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Todd Kaminsky pledges bill to ban lawmakers’ outside income

Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky during a press conference where

Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky during a press conference where he announced that he will submit a bill banning unlimited outside income for New York lawmakers if elected to the Senate, Thursday Feb 12, 2016 at the Rockville Centre train station. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Assemb. Todd Kaminsky pledged Thursday to introduce legislation to ban all outside income for state legislators if elected to former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ seat.

“Long Islanders are fed up with having elected officials serving two masters,” Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said at a news conference in Rockville Centre. “It’s about time we make a very commonsense rule that will go a long way toward transforming Albany.”

Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor who has prosecuted Albany lawmakers for ethical abuses, often involving outside income, will take on Republican Christopher McGrath in the April 19 special election.

Kaminsky has twice co-sponsored bills that would ban outside income but the legislation has stalled in the Democrat-led Assembly.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) has said he would consider banning or limiting outside income, but that such a move would require making legislators — who are considered part-time — full-time, likely with higher salaries.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) has said a ban on outside income is not a top priority. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed capping outside incomes for lawmakers at 15 percent of their base annual salary of $79,500.

McGrath, who launched his campaign Wednesday, said if elected, he would continue working as a personal injury attorney and partner with the law firm of Sullivan, Papain, Block, McGrath & Cannavo in Garden City.

“I am against a professional legislature full of career politicians,” McGrath said Thursday.

“To fight corruption in Albany, we need to start with two common-sense measures: enact term limits and strip corrupt politicians of taxpayer-funded pensions,” McGrath said.

The special election in the 9th district could determine the balance of power in the Senate, now controlled by Republicans and a coalition of independent Democrats.

Kaminsky said his election would be a “mandate” that could spur the Senate to pass ethical reforms, including a ban on outside income.

Kaminsky also disclosed for the first time that the Uniondale law firm of Harris Beach “pursued” him in 2015 but that he decided the legislature “needed my full attention” and he never took the job.

Skelos, of Rockville Centre, was convicted in December of eight counts of bribery, extortion and conspiracy, and plans to appeal.


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