State Budget Wins 2022
The state budget officially passed on Saturday, April 9th. We are pleased that this year many of the League’s budget priorities were included in the final budget proposal. Through our lobbying efforts the League was able to secure: •$5 million in TAP funding for incarcerated individuals •$4 million for local boards of elections to reimburse the cost of pre-paid postage for absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots •Expansion of polling places on college campuses.
Thank you to our members who helped advocate for these critical funding needs! This successful budget outcome would not have been possible without your grassroots support. The state budget is only one part of the League’s extensive legislative agenda. Now that the budget has been passed our efforts will focus on ensuring an open and transparent redistricting process, reducing the voter registration deadline, protecting the integrity of voters’ ballots even if they vote at the wrong location, expansion of early voting and absentee voting options, the New York State Voting Rights Act, court simplification, environmental justice issues such as the bigger better bottle bill, elder parole, fair and timely parole, and many other comprehensive good government reforms.
League Calls Out Failed Ethics Reform
The final budget approved a new state ethics committee – Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government – however, it failed to address many of the reasons we called for reform in the first place.
On April 22nd, the League along with multiple good government groups submitted a letter to Senate
and Assembly leaders highlighting the serious deficiencies in the new state ethics law. The letter focused on the lack of independence in the selection process. There is an obvious conflict between an elected
official’s duty to select a person who will enforce the law without fear or favor and their self-interest in avoiding or minimizing accountability should they violate the state’s ethics laws. The post-appointment vetting role of the law school deans does nothing to mitigate these conflicts. The deans are limited to reviewing background and expertise; if the deans reject elected officials’ appointees, which may take great fortitude, they simply get to appoint another.
The letter highlighted six areas where action should be taken to fix the state’s ethics laws:
- Independence, 2. Transparency, 3. Nonpartisanship, 4. Discriminatory harassment,
- Reporting misconduct, 6. Removing preferential treatment of the legislature.