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Hawley says Assembly Democrats slow to embrace ethics reform

Staff Reports Posted 3 February 2015 at 12:00 am

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) said he is committed to ethics reform and preventing future abuses of power in Albany. While the Republicans in the Assembly have pushed for ethics reforms for years, Assembly Majority members are now hypocritically trying to use this opportunity to protect their own reputations and mislead constituents, Hawley said in a news release today.

“I have continuously sponsored and worked to draw public attention to legislation that would have prevented the abuses of power and public trust that we have seen the last couple years,” Hawley said. “It is extremely hypocritical for members of the Assembly Majority to be calling for these reforms when they blocked this legislation from coming to the floor for a vote mere months ago.”

Hawley’s comments come after media has been pressing members of the Legislature to pass sweeping ethics reforms in the wake of Speaker Silver’s arrest on corruption charges.

Hawley sponsored legislation first introduced in 2013 that would have stripped pension and retirement benefits from public officials convicted of certain felonies. He also sponsors the Public Officer’s Accountability Act which would impose term limits on legislative leaders and create new crimes against the public trust and failing to report corruption, among other things.

“Recent events have proven that narcissism and blind loyalty take precedent over doing what is ethical for many members of the Assembly. We were told that Speaker Silver would not cause a distraction from normal daily operations, but that has clearly not been the case. We are now approaching four weeks since session opened and we have not passed a single piece of legislation. It speaks very little of the representatives comprising the Assembly Majority that they are just now catching on to these common sense ethics reforms.”