Hochul to propose term limits and ethics reforms in State of the State
Gov. Kathy Hochul will give more details about a plan to implement term limits for New York’s highest leaders, including governor, and banning public officials to net outside income while in office during her State of the State address on Wednesday.
Hochul’s first 2022 State of the State proposal would limit New York’s statewide elected officials, including governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and comptroller, to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.
Hochul will also propose legislation to bar statewide elected officials from making outside income while serving in office with an exception for academic positions subject to approval by the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
The measure comes as JCOPE and former Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepare a legal battle over efforts to claw back his $5.1 million profit to publish his COVID-19 pandemic memoir in October 2020.
“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,” Hochul said in a statement Monday. “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.”
Implementing term limits for all state officials would require a constitutional amendment, which must be passed in both chambers of the Legislature for two consecutive years before voters accept or reject the proposal as a special referendum on the November ballot.
The governor is expected to discuss statewide ethics reforms in more detail Wednesday in efforts to build New Yorkers’ trust and accountability in government — a goal Hochul highlighted as a pillar of her administration in her inaugural address Aug. 24.
Hochul signed an executive order requiring all state employees regularly take ethics training, required state agencies identify and routinely publish commonly requested data released in Freedom of Information Law requests and directed more than 70 executive agencies and public authorities release public transparency plans that have been posted online as part of her efforts to reform state ethics.
The governor and other senior staffers of her administration released the full recusal agreements they abided by taking office after Cuomo’s abrupt resignation last summer.
Hochul has hinted she will announce plans about how to reform or overhaul JCOPE, created by Cuomo, in her State of the State address.