Ethics Committee meets after 8 years

In Breaking News by Hal Peterson0 Comments

NY Post June 16, 2017 – The New York state Senate Ethics Committee marked a major accomplishment on Thursday: it met. In its first sessions in eight years, member argued about whether the vice chairs of committees in the upper chamber deserve the bonuses they’re getting in addition to their $79,500 salaries. Critics say the bonuses are only supposed to …

In The Courts

In Breaking News by Hal Peterson0 Comments

Late N.Y. Lawmaker’s Conviction Is Tossed: The conviction of a late New York state lawmaker on charges of lying to the FBI has been overturned by an appeals court. The recent ruling by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan also ordered the $50,000 in fines state Sen. Thomas Libous paid, be returned to his estate. The Republican …

WSJ – NYS Senate Democrats Gain Majority as GOP Keeps Control

In Breaking News by Hal Peterson0 Comments

A special election in Harlem on Tuesday May 23rd gave Democrats a majority in the New York state Senate to match its majority in the Assembly—but the party won’t have more power. Because of an alliance between nine Democratic senators and the GOP, Republicans will maintain control over the Senate, barring the Democratic Party from a coveted trifecta in Albany—controlling …

Limiting Tenure

In Breaking News by Hal Peterson0 Comments

The New York State Senate just passed Senate Bill S-1229, limiting the tenure of the president of the senate, speaker of the assembly, majority and minority leaders and committee chairs to 8 years. Sponsored by Senator Joseph Griffo (R,C,IP) 47th Senate District and sent to the assembly for endorsement. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan sponsored similar legislation last year.

Tracking Government Revenue and Spending

In Breaking News, Columns by Hal Peterson0 Comments

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has created a new organization to analyze government spending and revenue.  Why? Because he couldn’t find a single source that combined all the relevant local, state and federal numbers in one, easy to use place. Access to this information can be viewed using USAFacts.org.  

“Nonspecific Funding” in Current Executive Budget.

In Breaking News by Hal Peterson0 Comments

Citizens Union, a good government group, in their recent “Spending in the Shadows” report, notes that state lawmakers are moving to set aside nearly $14 billion that could be spent next year with very little oversight or accountability. In particular they found Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget has $4.3 billion in 60 discretionary funding pots that are only subject to spending …

Warning

In Breaking News by Hal Peterson0 Comments

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli warned on Friday that provisions contained in Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget would strip away oversight of state spending. In his annual review of the governor’s proposed budget, DiNapoli said the $162.2 billion spending plan released by Cuomo last month would expand the executive branch’s authority to redirect funds with little input from the Legislature. “Several proposals …

Pension Forfeiture Bill Approved

In Breaking News by Hal Peterson1 Comment

The State Senate and the Assembly cleared the way for a constitutional amendment that will strip pensions from lawmakers convicted of felonies. This is the final step before the proposed amendment goes before the voters this fall. Notably, under this proposal, a convicted official will not automatically lose their pension. A court review would follow that could result in forfeiture, …

A presumption of Openness

In Breaking News by Hal Peterson0 Comments

President Barack Obama signed into law on June 30th a long sought after upgrade of the Freedom of Information Act known as the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. The altered legislation codifies a “presumption of openness,” strengthening the proactive disclosure of information in digital format thereby making “open data” immediately accessible, by default, on-line, at no charge, in formats conductive …

New Long Island Gov’t Spending Web Site established.

In Breaking News by Hal Peterson0 Comments

Reclaim New York, a Manhattan based non-profit just announced a New York Transparency Project, an online searchable data base that includes spending data for 175 government bodies in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The site, reclaimnewyork.org (available on this web site) will grow to include more than 3,400 government bodies’ state wide, updated annually. Reclaim this year submitted Freedom of Information …