NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Calling it a strong and badly needed anti-corruption measure, a group of Republican lawmakers is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to tackle term limits.
You’ve seen them parading in and out of court – lawmakers, like former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos — to face corruption charges. Some lawmakers say the only want to prevent that is with term limits.
“You have an assembly speaker that served for 22 years as the assembly speaker,” Sen. Robert Ott, R-Noth Tonawanda said Thursday. “That kind of concentration of power… can only lend itself to corruption here in Albany.”
In a dramatic and unusual end-of-session move that could have lasting repercussions in the gubernatorial election, a group of Republican lawmakers is demanding the state pass term limit legislation, blaming the governor for lack of leadership, CBS2’s Political Reporter Marica Kramer reported.
“I’m going to put the blame at the governor’s step, because for all the years he’s been governor now, he hasn’t proposed it, he hasn’t pushed it. And if he would lead, he would get that done,” Assemblyman David DiPietro, R-East Aurora, said.
Actually, Cuomo has called for a constitutional amendment on term limits for the last three years. It was on page 334 of his 361-page State of the State presentation this year. But that’s as far as it’s gone, possibly falling by the wayside because Assembly Democrats have no appetite for it, Kramer reported.
“It’s an important step to say to the taxpayers of the state of New York, citizens of the state of New York, that we’re serious about reform,” said Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro.
Therein lies the rub. Whether term limits pass this year or not, it will come up as Cuomo seeks re-election for a third term. Molinaro will be shouting it from the rooftops.
“The governor is not serious about reforming Albany, because he is a creature of what is a culture of corruption, and it’s time, at least with term limits, we clean house and return the power of government to the people of New York,” he said.
Good government groups also want to see it happen.
“Term limits have worked extremely well for New York City Council, they’ve led to younger, more diverse council members, more voices,” said John Kaehny, of Reinvent Albany.
A spokesperson for the governor said he will certainly review the bills. There are several of them, with most calling for two four-year terms for governor and 12-year limits for lawmakers.