Bill S4807A-2013

Clarifies the identity of courts having jurisdiction relating to a conviction of a felony as grounds for forfeiture of a public officer's New York state pension benefits

Clarifies the identity of courts having jurisdiction relating to a conviction of a felony as grounds for forfeiture of a public officer's New York state pension benefits.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO CIVIL SERVICE AND PENSIONS
  • Apr 26, 2013: PRINT NUMBER 4807A
  • Apr 26, 2013: AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO CIVIL SERVICE AND PENSIONS
  • Apr 24, 2013: REFERRED TO CIVIL SERVICE AND PENSIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4807A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the retirement and social security law, in relation to clarifying the identity of courts having jurisdiction relating to a conviction of a felony as grounds for forfeiture of a public officer's New York state pension benefits

PURPOSE:

This legislation, the Federal Corruption Loophole Closure Act, clarifies the identity of courts having jurisdiction relating to a conviction of a felony as grounds for forfeiture of a public officer's New York State pension benefits.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section One of the bill amends subdivision 2 of section 157 of the retirement and social security law, as added by section 1 of part c of chapter 399 of the laws of 2001 to be amended to state that in the case of a public official who stands convicted, by plea of nolo contendere or plea of guilty to, or by conviction after trial, in any court of competent jurisdiction in this or any other state or any federal court of competent jurisdiction, of any crime related to public office, an action may be commenced in supreme court of the county in which such public official was convicted of such felony crime, by the district attorney having jurisdiction over such crime, or by the attorney general if the attorney general brought the criminal charge which resulted in such conviction, for an order to reduce or revoke the pension of which such public official is otherwise entitled for service as a public official. Such complaint shall specify with particularity which category of felony pursuant to subdivision one of section one hundred fifty-six of this article the defendant has committed, and all other facts that are alleged to qualify such crime as a felony crime related to public office subject to pension reduction or revocation pursuant t o this article, and the amount of pension reduction or revocation requested. Such action shall be commenced within six months after such conviction.

EXISTING LAW:

New bill

JUSTIFICATION:

Recent events have once again highlighted the troubling prevalence of public corruption in New York State government and have revealed a loophole in the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011. Under the Act, any New York State public official who stands convicted, by plea of nolo contendere or plea of guilty to, or by conviction after trial, in any court of New York State jurisdiction may lose all or a portion of his or her New York State and Local Retirement System pension. If a New York State official is convicted solely on federal corruption charges, however, this pension ban does not apply. Thus, currently under the Act, a New York public official convicted solely on federal corruption charges would continue to receive the benefits of a New York State public pension for life. This legislation will close this unacceptable loophole.

In 2011, the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 was enacted and signed into law. (Chapter 399 of the laws of 2011). Specifically, the law was designed to address the continuing series of crimes and corrupt acts perpetrated by a surprising number of New York public officials.

The law provided for a series of comprehensive reforms to both the requirements and enforcement of public ethics for New York State government officials to restore public confidence in our government. Among the many reforms, the law established a new Joint Commission on Public Ethics to oversee and investigate compliance with the financial disclosure and other ethics requirements by executive and legislative employees and elected officials in both branches of government, and to oversee the conduct of registered lobbyists; expand and enhance financial and client disclosures required of executive and legislative employees and elected officials, including disclosure of outside clients and customers; establish a new database to aggregate information concerning all firms and individuals that appear in a representative capacity before any state agency, public authority, board, or commission and make such information readily available to the public; require mandatory ethics training for executive and legislative employees and elected officials and lobbyists; increase penalties for violations of certain provisions of the code of ethics contained in the Public Officers Law ยง 74; require the reduction or forfeiture of a public officer's pension under certain circumstances where he or she has been convicted of a felony related to his office; expand the definition of "lobbying" to include advocacy related to the "introduction" of legislation and resolutions; require lobbyists that lobby on their own behalf and clients of lobbyists that devote substantial funds to lobbying in New York State to disclose the sources of such funding; and clarify certain definitions in the existing gift ban to facilitate better compliance and improve enforcement. The bill would also amend certain provisions of the election law to enhance penalties for violations of the campaign finance laws, and require the State Board of Elections to enforce requirements that entities and individuals that spend funds on advertising and other forms of advocacy to influence the outcome of elections or ballot proposals must disclose such expenditures.

While the Public Integrity Reform Act was hailed as the first major step in fighting corruption among New York State public officials, there are additional steps necessary. One such measure is the simple closure of the federal court conviction loophole in this legislation.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

New Bill

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4807--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 24, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. HOYLMAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Civil Service and Pensions -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the retirement and social security law, in relation to clarifying the identity of courts having jurisdiction relating to a conviction of a felony as grounds for forfeiture of a public officer's New York state pension benefits THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "federal corruption loophole closure act". S 2. Subdivision 2 of section 157 of the retirement and social securi- ty law, as added by section 1 of part C of chapter 399 of the laws of 2011, is amended to read as follows: 2. In the case of a public official who stands convicted, by plea of nolo contendere or plea of guilty to, or by conviction after trial, IN ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION IN THIS OR ANY OTHER STATE OR IN ANY FEDERAL COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION, of any crime related to public office, an action may be commenced in supreme court of the county in which such public official was convicted of such felony crime, by the district attorney having jurisdiction over such crime, or by the attor- ney general if the attorney general brought the criminal charge which resulted in such conviction, for an order to reduce or revoke the pension to which such public official is otherwise entitled for service as a public official. Such complaint shall specify with particularity which category of felony pursuant to subdivision one of section one hundred fifty-six of this article the defendant has committed, and all other facts that are alleged to qualify such crime as a felony crime related to public office subject to pension reduction or revocation pursuant to this article, and the amount of pension reduction or revoca-
tion requested. Such action shall be commenced within six months after such conviction. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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