Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,I – Lockport) today voted in support of legislation that would amend the state’s constitution by penalizing public officials found guilty of felony corruption with the removal of their taxpayer-funded pension. Enacting pension forfeiture was a top priority for Norris in terms of reforming Albany and he is a sponsor of the bill.
“The people of our state have been paying for the pensions of corrupt public officials for too long. Pension forfeiture is necessary and long overdue, and I am very pleased to have voted in support of the measure so that it can now go before voters this fall for their final approval,” said Norris. “Though seizing of their taxpayer-funded pension is a strong deterrent, we all know there are still more reforms needed to truly prevent abuses of power. Measures like term limits for leadership positions should also be enacted, and I will continue working in our state Capitol to build consensus on this reform.”
Pension forfeiture was a measure initiated by members of the Assembly Minority Conference and called for by good government groups for many years. As a constitutional amendment, the measure needed to pass in two consecutive state legislatures before going up for public referendum. Today’s vote was the measure’s second time passing in the state Assembly.
Norris said, “Reforming Albany remains a top concern in our community because the hardworking men and women of Western New York are tired of footing the bill. Not only do too many of our resources and tax dollars go downstate, but too often our interests are ignored. I am very pleased that Albany has listened at least on the issue of pension forfeiture, and the measure has passed the Assembly. I will continue working to make sure the voices of Western New York are well represented in this chamber.”
Norris also voted in support of a multi-point package of legislative reforms proposed by the Assembly Minority Conference today. These reforms include term limits for legislative leaders and opening up the legislative process to allow rank-and-file lawmakers more of a voice in the Assembly Chamber. Though defeated by the Assembly Majority, Norris said he would continue pushing to enact substantial reform in the chamber. He said, “Be assured I am determined to continue fighting to bring about these necessary reforms.”