Prohibits the use of funds and property by any member, officer or employee of any public authority or commission to influence votes or the outcome of an election; does not prohibit the renting of authority or commission space for political advertisements where such space is customarily open to the public or qualifies as public forum space, or to make space available at cost or no cost if it is customarily rented or made available at no cost.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public authorities law, in relation to prohibiting the use of authority funds and property to influence the outcome of an election
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill amends the Public Authorities Law by adding a new section. 289O-a. This bill will prohibit any member of a public authority or commission, of officer or employee thereof, from using or authorizing the use of authority funds or property for the purpose of influencing the vote or political action of any citizen or authority employes in relation to nomination or election to public or party office, or the outcome of any constitutional amendment, proposition or other question submitted to the voters at any election. However, nothing in this bill will prohibit an authority or commission or officer or employee thereof from renting authority or commission space if such space is customarily rented, or make space available at no cost if such space is customarily made available at no cost, for political advertisements.
JUSTIFICATION: During the early 1970s public authority property was used to influence the passage of a transportation bond issue. The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority placed large signs at tunnel entrances and exits urging the public to vote "YES" on this measure.
As a result, many irate citizens, including some who supported the bond issue, felt that public and quasi-public property should not he used to influence the outcome of an election. There is no attempt in the hill to prevent any authority official or employee from expressing a personal opinion on any political candidacy or constitutional amendment, proposition or question.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This bill was previously introduced.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: The first day of September following passage.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 831 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. STAVISKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions AN ACT to amend the public authorities law, in relation to prohibiting the use of authority funds and property to influence the outcome of an election THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The public authorities law is amended by adding a new section 2890-a to read as follows: S 2890-A. USE OF AUTHORITY FUNDS AND PROPERTY PROHIBITED FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES. NO MEMBER OF AN AUTHORITY OR COMMISSION, HERETOFORE AND HERE- AFTER CONTINUED OR CREATED BY THIS CHAPTER, OR OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE THEREOF, SHALL USE OR AUTHORIZE THE USE OF AUTHORITY FUNDS OR PROPERTY FOR THE PURPOSE OF INFLUENCING THE VOTE OR POLITICAL ACTION OF ANY CITI- ZEN OR AUTHORITY EMPLOYEE IN RELATION TO NOMINATION OR ELECTION TO PUBLIC OR PARTY OFFICE, OR THE OUTCOME OF ANY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, PROPOSITION OR OTHER QUESTION SUBMITTED TO THE VOTERS AT ANY ELECTION. NOTHING HEREIN SHALL, HOWEVER, RESTRICT THE RIGHT OF THE AUTHORITY OR COMMISSION TO SELL ADVERTISING SPACE IF SUCH SPACE IS CUSTOMARILY SOLD FOR ADVERTISING PURPOSES TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC, NOR RESTRICT THE RIGHT OF THE AUTHORITY TO RENT PHYSICAL SPACE IF SUCH SPACE IS CUSTOMARILY RENTED OR TO MAKE SPACE AVAILABLE AT NO COST IF SUCH SPACE IS CUSTOMAR- ILY MADE AVAILABLE AT NO COST. NOTHING HEREIN SHALL GIVE THE AUTHORITY THE RIGHT TO PREVENT LAWFUL PUBLIC ASSEMBLY ON AUTHORITY PROPERTY IF SUCH PROPERTY OR PORTION THEREOF IS CUSTOMARILY OPEN TO THE PUBLIC OR QUALIFIES AS PUBLIC FORUM SPACE. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of September next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD02772-01-1