Bill Text: NY A01282 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Adds a new article V-A relating to state government integrity.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Democrat 26-3)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-02-06 - opinion referred to judiciary [A01282 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A01282-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 14, 2019
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  CARROLL, ORTIZ, D'URSO, SCHIMMINGER, STIRPE,
          PHEFFER AMATO, MONTESANO, FAHY -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. COOK,
          GOTTFRIED,  PAULIN  --  read  once  and  referred  to the Committee on
          Governmental Operations
        proposing that the constitution be amended by adding a new article  V-A;
          in relation to state government integrity
     1    Section  1.  Resolved (if the Senate concur), That the constitution be
     2  amended by adding a new article V-A to read as follows:
     3                                 ARTICLE V-A
     4                         STATE GOVERNMENT INTEGRITY
     5  Sec.
     6   1. Declarations of the people.
     7   2. New York state government integrity commission.
     8   3. Additional powers of the commission.
     9   4. Funding of the commission.
    10   5. State code of ethics.
    11   6. Recommending revisions of campaign contribution limits.
    12   7. Transparency.
    13    Section 1. a. The people of New York expect officers and employees  of
    14  the state to observe laws, rules and regulations that specify high stan-
    15  dards of ethical conduct designed to avoid the reality and appearance of
    16  corruption,  conflict of interest, self-dealing and breach of the public
    17  trust. Equally they expect that candidates for state office  and  others
    18  seeking  to  influence  state elections to observe laws, rules and regu-
    19  lations  designed  to  regulate  actual  and  potential  corruption  and
    20  conflicts  of  interest by regulating the influence of money in politics
    21  and making transparent the financing  and  expenditures  of  efforts  to
    22  influence  voters.  To protect the integrity and freedom from corruption
    23  of the use of state power to  enact  laws,  establish  rules  and  regu-
    24  lations,  and contract for goods and services funded in whole or in part
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 1282                             2
     1  with state taxes and other revenues,  the  people  of  New  York  expect
     2  observance of laws, rules and regulations that regulate lobbying, lobby-
     3  ists  and  government  procurement.  To ensure the appropriate workplace
     4  conduct of state officers and employees and those who interact with such
     5  officers  and  employees while dealing with the state and its instrumen-
     6  talities, the people of New York  expect  that  all  such  persons  will
     7  observe laws, rules and regulations setting standards of appropriate and
     8  non-discriminatory workplace behavior.
     9    b. Achieving this goal requires an independent and non-partisan agency
    10  with  jurisdiction  over  matters pertaining to both the legislative and
    11  executive branches of government and  that  has  the  needed  powers  to
    12  train,  advise,  interpret,  adopt  rules  and regulations, investigate,
    13  conduct fair hearings that afford due  process  and  impose  appropriate
    14  sanctions on a consistent basis so that, with fair and equal application
    15  of  the law, no person or entity, no matter what their status, influence
    16  or role in government, can place themselves  above  the  law  or  suffer
    17  detriment due to any lack of such status, influence or role.
    18    §  2.  a. There shall be a New York state government integrity commis-
    19  sion. The commission shall, on an independent  and  non-partisan  basis,
    20  receive,  initiate, investigate and determine complaints with respect to
    21  the matters specified in section one of this article. This  jurisdiction
    22  shall  be  in  addition  to  and not in derogation of the investigatory,
    23  disciplinary, vendor qualification or law enforcement authority  of  any
    24  other  person  or entity and of the right of an aggrieved person to seek
    25  civil redress  in  accordance  with  law.  The  commission  may  in  its
    26  discretion decline to initiate, or suspend initiation of proceedings, or
    27  otherwise  adjust  its  procedures,  in  view  of such other proceedings
    28  undertaken or able to be undertaken by such other person or entity.
    29    b. When,  after  hearing,  the  commission  has  determined  that  the
    30  respondent  has  violated  a  law, rule or regulation within the commis-
    31  sion's jurisdiction to enforce, the  commission  may  impose  any  civil
    32  sanction  authorized  by law and/or refer the matter for criminal prose-
    33  cution. The commission  may  also  caution,  admonish  or  censure  such
    34  respondent  or,  in the case of a non-elected state officer or employee,
    35  suspend, demote or remove such  respondent  from  office  or  employment
    36  after  such  adjudicatory  process  that substantially complies with the
    37  terms of any relevant collective bargaining agreement. In  deciding  the
    38  severity  of  the sanction, the commission shall consider to what extent
    39  the violation is inadvertent, isolated and/or  of  insubstantial  conse-
    40  quence  on the one hand or willful, repeated, causing actual public harm
    41  or risk of public harm and/or otherwise egregious on the other. Determi-
    42  nations, other than a determination to refer for  criminal  prosecution,
    43  shall be subject to judicial review in accordance with law.
    44    c.  The commission shall consist of nine members, of whom two shall be
    45  appointed jointly by the governor, the attorney general  and  the  comp-
    46  troller,  at  least  one  of whom shall not be, or within the prior five
    47  years shall not have been, enrolled in the same political party  as  the
    48  governor, one jointly by the leaders in each house of the legislature of
    49  the  party  conferences  whose candidate for governor in the most recent
    50  gubernatorial election received the largest number of votes, one jointly
    51  by the leaders in each house of the legislature of the party conferences
    52  whose candidate for governor in the most recent  gubernatorial  election
    53  received  the  second  largest  number of votes, and five jointly by the
    54  chief judge of the state of New York and the presiding justices of  each
    55  of  the  appellate  divisions,  no  more than three of whom shall be, or
    56  within the prior five years shall not have been, enrolled  in  the  same

        A. 1282                             3
     1  political  party.  No member of the commission shall have held office in
     2  any political party organization, have been a state officer or  employee
     3  or  have been engaged as a lobbyist within three years of appointment or
     4  at any time during their term. The chair shall be elected by the commis-
     5  sion  members from among its members.  Commission members shall be reim-
     6  bursed for their actual expenses and paid a per diem salary to be  fixed
     7  by law but at least a per diem amount equal to the annual salary paid to
     8  a  justice of the supreme court divided by two hundred twenty.  A member
     9  may be removed for cause on application to the court of appeals made  by
    10  a majority vote of the full membership of the commission.
    11    d.  The  persons first appointed by the governor, the attorney general
    12  and the comptroller shall have respectively three and four-year terms as
    13  those officials shall designate. The  persons  first  appointed  by  the
    14  chief  judge  of the state of New York and the presiding justices of the
    15  appellate divisions shall have respectively one, two, three, three,  and
    16  four-year  terms  as that judge and those justices shall designate.  The
    17  person first appointed jointly by the legislative leaders in each  house
    18  of the legislature of the party conferences whose candidate for governor
    19  received  the  largest  number  of votes shall have a one-year term. The
    20  person first appointed jointly by the legislative leaders in each  house
    21  of the legislature of the party conferences whose candidate for governor
    22  received  the second largest number of votes shall have a two-year term.
    23  Each member of the commission shall be appointed thereafter for  a  term
    24  of four years.
    25    e.  The  organization  and  procedure  of  the  commission shall be as
    26  provided by law provided that the commission shall act by majority  vote
    27  of  its membership in attendance and constituting a quorum and determine
    28  violations based on a preponderance of  the  evidence  except  that  any
    29  order  of  censure  or  removal  shall  be based on clear and convincing
    30  evidence and shall be approved by a majority of all the members  of  the
    31  commission.  The  commission  may establish its own rules and procedures
    32  not inconsistent with law and due process.  Those  rules  shall  bar  ex
    33  parte  communications  of  any  kind  or  substance, direct or indirect,
    34  between members of the commission and  their  appointing  authority  and
    35  such rule shall bind both the member, the commission staff, the appoint-
    36  ing  authority and the staff, agents and representatives of the appoint-
    37  ing authority. The commission shall be empowered  to  designate  one  or
    38  more of its members or any other persons as hearing officers to hear and
    39  report concerning any matter before the commission.
    40    §  3.  a.  The  commission many appoint an executive director, who may
    41  appoint staff, and one or more deputy directors  with  such  duties  and
    42  powers  as  the  commission may fix. No person who would be disqualified
    43  from being a member of the commission  may  be  appointed  as  executive
    44  director  except  that  a person employed at the commission shall not be
    45  disqualified by reason of that employment.
    46    b. The commission and its designated hearing officers shall  have  the
    47  power  to administer oaths, compel the attendance of witnesses and issue
    48  subpoenas.
    49    c. The commission shall assure the effective enforcement and  adminis-
    50  tration  of  the  state  ethics  laws including the code of ethics, laws
    51  providing for disclosure of financial and other interests by state offi-
    52  cers and employees, the laws regulating lobbying and lobbyists  and  the
    53  laws  concerning  campaign  finance. The commission shall take care that
    54  laws respecting procurement of goods  and  services  by  the  state  are
    55  faithfully  observed  as  are  laws  respecting workplace behavior. This
    56  authority shall include the power and duty to  interpret  laws  adminis-

        A. 1282                             4
     1  tered  by  the  commission, to train all persons within the commission's
     2  jurisdiction in compliance with the laws, rules and regulations adminis-
     3  tered or enforced by the commission and to issue and interpret rules and
     4  regulations that are not in conflict with law.
     5    d.  The  commission  may  make  a  criminal  prosecution referral to a
     6  district attorney, the attorney general or a United States attorney.
     7    e. The commission, after notice and opportunity  for  public  comment,
     8  may issue advisory opinions or bulletins which will have such protective
     9  effect  on  those who act in compliance therewith as is specified in the
    10  opinion or bulletin. It shall also establish an  office  of  ethics  and
    11  lobbying  guidance  to give prompt, non-precendential informal advice to
    12  persons whose conduct it oversees.    Persons  receiving  such  informal
    13  advice  may  rely  on  that  advice absent misrepresentation of material
    14  facts to the office of ethics and  lobbying  guidance  and  such  advice
    15  shall be protected as an attorney-client communication.
    16    §  4.  The  state  shall  annually  appropriate  an amount adequate to
    17  support the commission's discharge of its fiduciary duty to the  people.
    18  In  no  event  shall the appropriation for the work of the commission be
    19  less than ten percent of the appropriation to the state law department.
    20    § 5. a. The commission shall periodically review  the  state  code  of
    21  ethics  and  may propose revisions and amendments to the code. The state
    22  code of ethics, and any revision or amendment thereto, shall be  drafted
    23  and  construed  to  eliminate  conduct  that  creates  an  appearance of
    24  corruption, conflicts of interest that materially impair the performance
    25  of official duties and breaches of the public trust including the misuse
    26  of official position or the abuse of  official  authority  for  personal
    27  gain.
    28    b. The state code of ethics shall provide that it shall be the ethical
    29  duty  of  any person or entity within the jurisdiction of the commission
    30  to promptly report to the commission information not  protected  by  the
    31  attorney-client  or prosecutorial investigative privilege about activity
    32  known to be in violation of the state code of ethics or other law  which
    33  any  person  or  entity  has engaged in with respect to activity that is
    34  within the jurisdiction of the commission.   There shall be  no  retali-
    35  ation  against  a person or entity making such a report in good faith on
    36  information and belief, and any person aggrieved by such retaliation may
    37  bring a civil action for compensatory and exemplary damages.
    38    c. The state code of ethics shall provide that no  person  within  the
    39  jurisdiction  of the commission shall commit an act of sexual harassment
    40  while serving in his or her official capacity and no such person serving
    41  in a supervisory capacity shall suffer an act of  sexual  harassment  to
    42  occur  without  taking care that there be due consequences in accordance
    43  with law. The commission may by rule define the conduct that constitutes
    44  an act of sexual harassment and shall establish a unit  responsible  for
    45  sexual harassment complaints and investigations.
    46    §  6.  The  commission may recommend to the legislature limits for all
    47  categories of campaign contributions to candidates and political  organ-
    48  izations that in its judgment are low enough to prevent an elected offi-
    49  cial  from  being so beholden to a campaign contributor as to materially
    50  impair such official's exercise of independent policy  judgment  in  the
    51  interests of the public and his or her constituents.
    52    §  7.  The  commission shall be subject to all transparency and public
    53  access laws subject to such reasonable exceptions for pending  confiden-
    54  tial  investigations as shall be provided by law. The legislative branch
    55  shall be subject to laws providing for transparency to the  same  extent
    56  as is the executive branch.

        A. 1282                             5
     1    §  8.  Within  ninety  days  of the effective date of this article the
     2  legislature shall make and the  governor  shall  approve  the  necessary
     3  changes  to law to transfer the functions performed by the joint commis-
     4  sion on public ethics and  the  legislative  ethics  commission  to  the
     5  commission.
     6    §  2. Resolved (if the Senate concur), That the foregoing amendment be
     7  referred to the first regular legislative session  convening  after  the
     8  next  succeeding  general  election  of members of the assembly, and, in
     9  conformity with  section  1  of  article  19  of  the  constitution,  be
    10  published for 3 months previous to the time of such election.