Legislators Announce Ethics Agreement

A short time ago, leaders in the State Assembly and Senate announced they've reached a deal on ethics reform. According to a press release, the proposed reforms would:

…create an autonomous, fixed-term investigative body to oversee legislative ethics, require greater disclosure from lobbyists, restore an independent lobbying commission and provide greater information regarding legislators’ outside sources of income. Additionally, the legislation would create a body within the New York State Board of Elections to enforce greater adherence to campaign finance laws. 

Governor Paterson has proposed creating a single ethics commission and he's called for new rules requiring lawmakers with outside jobs (attorneys, for example) to reveal the names of their clients. Speaker Sheldon Silver has strongly opposed those provisions. The deal announced today rejects the governor's approach.

Reaction to the plan appears to be mixed. In the Times Union, State Senator Daniel Squadron, who has been pushing ethics reform for more than a year, said: “It is more important to have a good bill than a perfect press release.”

Silver said a vote could take place in the Assembly relatively soon. The bill's prospects in the Senate are less certain.