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by Jay Gallagher

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ethics bill, Senator's fate face Legislature

   Welcome to the Capitol Beat, the League of Women Voters of New York State’s new blog on Albany happenings.
   The league has been watching a couple of contentious issues at the Capitol likely to bubble to the surface next week: ethics reform and the fate of a senator who has been convicted of assaulting his girlfriend.
      Gov. Paterson Wednesday vetoed an ethics bill supported by the league that would have strengthened the campaign-finance-enforcement powers of the state Board of Elections, among other things. Paterson said the bill didn’t go far enough, for example still leaving the Legislature in charge of appointing the panel to oversee their own ethics.
      It’s unclear whether the state Senate will move to override the veto (the votes to do so seem assured in the Assembly) since Republicans and Democrats have to agree to support it. The league is working to facilitate an agreement among all parties so that the status quo won’t remain in effect.
    Senate leaders have promised that next week they will take up a resolution calling for the ouster of Sen. Hiram Monserrate of  Queens after his conviction on assault misdemeanor charges.
    The issue is a delicate one for Senate Democratic leader John Sampson of Brooklyn, who risks alienating Latino members if he lets the issue come to the floor, but strong pressure from most other sides to remove Monserrate.
   Next week is the last week the Legislature is in town before its annual winter break. Legislative Director Barbara Bartoletti, who was tending to her new grandson this week, will be back at the Capitol.
   We would love to hear any feedback you have.

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