ALBANY — The Legislature’s top leaders said there will be no new ethics laws sought by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the state budget deal due by April 1.
“No, it will not be in the budget,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie after a joint meeting of legislative leaders on the budget.
“No, I agree with the speaker,” said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport).
Neither would say if they committed to taking on any ethics proposal before the end of the session scheduled for June 16.
Last week, Cuomo said he was disappointed neither chamber proposed ethics measures in their counterproposals to his executive budget.
Cuomo has proposed several measures, including limiting the outside income of legislators and closing a loophole in law that allows corporations to exceed corporate limits in contributing to political campaigns.
“I don’t think anyone in good faith could leave Albany until we get things done,” Cuomo said then. He referred to 2015 as “a wholly unprecedented year, in terms of investigations of legislators.” He referred to the December convictions of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan).
“There has always been a discussion of the importance of ethics and it will continue,” said Heastie (D-Bronx). “It just won’t be in the budget. We still have three more months to work out something on ethics.”
Under state law, a governor has extraordinary leverage to include policy in state budgets compared to legislation negotiated outside the budget deal.
Hours earlier, the pay raise commission approved by the Legislature and Cuomo held a public hearing in Albany. The commission is scheduled to recommend raises after the legislative elections in November. Its recommendation can become effective Jan. 1 without any vote by elected officials.