New York State Senator Anna Kaplan is in the process of drafting a bill to combat corruption throughout the state, and expects to have the prospective legislation completed within the next couple months.
According to a press release sent out by Kaplan’s office, the proposed legislation would require any entity seeking a contact with a municipality in New York to include in their application a signed disclosure statement detailing “any and all financial relationships to any local political party leadership or their immediate families.” Should the proposal be made into law as it currently stands, any application without a signed disclosure statement would be considered null and void.
According to Article 18 of New York’s General Municipal Law, municipal officers and employees are currently prohibited from having any interest in a contract they have the power to help negotiate or approve, and must publicly disclose any such interests. As it stands now, however, the law does not place similar requirements upon prospective vendors.
Kaplan, formerly a councilwoman for the Town of North Hempstead, told the Roslyn News that recent reports of corruption within the Town of Hempstead prompted her to try and stop similar kickback deals at a state-wide level. The proposal is one of a number of transparency reforms being championed by Nassau County-based politicians. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran recently introduced a bill to the county legislature that would require the board of ethics to make financial disclosure forms for all the county’s elected officials available for public view online.
“Long Island has been rocked by so many scandals in recent years involving government contractors and their inappropriate relationships to people in power,” Kaplan said in the press release. “We need to shine a strong light on these relationships so that the people in our communities can begin to have faith in their governments again. I’m extremely grateful for the hard work of Supervisor Laura Gillen in exposing this ongoing nightmare as part of her efforts to combat entrenched corruption in the Town of Hempstead.”
Kaplan plans to revise the proposal further before submitting it officially, and expressed hope that her bill would receive bipartisan support in the state when the legislature returns to session in January.