A group of state lawmakers want to put more power in the hands of voters. Time Warner Cable News' Matt Hunter tells us more about their proposed new legislation.
ALBANY, N.Y. – Assemblyman Jim Tedisco is part of a small group of state lawmakers seeking to give voters more power when it comes to removing potentially corrupt legislators from office.
"We've failed drastically to police ourselves," the Republican from Glenville said at a Monday news conference. "I can't think of a better group to put that into the hands of than the people who put us here and gave us the honor to represent them."
"These scandals and convictions have impermeably linked the words ‘Albany, corruption and cesspool’ in the people's minds, especially our voters," said Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, a Democrat from the Bronx.
Along with Sepulveda, Tedisco is co-sponsor of an Assembly bill that would introduce recall elections in New York. If a petition with enough signatures is gathered, a public vote to remove a legislator from office would be allowed for lawmakers who are even suspected of misconduct or ethical violations.
"Let's give the voters the opportunity to hold their politicians, their feet, to the fire," said Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat who haintroduced a similar bill in the State Senate.
"If you're recalling legislators because of a hint, a rumor or even an indictment of wrongdoing, then don't you have to let that due process work its way out and the court proceedings?" New York State League of Women Voters Legislative Director Barbara Bartoletti said.
Questioning the need for such a bill when state legislators are already up for re-election every two years, Bartoletti would rather see more comprehensive ethics reform, like closing the LLC loophole and reducing contribution limits.
"Things that aren't just aimed at one or two or three people but aimed at changing the whole culture of corruption in Albany," she said.
Acknowledging getting the bill to the floor for a vote could prove challenging, Tedisco believes the measure is a crucial step toward rooting out corruption at the Capitol.
"Until we do that, we're not only not going to police us, we're not going to police the leaders," Tedisco said.