Assemblyman Brian Curran (Lynbrook – 21st A.D.) today called on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his leadership to bring a bill that would forfeit pensions for law-breaking legislators (A.7173) to the floor for a vote before the end of session. Curran said that, despite the bill being sponsored by a member of the Majority, he and his conference colleagues originally sponsored, introduced and advocated for the legislation after a string of lawmakers were arrested or investigated on sexual harassment, bribery and other charges.
“This is about restoring the public trust and with four days left of the legislative session, with little to no work done on ethics reform so far this year, something should be passed,” said Curran, the Ranking Minority Assemblyman on the Assembly Ethics and Guidance Committee. “The “big” issues being talked about that need to be passed before the close of session are laughable; what we really need is an answer to the string of corruption charges faced by members of the Speaker’s own conference. Lawmakers who violate the public trust should not be entitled to taxpayer-funded pensions. Not taking up any ethics legislation is truly a violation and complete disregard of the public.”
Assembly Bill 7173, sponsored by Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester), would forfeit the pension or retirement benefits of any state officer or local officer convicted of a felony involving breach of public trust. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Codes Committee.
Curran noted that he and his conference colleagues were original sponsors of several bills, including one that would strip lawbreaking, corrupt politicians of their pensions (A.4935); another called the Integrity in Government Act (A.8153) that would ban elected officials from public office for felony convictions; and the Public Officers Accountability Act (A.7393), which encompasses numerous meaningful reforms to combat corruption, such as term limits for leadership positions and recall elections. The Assembly Majority blocked two of these bills from leaving committee, while the third is being held in committee.
“The Assembly Majority needs to listen to the public and pass these bills, otherwise the same shenanigans will continue,” said Curran. “By not leading by example, this leadership fails New Yorkers. It’s time to begin the process of cleaning up Albany once and for all: we must pass these bills and restore the public’s trust in government.”