Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck) issued a press release today on what her office describes as an “historic” ethics and election law reform agreement between the New York Senate and Assembly.
“The public deserves a more transparent, accountable and effective state government, and the reforms we’ve agreed to are important first steps in making that a reality,” said Senator Oppenheimer. “Much more needs to be done to restore the public’s faith and I am working closely with several of my colleagues to push for additional reforms, including tougher campaign finance laws and the establishment of an independent nonpartisan redistricting commission.”
The reforms would require greater financial disclosures by legislators and lobbyists, restore an independent state lobbying commission and create an enforcement unit within the NYS Board of Elections to ensure compliance with campaign finance laws, while stiffening the penalties for violations. The agreement would also explicitly ban the use of state resources for outside, for-profit business, making it clear that such actions defraud the government — a felony under state law.
The agreed-to reforms, when enacted, will significantly change business as usual in Albany and provide the most sweeping ethics and election law changes in the State’s history. The agreement builds upon reform legislation enacted last year, which significantly increased the financial oversight of New York’s public authorities.
Good government groups, including the NY Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), the Citizen’s Union and the NYS League of Women Voters support passage of the ethics agreement. Complete details on the ethics and election law reform agreement can be found on the New York Senate website, www.nysenate.gov.
“I have long sponsored and supported ethics reform measures that will give New Yorkers a government that they can trust. Faith in our elected officials is essential if we are to tackle successfully the many challenges facing our great state,” concluded Senator Oppenheimer. “This agreement is a promising start, but it is just a beginning. Looking to other priorities, I will continue to fight to meet the needs of individuals and families throughout the state with programs that support job creation, reduce the costs of all levels of government and provide property tax relief.”