WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester) is gaining support for a bill that would "strip pensions from corrupt officials who commit a felony in violation of the public trust."
State Sen. Neil Breslin (D-Albany) and Assemblyman Buchwald announced that the bill has gained the support of the League of Women Voters of New York State and Common Cause/NY. The Assembly bill picked up 91 co-sponsors, more than the 76 votes needed to pass the bill on the Assembly floor. A majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans in the chamber support the measure, according to the release. The bill was included in a legislative ethics package endorsed by the Senate Democratic Conference.
“Groups like the League of Women Voters and Common Cause/NY do a wonderful job advocating on behalf of New Yorkers,” said Assemblyman Buchwald. “I look forward to working with these important organizations to keep New York State government accountable. When we take our oath of office as public officials, we are given the honor of the public’s trust. This trust is not something any public official should take lightly. I’ll fight to clean up Albany and make sure taxpayers aren’t forced to pick up the tab for corrupt officials.”
“Elected officials who betray the public trust and are convicted of felonies due to their unethical, corrupt actions do not deserve any pension benefits,” said Senator Breslin. “To expect the hard working taxpayers of New York State to continue to support these corrupt individuals is ludicrous. That is why I have sponsored legislation to amend the State Constitution to close this loophole and ensure that those who betray the public trust no longer receive benefits long after they have been punished for their crimes.”
Since Assemblyman Buchwald held a press conference on the bill in March, 30 additional Assemblymembers have signed onto the bill, according to the release.
“The League has long felt that the laws of New York State should adequately define, monitor, and discipline unethical behavior in the public sector on the part of public officials,” said Barbara Bartoletti, Legislative Director of League of Women Voters of NYS. “This bill offers a constitutional amendment to add forfeiture of pension benefits as another possible tool for such punishment.”