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Bill Would Prevent Corrupt Albany Politicians From Getting Pensions

6:12 PM, May 7, 2013   |    comments
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- A bill making its way through Albany would prevent state officials who are convicted of corruption-related felonies from receiving their taxpayer-funded pensions.

Currently, about a dozen disgraced officials are still receiving pensions, and it totals nearly $600,000. State Senator John Sampson, who was arrested this week on corruption charges, could be the latest.

They are allowed to receive pensions because the 2011 ethics reforms left a glaring loophole: they only kept pensions from those officials elected after the time the law went into effect. It was not retroactive, because there were constitutional concerns with doing that.

So a bill working its way through the legislature now, co-sponsored by State Senator Tim Kennedy (D-63rd District) tries to change that. The bill ties per diem pay to the pension forfeiture. Basically, any official who takes per diem pay would be agreeing to give up their pension if convicted of a felony related to corruption.

So far, only three senators are signed onto the bill, and there is not a co-sponsor in the Assembly.

But Kennedy believes it will get enough support to pass.

"There has been one act of corruption after another that will help, I believe, give bills like this and others -- ethic reform minded bills -- a better chance down here in albany than they would have gotten," Senator Kennedy said.

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