Assembly’s GOP members push anti-corruption measures
Eight-year term limit for Speaker among proposals
The New York State Assembly should never again have another Sheldon Silver, a lawmaker serving in the coveted post as Speaker for more than 20 years, according to members of the Republican minority in the legislative chamber.
The Assembly Republican Conference, which includes Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) is renewing its call for a series of proposals to reform the way the Assembly operates to be adopted in Albany.
On Tuesday, Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R-C-Canandaigua) and Malliotakis were in Bay Ridge to discuss the GOP’s anti-corruption ideas. The proposals are incorporated into a bill called the Public Officers Accountability Act that has yet to pass in the Democratic-controlled Assembly.
Among the proposals: term limits for Assembly Speaker and others in leadership positions. Under the GOP’s bill, the Speaker would be limited to eight years, or four terms, in the post.
Silver, who served as Assembly Speaker for more than two decades, was indicted on federal corruption charges earlier this month. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In the wake of the scandal, Silver resigned from his post as Speaker. The Assembly elected Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) to be the new Speaker.
“For years, Democrats have blocked ethics reform even as arrests, investigations and corruption cases piled up in Albany,” Kolb said on Tuesday. “I’m proud that Assembly Republicans have led the charge on bringing integrity back to state government. Our Public Officers Accountability Act was the first and most stringent anti-corruption bill package proposed, and we will continue to fight for critical reforms that New Yorkers expect and deserve.”
Malliotakis said the GOP’s bill would restore transparency and accountability to the State Legislature.
“With new leadership, the Assembly has a unique opportunity to implement real, meaningful ethics reform this legislative session. For years our conference has introduced many meaningful proposals that would fight against the corruption that has wrongfully infiltrated the Capitol. I proudly join Leader Brian Kolb in advocating for sweeping changes to the status quo and our state’s ethics laws,” she said.
In addition to term limits, the proposals include: requiring every appropriation to be specifically identified in the State Budget with notification to the attorney general that no conflict of interest exists; prohibiting any appropriation to organizations that employ or compensate the governor, a legislator or family member; and stripping pensions from those convicted of betraying public trust.
Malliotakis predicted that the changes the GOP is proposing would prevent a future Assembly’s Speaker’s ability to: secretly dole out grants without legislative approval; maintain a slush fund of taxpayer money to spend; stop legislation from coming to the floor despite overwhelming bi-partisan support; and strip members of leadership positions, stipends or staff allocations if they disagree with him or her.
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