Lawsuit filed over pay raises for state lawmakers

December 14, 2018 05:21 PM

Albany, NY (WHEC) – Limiting outside income and increasing pay for lawmakers is at the center of a lawsuit filed Friday.

The Government Justice Center filed a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court, calling the issue ‘unconstitutional.’

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There are four plaintiffs listed, including Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick. 

Listed as the defendant is Thomas DiNapoli, the comptroller of the state of New York.

In the court document, the Government Justice Center, which is a non-profit based out of Albany, outlines the issues lawmakers have with how the pay commission is handling pay raises for state lawmakers.

The document argues the action is unconstitutional, stating that ‘such a major policy decision should have been made by members of the Senate and Assembly in legislation as required by the Constitution’ which would have given voters ‘a chance to evaluate their decision at the ballot box during an election.’

The lawsuit goes on to say, “among other things, the report raises legislative pay drastically – by 63.5 percent - over the next three years, limits stipends or allowances, and places restrictions on legislator outside income beginning in January 2020.”

Cam Macdonald is the executive director and general counsel for the Government Justice Center.

He tells our affiliate WNYT in Albany that he plans on challenging the 63 percent increase with this lawsuit to block “unconstitutional action” by the state committee.

WNYT reports that one of the compensation committee members, SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall, explained over the phone the four committee members are all past and present comptrollers for New York state and New York City. 

He told the station the group came to the recommendations based on the normal rate of inflation, comparing salaries to other lawmakers around the country and bumping up beyond what's comparable based on their decision to cap outside income to 15 percent or $18,000 a year.

Lawsuit filed by the Government Justice Center by News10NBC on Scribd


Stephanie Robusto

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