Kolb calls on Assembly Democrats to pass ethics reforms

As Assembly Democrats continue to deliberate their future leadership, New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) called on the conference to pass the Public Officers Accountability Act as one of the first orders of business in the Chamber.“Ethics reform has never been more imperative or more relevant. For two years, Assembly Democrats have stood in the way of anti-corruption reforms that Albany needed and that New Yorkers deserved,” Leader Kolb said. “Our conference introduced the Public Officers Accountability Act in 2013 to change the culture of corruption and begin to win back the public’s trust. As some Assembly Democrats finally begin to discuss change and potential reforms, I hope the rest of their colleagues now appreciate the necessity of these measures.”The Public Officers’ Accountability Act (A.7393) was first introduced in 2013, offering broad reforms to the way government business is conducted. The bill package has been held in the Government Operations Committee. The sweeping legislative package has been reintroduced for 2015 and would create: Campaign Finance Reforms Forfeiture of campaign contributions by an elected official convicted of a felony offense related to his or her official duties. Prohibit using campaign funds for personal use. Create penalties for failing to file financial disclosure statements within 30 days after the deadline. Term Limits Implement eight-year term limits for legislative leaders and committee chairs. Member-Item Reforms Require itemized appropriations for any discretionary request by the Governor or Legislature. Require the name of the Governor or a legislator on any discretionary request. Require the Governor or a legislator to submit a form to the attorney general indicating no conflict of interest. Prohibit any appropriation when a conflict of interest exists; including appropriations to organizations that employ or compensate the Governor, a legislator, or any family member or person sharing a home with the Governor or a legislator. Government Oversight Establish a new, five-member Commission on Official Conduct that assumes the duties of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), the State Inspector General, and the former Temporary State Commission of Investigation. New Crime Failure to Report Corruption.Assembly Republicans have also sponsored measures to remove pensions from public officials convicted of corruption (A.4935, Stec), and allow voters to remove elected officers through recall elections (A.1726, Tedisco).In addition to the Public Officers Accountability Act, Leader Kolb has sponsored the People’s Convention to Reform New York (A.531, Kolb). The bill provides New Yorkers the opportunity to vote to hold a constitutional convention to fix State government, calls for non-partisan delegate elections and limits the participation of elected and party officials.“There’s a better way to do business than we’ve seen over the years. The time is now for new legislation and new operations,” Leader Kolb said. “It’s time we get back to work. Political scandal has interrupted public service for too long.”

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