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NY legislators file lawsuit over ban on outside income

 A group of Republican state legislators announced late Friday they have filed a lawsuit to overturn a pending ban on lawmakers ability to earn outside incomes.

 They say the New York State Compensation Committee overstepped its authority when it voted last year to hike legislators’ pay, but also place the first-ever limits on outside income. They say the panel was authorized to focus only on pay.

 “Significantly, the committee’s enabling legislation did not include any authority to alter, limit or otherwise restrict outside employment or income earned by legislators,” the 11 Republicans, including Assemb. Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville) and Assemb. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), said in the claim.

 With Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s support, the commission last year approved the first pay raise for state legislators in 20 years. Their base pay would go from $79,500 annually to $130,000, phased-in over three years. The panel tacked on a provision that lawmakers could earn no more than 10 percent of the legislator's salary in outside income.

 The Republicans said the income-restriction also violates the state constitution, which designates legislator as a part-time job. 

 The salaries and income limits are supposed to kick in on April 1, the start of New York’s 2019-20 fiscal year.

 Cuomo praised the limits, but Senate and Assembly leaders said the legislation they agreed to with the governor was supposed to enable the panel to review salaries alone. Legislators had been predicting a lawsuit over the issue since December.

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