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Senate Democrats: Now it's time for reforms

ALBANY –- State Senate Democrats had two years in power to pass meaningful ethics reform measures.

Now, a week out of power, they are stepping up efforts to pressure Republicans now in control to approve measures rejected over the past two years when they controlled the 62-member Senate.

“Keep your promise,’’ Senate Minority Leader John Sampson repeated several times to the Senate GOP, urging approval of a series of plans designed to make Albany more transparent.

But Sampson refused four times to answer reporters’ questions about why the Senate Democrats did not approve the bills when they ran the Senate for the first time in four decades. [The GOP took back the Senate in November and now holds a slim 32-30 margin].

Government watchdog groups for years have called for lawmakers to relax their grip on the once-a-decade reapportionment process, which will take place over the next year now that the 2010 census numbers have been released. The groups have been calling for an independent commission to redraw the legislative and congressional lines.

The redistricting commission measure was among the platforms pushed now by the Senate Democrats at a news conference Monday. They also want more information released about outside income of legislators, such as the names of clients of those lawmakers who work on the side as lawyers; the measure, though, includes some exceptions to still keep client names hidden.

The Legislature, when the Senate Democrats were in control, did pass an ethics-related bill. But former Gov. David A. Paterson vetoed it, saying it was too weak and too riddled with loopholes.

-- Tom Precious

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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