Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brennan Center/ Common Cause New York Joint Statement on Ethics Bill

Common Cause/NY and the Brennan Center for Justice issued the following joint statement this afternoon:

It has been reported that the New York State Senate Democrats have been conferencing behind closed doors to consider proposed ethics legislation and that these negotiations may be leading to the bill’s ultimate demise. The need to change the ethics oversight regime in Albany has been editorialized by nearly every newspaper in the state and is well established among the electorate. Governor Paterson made it a cornerstone of his State of the State address earlier this month.

Irrespective of our groups’ position on this bill (Common Cause/NY has stated its opposition and The Brennan Center has called for more public input) we strongly believe that S6457, which is supposed to improve transparency and set high ethical standards, should not die behind closed doors. It must be brought out into the sunlight through public hearings and, ultimately, a floor vote. In this way, details would be debated and the bill itself perhaps even strengthened, before it would receive an up or down vote by every member of the legislature.

This proposal should not suffer the same fate as the congestion pricing proposal did in 2008, which was suffocated behind closed doors. New York demands better. It is time for the legislative leaders and their members to conduct public business in public view, whatever the outcome of their debate. The fate of this bill, which is supposed to shed light, should not be decided in the shadows.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would like to see certain laws be made universal across all 50 states, and new laws made after 1982 made retroactive so everybody gets the same justice no matter where they live or when their divorce occurred. For example, the federal law forcing full disclosure of joint deferred assets acquired in a legal marriage became federal law in 1983. However, those of us with divorces prior to that are prevented from access to assets unless you apply early for a short term benefit that ends when you get your own SS. As a NY resident, I can't contest this in Minnesota, which has a statue of limitations, so I am not eligible for deferred assets, credit for a long term marriage or a higher benefit should I survive my former spouse no matter what, but wife #3 does. This is unjust. What is being done about this? It's especially hurtful now that I can't find work and my unemployment benefit might cease. Cutting off our unemployment benefits because of worker layoffs will hit us seniors hard. Our state suffered hardship after 9/11. My job was lost as a result of it, can't the feds please help us in NY? We are the center of the financial district for the whole country. As NY goes, so does the rest of our country.