A state Senator representing Dutchess and Putnam Counties is among lawmakers in the Hudson Valley renewing calls for ethics reform in Albany.
Momentum for changes in Albany follow the recent criminal convictions of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and State Sen, Thomas Libous, a Binghamton Republican once in line to succeed Skelos.
Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, and Skelos, a Nassau County Republican, grew accustomed to lax prosecution over decades of ruling the roost in Albany.
State Sen. Sue Serino of Hyde Park, said, "Between ethical lapses and partisan politics plaguing Albany for years, navigating our Capitol's challenges hasn't been easy."
"But one thing's for sure, restoring the public's trust needs to be one of our highest priorities going into next session," said Serino, a Republican who represents Putnam and Dutchsss counties.
"That means real ethics reform, getting our state back on track and delivering results for New Yorkers,'' Serino said.
Serino has endorsed Senate Bill 1923, legislation that would require lawmakers to forfeit their pensions of they are convicted of a felony like Skelos and Silver were.
The Assembly version of that reform legislation (A 7704) -- also passed during the last session -- was introduced by Westchester Assemblyman David Buchwald.
Buchwald, a Democrat from White Plains, said, "Among the most direct ways we can send the message that public corruption is unacceptable is to adopt my legislation to strip pensions from public officers who commit felonies in connection with their jobs."
The legislation, which requires passage by two more sessions of the New York General Assembly, also would require a public vote to amend the state's Constitution.
State lawmakers from the Hudson Valley have been among those prosecuted by federal authorities.
Vincent Leibell, a Republican who served in the Senate and in Assembly – representing parts of Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties for 28 years -- was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty in 2011 to tax evasion and obstruction of justice.
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