Last week, the Assembly elected its first new Speaker since 1994, selecting Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie (pronounced“HAY-stee”) to succeed Sheldon Silver, who resigned in the wake of corruption charges.
Before his election as speaker, Heastie said that he plans to pursue a series of ethics reforms—something a number of Democratic lawmakers had said was required for their support. The proposals include a new Office of Ethics and Compliance to be led by a non-legislator, limits on how much outside income lawmakers can earn and greater disclosure of outside income. Heastie also said that if elected speaker, he would forgo any outside income and resign as chairman of the Bronx County Democratic Party.
In a statement, Heastie said “We must seize this opportunity for reform and enact the type of lasting change that will make the Assembly more open, transparent and accountable to the voters.” We wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment.