Provides for disclosure of memoranda of understanding between the governor and the legislature regarding "lump sum" line item appropriations in the state budget.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public officers law and the state finance law, in relation to public disclosure of memoranda of understanding regarding certain line item appropriations in the state budget
PURPOSE: To provide transparency in the state budget regarding lump sum budget line items by making public any budget memoranda of understanding (MOU) or any segregation of lump sum appropriation under the state Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Adds a new paragraph k to subdivision 2 of section 88 of the public officers law requiring line item appropriation information to be available to the public through the state's Freedom of Information Law. This appropriation information must contain detailed information regarding the program or project being funded, how it was selected to receive funding, the parties involved in the selection process and the dollar amount of the appropriation.
The proposal also creates a new section 28 in the state finance law which requires that a memorandum of understanding or any lump sum appropriation greater than $250,000 contained in the state budget shall require a second passage by each house of the legislature. The second passage of the appropriation must contain language detailing the amount of the appropriation, the project, how it was chosen and parties involved in the selection process of the project.
This new section includes a requirement that a memoranda of understanding or lump sum appropriation less than $250,000 that does not specify the project being funded, the selection criteria, the parties involved in the selection process and the amount of the appropriation, must post this information on the Senate and Assembly web sites. This information must be posted no less than thirty days prior of the release of the funds to the appropriate state agency.
JUSTIFICATION: Large lump sum amounts in the state budget are often subject to Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between the leaders of the Legislature and the Executive. These funds are often distributed at the sole discretion of these leaders without the public's awareness of how the money is spent. The MOUs are often secret documents that are negotiated in private and members of the Senate and Assembly are expected to approve the expenditure of millions of dollars with no detail. This legislation makes MOUs public documents, requires they contain detailed information and that they be made available for review. The public has a right to know how taxpayer dollars are being appropriated before they are spent.
2009-10: S.5274 (Squadron) - Investigations and Governmental Operations, A.652 (Kavanagh) - Governmental Operations
2008: A.8243 (Kavanagh) - Governmental Operations 2007: A.8243 (Kavanagh) - Governmental Operations
FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 50 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. SQUADRON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern- ment Operations AN ACT to amend the public officers law and the state finance law, in relation to public disclosure of memoranda of understanding regarding certain line item appropriations in the state budget THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraphs (i) and (j) of subdivision 2 of section 88 of the public officers law, paragraph (i) as added by chapter 933 of the laws of 1977 and as relettered by chapter 813 of the laws of 1987 and paragraph (j) as added by chapter 510 of the laws of 1999, are amended and a new paragraph (k) is added to read as follows: (i) any other files, records, papers or documents required by law to be made available for public inspection and copying
[.]; (j) external audits conducted pursuant to section ninety-two of the legislative law and schedules issued pursuant to subdivision two of section ninety of the legislative law [.]; AND (K) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY ORDER, RULE OR RESOLUTION TO THE CONTRARY, ANY MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE EXECUTIVE AND THE LEGISLATURE REGARDING LUMP SUM APPROPRIATION LISTED AS LINE ITEMS IN THE STATE BUDG- ET. SUCH MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING, OR ANY SEGREGATION OF LUMP SUM APPROPRIATION, BETWEEN THE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS AND/OR THE GOVERNOR SHALL SPECIFY THE PROGRAM OR PROJECT BEING FUNDED, THE SELECTION CRITERIA, THE PARTIES INVOLVED IN THE SELECTION PROCESS AND THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF THE APPROPRIATION. S 2. The state finance law is amended by adding a new section 28 to read as follows: S 28. BUDGETED FUNDS FOR UNSPECIFIED CAPITAL PROJECTS AND OPERATING GRANTS. 1. ANY SINGLE GRANT PROVIDED TO ANY RECIPIENT PURSUANT TO AEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00171-01-1 S. 50 2
MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING OR ANY SEGREGATION OF LUMP SUM APPROPRIATION GREATER THAN TWO HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS MADE FROM A LUMP SUM APPROPRIATION FOR UNSPECIFIED CAPITAL PROJECTS AND OPERATING GRANTS RESULTING FROM THE STATE BUDGET PROCESS BETWEEN THE EXECUTIVE AND THE LEGISLATURE, SHALL BE SUBSEQUENTLY SUBMITTED BY THE GOVERNOR TO THE LEGISLATURE FOR PASSAGE AND APPROVAL, PRIOR TO THE RELEASE OF SUCH FUNDS TO THE APPROPRIATE STATE AGENCY. 2. ANY SINGLE GRANT PROVIDED TO ANY RECIPIENT PURSUANT TO A MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING OR ANY SEGREGATION OF LUMP SUM APPROPRIATION LESS THAN TWO HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS RESULTING FROM THE STATE BUDGET PROC- ESS BETWEEN THE EXECUTIVE AND THE LEGISLATURE THAT DOES NOT SPECIFY THE PROGRAM OR PROJECT BEING FUNDED, THE SELECTION CRITERIA, THE PARTIES INVOLVED IN THE SELECTION PROCESS AND THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF THE APPROPRI- ATION, MUST POST THIS INFORMATION ON THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY WEB SITES NOT LESS THAN THIRTY DAYS PRIOR TO THE SUBMISSION TO THE APPROPRIATE STATE AGENCY. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.