January 3, 2021
Bold Ethics Reform First State of the State Proposal – Aimed at Restoring Trust, Integrity, and Accountability in Government
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a plan to institute term limits for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller as the first proposal of the 2022 State of the State. The Governor will also propose a ban on outside income for statewide elected officials while serving in office. These bold reforms are aimed at increasing accountability and trust in the integrity of State government.
“On day one as Governor, I pledged to restore trust in government and I have taken steps every day to deliver the open, ethical governing New Yorkers deserve,” Governor Hochul said. “I want people to believe in their government again. With these bold reforms, we will ensure New Yorkers know their leaders work for them and are focused on serving the people of this state.”
The Governor will introduce a constitutional amendment to set limits of two consecutive terms for statewide elected officials. Governor Hochul will also propose legislation to impose a ban on earned outside income for the same statewide elected officials, with an exception for academic positions that must receive ethics board approval.
From her first day in office, Governor Hochul has taken actions to restore public trust in government:
• Ethics Trainings: Governor Hochul signed an Executive Order requiring all State employees to take an ethics training course upon hiring and regularly thereafter.
• FOIL Reforms: Governor Hochul implemented reforms to the FOIL process to increase transparency with journalists and members of the public. The Governor also began requiring state agencies to identify and proactively post commonly requested data, to reduce the need for FOILs in the first place
• Recusal Agreements: The Governor and other senior members of her administration released the full recusal agreements they abide by.
• Transparency Plans: Governor Hochul directed more than 70 executive agencies and public authorities to release public transparency plans, which are publicly posted online.
• Combating Harassment And Discrimination: To improve the Executive Chamber’s response to accusations of harassment and discrimination, Governor Hochul retained an independent outside law firm to investigate all claims in a fair, unbiased manner and created a new Human Resources department.