LEGISLATURE SHOULD ACT ON ETHICS REFORM…
By Angelo J. Morinello
NYS Assemblyman, Niagara Falls, (R,C,I-Ref)
The 2018 Legislative Session is well under way, yet the state Assembly has little to show for the nearly two months we’ve spent in Albany. When I first ran for office it was my goal to reduce corruption and establish an open and transparent government. Now in my second year as a member of the Assembly, it’s never been more evident that ethics reform is essential to passing any type of meaningful legislation in 2018.
In order to enact real change in the Capitol, we must begin prioritizing issues that truly matter to our constituents, leaving behind legislation meant for political show. This year, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have fought for free college for illegals, free tablets for convicts and changing the color of Tide-Pods. These topics could be issues of discussion if we’d already passed significant legislation, but wasting precious time on these issues is a slap in the face to New York’s hard-working taxpayers.
In recent years, New York’s had a disastrous track record when it comes to corrupt state officials. Members of the Legislature and of the governor’s staff have consistently made headlines for their lack of integrity and their willingness to break the law. A former member of Gov. Cuomo’s staff, Joseph Percoco, is now on trial, but it seems we’ve become numb to these types of stories. I’m deeply troubled by the lack of action to clean up Albany, but I plan to take a stand for ethics reform and continue working for the residents in my district.
To reduce government corruption, we must consider an array of changes to hold all government officials accountable. I have long-supported term limits for all elected officials, limiting the amount of special interest money in the political process by lowering the contribution rate and ending the bid-rigging process that’s led to multiple investigations by federal prosecutors in recent years. Working toward this important legislation will result in less corruption statewide.
As we quickly approach March and the state budget deadline, I urge all members of the state Legislature to join together and work toward comprehensive ethics reform. New Yorkers want lower taxes and better infrastructure to ease their day-to-day lives, but this can only be accomplished through transparency and by holding our state officials accountable. Passing this legislation will require real action, and I hope we can all work toward a positive solution.