capitolsummerFrom the Morning Memo:

Despite the dirty laundry that is airing in the corruption trials of both ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Majority Leader Dean Skelos, state lawmakers are still not expected to approve any tightening of state ethics laws.

“They’ve had time; they’ve had all of the incentive given all of these trials, given all the people who have gone to prison. What they what they don’t have it would appear is a fear from the public that they’re going to get unelected because of any of this that goes on,” said League Of Women Voters Legislative Director Barbara Bartoletti.

Lawmakers did approve new measures designed to have lawmakers disclose more information on their outside business interests earlier in the year. But good-government advocates argue the trials of Skelos and Silver — which have highlighted Albany’s self-dealing and lawmakers use of power to enrich themselves and family — is a sign that more needs to be done.

“You need to change things in Albany,” Bartoletti said. “Everybody says they’re going to be reformers. Everybody says that. Somehow the rhetoric really outpaces what the actual actions are.”

Lawmakers; however, say the cause of corruption is more specific than a lack of strong ethics laws. Namely, it’s the lack of a pay raise in more than 15 years.

“When you treat people like scatological material, sometimes they act like scatological material and the members of the Legislature have always been treated badly,” said Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, a Mount Vernon Democrat.

Pretlow pointed to the arrest and guilty plea of Queens Democrat Bill Scarborough, who had siphoned money from his campaign account as well as misued his taxpayer-funded per diems.

“People have to eat and that’s what I think happened with Scarborough. He just wasn’t able to make ends meet,” Pretlow said.

Next year, a commission created by lawmakers is due to recommend possible changes in pay for state lawmakers and judges — a decision that comes after Election Day. It’s a move that some lawmakers are looking forward to, given the political football their salaries have become.

“For the past several years, the governors have used salary as an item to blackmail to force members to do certain things and it’s not the right thing to do,” Pretlow said.

Lawmakers earn $79,500, plus extra for holding committee chairs and leadership posts. Traditionally, downstate lawmakers have complained the cost of living there makes it harder to get by on the pay.