Lawmakers in the New York State Assembly on Thursday may vote on the approval of a bill that would strip state pensions from public officials convicted of corruption.
The measure is the last remaining remnant of a now-forgotten series of ethics reforms.
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey Klein told reporters Wednesday they were optimistic the full Assembly would vote on the legislation.
The pension forfeiture bill requires a change to the state constitution. So lawmakers from both houses will have to approve the bill again in 2017 or 2018, and the public will have to approve the measure in a referendum before it becomes law.
Under the bill, any state public official who is a member of a pension or retirement system and is convicted of a felony related to their public office could lose all of their pension benefits.
Under current law, the state can strip away pension benefits from a state official who were hired after Nov. 13, 2011 – when a 2011 ethics reform law became effective – if the official is convicted of crimes related to their public office.
But the state cannot touch the pensions of state officials hired before that date no matter what they are convicted of doing.
So former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos – who were sentenced in May to prison terms for unrelated crimes – may collect their lucrative pensions under the law.