Time to change the culture in Albany
by Brian Barnwell
Apr 12, 2016 | 21312 views | 0 0 comments | 830 830 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The New York State legislature just passed its new budget. They passed it in the early hours of the morning before any legislator had time to even read the actual budget in detail.

It reminds me of a famous politician saying, “We need to pass the bill to find out what is in it.”

Making legislators vote on massive bills without having the chance to read them is one of the many problems in state government. No representative should vote on a bill they haven’t had the opportunity to read in detail.

What is even worse is that after months of corrupt politicians like Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos being arrested, not one ethics measure was passed by the legislature.

So the question is what ethics reforms do we need? We need a zero tolerance policy. The first policy should automatically remove pensions from convicted corrupt politicians.

A few months back Assemblywoman Marge Markey of Queens sent out a mailing to her constituents stating she and the Assembly passed new measures to fight corruption.

But Markey and her colleagues favor a policy that will allow for politically connected individuals – in other words, judges - to make those decisions.

The policy favors political maneuvers that allow for multiple exceptions for the well connected, including not being able to consider past corruption and misconduct.

Moreover, none of the measures that Markey touts on her mailer actually became law because they weren't even voted on by the State Senate. In fact, another bill Markey tells us she helped pass – a bill to eliminate LLC, corporate and political party contribution loopholes - she herself didn’t even vote for!

We need to eliminate the loopholes that allow these entities to contribute significant amounts of money to incumbents, which results in keeping the established politicians in power. It is the very reason why nothing changes.

Finally, we need to ban outside income for politicians. Markey and many of her colleagues favor improving reporting requirements, but as we have seen time and time again the legislators who make the laws know the loopholes, therefore we need a total ban.

When Markey and her colleagues had a chance to stand up for ethics reform just last week, they were nowhere to be found, not one ethics reform measure was passed despite what Markey led her constituents to believe in her mailer earlier this year.

One of the main reasons I have decided to run for the Assembly against Markey is because I am tired of politicians lying to us.

Telling her constituents she helped pass ethics reforms when she didn’t is just another game the political establishment plays. Too many of the politicians in power love to create headlines because they don’t expect their constituents to fact check.

This district deserves somebody who isn’t entrenched with the Albany political establishment and political bosses. I’m running to change that.

Brian Barnwell is a Woodside resident and candidate for the 30th Assembly District.
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