State Senator Tony Avella, taking a shot at two newly elected officials, introduced a bill that would limit when registered lobbyists could run for office.
Legislation the lawmaker announced last week would prohibit former registered lobbyists from running for city or state office for two years from the time they leave their firms.
Elected lobbyists could have a “distinct and unequal advantage” when it comes to influence, access and money, Avella said.
“It’s no question we have to reduce the amount of influence lobbyists have,” he said. “The less influence, the better.”
Queens Borough President-elect Melinda Katz and Councilmember-elect Paul Vallone are registered as New York City lobbyists — a fact Avella said was not lost on him when he was running against Katz for borough president.
Avella also supported Vallone’s primary opponent, Paul Graziano.
The senator said he spoke to widely known good government groups on the bill, though he did not specify which organizations supported it.
“I thought the bill was appropriate. I think that it’s something we should do in the future,” Avella said. “If elected officials and their staff are prohibited from working as registered lobbyists for a period of time after their term or employment has ended, why isn’t the reverse true?”
The bill, which Avella says is the first of its kind, was referred to the Senate’s Rules Committee on July 1. If passed, it would take effect immediately.