Assemblymember Bronson: With 2nd Passage of Pension Forfeiture Legislation, We Are Closer to Ending the Cycle of Corruption

Assemblymember Bronson (D-Rochester/Chili/Henrietta) announced legislation, he sponsored, to hold politicians accountable for exploiting public office has passed for the second time – a necessary step before a referendum to change the constitution can be voted on. In particular the legislation strips taxpayer-funded pensions from elected officials convicted of corruption (A.1749).

“New Yorkers have had enough; we in the legislature have had enough. It’s time we begin removing the cloud of distrust in government,” Assemblymember Bronson stated. “Stripping corrupt politicians of their state pension sends a strong message to those who abuse government office for personal gain – we will not tolerate such behavior.”

Pension forfeiture requires an amendment to the state constitution before becoming law. For the amendment to become law it is required to pass in two legislative terms then approved through referendum in the general election. The pension forfeiture bill received bipartisan support last legislative session (A.10739-A of 2016) and this legislative session; voters will now be able to approve the measure in the ballot come November.

“I strongly believe in public service but crooked politicians have eroded confidence in government. This amendment will go a long way toward restoring public trust and ending the outrageous cycle of corruption in government,” Bronson stated. “Our fight does not stop at pension forfeiture; we must remain focused bringing more transparency, openness and accountability to state government and sending a clear message that if you cross the legal line you will be punished.”

The legislature also passed a resolution, effective immediately, requiring all legislators to disclose information about their outside income to the Legislative Ethics Commission (LEC). The independent commission will then issue a review on whether the outside income poses a conflict of interest (C.25). Legislators earning more than $5,000 per year in outside income must seek a ruling within their first 30 days to continue earning outside income.

“Eliminating conflicts of interest has always been my top priority, including removing the corrosive role of money in politics by closing the LLC loophole. Whether it’s through transparency or greater accountability, New Yorkers deserve to be assured that their elected officials represent the public’s interest, not private,” Bronson added.