State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) has introduced legislation intended to bring reforms to New York state's lobbying laws, which he says "is long past due."
"This legislation is the type of reform we should be enacting in Albany to make our government more responsive, open, fair and honest," Padavan said.
"Recent news stories make it very clear that the time to pass a bill that will regulate the lobbying of state agencies and local governments is long past due," he said.
Padavan's office said the bill, introduced in the state Senate April 9, has the support of a number of groups, including the New York Public Interest Research Group known as NYPIRG.
"I think the momentum may finally be on our side and I'm hopeful we'll pass this bill in both houses before we adjourn at the end of the week," Padavan said.
A similar bill has been introduced in the state Assembly by Assemblyman Alexander Grannis (D-Manhattan).
The official memorandum for the bill said it "expands the definition of lobbying to cover any official act of a public official as defined in the law."
Gov. George Pataki issued an executive order this week requiring state agencies to give the names of people officially seeking state contracts.
Six associates of Pataki are making high salaries as lobbyists and consultants and some have made so much money that they have quit their state government jobs, the New York Post reported Monday.
"State government is now basically Dodge City without Wyatt Earp," New York Public Interest Research legislative director Blair Horner told the Post. "I've never seen it as bad as it appears to be now. The rules of the game have become very lucrative for former members of the Pataki administration and for close allies of the governor, and the most troubling thing is the governor isn't doing anything about it," Horner said.
Pataki has said he plans to introduce several bills of his own to bring disclosure of lobbying for state contracts, the Post said.
Some elected officials appear to be in favor of Pataki's lobbying reform efforts, but others have dismissed the move as a politically motivated bid to shore up his fading popularity in face of the state budget crisis.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.
©2003 Community News Group
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