State lawmakers focused on ethics reform

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The phrase of the day in the state Capitol is ethics reform.

The new assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said ethics reform is his first order of business, and Governor Andrew Cuomo said he won’t sign a budget without it.

Former Speaker Sheldon Silver is currently under investigation by federal authorities who claim he abused his power for years. On Thursday, it was announced New York taxpayers may have to cover the cost of a more than $500,000 lawsuit settlement as a result of sexual harassment claims against the now-resigned assemblyman Vito Lopez.

“I think there will become very much a zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” Barbara Bartoletti with the NYS League of Women Voters said. “And it is unfortunate that the taxpayers have had to put out this money that could have gone for education; could have gone for infrastructure; could have gone for tax relief.”

Bartoletti said it’s time for new legislators to take that zero tolerance stance, especially when it comes to sexual harassment.

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