their decision to extend lawmakers’ April recess, Senate Republicans should use this opportunity to keep their promise and hold hearings on the most controversial pieces of true ethics reform. This way, we can pass meaningful reform the day we return to Albany.”
Senator Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn/Manhattan) said, "For Albany to do the people's business, we must change the way Albany does business. Halfway through the legislative session, we have yet to enact the fundamental reforms that almost every sitting Senator has pledged to support. Passing much-needed ethics reform--including independent oversight, full income disclosure and an end to pay-to-play campaign contributions--will lend much-needed transparency and accountability to our state government, helping restore New Yorkers' trust in their elected representatives and allowing us all to better tackle the dire challenges facing our state."
Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) said, “Our constituents sent a very clear message this last election cycle that ethics reform is not only critical in cleaning up Albany, but that it should happen immediately. Like the majority of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I made a campaign promise, a commitment to the voters that if elected, I would support ethics reform legislation and help put an end to the culture of corruption that has made Albany infamous. It's time to keep our promise and bring meaningful ethics reform to New York State government.”
Senator Joseph P. Addabbo (D-Queens) said, “I introduced the S.1565 section of this bill to amend the state finance law to prohibit 'pay to play,' which forbids political contributions by businesses that have been awarded state contracts. Passing this legislation and putting elections back in the hands of voters will not only create a more competitive electoral environment, but produce better representatives for all New Yorkers.”