Legislators focus on transparency during budget talks

Legislators are grappling with the issue of more transparency in Albany as they negotiate a new budget. The morning after Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of

State legislators are considered part-time, and much of the debate centers around income they earn outside of their legislative jobs.

State legislators are considered part-time, and much of the debate centers around income they earn outside of their legislative jobs. (3/5/15)

ALBANY - Legislators are grappling with the issue of more transparency in Albany as they negotiate a new budget.

The morning after Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address came the stunning announcement that longtime state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested on bribery charges. That has now put ethics reform in the spotlight during ongoing state budget talks.

State Sen. Phil Boyle, former chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, believes there will be agreement on a new bill. Senate Republicans want any new law to cover not only themselves, but Cuomo as well, something the governor has said isn't necessary.

State legislators are considered part-time, and much of the debate centers around income they earn outside of their legislative jobs.

"The question is whether outside income should be allowed and there's increased transparency or should we go to the model they have in Congress where there are strict limits on outside income," said state Assemblyman Fred Thiele.

The deadline to pass the state budget is March 31. Cuomo says he won't sign any spending plan unless it contains an ethics reform package.

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