Assemblyman Zebrowski: Time for Ethics Reform is Now

Having finished the budget on time this year, the Legislature should now work on issues that matter most to New Yorkers and ethics reform is one at the top of that list. It’s not a matter of changing the rules of the game. It’s about getting rid of the game entirely and getting state government back to working for the people.

Elected officials work for the people – not for special-interest groups and not for their own self-interests. I’m for full transparency of officials’ incomes to help end Albany’s pay-to-play culture and ensure there’s no unethical business going on behind the backs of the people who put them in office.

As an elected official, we are beholden to the people who have put their faith in us to represent their needs. Every time an elected official is charged with corruption, it is a black eye to those who are doing as they should and working to represent the people who put them in office. Unfortunately, some public officials forget who they are sent to Albany to represent. We need stricter laws to ensure those who make this mistake are held accountable.

I support legislation that would strip taxpayer-funded pensions for those public officials who use their office in an unlawful way. Public officials should not be able to cash in after using their position to line their pockets with special-interest money. This legislation will help deter officials from getting involved with individuals looking to buy access to state government.

It is also important that the legislature works to create an independent redistrict commission which will help institute a permanent mechanism to make sure congressional and state legislative districts lines are drawn in the public’s best interest. In doing so, this would be a major step in the much needed reform that New Yorkers are demanding in Albany. The independent commission would redraw the Assembly, Senate and Congressional district lines that are currently drawn by incumbent legislatures to restore common sense and transparency to this important process.

As work continues in this legislative session, I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that will hold those who betray the publics trust accountable. We need to restore the faith of the people and passing ethics reform legislation is the first step in doing that