Term limits are needed to curb corruption

| 23 Feb 2012 | 03:40

    When our founding fathers created the Constitution of the state of New York, they never included term limits and ethics reforms, and I am sure they never dreamed they would need to. In today’s world, with the improvements in technology and public demand for transparency in government, legislators can no longer hide from themselves or the public. The sad fact that yet another two state lawmakers have been indicted proves that, despite the lessons of the past few years, some in our government still don’t get it - unethical, illegal and corrupt behavior simply will not be tolerated. We must work together with the checks and balances our founding fathers had the foresight to put in place to ensure that fraud, corruption, or unethical or illegal behavior is rooted out. The Legislature, in my opinion, owes the people even more. Each legislator should hold themselves accountable to a higher standard. As elected officials, we have chosen a life in public service and should spend our time doing just that - serving the public, not ourselves or special interests. However, it seems the longer some legislators are in the “game,” the more they break the rules, and that is why I am calling on the Assembly Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader to immediately bring to the floor legislation that would enact term limits for themselves as well as rank-and-file legislators. Members of the public shouldn’t be surprised to hear that no one in Albany is talking about term limits. Moreover, there are only a couple pieces of legislation on the subject - none of which is advancing through the legislative process or being strongly lobbied for. However, I believe this is a step the Legislature can take now to help restore the integrity and the public’s trust in government. I will be reviewing proposals and ideas on term limits, but, as your representative, I want to hear from you. Do you support term limits? How long should each term be? Should leadership positions also be subject to term limits? What penalties should lawmakers face if they are found guilty of corruption or other crimes? Please share your comments with me. E-mail me at rabbitta@assembly.state.ny.us, call my office at 845-291-3631, or join the online discussion on Facebook or Twitter. Assemblywoman Annie Rabbit Greenwood Lake