Assemblyman Buchwald’s Bill to Strip Pensions from Corrupt Officials Gains Critical Support
Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester) announced that legislation he authored that would permit stripping state pension benefits from public officials convicted of felonies where the public’s trust has been violated has picked up crucial momentum in the New York State Assembly. As of this month, the bill (A.7173) has been co-sponsored by 89 members of the Assembly, representing well more than the 76 votes needed to pass the bill on the Assembly floor. Of particular note, a majority of members in the chamber support the measure.
“This ethics reform is long overdue for the people of New York,” stated Assemblyman Buchwald. “It’s unacceptable that even the most corrupt officials are allowed to continue to collect a state pension. This type of behavior should not be tolerated any longer.”
Last month, Assemblyman Buchwald held a press conference with a bipartisan group of 20 Assemblymembers and Senators, including Chairman of the Ethics and Guidance Committee Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), calling for reform on state pensions for corrupt officials. At the time of the March press conference, just over 60 Assemblymembers had registered their support for Buchwald’s bill. There are now 89 sponsors of the bill in the Assembly.
Assemblyman Buchwald’s bill is an amendment to the New York State Constitution aiming to strengthen the current “Public Integrity Reform Act,” which only strips pension benefits of convicted officials who first entered the State pension system after the law took effect in November 2011. Buchwald’s bill would apply to any public official, regardless of when he or she first held office. The Senate companion of this bill, S. 1133, is sponsored by State Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany).
Assemblyman Buchwald is now urging New Yorkers to provide their input on his pension reform plan. Residents can leave comments on this topic on Assemblyman Buchwald’s website at the following link: http://assembly.state.ny.us/member_files/093/public_trust/