Clarifies the appropriation and qualification of member items, authorizes the legislative ethics commission to review violations of the qualification of member items, and requires that all member items be fully itemized.
BILL NUMBER: S7007
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the legislative law, in relation to clarifying the appropriation and qualification of member items and authorizes the legislative ethics commission to review violations of the qualification of member items; and to amend the state finance law, in relation to requiring that all member items be fully itemized
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL : To prevent conflicts of interest in the distribution of member item funds, increase transparency of the member item process, and ensure that member item funds are used efficiently.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS : * Defines the term "member item"
* Provides that no member item shall be distributed when a conflict of interest exists between the legislator or the governor designating the member item and the potential recipient.
* Defines the term "conflict of interest."
* Requires each legislator or governor to sign a conflict of interest form under perjury of law.
* Provides that each member of the assembly and senate shall receive the same allocation as the other members in their respective house.
* Provides that any state agency providing funding for member items evaluate the spending by the recipient to ensure that the money is being used for its intended purpose.
* Establishes detailed criteria to be followed when distributing member items.
* Requires recipients of a member item totaling $50,000 or more to file a final report with the New York State Attorney General
* Prior to submitting an application for a member item, potential recipients must meet pre-clearance standards as established by the Attorney General.
* All member items shall be listed separate and apart from the entire state budget.
JUSTIFICATION : Currently, the member item process is neither equitable, open or efficient. This bill would add fairness, transparency, and accountability to a broken system. Clearly, the process is unfair; some legislators receive large amounts of funding for their districts, while others receive little or no funding. There is no rational basis for this system. Furthermore, the current system does not take adequate measures to ensure that member item funds are used appropriately. This bill would go to great lengths to establish standards to ensure that member item funds are used effectively for projects that have a public purpose. Finally, the bill would seek to make the member item process more open by requiring publication of important member item information at least 24 hours prior to the approval of the state budget.
We should hold ourselves, and our colleagues, accountable to the residents of New York. Member items are paid for with taxpayer money. The current member item system is full of waste and scandal. This legislation would help fix the broken system. It is particularly important now, with the state facing a fiscal crisis, that we insist on integrity of the member item process.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : New legislation FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE : Immediately
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ S. 7007 A. 10116 S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y March 5, 2010 ___________IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sen. SERRANO -- read twice and ordered print- ed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investi- gations and Government Operations IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. GALEF, PAULIN, KOON, THIELE, MENG, KAVANAGH, BARRON, CALHOUN, SAYWARD, BURLING, CORWIN, RAIA, GIGLIO, JORDAN, TOBACCO -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. BARCLAY, CONTE, CROUCH, DUPREY, McKEVITT -- read once and referred to the Committee on Governmental Operations AN ACT to amend the legislative law, in relation to clarifying the appropriation and qualification of member items and authorizes the legislative ethics commission to review violations of the qualifica- tion of member items; and to amend the state finance law, in relation to requiring that all member items be fully itemized THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The legislative law is amended by adding a new section 54-b to read as follows: S 54-B. MEMBER ITEMS. 1. AS USED IN THIS SECTION, THE TERM "MEMBER ITEMS" SHALL MEAN A BUDGETARY ALLOCATION MADE SOLELY AT THE DISCRETION OF THE MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE OR THE GOVERNOR FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING FUNDING FOR COMMUNITY PROJECTS AND ORGANIZATIONS. 2. MEMBER ITEMS SHALL NOT BE APPROPRIATED WHEN A CONFLICT OF INTEREST EXISTS BETWEEN THE LEGISLATOR OR GOVERNOR DESIGNATING THE MEMBER ITEM AND THE POTENTIAL RECIPIENT. A MEMBER ITEM CANNOT FUND ORGANIZATIONS THAT EMPLOY OR OTHERWISE COMPENSATE THE LEGISLATOR OR GOVERNOR, A MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATOR'S OR GOVERNOR'S FAMILY, ANY PERSON SHARING THE HOME OF THE LEGISLATOR OR GOVERNOR OR A MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATOR'S OR GOVERNOR'S STAFF FOR SERVICES OR LABOR RENDERED. FURTHERMORE, LEGISLATORS AND THE GOVERNOR SHALL NOT DESIGNATE MEMBER ITEMS IF THE LEGISLATOR OR GOVERNOR, A MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATOR'S OR GOVERNOR'S FAMILY, ANY PERSON SHARING THE HOME OF THE LEGISLATOR OR GOVERNOR OR A MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATOR'S OR GOVERNOR'S STAFF IS INVOLVED WITH THE OPERATIONS OF THE ORGANIZATION IN A DECISION-MAKING CAPACITY INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WORKING ON ANEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD15767-03-0 S. 7007 2 A. 10116
UNPAID, VOLUNTEER BASIS OR A MEMBER OF THE DIRECTING BOARD OF AN ORGAN- IZATION. 3. PRIOR TO THE APPROPRIATION OF MEMBER ITEMS, THE LEGISLATURE SHALL: (A) PROVIDE THAT EACH MEMBER OF THE SENATE AND EACH MEMBER OF THE ASSEMBLY RECEIVE AN EQUAL SHARE OF THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF MEMBER ITEMS ALLOCATED TO THE RESPECTIVE LEGISLATIVE BODY; (B) REQUIRE THE LEGISLATOR OR GOVERNOR REQUESTING SUCH MEMBER ITEM TO SUBMIT A SIGNED CONFLICT OF INTEREST FORM ALONG WITH THE MEMBER ITEM REQUEST FORM TO ENSURE THAT NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST EXISTS. THE LEGISLA- TOR OR GOVERNOR SHALL DISCLOSE ON THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST FORM ALL POLITICAL DONATIONS HE OR SHE IS RECEIVING OR HAS RECEIVED IN THE PAST FROM THE INTENDED RECIPIENT OF THE MEMBER ITEM FUNDING. SUCH A CONFLICT OF INTEREST FORM SHALL BE SIGNED BY THE LEGISLATOR OR GOVERNOR UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY, STATING THAT THE MEMBER ITEM IS NOT BEING DIRECTED IN A MANNER DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION; (C) PROVIDE THAT ANY STATE AGENCY THAT PROVIDES FUNDING FOR MEMBER ITEMS EVALUATE THE SPENDING OF SUCH MEMBER ITEM FUNDS BY THE LOCAL PROJECT, ORGANIZATION OR OTHER ENTITY RECEIVING SUCH FUNDS. THE STATE AGENCY SHALL TRACK THE FUNDS TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE BEING SPENT IN A MANNER CONSISTENT WITH THE MEMBER ITEM APPLICATION; (D) ENSURE THAT THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA ARE SATISFIED: (1) GRANTS ARE TO BE DESIGNATED FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES. THE PROGRAM FUNDED MUST BE OPEN AND AVAILABLE TO ALL INDIVIDUALS ON A NONSECTARIAN BASIS; (2) GRANTS ARE PROVIDED IN SUPPORT OF SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES THAT HAVE STATEWIDE BENEFIT OR BENEFIT LOCAL COMMUNITIES; (3) GRANTS ARE ONLY DESIGNATED FOR NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, MUNI- CIPALITIES OR THEIR AFFILIATED DEPARTMENTS/AGENCIES, UNIVERSITIES, COLLEGES, OR SCHOOL DISTRICTS; (4) GRANTS ARE AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR ACTIVITIES AND PROGRAMS CONDUCTED WITHIN THE STATE OF NEW YORK; (5) GRANTS ARE NOT TO BE REDISTRIBUTED UNLESS THE GRANT RECIPIENT IS IDENTIFIED AND THE GRANT TO THE END RECIPIENT COMPLIES WITH THE CRITE- RIA; (6) GRANTS ARE TO BE USED ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE STATED IN THE FUNDING REQUEST; (7) GRANTS ARE NOT TO BE USED TO FUND LOAN PROGRAMS; (8) GRANTS ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR THE FOLLOWING PURPOSES: (A) TO FUND AN ENTITY IN BANKRUPTCY, RECEIVERSHIP, OR FORECLOSURE OR TO FUND LEGAL OR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES RELATED TO BANKRUPTCY, RECEIVERSHIP OR FORE- CLOSURE PROCEEDINGS; (B) TO PAY FOR ANY ARREARS IN WORKERS' COMPEN- SATION, UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE OR OTHER EMPLOYEE BENEFITS; OR (C) TO PAY FOR ANY ARREARS OR CURRENT OBLIGATIONS FOR FEDERAL, STATE, OR MUNICIPAL TAXES; FOR LOBBYING ACTIVITIES AS DEFINED UNDER SECTION ONE-C OF THIS CHAPTER AND COMPARABLE SECTIONS OF FEDERAL OR MUNICIPAL LAW; (9) GRANTS ARE NOT TO BE THE ONLY SIGNIFICANT SOURCE OF FUNDING FOR THE ORGANIZATION; AND (10) GRANT APPLICATIONS SHALL INCLUDE A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT TO BE FUNDED. (E) AT LEAST TWENTY-FOUR HOURS PRIOR TO APPROVAL BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE BUDGET, THE LEGISLATURE MUST MAKE PUBLIC WITH RESPECT TO EACH MEMBER ITEM, THE MEMBER OF THE SENATE, THE MEMBER OF THE ASSEMBLY OR THE GOVERNOR SPONSORING THE MEMBER ITEM, THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF THE MEMBER ITEM TO BE APPROPRIATED, AND THE NAME OF THE LOCAL PROJECT, ORGANIZATION OR OTHER ENTITY RECEIVING SUCH MEMBER ITEM. SUCH PUBLICATION SHALL, AT AS. 7007 3 A. 10116
MINIMUM, BE MADE ON THE WEBSITE OF EACH HOUSE OF THE LEGISLATURE IN A MANNER THAT IS EASILY ACCESSIBLE. 4. ALL MEMBER ITEM ALLOCATION RECIPIENTS SHALL PROVIDE CERTIFICATION OF PROPER USE OF FUNDS RECEIVED. FOR ALLOCATIONS TOTALING LESS THAN FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS, A DULY AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE OF THE MEMBER ITEM RECIPIENT ORGANIZATION SHALL ATTEST UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY THAT THE RECIPIENT ORGANIZATION ACTUALLY SPENT THE MEMBER ITEM GRANT MONEY IN THE MANNER AND FOR THE PURPOSES DESIGNATED IN ITS APPLICATION FOR A MEMBER ITEM ALLOCATION. FOR ALLOCATIONS TOTALING MORE THAN FIFTY THOU- SAND DOLLARS, A DULY AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE OF THE MEMBER ITEM RECIP- IENT ORGANIZATION SHALL ATTEST UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY THAT THE RECIPI- ENT ORGANIZATION ACTUALLY SPENT THE MEMBER ITEM GRANT MONEY IN THE MANNER AND FOR THE PURPOSES DESIGNATED IN ITS APPLICATION FOR A MEMBER ITEM ALLOCATION AND SHALL FILE A FINAL REPORT, UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY, DETAILING THE EXPENDITURES. SUCH REPORT SHALL BE SUBMITTED BY MAY THIR- TY-FIRST OF THE CALENDAR YEAR FOLLOWING THE CALENDAR YEAR IN WHICH THE MEMBER ITEM WAS ALLOCATED AND SHALL FOLLOW THE REQUIREMENTS ESTABLISHED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. NO FUTURE MEMBER ITEM GRANTS SHALL BE APPROVED FOR AN ORGANIZATION WHICH HAS PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED A MEMBER ITEM ALLO- CATION UNTIL SUCH DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN SIGNED AND RECEIVED BY THE OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL. 5. (A) PRIOR TO SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION FOR A MEMBER ITEM ALLO- CATION, EACH ORGANIZATION SEEKING A MEMBER ITEM ALLOCATION MUST MEET PRE-CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AS ESTABLISHED BY THE OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL. AT A MINIMUM, THOSE STANDARDS SHALL REQUIRE THAT THE ORGANIZATION SEEKING PRE-CERTIFICATION IS A CERTIFIED TAX-EXEMPT NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION UNDER SECTION 501(C)(3) OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE IN NEW YORK STATE, A STATE AGENCY, A MUNICIPALITY OR THEIR AFFIL- IATED DEPARTMENT, UNIVERSITY, COLLEGE, OR SCHOOL DISTRICT CAPABLE OF ACCEPTING POTENTIAL FUNDING AND THAT SUCH ENTITY IS NOT IN BANKRUPTCY OR ARREARS ON ANY OBLIGATIONS. IF AN ORGANIZATION HAS RECEIVED MEMBER ITEM FUNDING IN THE PAST, THE ORGANIZATION SHALL ALSO COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF SUBDIVISION FOUR OF THIS SECTION. NO APPLICATION FROM ANY ORGANIZATION SHALL BE CONSIDERED BY A LEGISLATOR UNTIL THE OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS CERTIFIED SUCH ORGANIZATION BASED UPON THE CRITERIA SET FORTH IN THIS SUBDIVISION AND UPON ANY ADDI- TIONAL REGULATORY STANDARDS ESTABLISHED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. (B) THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SHALL PROMULGATE ALL REGULATIONS HE OR SHE DEEMS NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION. 6. ANY STATE AGENCY THAT PROVIDES FUNDING FOR MEMBER ITEMS SHALL REVIEW MEMBER ITEM SPENDING ON AN ANNUAL BASIS AND PERIODICALLY REVIEW GRANT RECIPIENTS' USE OF GRANT MONEY. 7. ANY MEMBER ITEM APPROPRIATED BY THE LEGISLATURE SHALL BE SET FORTH SEPARATELY AND APART FROM EVERY OTHER MEMBER ITEM IN THE STATE BUDGET IN ORDER TO CLEARLY IDENTIFY EACH LEGISLATOR'S OR GOVERNOR'S REQUEST. 8. ANY VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE REFERRED TO THE LEGISLATIVE ETHICS COMMISSION OR ITS SUCCESSOR ENTITY. COMPLAINTS REGARDING THE FAILURE OF AN ALLOCATION OR USE OF A MEMBER ITEM TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS CHAPTER SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO (A) THE LEGISLATIVE ETHICS COMMISSION WITH REGARD TO A MEMBER ITEM ALLO- CATION MADE AT THE DISCRETION OF A LEGISLATOR, OR (B) THE COMMISSION ON PUBLIC INTEGRITY WITH REGARD TO A MEMBER ITEM ALLOCATION MADE AT THE DISCRETION OF THE GOVERNOR. EACH COMPLAINT SHALL BE INVESTIGATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULES AND PROCEDURES OF THE COMMISSION RECEIVING THE COMPLAINT.S. 7007 4 A. 10116
S 2. Paragraph 1 of subdivision 7 of section 80 of the legislative law, as amended by chapter 14 of the laws of 2007, is amended to read as follows: l. Receive and act on complaints regarding persons subject to its jurisdiction alleging a possible violation of SECTION FIFTY-FOUR-B OF THIS CHAPTER OR section seventy-three, seventy-three-a or seventy-four of the public officers law, and conduct such investigations and proceedings as are authorized and necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. In connection with such investigations, the commission may administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance and require the production of any books or records which it may deem relevant or material; S 3. Subdivisions 4 and 5 of section 24 of the state finance law, as added by chapter 1 of the laws of 2007, are amended to read as follows: 4. Any appropriation added to such budget bills, pursuant to section four of article seven of the constitution, shall only contain itemized appropriations which shall not be in the form of lump sum appropri- ations
[,]AND SHALL DESIGNATE FOR EACH APPROPRIATION A GRANTEE OF SUCH APPROPRIATION, and [provided further that]for all non-federal state operations appropriations, such bill or bills shall only contain item- ized appropriations and shall be made, where practicable, by agency, and within each agency by program and within each program at the following level of detail and in the following order: (a) by fund type, which at a minimum shall include general fund, special revenue-other funds, capital projects funds and debt service funds; (b) for personal service appropriations, separate appropriations shall be made for regular personal service, temporary personal service, and holiday and overtime pay; (c) for nonpersonal service appropriations, separate appropriations shall be made for supplies and materials, travel, contractual services, equipment and fringe benefits, as appropriate. [5. Any appropriation added pursuant to section four of article seven of the constitution without designating a grantee shall be allocated only pursuant to a plan setting forth an itemized list of grantees with the amount to be received by each, or the methodology for allocating such appropriation. Such plan shall be subject to the approval of the chair of the senate finance committee, the chair of the assembly ways and means committee, and the director of the budget, and thereafter shall be included in a concurrent resolution calling for the expenditure of such monies, which resolution must be approved by a majority vote of all members elected to each house upon a roll call vote.]S 4. This act does not preclude either house of the legislature or the governor from adopting more stringent standards through its own guide- lines or through the application process. S 5. Member item grants shall continue to be subject to review by the respective assembly and senate fiscal and counsel staffs, division of the budget, the administering state agency, the office of the state comptroller, and the office of the attorney general. Nothing in this act shall limit the authority of the state comptroller and the attorney general to review member item grant recipients or member item grants. S 6. This act shall take effect immediately.