In an editorial today, Newsday reviews the major bills and initiatives the legislature should address before the mid-June adjournment. Election law issues top the list:
“Most distressingly, lawmakers seem set on doing as little as possible to curtail corruption — despite the recent sentencing of former legislative leaders Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, and ongoing investigations into the awarding of Buffalo Billion redevelopment contracts by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration and into fundraising by the campaign of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Self-interest, in other words, trumps reform.
The only likely change is pension stripping for officials convicted of job-related felonies. That’s a good start. But what about limiting or banning outside income, or closing the loophole that allows huge contributions from secretive limited liability companies? Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who won April’s special election to replace Skelos after running an anti-corruption campaign, has proposed to dramatically reduce the amount of donations to party or county campaign committees and to increase transparency on LLC contributions. His colleagues should recognize that Kaminsky embodies the public’s anger and its demand for an end to business as usual. We hope he succeeds.
New York’s abysmal voter turnout was second-worst among states in the 2014 general election. How about moving deadlines for registering to vote and for changing parties closer to election dates, automatically registering eligible voters when they do business with state agencies, early voting, and making candidates’ access to ballots easier? Again, nothing is stirring.”