ALBANY, N.Y. -- Two bills designed to address corruption related to state economic developments projects passed overwhelmingly in the Senate, but their future in the Assembly looks dim.
"Every single one of us is paying a corruption tax," said Western New York Assemblyman Ray Walter, a Republican. He joined other members of the GOP at a news conference to push Assembly leadership to approve the measures.
"Everything we do here cost more because of the corruption that's going on," Walter said.
The first bill is called the Procurement Integrity Act. It would restore oversight to the state comptroller, requiring state authorities to follow procurement rules to avoid the kind of pay-to-play actions that are alleged to have happened when LPCiminelli won the contract to build the SolarCity plant in South Buffalo.
Louis Ciminelli faces federal criminal charges related to that contract. Prosecutors say he rigged the bidding process. His trial starts next week in New York City.
The Senate passed the Procurement Integrity Act by a vote of 60 to 2, but it hasn't even gotten a committee vote in the Assembly.
Reached by phone late Thursday, Peoples-Stokes told 2 On Your Side the bill will not pass. In fact, she said she no longer supports the proposal.
"It could hurt UB and UB 2020," she said.
Peoples-Stokes said the procurement rules changed as part of the SUNY 2020 plan, and she doesn't want to go back to the old way, which could stifle progress that's happened with UB.
The other economic development transparency proposal is from Democratic Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, also of Western New York. He proposed a bill that some are calling "a database of deals." It would require Empire State Development to create a searchable database of all economic development projects, so taxpayers could see how much contracts cost, to whom they are awarded and how many jobs are created.
"Kudos to the Senate Democrats. They voted for both of these bills," said Brian Kolb, the Republican leader in the Assembly.
A source told 2 On Your Side that Schimminger's bill also looks unlikely to pass, frustrating many Assembly Republicans.
"This is common sense," said Assemblyman Michael Norris, who represents parts of Niagara, Erie and Orleans Counties. "It's your tax dollars."
Stay with 2 On Your Side for complete coverage of the final days of the legislative session in Albany. The final day is Wednesday, June 20.