Heastie Outlines Ethics Rules Proposals
Carl Heastie, the Bronx Democrat in line to become the next speaker of the state Assembly, outlined a trio of ethics rules changes on Monday for the chamber he hopes to lead.
“I believe we must seize this opportunity for reform, and enact the type of lasting change that will make the Assembly more open, transparent, and accountable to the voters,” Heastie said in a statement.”I look forward to working with my colleagues to develop and implement reforms like these, and others, so that the Assembly can regain the voters trust and start a new chapter.”
Heastie pledged to enacted an Office of Ethics and Compliance that would provide “guidance” to lawmakers on existing income and ethics rules.
At the same time, a three-person team of lawmakers would search for an executive director who is not a member of the Assembly be a “preeminent expert” on ethics laws.
Heastie also pledged to create new accountability and openness on per diem expenses, and promised to work with the office of state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (a former assemblyman from Long Island) on new oversight.
Heastie reiterated a vow to resign as Bronx County Democratic Committee chairman, and also repeated his support for capping outside income for lawmakers.
Heastie’s own per diem use as well his campaign finance spending has come under scrutiny in recent days as his rise to the position of speaker appeared to be a done deal. He promised to “consider proposals” that would create a full-time Legislature and completely ban outside income.
The Bronx assembylman’s focus on ethics changes comes after a group of reform-minded Democrats in the chamber have pushed speaker candidates to backa host of reforms that would decentralize some of the power of the speakership and give more clout to rank-and-file members.
Democrats are due to meet privately today to discuss when to hold a leadership vote to replace Sheldon Silver as speaker, who resign that post this evening at 11:59 p.m. Heastie and his supporters say the vote should be held ASAP – as early as tomorrow – and not on Feb. 10, which is the date the conference agreed on last week.
However, since some less-than-favorable stories have come out about Heastie over the past several days, several members and good government advocates are suggesting it would be better to take the time to fully vet the candidates (Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, of Queens, is still in the running) and provide some openess to the process of selecting someone to replace Silver. In the meantime, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, of Rochester, would serve as the interim speaker until a permanent replacement for Silver is selected.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on February 2, 2015 at 2:02 pm, and is filed under Assembly, Democrats, Reform. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|