Two freshman New York lawmakers from the Hudson Valley have joined together to introduce a bipartisan bill on term limits, which they believe are key to much-needed reform in Albany.
Democratic Senator Terry Gipson and Republican Assemblyman Kieran Lalor, both from Dutchess County, joined together across party lines Thursday to say term limits are long overdue, especially with political corruption so prevalent. Here’s Gipson, of Rhinebeck.
The proposed legislation would extend a Senate term from two years to four, putting in place a total limit of 12 years. Assembly terms would remain at two years, capping at six two-year terms for a total of 12 years as well. Here’s Lalor, of Fishkill.
He quips that lawmakers are relying upon the FBI and U.S. attorney for term limits these days, referring to a number of state lawmakers named and/or charged over the past several weeks in connection with corruption.
Senator Gipson says term limits would serve a purpose beyond deterring corruption.
Democratic Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, whose district includes part of the Hudson Valley, is also a freshman, but has previously said she does not share the same view on term limits.
In fact, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Public Trust Act that he proposed in April, which is intended to crack down on corruption, does not include term limits. Cuomo has said lawmakers are already term-limited by voters, who can throw them out of office. But good-government advocates have pointed out that incumbents almost never lose state elections. Even still, the idea of term limits has met with much resistance for some time in Albany.
Yet Gipson insists they are necessary companions for comprehensive campaign finance and ethics reform.
For Lalor, term limits are companions to another hot-button issue in the state.
Both say their legislation is a stand-alone measure, and is not intended to be drafted into any other reform legislation being proposed.