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Governor calls for new ethics rules

Gov. David A. Paterson, in today's State of the State speech, will call for overhauling rules for governmental ethics and campaign contributions. His proposals include:

Establish Government Ethics Commission whose five members aren't directly appointed by state leaders; commission would enforce ethics and campaign finance laws, replacing the 13-member Commission on Public Integrity.

Increase disclosure of outside business activities by state officers, including lawmakers.

Increase disclosure of lobbyists' activities, including business relationships with state officials.

Replace the state comptroller as sole trustee of the state pension fund with a five-member board.

Create a system of public financing of political campaigns.

Reduce significantly the amount of money that individuals may donate to political campaigns.

Establish term limits of eight years for governor and other statewide offices, and 12 years for members of the State Senate and Assembly.

Require former politicians to return campaign contributions or donate them to charity.

Take away the pensions of state officials who are convicted of a felony involving their public service.

Close loophole allowing some members of the Senate and Assembly to collect pensions and legislative salaries at the same time.

Compiled by James T. Madore

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