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Cuomo signs into law new ethics reform for state lawmakers

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Credit: Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo scored another victory Monday, signing into law a sweeping ethics-reform package that will require state lawmakers to disclose outside business dealings and sources of income.

The Public Integrity Reform Act establishes a 14-member Joint Commission on Public Ethics watchdog panel tasked with also monitoring executive branch and legislative employees and registration and conduct of lobbyists. The panel is set to start operating in about four months.

"This new ethics reform law brings an aggressive new approach to returning integrity to the halls of our Capitol," Cuomo said.

Under the measure, elected officials must disclose more details about their private incomes and law firm clients who have dealings with the state. Lobbyists must list all officials they've had a business relationship with worth $1,000 or more.

The law also creates an independent monitor to investigate corruption. Public officials convicted of felonies related to their office could be forced to forfeit their pensions.

"The strength of the law is increasing public disclosure with the goal of increasing confidence in government," said state Bar Association President Vincent Doyle, a partner at Buffalo law firm Connors & Vilardo.

(with Reuters)

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