- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York state’s new budget contains several measures written to address Albany’s culture of corruption - but a provision intended to revoke the pensions of disgraced officials will need voter approval too.

Lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo want to give judges the power to revoke the pensions of public officials convicted of a corruption-related felony. The proposal was inserted into the state budget passed by lawmakers last week, but the state Constitution must be amended in order to make it all sitting officials.

The Senate has already endorsed placing the referendum on the ballot, and the Assembly plans to do the same when lawmakers return from their spring break. To put the question on the ballot the Legislature will have to endorse the referendum again in 2017.

The proposal would allow a judge to let a convicted official’s spouse or dependents to keep some of the pension.

Lawmakers passed a pension forfeiture law in 2011, but it only applied to lawmakers or public officials who entered the state pension system going forward, meaning that anyone elected before 2011 wasn’t covered.

“For this to apply to officials who entered the retirement system before … 2011, we need to adapt a resolution amending the state Constitution,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement.

The pension forfeiture proposal is one of several measures advanced this year to take on legislative corruption. Lawmakers and Cuomo also included new rules requiring lawmakers to disclose more about their outside income in the budget, as well as rules prohibiting the use of campaign money on certain personal expenses.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide