Relates to the regents.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to the regents
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill creates greater transparency for candidates interviewing for and holding positions on the Board of Regents.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of this bill requires individuals seeking election as a regent to be interviewed by the chairs of the education and higher education committees of the Senate and Assembly. The interviewee would also have to submit a resume detailing qualifications, provide financial disclosure, and undergo a criminal background check. Those serving as Regents would also be subject to a residency requirement. Additionally, Regents and their spouses would be barred from making political contributions or holding political office, during their tenure as Regent.
JUSTIFICATION: Although unsalaried, the position of Regent is both highly prestigious and critically important. These individuals set educational policy for millions of students and have oversight of all educational institutions throughout our State. Regents are currently subject to financial disclosure while serving, but there are no requirements that these individuals disclose their finances prior to being elected. Such financial disclosure is standard practice for many political appointments in other areas of State government. This practice promotes transparency and ensures public trust. Additionally, the position of Regent is intended to be apolitical. The decisions of this Board should not be politically charged, but rather reflect sound education policy to best represent the students and professionals of New York.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6791 IN SENATE March 11, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sen. FLANAGAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to the regents THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 202 of the education law, as amended by chapter 296 of the laws of 1984, subdivision 1 as amended by chapter 547 of the laws of 1993, subdivisions 2, 3, and 4 as designated and subdivision 5 as added by chapter 892 of the laws of 1985, is amended to read as follows: S 202. Regents. 1. The University of the State of New York shall be governed and all its corporate powers exercised by a board of regents the number of whose members shall at all times be four more than the number of the then existing judicial districts of the state and shall not be less than fifteen. 2. (A) ANY INDIVIDUAL SEEKING OFFICE AS A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS SHALL SUBMIT TO THE CHAIRS OF THE EDUCATION AND HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEES OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY A DOCUMENT DISCLOSING: (1) PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE RELEVANT TO THE POST; (2) EACH FINANCIAL INTEREST, DIRECT OR INDIRECT OF HIMSELF OR HERSELF, HIS OR HER SPOUSE AND HIS OR HER UNEMANCIPATED CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN YEARS IN ANY ACTIVITY WHICH IS SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OR NAME OF THE ENTITY IN WHICH THE INTEREST IS HELD AND WHETHER SUCH INTEREST IS OVER OR UNDER FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS IN VALUE. (3) EVERY OFFICE AND DIRECTORSHIP HELD BY HIM OR HER IN ANY CORPO- RATION, FIRM OR ENTERPRISE WHICH IS SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OR WHICH DOES BUSINESS WITH AN INSTITUTION WHICH IS SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE DEPARTMENT, INCLUDING THE NAME OF SUCH CORPO- RATION, FIRM OR ENTERPRISE. (4) ANY OTHER INTEREST OR RELATIONSHIP WHICH HE OR SHE DETERMINES IN HIS OR HER DISCRETION MIGHT REASONABLY BE EXPECTED TO BE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST AND SHOULD BE DISCLOSED. (B) ANY INDIVIDUAL SEEKING OFFICE AS A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS SHALL BE FINGERPRINTED FOR THE USE OF INFORMATION DERIVED FROM SEARCHESEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14203-01-4 S. 6791 2
OF THE RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES AND THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION. 3. NO PERSON SHALL SERVE AS A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS UNLESS HE OR SHE IS A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES AND HAS BEEN A RESIDENT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FOR FIVE YEARS. 4. The regents in office April first, nineteen hundred seventy-four shall hold office, in the order of their election, for such times that the term of one such regent will expire in each year on the first day of April. Commencing April first, nineteen hundred seventy-four, each regent shall be elected for a term of seven years, each such term to expire on the first day of April. Commencing on April first, nineteen hundred ninety-four, each regent shall be elected for a term of five years, each such term to expire on the first day of April. Each regent shall be elected by the legislature by concurrent resolution in the preceding March, on or before the first Tuesday of such month. If, however, the legislature fails to agree on such concurrent resolution by the first Tuesday of such month, then the two houses shall meet in joint session at noon on the second Tuesday of such month and proceed to elect such regent by joint ballot.
[2.]5. All vacancies in such office, either for full or unexpired terms, shall be so filled that there shall always be in the membership of the board of regents at least one resident of each of the judicial districts. A vacancy in the office of regent for other cause than expi- ration of term of service shall be filled for the unexpired term by an election at the session of the legislature immediately following such vacancy in the manner prescribed in the preceding paragraph, unless the legislature is in session when such vacancy occurs, in which case the vacancy shall be filled by such legislature in the manner prescribed in the preceding paragraph, except as hereinafter provided. However, if such vacancy occurs after the second Tuesday in March and before a resolution to adjourn sine die has been adopted by either house, then the vacancy shall be filled by concurrent resolution, unless the legis- lature fails to agree on such concurrent resolution within three legis- lative days after its passage by one house, in which case the two houses shall meet in joint session at noon on the next legislative day and proceed to elect such regent by joint ballots; provided, however, that if the vacancy occur after the adoption by either house of a resolution to adjourn sine die, then the vacancy shall be filled at the next session of the legislature in the manner prescribed in the preceding paragraph. [3.]6. There shall be no "ex-officio" members of the board of regents. [4.]7. No [person]REGENT, OR THEIR SPOUSE, shall: (A) be at the same time a regent of the university and a trustee, president, principal or any other officer of an institution belonging to the university; (B) MAKE POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO ANY LOCAL, STATE, OR FEDERAL CAMPAIGN; (C) MAKE ANY POLITICAL ENDORSEMENTS FOR ANY CANDIDATE SEEKING LOCAL, STATE, OR FEDERAL OFFICE; OR (D) HOLD A POLITICAL OFFICE OR SERVE AS A POLITICAL PARTY CHAIRMAN AS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH (K) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION SEVENTY-THREE OF THE PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW. [5.]8. (a) Every regent, on and after December fifteenth and before the following January fifteenth, in each year, shall file with theS. 6791 3
secretary of the senate and with the clerk of the assembly a written statement of (1) each financial interest, direct or indirect of himself or herself, his or her spouse and his or her unemancipated children under the age of eighteen years in any activity which is subject to the jurisdiction of the education department or name of the entity in which the interest is had and whether such interest is over or under five thousand dollars in value. (2) every office and directorship held by him or her in any corpo- ration, firm or enterprise which is subject to the jurisdiction of the education department or which does business with an institution which is subject to the jurisdiction of the education department, including the name of such corporation, firm or enterprise. (3) any other interest or relationship which he or she determines in his or her discretion might reasonably be expected to be in the public interest and should be disclosed. (b) On or before January thirty-first in each year the secretary of the senate and the clerk of the assembly shall jointly prepare a report containing the statements required to be filed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subdivision. Copies of such report shall be open to public inspection in the office of the secretary of the senate and the clerk of the assembly. The senate and assembly may jointly adopt rules to imple- ment the provisions of this subdivision. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.