June 8, 2011 •
Bill Creates Joint Commission on Public Ethics and New Disclosure Requirements
The New York Governor’s Office has released the ethics bill created by the agreement between legislators announced last Friday. The bill, which had previously been titled the Clean Up Albany Act of 2011, will be known as the Public Integrity Reform Act.
Chiefly, the bill establishes an independent Joint Commission on Public Ethics and enhances disclosure requirements by requiring state employees to disclose income from outside sources and names of clients. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics will have jurisdiction over all elected state officials and their employees in the executive and legislative branches, as well as lobbyists.
The bill provides the Joint Commission on Public Integrity must create an online ethics training course for registered lobbyists with a specific curriculum regarding the public officers’ law and ethics to be completed every three years. Additionally, the bill requires the disclosure by lobbyists of any reportable business relationship of more than $1,000 with public officials.
The definition of “widely attended” event is altered to include any event where 25 or more people other than legislators, officials, or government employees attend and which is related to the attendee’s duties or which allows the public official to perform a ceremonial function. The bill also allows officials to accept food or beverage valued at $15 or less.
The bill increases penalties for violations of the filing requirements and contribution limits and provides for a special enforcement proceeding in the Supreme Court.
The bill must age three days after its introduction and then can be voted on by the Legislature. The Legislature will recess today until next Monday, making adoption possible next week.
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