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Paterson's Plan to Reform Albany
January 5th, 2010

Paterson administration officials held a briefing this morning to formally discuss Paterson’s “Reform Albany Act.” The legislation is expected to be fully unveiled during Gov. David Paterson’s State of the State Address, which he delivers at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

The plan includes creating a new ethics oversight panel–doing away with the current Public Integrity Commission. It would set stricter campaign contribution limits and move the ability to enforce campaign finance law out of the hands of the Board of Elections. It would also institute two-year term limits for executives and three-year term limits for legislators. And offers public financing in some races.

Good government groups reacted positively to the proposal. “It’s everything. It’s the kitchen sink and the stopper,” Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Group told the New York Times.

Paterson was derided by a number of advocates earlier this year because they felt he had all but abandoned his predecessors’ call to reform Albany.

Paterson, facing dismal poll numbers, a slumping economy, low fund raising and a probable opponent in Andrew Cuomo who has an ever-expanding campaign war chest, seems to have decided to bank his reelection on this new initiative.

After a year full of scandal including the conviction of former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno on federal corruption charges, one might think Albany would be ready to embrace Paterson’s kind of change.

The Senate and Assembly have been negotiating an omnibus ethics reform bill that is said to be drastically different than Paterson’s. Many doubt that legislators will want to go as far as Paterson’s bill does.

However, Sen. Liz Krueger issued a press release today pointing out that she has introduced legislation that would have made some of the changes that Paterson is now backing and indicating that she will work to build legislative support for Paterson’s bill.

“While the full details of the Governors reform package are not yet clear, the Governor’s Q&A with the press earlier today indicates that a number of important reform bills I sponsor will part of the package, and I am pleased to have the Governors support for these efforts, said Krueger.

The release from Kruger’s office goes on to note that “The Governor has indicated that (the) package will include limits on the use of campaign contributions and on the disbursement of campaign funds by inactive candidates. Senator Krueger first introduced legislation (S743-A/A812-A Cahill) to achieve these goals in 2006.”

The release states that the “Reform Albany Act” includes a number of measures Kruger has supported in the past.

Obviously there is a great need for improvement in the ethical climate in Albany,” said Kruger in the statement, “and I am pleased that the Governor shares my positions on so many of these issues. I look forward to working with him and with both houses of the Legislature to build support for these and other reforms, including much-needed campaign finance reform. Reforming the way Albany does business must be a priority this year, and thats something all branches of government and all parties ought to be able to agree on.

By on January 5, 2010, 4:27 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | 7 Comments »

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