Bill S3332-2011

Prohibits members of the legislature from obtaining funding to provide to any business entities in which such members hold official or legal positions

Prohibits members of the legislature from obtaining funding through state grants or member items and subsequently providing such funding to any business entities or not-for-profit entities in which such members hold official or legal positions.

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  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO FINANCE
  • Feb 17, 2011: REFERRED TO FINANCE

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S3332

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public officers law, in relation to prohibiting members of the legislature from obtaining funding and providing such funds to any business entity or not-for-profit entities in which such officials or members hold official or legal positions

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The general purpose of the bill is to prohibit members of the legislature from obtaining funding and providing such funds to any business entity or not-for-profit entities in which such officials or members hold official or legal positions

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1. Subdivision 18 of section 73 of the Public Officers Law, as amended by chapter 14 of the laws of 2007, is renumbered subdivision 19 and amended, and a new subdivision 18 is added.

18. No statewide elected official or members of the legislature shall obtain any funding through state grants or member items, and subsequently provide such funds to any corporation, partnership, limited liability corporation, other business entity or not-for-profit entity in which such official or member holds an official or legal position.

19. In addition to other penalties in any provision of public officers law, any person who knowingly and intentionally violates provisions two through five, seven, eight, twelve, or fourteen through eighteen, shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed forty thousand dollars ($40,000) and the value of any gift, compensation or benefit received in connection with such violation.

Assessment of the civil penalty shall be made by the state oversight body with jurisdiction. The state oversight agency also has the authority to refer the violation to the appropriate prosecutor. If a conviction results, it shall be punishable as a class A misdemeanor.

JUSTIFICATION: Members of the New York State Legislature are public servants who have been elected by voters to serve them honestly and with integrity. Many execute their functions honorably and deserve the public's trust. There are others, unfortunately, who have behaved unethically by using the power of their elected position to further their financial interests. There are still others, although a minority, who have abused their power and broke the law. Those who put personal gain above the public good corrode the public's trust in their elected officials and the political process. The mounting public mistrust, anger, and cynicism damage the reputation and work of all elected officials, which is particularly unfair to those who have been upright and honest.

While a public official's conscience cannot be legislated, opportunities for illegal activity can be removed. This legislation prohibits New York State Legislators from establishing or acting in an official or legal capacity for any type of business or not-for-profit entity. This prohibition would end the current and legal practice that allows legislators to set up such organizations. This legislation may not wholly eradicate the public's cynicism regarding politics and their representatives, but it is a step in the right direction.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3332 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 17, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. BONACIC -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance AN ACT to amend the public officers law, in relation to prohibiting members of the legislature from obtaining funding and providing such funds to any business entity or not-for-profit entities in which such officials or members hold official or legal positions THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 18 of section 73 of the public officers law, as amended by chapter 14 of the laws of 2007, is renumbered subdivision 19 and amended and a new subdivision 18 is added to read as follows: 18. NO STATEWIDE ELECTED OFFICIAL OR MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE SHALL OBTAIN ANY FUNDING THROUGH STATE GRANTS OR MEMBER ITEMS, AND SUBSEQUENT- LY PROVIDE SUCH FUNDS TO ANY CORPORATION, PARTNERSHIP, LIMITED LIABILITY CORPORATION, OTHER BUSINESS ENTITY OR NOT-FOR-PROFIT ENTITY IN WHICH SUCH OFFICIAL OR MEMBER HOLDS AN OFFICIAL OR LEGAL POSITION. 19. In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who knowingly and intentionally violates the provisions of subdivisions two through five, seven, eight, twelve or fourteen through [seventeen] EIGHTEEN of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed forty thousand dollars and the value of any gift, compensation or benefit received in connection with such violation. Assessment of a civil penalty hereunder shall be made by the state oversight body with jurisdiction over such person. A state over- sight body acting pursuant to its jurisdiction, may, in lieu of a civil penalty, with respect to a violation of subdivisions two through five, seven or eight of this section, refer a violation of any such subdivi- sion to the appropriate prosecutor and upon such conviction such violation shall be punishable as a class A misdemeanor. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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