Albany backs less state flying; After Spitzer-Bruno controversy, 3 bills in play would limit when politicians could use government craft

ALBANY - Despite the partisan rancor, many Democrats and Republicans here agree the "Choppergate" scandal exposed problems in the use of state planes and the State Police by politicians that must be addressed. Four bills have been introduced in...


'Choppergate' bills

State lawmakers are pushing remedies to problems raised by the scandal. Here's what the bills would do:

S6434, introduced by Sen. Michael Nozzolio (R-Fayette)

Establish a three-year term for the State Police superintendent, allowing for more independence from the governor

S6438, introduced by Sen. George Winner Jr. (R-Elmira)

Prohibit use of state aircraft for "political purposes" by state officials, lawmakers or their employees, even if the trip includes some state business

Punish violators with fines of up to $40,000 plus the cost of the trip, and if prosecuted and convicted, up to $10,000 and a maximum of 1 year in prison

S6442, introduced by Sen. Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan)

Prohibit use of state aircraft by state officials or their employees unless "the majority of flight expenses and time are for official business"

Provide guidelines for the governor's office to determine whether to approve requests for state planes

Require a yearly public audit of the use of state aircraft

Assembly bill, introduced by Assemb. Tim Gordon (I-Bethlehem)

Prohibit use of state planes, cars and boats by state employees for any purpose other than "state business"

Require reimbursement in cases of private use

Punish violators with fines of up to $10,000

Draft Senate bill, to be introduced by Winner

Direct the state Inspector General to refer investigations of the governor's office to the state attorney general

Grant subpoena power to the attorney general in such cases

- Compiled by Albany Bureau Chief James T. Madore

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