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Guv’s veto of ethics bill upheld

Gov. David Paterson’s veto of the state Legislature’s home-grown ethics reform package was upheld Monday after the state Senate failed to gather enough votes to override it.

“Last month, I introduced the most significant and sweeping ethics reform package in decades,” Paterson said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the Legislature acted on its own bill — a bill that did not go far enough to address the underlying issues that have caused the public to lose their faith in government.”

After the override failed 35-26, Senate Democrats blamed their Republican colleagues for killing ethics reform in Albany while members of the GOP claimed they wanted an opportunity to publicly negotiate a better bill.

They may get that chance after the governor offered a compromise bill Monday that he said includes a number of recommendations from legislative leaders. The new Paterson plan would create two independent, five-member ethics commissions — one for the executive branch and one for the Legislature.

Members of the commissions would be selected by a 10-member independent designating commission, similar to the judicial nominating commission.

How much traction the governor will get remains to be seen. His State of the State address, during which he spent time lambasting the Legislature for inaction and pushing his own ethics package, was coldly received by the Assembly and Senate.

— Jeremy Walsh

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