Lawmakers close to agreement on ethics reform

State legislators are close to agreeing on a plan under which elected officials would lose their pensions if found guilty of crimes related to their office.



The call for ethics reforms has been ringing loudly in the ears of lawmakers recently, after the convictions and sentencing of former state Sen. Dean Skelos, of Rockville Centre, and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Both were imprisoned in separate corruption cases, but are still eligible to receive taxpayer-funded pensions.



Critics of the plan say more extensive reforms are needed, including a ban or limit on outside income for legislators. They also want more disclosure on campaign contributions.



Pension forfeiture requires a change in the state constitution. For that to happen, the legislature has to vote both this year and next year in favor of it. Then voters statewide would have to approve it in a referendum in November 2017.



Lawmakers are expected to leave the state Capitol for summer vacation on Thursday.



 


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