Government reform groups say they are pleased that New York Governor Cuomo has now proposed step one in his plan to clean up corruption in state government, following two high profile arrests of state lawmakers.
Barbara Bartoletti, with the League of Women Voters, says the governor’s proposal to give the state’s district attorneys more power to investigate and prosecute bribery cases is a good first step toward systematic reform.
New York Governor Cuomo and the state’s district attorneys are pushing for laws to make it easier to prosecute bribery and public corruption cases, in the wake of recent scandals in Albany.
The bills would make it easier for the state’s DA’s to prosecute cases of bribery, and politicians and others involved in bribery schemes. It would also create a new crime of failure to report bribery. Anyone who does not blow the whistle if they discover potential corruption could be charged with a misdemeanor.
In his first major address since last week’s corruption scandals in Albany involving the arrests of state Senator Malcolm Smith, Assemblyman Eric Stevenson and several other political leaders on both sides of the aisle, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a new ethics reform package in New York City Tuesday afternoon.
Cuomo’s proposal will empower district attorneys across the state to pursue public corruption cases.
New York State lawmakers were finished work on the state budget Thursday evening, completing the spending plan three days before the deadline.
The Assembly held a marathon day of voting to wrap up work on the budget , after the State Senate finished up in a midnight session earlier.
Debate on the floor included criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, over $90 million dollars in cuts to providers of services for the developmentally disabled. Lawmakers have set up a task force to try to mitigate the cuts.
After an all night session, the New York State senate approved a $136 billion budget.
The Assembly is planning to vote on the budget tomorrow and if it is passed, it will be the third time in a row the state has met its deadline.
The budget would raise the minimum wage to $9 over three years and offers a $350 rebate to families with children. It includes a tax credit to businesses that pay the new minimum wage and will also increase school aid by about $1 billion.
The New York State Senate finished its work on the state budget in an overnight session at the Capitol.
The governor and legislative leaders decided to abide by the normal procedures and let the budget bills “age” for three days before voting, so that anyone who is interested could read them. Some of the bills were not printed until Sunday evening, which made them eligible for voting on Wednesday. Senators abided by the letter, if not the spirit of the law.
The New York State Senate held a rare Sunday session at the Capitol, in an attempt to get the state budget finished on time in the midst of major religious holidays.
The State Senate met to vote on three previously agreed upon budget bills, in an attempt to finish the spending plan without interfering with the Easter and Passover holidays. Senate Finance Committee Chair John DeFrancisco explained it on the Senate floor.
“We’re trying to jumpstart the process,” said De Francisco, who says starting early gives everyone “ample time” for debating the bills.