Oaks says pension forfeiture is getting closer to law

Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R-C Macedon) is reminding New Yorkers there is more at stake this November than just voting for elected officials; on the back of the ballot will be three important statewide initiatives. Voters will decide whether to establish a constitutional convention, allow the complete or partial forfeiture of a public officer’s pension if he or she is convicted of a certain type of felony, and permit municipalities to undertake certain health and safety projects within the Adirondack Park.

Proposition 2 will allow voters to enact a constitutional reform that would strip legislators and public officials of their publicly-financed pension if convicted of violating the public trust. This popular reform has been years in the making, with Oaks and his colleagues having helped lead the charge for this reform.

“On November 7, the public has the opportunity to ensure their tax dollars are no longer spent to subsidize the lifestyle of public officials who have been convicted of a felony directly related to their office,” said Oaks. “I have been proud to fight for this reform for many years and would like to remind all New Yorkers that it will be on the ballot as Proposition 2 for their consideration this Election Day.”

Because pension forfeiture amends the state Constitution, it was necessary for the bill to pass in two separately elected state Legislatures before going up for public referendum. Oaks was one of the first state lawmakers to call for this reform years ago as allegations of corruption, ethical misconduct, and even illegality were exposed in Albany. Oaks was among the lawmakers to propose the reform as part of the Public Officers Accountability Act, and he also supported stand-alone versions of the reform.

The measure was passed by the past two legislatures, with Oaks voting in support, and the reform will now be on the ballot this November for the public’s approval. If approved, the measure would require that public officials – including state and local officials – lose their taxpayer-funded pension if convicted of breaking the law or violating ethics while in elected office.

Oaks said, “There are more reforms needed, of course, but this is a huge victory for the taxpayers of our state who should never have had to pay the pensions of lawmakers who are behind bars. There are so many lawmakers in Albany for the right reasons, and the passage of pension forfeiture is an example of the majority of us wanting reform and to make our state Capitol a place of the people’s business. Please do not forget to vote this November so that your voice can be heard.”

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