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DeFrancisco weighs in on state ethics reform, says pension forfeiture can pass

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo
Republican State Senator John DeFrancisco.

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse), the second highest ranking member of the state Senate, is weighing in on what ethics reforms may or may not get passed before the end of the legislative session in June. There are a number of reforms DeFrancisco said he would support as long as there are no exceptions.

Taking away the pensions of public employees convicted of a felony is something DeFrancisco said he can see passing because of the public outcry for ethics reform in the state. Even if the Senate and Assembly can agree, it would require a constitutional amendment. The Senate has already passed a pension forfeiture bill but DeFrancisco said the Assembly wants to exclude teachers and other employees from the agreement. An Assembly committee voted down one version of a pension forfeiture bill Tuesday.

“That could pass if it applies to everybody," DeFrancisco said. "If it doesn’t apply and it has a select few that it doesn’t apply to then it doesn’t make any sense to me.”

DeFrancisco also said he is not necessarily against allowing the families of someone convicted to claim the pension.

“The media, the good government groups would go ballistic because there are loopholes in it, even though the loophole to protect the family makes perfectly logical sense,” DeFrancisco said.

DeFrancisco said he is against limiting the outside income of politicians.

"I've practiced law my whole life except until about four years ago," Defrancisco said. "If I couldn't practice my profession, I never would have run for public office or for the Senate. Never."

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.