ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS
ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON ELECTION LAW
ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON ETHICS AND GUIDANCE
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
ORAL TESTIMONY BY INVITATION ONLY
In 1987, New York State adopted the Ethics in Government Act. The Act established the New York State Ethics Commission. The Ethics Commission's primary duties were to: receive complaints alleging violations of Public Officers Law §§73, 73-a, and 74; investigate complaints on its own initiative; render advisory opinions which interpret and apply the laws as they pertain to present and former State officers and employees; distribute, collect and audit financial disclosure statements; and issue rules and regulations to implement and enforce the law under its jurisdiction.
The New York Temporary State Lobbying Commission was first established in 1981 and extended by the New York State Lobbying Act of 1999. It provided oversight and regulated compliance for report and filing requirements for lobbying activities in New York State.
In 2007, Governor Spitzer introduced the Public Employee Ethics Reform Act of 2007 which was signed into law on March 26, 2007. The new law combined the New York State Ethics Commission and the New York Temporary State Lobbying Commission into one entity: the Commission on Public Integrity. It also created the Legislative Ethics Commission, which replaced the former Legislative Ethics Committee. The Legislative Ethics Commission's jurisdiction includes the administration and enforcement of the provisions of the Public Officers Law as the laws pertain to the Legislature, the issuance of advisory opinions and financial disclosure compliance for members and staff of the Legislature as well as candidates for state legislative office. Judicial ethics issues are reviewed by a separate commission on judicial conduct, and its decisions are subject to review by the Court of Appeals.
On May 13, 2009, the New York State Inspector General issued a report detailing alleged ethics violations by certain members of the Commission on Public Integrity and former Governor Spitzer's staff. The alleged violations arose from the Commission's investigation into the so-called Troopergate scandal. As a result of the Inspector General's findings, Governor Paterson announced on May 18, 2009, that he would submit legislation creating a new Government Ethics Commission. This entity would be independent and have jurisdiction over all of state government, the lobbying industry, and campaign finance laws. It would replace the Commission on Public Integrity and supersede the Legislative Ethics Commission and would be able to impose penalties on violations by state officers of the open meetings laws.
The purpose of this hearing is to examine proposals relating to changes in the statutory framework that establishes ethics standards and oversight for government officials and employees in New York State.
Testimony should be directed to the following areas:
Oral Testimony is by invitation only. Persons wishing to present a written statement to the Committee at this hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation. Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements. In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.
In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.